Purpose

The UNC-Hussman School of Journalism and Media is a vital part of the journalism community in North Carolina. The annual NC Media & Journalism Hall of Fame Gala recognizes the best and brightest of this community and is considered a “homecoming” for many. This event not only serves as a journalism community hub, but also raises funds for the UNC-Hussman Dean’s Opportunity Fund. Alumni, honorees, and journalists value coming together, sharing stories, seeing old friends, and honoring industry leaders through this awards ceremony.

community

North Carolina School of Journalism and Media alumni, donors, partners, and individuals who impacted journalism in North Carolina 

Challenge

This community was shaken by the pandemic, as all communities were. But this did not stop the university from preserving its cherished history by moving forward with the gala in a virtual capacity. The university was determined to make the best of this event, but had a lot of questions. 

  • How to broadcast it? 
  • How to make it engaging?  
  • How to encourage participation and retention? 
  • How do you reignite the spirit of camaraderie?   

Approach

This event holds a special place in the hearts of our staff at AJ because several of our team members are alumni. AJ used this motivation to fuel the planning and execution of a thoroughly engaging digital event.  

The event team set up a remote broadcast studio, which acted as the command center for the event. Presentation kits were sent to the presenters around the country to ensure all speakers were on brand. The broadcast team carefully balanced both prerecorded content and live content in the broadcast, creating a polished yet authentic feel.  

In order to encourage participation from attendees, we hosted a silent auction and interviews with current students who spoke about the importance of the next generation of journalism. Musical performances by Steep Canyon Rangers and Mandolin Orange created a unifying moment for this community.  

UNC Speakers

impact

This event nearly doubled their usual in-person attendance, and had over 300 registrations. In addition, to having the highest attendance to date for this event, the gross contributions also set records.  

“You have created tomorrow.”

-Susan King, Dean UNC Hussman School of Journalism & Media