Faculty with deep expertise in data journalism, social media, video and international media representation will be teaching at the UBC School of Journalism for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Joining for the year is Charles Berret, whose research addresses data-driven storytelling and algorithmic transparency. Returning for a second year is Saranaz Barforoush. Her research interests include international reporting ethics, political communication and framing studies.
In addition, two award-winning journalists are coming to the School as Asper Visiting Professors: social media pioneer Andy Carvin, and filmmaker, artist and author Michèle Stephenson.
“I’m excited by the contribution to the student teaching and learning of our new faculty,” said UBC Journalism director Alfred Hermida.
“We’re honoured to have such a range of high-calibre media scholars and journalists teaching alongside our talented team of faculty and adjuncts.”
Digital media insights
Berret joins the School as an assistant professor after having just completed his PhD in communications at Columbia University.
Berret is a former fellow at the Columbia Journalism School’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation. He has pursued research projects in algorithmic transparency, data-driven storytelling, digital typography and tools that journalists use to protect their sources.
Berret says he was inspired by the work of Dr. Taylor Owen, an assistant professor at UBC Journalism and Berret’s former colleague at Columbia.
“When I saw what Taylor was able to do at UBC with virtual reality and journalism, I knew there had to be something special happening here,” said Berret, who has written extensively on the need for journalism schools to teach data-driven and computational reporting.
“For many schools, there’s some level of reluctance, frustration, or just the inability to change and meet these challenges,” Berret said. “I’m genuinely impressed with the nimbleness of the UBC J-School in the face of this changing industry and its professional demands.”
Berret is filling in for UBC Journalism associate professor Candis Callison, who is away on a prestigious one-year visiting professorship in Canadian Studies at Princeton University.
Berret will be teaching Integrated Journalism, Data Visualization, and Media Ethics and Leadership.
Asper Visiting Professors
The School is welcoming two award-winning journalists as Asper Visiting Professors: Andy Carvin and Michèle Stephenson.
Carvin is joining the School for the winter term, where he’ll be teaching Visual Journalism with adjunct professor Dan McKinney.
When he was senior social media strategist at National Public Radio, Carvin rose to prominence during the Arab Spring in 2011 for his curation of Twitter feeds, together with his expertise in the verification of news coming through social media.
He most recently served as senior editor-at-large for the social video startup, NowThisNews, He developed the company’s breaking news strategy and served as lead editor for major breaking news stories.
Previously, he was the head of Reported.ly, the global reporting team at First Look Media.
Carvin says the appointment at the school is a “tremendous opportunity.”
“I’ve long admired the journalism faculty at UBC, from its strengths in global affairs to its interests in researching social media,” Carvin said.
“And coming from the U.S., I’m particularly excited about experiencing journalism education and teaching from the Canadian perspective.”
In the spring term, filmmaker, artist and author Michèle Stephenson will be sharing her expertise with students as a second Asper Visiting Professor.
During her time at UBC, she will be guest lecturing in classes at the School and in other departments.
Co-founder of the Rada Film Group, Stephenson draws on her Panamanian and Haitian roots and international experience as a human rights attorney to tell deeply personal stories that resonate beyond the margins.
Her work has appeared on a variety of broadcast and web platforms, including PBS, Showtime and MTV.
Her most recent film, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys including Best Documentary and Best News Coverage of a Contemporary Issue.
The film also won the Jury Prize at Sundance, and was selected for the New York Film Festivals’ Main Slate Program.
Both Carvin and Stephenson will be delivering public talks during their time at UBC Journalism.
Bringing new perspectives
Students will also see a familiar face return to the classroom. Saranaz Barforoush will be entering her second year at the school as a lecturer.
Barforoush was a key faculty member in last year’s International Reporting Program, travelling to Turkey with the students.
She’ll be returning to IRP this year, as well as teaching Decoding Social Media, Media Ethics and Leadership, Journalism Practices and Standards, and New Media and Society.
Barforoush, who is from Iran and studied in the U.S., has sought to bring her perspective as a Middle Eastern journalist to the classroom.
“Last year, I realized that students are much more forward-thinking and enlightened than we tend to give them credit for,” she said.
“I’d like to continue devoting my teaching to help students navigate the complexities of reporting ethically on those that are different from them.”
The academic year begins Sept. 4, 2018