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NEW YORK CITY — More than 480 top media executives from around the globe and a team of multiplatform journalists from Western Kentucky University will gather in New York City next week for meetings on the future of news brands.

The executives from 45 countries are attending the 85th annual World Congress of INMA, a news industry strategic trade organization. They will spend May 10-12 at The TimesCenter in Manhattan deliberating the state of the world’s media and evaluating the latest digital techniques in news publishing.

All the while, the staff of Western iMedia, an innovative editorial startup embedded in the WKU School of Journalism & Broadcasting, will be using those very same digital techniques to report the meeting’s proceedings to a worldwide audience that, in previous years, has exceeded 8.7 million people. This is the fifth year in a row that the International NewsMedia Association has commissioned Western iMedia to manage its editorial coverage.

With business cards sporting job descriptions such as news experience designer, contextual producer, storybuilder, multiplatform media composer and editorial technologist, the iMedia team at INMA will include students Leah Brown of Louisville, Ky.; Catherine Havel of Louisville, Ky.; Amanda Johnson of Nashville, Tenn.; Nolan Miles of Bardstown, Ky., Brian Powers of Naperville, Il.; and Anna Wilkins of Russellville, Ky. In addition, three recent WKU and Western iMedia alum are providing production support: Nicole Coomer of Bowling Green, Ky.; Matthew Langston of Paducah, Ky.; Brie Logsdon of Philadelphia, Pa. They are directed by Kerry J. Northrup, an international media executive, who also serves as WKU’s Turner Multimedia Professor and Professional-in-Residence in the School of Journalism & Broadcasting.

 “The fusion journalists of Western iMedia combine the ethics, mission and production values of quality editorial work with an atypical range of expertise in making that work more tangible, more accessible, more meaningful to contemporary media participants,” Northrup explained. “These are adaptive storytellers primed to work in and even create the new mainstream media. They don't just tell stories but also design and produce the environments in which people engage with those stories across multiple technologies and platforms.”

Western iMedia typically creates news story through a combination of media formats such as augmented reality, 360-degree live-action video, massive data visualization panels, serial-segmented episodic narratives and interactive mobile apps.

“Each of our projects is intended to not only accomplish significant journalism but also to prototype new storytelling technologies and techniques for the world’s news industry,” Northrup noted.

For the INMA Congress, he said, Western iMedia is creating an integrated package of mobile-optimized Flipagram video and audio clips, multi-component narratives accessed online through custom-coded content triggers, and a virtual “tweetstorm” of socially networked audience interaction.

The bulk of the work will be published through INMA’s World Congress hub at and through social networks using hashtag #inmawc15.

“For us, this entire event — all these thought leaders coming together at one place at one time talking about the future of media, the ideas and consensus that come out of it, the deals and projects that are launched, the emotion that surrounds it of opportunity looming or lost, and the influence all this has on changing the way things may work tomorrow — we approach this as all one big, complex story with very many pieces, the technical and the human,” said Northrup. “It can’t be told adequately through classic media, especially not in a way that connects with the essential Millennial media participants who are shunning classic media. It requires a non-traditional massive-media approach. That’s what we do.”

For more information on Western iMedia or to contact any of the iMedia staff, email

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 Last Modified 9/25/14