WMU Professors to Speak at TEDx Kalamazoo 2018

Tickets have been sold out for over a month for the 2018 TEDx Kalamazoo program. The event, which will take place on Sept. 13 at the Epic Center in Kalamazoo, will also be livestreamed for those unable to purchase tickets.

TEDx programs are independently run events in the spirit of TED talks organized with the approval of the TED organization.

The theme of TEDx Kalamazoo 2018 is “Old Made New,” and is being organized by a new team with the support of local volunteers and businesses.

The event will feature presenters from all walks of life speaking on areas of expertise ranging from STEM advocacy, new forms of mental health treatment, and the effects of media on the lives of consumers. Many of the speakers have ties to Western Michigan University, including professors Angela Moe and Sue Ellen Christian.

Christian, a journalism professor at WMU, will be giving a presentation titled "Crossing Life's Fault Lines" on the topic of diversifying one’s news media consumption.

“I want to communicate to audiences the value of diversifying our news media intake as an easy and accessible, thanks to digital media, first step to expanding our understanding of people who aren't like us,” Christian said.

With the topic of news and media literacy being so prominent in culture of today, she said it’s the perfect time for such a presentation. Drawing on her experience as a journalist and an academic, she hopes to illustrate to her audience how simple it is to create variety in a news diet, and why it's important to do so.

“Honest reporting is the easiest path into someone else's life,” Christian said. “It's a painless way to broaden your worldview, and there is great honest reporting out there. My talk in part shares some ways to cross-pollinate our news intake in simple, effective ways.”

Christian believes that her presentation, and the event as a whole, will provide great value to the Kalamazoo community. She concluded by writing that she thinks there are enough valuable speakers that Kalamazoo could conceivably have an event every year.

Jeremy Marr, the director of digital design and public relations for TEDx Kalamazoo, shares Christian's optimism.

“Interest has been high and tickets for this year's event sold out within three days of being available,” Marr said. “We are looking forward to bringing this event back over the coming years with an eye toward expanding upon the things we have learned.”

He expressed gratitude towards the sponsors that made this event possible, and looks forward to bringing the program to Kalamazoo.

The event will be livestreamed starting at 6 p.m. on Sept. 13. A link to the stream will be found on the TEDx Kalamazoo site, and recordings of the talks will also be available to view afterword.

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