From left to right: Doug Keck, Amanda Melefsky, David DeWolf, and Ann Rodgers.
STEUBENVILLE, OHIO—In his message for this year’s World Communications Day, Pope Francis said that the Catholic Church “needs to be concerned for, and present in, the world of communication, in order to dialogue with people today and to help them encounter Christ.”
On April 11-12, Franciscan University of Steubenville will assist in answering the pope’s appeal by hosting the 2014 communication arts conference titled “Media and Faith: New Beginnings.”
“The Media and Faith Conference is critical in today’s media climate where so much of what you see and hear and read are contrary to Church teachings,” says Dr. Wayne Lewis, associate professor of communication arts at Franciscan University. “Our main goal is to show students that you can remain committed to your faith and still produce great media—whether that is print or online or broadcast.”
Dr. Eugene Gan, associate professor of communication arts at Franciscan University, explains, “This is a response to Pope Francis’ call to be ‘a network not of wires but of people,’ supporting one another in the many varied ways we can make the Church—and thus the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—real and present to others.”
The conference will feature Doug Keck, president and chief operating officer of EWTN and host of EWTN’s popular Bookmark series. He will speak at the plenary session on “21st Century Samaritans: Making a Difference on the Digital Superhighway.” Matt Weilgos ’90, manager of media production at Franciscan Media (formerly St. Anthony Messenger Press); and Terry Mattingly, director of the Washington Journalism Center with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and longtime “On Religion” columnist with Scripps Howard News Service, will also speak at the conference.
Amanda Melefsky ’05, a writer and producer based in New York whose production credits include films “Bella” and “The Human Experience,” as well as DeSales Media’s World Youth Day Rio live coverage broadcast in 2013, will be the keynote speaker Friday evening.
A presentation titled “Mass Media Is Dead: Optimizing Your Impact in the TechMedia Age” will be given by David DeWolf ’00, chairman and CEO of 3Pillar Global, Inc., the mid-Atlantic’s leading software product development company. DeWolf was named to the “Top 40 Under 40” list by the Washington Business Journal, as well as one of SmartCEO Magazine’s “Future 50.”
The closing presentation, “Pope Francis as a Communicator,” will be given by Ann Rodgers, communications director of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and former longtime religion reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“Pope Francis is the personification of what Marshall McLuhan, the father of communication studies, meant when he declared that ‘the medium is the message,’” says Rodgers of her talk. “Pope Francis’ character, in which love and mercy shine forth, give emphasis and credibility to the Gospel message of love and mercy. In that, he closely follows the example of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.”
Other workshops include “Radio—Local or Global? The Shape of Radio in the 21st Century”; “Communicating With the Media: Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations With a Christian Attitude”; and “Communicating Christianity Creatively: Cinematic Storytelling and the Future.”
The conference begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 11, and ends at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 12. Registration fees are as follows: $35 per person, $25 per faculty member, and $15 per student. Closing dinner is an additional $15 per person.
For more information or to register for the conference, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit franciscan.edu/mediaandfaith/.