University of Hawai?i at Manoa

06/28/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/28/2017 21:07

College of Social Sciences trains next generation of journalists

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa


Journalism students prepare for mock press conference.
Students film 30-second breaking news segment.

The School of Communications in the College of Social Sciences (CSS) at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa launched an interactive capstone project to prepare the next generation of Hawaiʻi journalists. The initiative simulates a crisis scenario announced at a mock press conference. The exercise is designed to mimic a potential real-life situation and provide students with the opportunity to hone their journalistic skills in relaying fair, balanced and factual information to the public under deadline.

'There was success in this exercise. It felt very real,' said Denise Eby Konan, dean of the College of Social Sciences. 'Students who are in journalism and media will have occasions when there are crises. During these stressful times, the public relies heavily on journalists to keep them informed through timely, clear and concise information. This exercise is an opportunity for our students feel what that is like and to learn about themselves and their strengths under such conditions, and be better prepared for the realities of work in their chosen field after graduation.'

During the exercise, journalism capstone students were divided into teams, with each representing a major news outlet. The student teams participated in a mock press conference, where information regarding an approaching tsunami was provided by individuals standing in for various government agencies. The scenario involved an impending tsunami generated by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of the Aleutian Islands. Waves were estimated to hit the islands at 12:10 that afternoon.

After the mock press conference, student reporters had 90 minutes to conduct interviews with officials and used the information to create a 'live' 30-second breaking news segment for their respective stations.

'They're learning in a very realistic environment, what it's going to be like out there in the real world,' said press conference participant Lt. Col. Charles J. Anthony, who represented the Hawai'i Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA). 'I was just really impressed, overall. I really was.'

The news blocks were evaluated on information, presentation and clarity of information.

UH Mānoa juniors Dillon Ancheta and Victoria Cuba, along with seniors Arthel Lizada and Kristen Wong, won the competition for best news block. To see their and other team's videos, visit

'Honestly, I would do this again,' said Ancheta. 'I always think that the second time we do this, it's better.'

For more information about the experience, visit

The School of Communications (COM/JOUR) in the UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences improves the ways in which people talk to each other - in Hawai'i and beyond - through all mediated channels, from voice-to-voice conversations to dynamic interactions via emerging technologies. The school strives for excellence in all areas of teaching, research and practice while embracing the contemporary challenges of complex and multicultural contexts involving communication and journalism.

Marked by leadership, excellence and innovation, the College of Social Sciences (CSS) at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa provides students with a culturally diverse experience that transforms them into bold, engaged global citizens who affect change, break down barriers, touch lives and succeed in a multi-cultural context. Its student-centered environment is dedicated to providing students with a vibrant academic climate that affords exciting, intense interaction among students and faculty as they address fundamental questions about human behavior. Featuring outstanding scholarship through internships, active and service learning approaches to teaching, and an international focus particularly in the Asia Pacific region, it prepares students to become leaders in public and private enterprises throughout Hawai'i and Asia.