Media Center to open doors with speakers, photo exhibit


Photo by Chloe Jakiela

Phil Poupore. senior print journalism major, captures video of Bill Flanagan from Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Paul Hennigan, President of Point Park University and Ande Conte, Director of the Center of Media Innovation. Speakers discussed Point Park’s significance downtown and to put the new Center of Media Innovation in the spotlight, on the first day of the Fall semester. The entire show was documented by Point Park students.

Written By Matt Petras, Co-News Editor

The opening ceremony for Point Park University’s newest facility, the Center for Media Innovation (CMI), scheduled for Sept. 13, will feature a student-run photo exhibit, a talk from “Serial” co-creator Sarah Koenig and more.

“I’m troubled by the path the media industry has been on for a while,” director of the CMI Andrew Conte said. “The narrative for the past ten years has been about the decline and how things aren’t tenable in the media business. It’s time to turn that around.”

The Center will feature photo, television and radio studios, a multimedia newsroom, a space for presentations and more. Student groups like the Globe and U-View will use this space for activities previously held in other parts of the university’s campus.

The gears were turning before the fall semester, however. Over the summer, some students and faculty were already working in the media center.

Photojournalism student Julian Kovacs made visits to the CMI throughout the summer to prepare for a student photo gallery on freedom of speech to be held on the opening ceremony. The gallery will feature subjects such as protest, police violence, and censorship, according to Kovacs. Kovacs worked with Communication Technology graduate student Laura Quinn and professor Chris Rolinson gathering and compiling student photographs for the exhibit.

“It’s an amazing space and very high-tech,” said Kovacs. “It feels like you’re in NBC’s studio in New York City.”

The most high-profile guest at the ceremony is no newcomer to newsrooms and studios.

“[Koenig] has got her roots in traditional journalism, but then when she started doing storytelling she put a new twist on it and reached a whole new audience,” Conte said.

She will be giving the keynote speech for the ceremony. Along with her speech, there will be some Q&A panels with several media figures.

From 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. there are “#MediaPioneers” panels, with guests like Michelle Wright of WTAE and Luis Fabregas of the Tribune Review, according to Conte. There will also be officials from newer startups, representing groups like UpGruv and The Incline.

Later in the day, the Pittsburgh Center for Sports Media and Marketing will host a presentation with Chris Eames of ESPN and James Kerr of AT&T, according to Point Park’s website.

Despite the ceremony still being on the horizon, classes have already begun in the building since the start of the fall semester, and will continue to be held going forward. Some communications classes, such as Advanced Reporting and Multiplatform Magazine Reporting, are scheduled in the CMI, whereas others like Broadcast News Reporting are scheduled in other campus buildings.

“There’s no particular process for [deciding which classes are in the center] yet,” the chair of the School of Communications Thom Baggerman said via phone Monday.

Baggerman also said that classes outside of the communications umbrella could also be scheduled in the CMI in the future.

“There’s no guarantee that a lecture class, like a cinema class, couldn’t end up in the [CMI],” Baggerman said.

On the prospect of the CMI, Baggerman shares the excitement others involved have.

“It’s a place where students and professionals are going to interact on a regular basis,” Baggerman said.

Jakiela_CMI2_onlineChloe Jakiela