By Nicole Blanchett Neheli

If you teach any type of media, it’s a constant struggle to keep up with new tools and trends. That’s why I went to the Broadcast Educators Association of Canada’s (BEAC) annual conference in Banff. You can check out my live blog of the event, but if you’d rather not scroll through a few days of tweets and pics here are some highlights.

The first keynote speaker was Tanya Joosten – the interim Director of the University of Wisconsin Learning Technology Centre. Joosten’s talk covered things like using social media to communicate/connect with students and how to create learning experiences vs. being a “sage on the stage.” You can link to her presentation here and within it find some some great resources. One I’m going to spend some time checking out is Scoop It — a website curation tool. I’ll also be ordering a copy of Joosten’s book Social Media for Educators. And, no, I’m not getting paid for that endorsement

The next presenter was Brad Clark, Mount Royal’s diversity expert. He shared some fascinating findings on diversity in Canada’s newsrooms — not just who’s on the air, but who is used as a source in reporter stories. Despite our country’s demographic, results show we are overwhelmingly white on national news. Clark also provided some useful sources to help broadcast educators improve diversity in student storytelling. Here’s his presentation.

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Another memorable experience was learning about the creation of a film showcasing Canada’s national parks that’s playing on the new HD wall at The Cave and Basin historic site. Director Jeremy Atherton from Algonquin College explained that instead of using something like IMAX technology, for the first time they twinned two red cameras to widen the frame of their shots. Both the site and the film were phenomenal. As was Banff itself.


There are so many natural wonders it almost seems like you’re looking at images on a green screen as you walk around. It was in incredible setting for the conference.

Kudos also go out to radio legend Marty Forbes for his talk on the future of broadcast. And to Dr. Steve Olson – Academic Chair for SAIT Polytechnic’s RTBN (Radio, Television, Broadcast News) and FVP (Film, Video Production) departments – for using personal experience to demonstrate why we need to work outside the box to engage marginalized students.

Speaking of students, the awards gala was a showcase of talent at schools from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. On the BEAC website you can watch the ceremony and read the list of winners. That ceremony is also where I heard the best line of the whole event.

Accepting the Broadcaster of the Year Award, Calgary morning-radio host Gerry Forbes (younger brother to Marty referred to above) came out with this zinger after encouraging future broadcasters to show perseverance:

“No matter what happens, you can always be mayor of Toronto.”

Nicole Blanchett Neheli is the Field Notes editor of J-Source and a journalism professor at Sheridan Institute for Technology with a special interest in participatory journalism. This post was originally published on Blanchett Neheli's Redefining journalism's Blog


Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.