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ComNet19 Austin

ComNet Annual Conference

ComNet19 was one of our most memorable and largest gatherings. While the conference is over, the learning continues. We have assembled Breakout Session notes, videos, podcasts and transcripts for you to use (and share!) so that the knowledge showcased in Austin can continue to have value going forward.

Listen to the audio podcasts on iTunes

ComNet19 notes, audio, videos, and transcripts were graciously sponsored by our friends at The Colorado Health Foundation.


Stacey Abrams, activist, author, civil rights leader, lawmaker, and the first African-American woman to deliver a response to the State of the Union, spoke passionately about how communicators have the power to tell stories that change lives by keeping three key ideas in mind. Sharing lessons from her own life and career, she issues a bold call to action.

Trabian Shorters, the founder of BMe Community, a New York Times bestselling author, and former Vice President of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation addresses ComNet19. Shorters challenged the audience to consider how we as communication professionals are unconsciously but fundamentally undermining our commitment to equity.

Janet Mock, writer, director and executive producer of the critically acclaimed FX series Pose, who made history with her landmark overall Netflix deal addresses ComNet19. Mock spoke passionately about mentorship, identity, POSE, storytelling, and the role of allyship.

John Burnett of NPR led a discussion with Bob Moore, El Paso Editor, Zenén Jaimes Perez, Texas Civil Rights Project, and Sheriff Sally Hernandez, Travis County Sheriff’s Office on immigration from a border State perspective.

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition President and CEO Desmond Meade, accepted The Clarence B. Jones Impact Award and shared how Florida Rights Restoration Coalition led the fight to restore voting rights for disenfranchised former felons.


In Conversations

Bill Stotesbery and Tom Gimbel, who lead KLRU and Austin City Limits respectively, have been pioneers in building a new nonprofit media model in Austin. Tyronne Walker of Greater New Orleans Foundation moderated a conversation with Stotesbery and Gimbel on how Austin City Limits was transformed into a global brand, how Austin City Limits expanded as a brand while maintaining its core mission and integrity and how KLRU and Austin City Limits created a new non-profit media model. 

Hugh Forrest of South by Southwest (SXSW) joined Melanie Newman of Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a conversation on the value of in-person gatherings, why quality is much more important than quantity and how and why SXSW continues to grow in an era of easy digital connections.


Breakout Sessions

We hosted 22 Breakout Sessions with specialized tracks focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion + Communications; Policy & Advocacy Communications; Social Science Communications; Ethical & Aspirational Communications; Storytelling & Journalism; Data Visualization and New Technologies; and Internal Communications. Below you will find useful notes on each Breakout Session reviewed by Breakout Session presenters.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion + Communications

Policy & Advocacy Communications

Social Science Communications

Ethical & Aspirational Communications

Storytelling & Journalism

Data Visualization and New Technologies

Internal Communications



Check out our ComNet19 album on Flickr to see photos of you, your colleagues, our speakers, and more.


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