Data Day Presentations to Feature Experts from Amazon, The Gazette

UM journalism school hosts annual event for students and community members

Erica Huerta. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi students and community members can learn from experts in the field about the value of data and how it is used and analyzed to build customer relationships and deliver content at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s fourth annual Data Day.

The Nov. 2 event will feature presentations by Max Freund, managing editor of digital strategy for The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Erica Huerta, competitive intelligence manager at Amazon and Whole Foods.

Freund will speak at 8 a.m. and Huerta is slated for 11 a.m., both in the Overby Center Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

“Understanding data and being able to communicate insights drawn from data has become an essential skill, touching all areas of mass communications, regardless of whether you’re in journalism, IMC, PR, or any other area related to the field,” said Jason Cain, assistant professor of integrated marketing communications. 

“The Meek School hosts Data Day both in order to provide students the opportunity to learn the depth of this relationship from data professionals and to demonstrate that working with data is not just a purely analytical pursuit, but very often a creative one as well.”

Huerta has eight years of experience in the private sector dealing with analytics in the tech hub of Austin, Texas. Her passion for data and continuous learning has led to a successful career in building business strategy for companies including Expedia, Home Depot and Amazon.

She plans to discuss the relevancy of data and how companies apply it to everyday decisions using both art and science.

Max Freund. Submitted photo

A University of Iowa graduate, Freund has degrees in both journalism and informatics. He is passionate about digital storytelling through data and interactive web development. He previously worked as a digital reporter for The Gazette, followed by a career at the creative marketing agency Fusionfarm as product manager and web developer.

Since returning to the Gazette, Freund oversees the company’s suite of digital products, strategies and offerings. He also teaches at the University of Iowa as an adjunct instructor, focusing on journalistic web development and interactive storytelling.