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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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Helping Media Tell Stories at the Lightspark Media Summit (preview)

Lightspark Foundation

In collaboration with the Lightspark Foundation, the S.J. Quinney College of Law will host a media symposium directed towards media-oriented people, digital artists, musicians, directors, producers, actors, business people, students and attorneys this Friday, March 3.

The Lightspark Foundation is a nonprofit organization that focuses on building and sustaining the media industry in Salt Lake through four core directives: media literacy education, artist discovery and development, community-building and grant-making. The upcoming Summit is an example of local community-building.

Containing a variety of presentations, interactive panel discussions, performances, live demonstrations and a well-known keynote speaker, the Summit aims to fuse as many conference elements together as possible for an almost-12 hour day of engaging learning.

“I’ve seen first-hand the magic of getting diverse facets of multiple industries together to learn and talk,” said Jared Ruga, chair of the Lightspark Media Summit Planning Committee. “So we combined the best elements of many conferences into one jam-packed day.”

The Summit will focus on the theme “Stewards of Story,” placing special emphasis on the importance of factual media presentation and journalism as well as ethical storytelling. Promoting a higher regarding for truth and a greater respect for all people, “Stewards of Story” will highlight the role of entertainment professionals and their opportunities and obligations.

Another emphasis of the summit will be on networking. “Internships, freelance work, and full-time jobs in entertainment media are 95 percent relationship-based. You need a strong network to get work,” Ruga said. “Professional networking events like these are rare for Salt Lake, so it’s a must-attend for students looking to break into the media industry.”

The Summit is also an educational opportunity to those not interested in employment in the media industry, but are simply curious. “This Summit offers an inside look at how film, TV, and music get made and distributed,” said Ruga.

 With different sections, there are a variable amount of times that students with different interests can attend. Attendees are not required to attend the entire conference. If you have morning classes, you can come for the afternoon sessions, for example, and vice versa.

Maria Bello, international actress, activist and author, is the well-known keynote speaker. For panels, Branden Campbell (from Neon Trees) and Kaskade will be in charge, and The Federal Empire (Chad Wolf, formerly of Carolina Liar) is the musical guest.

Additional speakers from businesses such as Sony Pictures, Warner Horizon, Sundance Institute, Impact Partners, United Concerts, WME, Turner Broadcasting and Imagine Dragons, will also be presenting.

Based on this year’s response and outcome, the Lightspark Media Summit may become an annual event at the U.

Lightspark Media Summit will be held on Friday, March 3, from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will take place at the S.J. Quinney College of Law Moot Courtroom, sixth floor.

The event is $10 for students to attend. Admission includes breakfast, lunch, three networking opportunities, a swag bag, a drink ticket (for those 21+) and all-day access to the programming. Registration closes at 5 p.m. tonight, March 1. There may be a few same-day registrations available for those who haven’t pre-registered, but due to food preparation needs, this is not guaranteed.

For more information on the Lightspark Foundation, visit and for more information on the Lightspark Media Summit, visit

This story has been updated to reflect the accurate registration deadline. 

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