Fresno State became the first university in the nation to use Banjo enterprise software, which provides journalists with a vantage point into breaking news around the world in real time throughout social media platforms.

The Banjo University Partnership between the Mass Communication and Journalism Department at Fresno State and Banjo Inc. will develop initiatives to alter and influence social media and journalism practices within a fast-evolving University curriculum and student news reporting programs, said Faith Sidlow, broadcast journalism professor.

Banjo instantly organizes the world’s social and digital signal by location based on geo-data analysis and photo and video classification that creates a unique ability to notify global media outlets of any breaking news or events, Sidlow explained. The software provides instant notifications and on-the-ground coverage of live news and events anywhere in the world.

“Having full access to technology designed to enable news event detection, social content curation, customized notification and the news publishing processes will provide students with access to news and events occurring around the world in real time,” Sidlow said.

Since the launch of the partnership this spring, the software has been used by students in six mass communication and journalism courses and staff members of Fresno State’s student-run newspaper, The Collegian.

“Being able to participate in this pilot program is giving our students access to more sources and story content than they’ve ever had,” said Sidlow, a former Fresno television reporter and anchor who joined the MCJ faculty in 2009. “This partnership has already helped student journalists find and report on stories at Fresno State and in the local community.”

Over time, the partnership is expected to raise adoption of Banjo’s enterprise software and promote growth in student reporting, she added.

Victor Hernandez

Victor Hernandez

Victor Hernandez, who earned his degree in MCJ at Fresno State in 1998, serves in a senior leadership role with the five year-old technology startup and was instrumental in launching the unique partnership between the two entities.

“Banjo is very excited to team with Fresno State in this first-of-its-kind media, startup, academic partnership,” Hernandez said.

“For the school, it’s an opportunity to integrate modern digital media tools and practices within curriculum, with their primary investment being time and participation. For Banjo, it’s a chance to expose the next-generation of media professionals to Banjo’s technology and services in the early stages of their development. Hopefully it will remain invaluable to their toolkits and work for years to come.”

Sidlow said in addition to exposing Fresno State students to advanced applications for social listening and event detection, the partnership also connects them with technology professionals in the media industry — a goal of the department which offers major options in advertising, broadcast and digital journalism, multimedia, print and online journalism and public relations.

“We are honored that Fresno State has been selected by Banjo to be the first University to use its cutting-edge technology in the classroom.”

For more information, contact Sidlow at 559.278.4868 or, or Hernandez at 404.667.4087 or

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