By Nicholas Vercilla, Point Park News Service:
Andy Conte instructs his students, above all else, that the most important thing a journalist should be able to do is tell a story.
He believes that if students learn the basics of storytelling, they will truly understand what it means to write good journalism.
This same advice is echoed for the students utilizing the new Center for Media Innovation for all aspects of media on Point Park University’s campus.
The Center for Media Innovation, or CMI, was officially opened on Tuesday, Sept. 13. The opening day featured an opening ceremony with CMI director Conte and a visit from University President Paul Hennigan.
The day also included panels from top media experts from around the Pittsburgh area, a special panel from the co-creator and host of the “Serial” podcast Sarah Koenig, and a special open house.
The CMI includes a photography studio, a television studio and a radio studio for students to use.
Conte hopes the new center will teach the foundations of good storytelling and journalism to incoming students, and that the profession of journalism will remain a viable and worthwhile career goal for years to come.
“We’re putting back the excitement of the journalism industry.” Conte said. “To change the paradigm of how we talk about the media industry.”
At the open house, some of the guests included professionals from the communication and journalism industries.
P.J. Kumanchik, the news director/producer for KDKA and 93.7 The Fan, said that what Point Park has built is outstanding and that the facility will help students learn the important tools of the industry today, such as social media.
“You have to dabble in every aspect of communication,” Kumanchik said. “You need all those things to be successful.”
John Ellis, the senior director of communications for the Heinz Foundation, is also impressed with the facility and hopes that the knowledge of investigative reporting is taught in the center as he believes good journalism is needed to help keep society together.
“It’s a real critical time for the media industry right now,” Ellis said.
Mark Toth, the president of IABC/Pittsburgh at Duquesne University said that the location of the center is top notch and will help students get immersed with all that happens in Pittsburgh.
“It’s like the new Times Square for the city,” Toth said.
The open house was also attended by past and present students and faculty.
Robin Cecala, an assistant professor of broadcast production, said that she is excited for the content that the students can create.
She also wants a lot more collaboration between all of the student-run media on campus, such as The Globe, U-View, and WPPJ.
“I think it’s a real good opportunity for all our students,” Cecala said.
Abby Mathieu, a public relations and journalism graduate, said that journalism is a tough field to get into.
However, she believes that is why Point Park, and in extension, the CMI, is great for having real-world experience taught to students by experienced professors in the field.
“Point Park does its best to get you ready,” Mathieu said.
The new center is located on the corner of Wood Street and Third Avenue. The building is shared with the local YWCA and is located at where Nathan’s Hotdogs used to be located.