N3Con makes its in-person comeback in Singapore

N3Conference 2019

Three years after its last in-person conference, the New.Now.Next Media Conference (N3Con) is heralding the beginning of a post-pandemic reconstruction. The Covid-19 pandemic is far from over; Singapore, where the conference will be held, is still reporting thousands of new cases daily. The persistent risk notwithstanding, many countries are resuming travel, festivals, and sporting events. AAJA Asia has decided to join the trend with cautious excitement. 

Featuring the timely theme “Covering a Disrupted World,” N3Con will run between Wednesday, July 27, and Sunday, July 31. Media professionals from across Asia will gather to discuss what it means to be journalists in a world disrupted by war, authoritarianism, new technology, and misinformation. 

This is a story of journalists finding new missions in the chaos of now, leaping into the next breakthrough. Welcome to the 2022 N3Con. 

The 2022 N3Con features a “hybrid” format—the gathering will be held in Singapore, but several of its discussions will be live-streamed. Also, this year’s N3Con will be held jointly with the AAJA National Convention in Los Angeles, the city where the organization was first founded in 1981.

Gilles Demptos, AAJA Director for the Asia Pacific, explains that countries in the Asia region are split between those with eased travel restrictions and those that remain more onerous. “Which will make it very difficult for AAJA members to travel. As a result, we chose this hybrid model, which will hopefully offer the best of both worlds, but it is more challenging to produce,” Demptos said in a conversation with N3Magazine. 

The hybrid format has enabled N3Con to invite speakers from the other side of the globe, enriching panel discussions and programs with diverse perspectives. The online component has again opened the door for those who are not able to travel to Singapore in person. 

In addition to the great speakers, the in-person setting enriches the conference experience even further. “[N3Con is] packed with great panels by amazing journalists and media professionals,”  said Zela Chin, a Hong Kong-based journalist and the AAJA Asia executive vice president. “But the best part of an in-person conference is the conversations with people before and after the panel discussions.” 

Fireside Chats This year, N3Con will feature two fireside chat speakers: Sonny Swe and Dr. Juliana Chan. These informal, moderated chats will give the audience a chance to hear personal stories and viewpoints from the speakers and contribute their own questions.

Sonny Swe is the founder of Frontier Myanmar, an online magazine that covers the state of Myanmar in its investigative, in-depth reports. Fleeing the military government crackdown on independent media, Frontier is now running its newsroom remotely in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Listen to Sonny Swe’s podcast interview with N3Magazine here

Dr. Juliana Chan is the CEO of Wildtype Media Group, a STEM-focused media company that publishes the award-winning magazines “Asian Scientist Magazine” and “Supercomputing Asia”. Wildtype Media also provides marketing and communication consulting to academic and industry clients.  

Over five days, N3Con will feature topic-specific panel discussions and workshops. Below is a sneak peek into some of our featured programs. Find the schedule and speakers here

Reporting from exile: Global hubs for covering China In the past few years, journalists in China and Hong Kong faced difficulties traveling and reporting in China under the government’s tight restrictions. Some have decided to “report in exile,” covering China from remote locations like Seoul and Sydney. What is it like to cover China in exile? 

We invited Chris Buckley, the New York Times chief China correspondent, who is covering China in Sydney, Australia. Also in the panel is Eva Dou, The Washington Post China correspondent, who covered China in Beijing and Taipei. 

Media in the Age of Web 3 Novel concepts and technology call for innovation in reporting methods. At the dawn of Web 3.0, journalists are grappling with echoing the public enthusiasm surrounding blockchain, cryptocurrency, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). A panel of blockchain reportage experts joins us to share how they expect journalism to change in the age of blockchain and the metaverse. 

In the panel is Gary Liu, who recently stepped down as the CEO of South China Morning Post to lead its NFT business Artifact Labs. Angie Lau, founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of the burgeoning blockchain digital media platform Forkast.News, will also join the panel. 

State of Press Freedom in Asia Infringement on media freedom attempts to chasten journalistic conviction into conformity and self-censorship. Under media restrictions, journalists walk the tightrope of censorship, threats, and violence. For this panel, we invited journalists whose job involves plowing through threats to media freedom. 

Mary Hui, a geopolitics and business reporter based in Hong Kong, joins the discussion on the current state of media freedom in Asia. We have also invited PN Balji, a veteran journalist and media expert in Singapore, to share his insight. 

Watch PN Balji and Woon Tai Ho’s podcast interview with N3Magazine here

N3ConU One defining characteristic of AAJA is its commitment to students. For the N3ConU panel discussion, students will have an opportunity to ask professionals for early career advice and hear about their experiences as reporters. We have invited three journalists. Each of the three panelists brings experiences in a specialized area: ESG, perspectives, and international politics.

N3Con will be but one of many official and unofficial reunions for the AAJA family in the coming months. These reunions are long-awaited by our members. 

“AAJA, I would say, has a really strong family feel,” said Juliana Liu, the N3Con programming chair. “It feels like catching up with your family every time I go to an [AAJA event].” 

Apart from reuniting with our members, N3Con reinforces AAJA’s core mission as each journalist takes our values back to their workplaces—bringing diverse perspectives to newsrooms, practicing accurate and fair coverage, promoting fair access to news media, and empowering young people who want to be journalists. Join us at N3Con to witness the AAJA mission unfold.