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Center for Innovation in Media earns national recognition

MTSU’s Center for Innovation in Media has been nationally recognized by the Associated Press Media Editors for its efforts to converge the University’s student media and foster collaboration across media platforms.

Students work on news projects in the heart of MTSU's Center for Innovation in Media in the Bragg Mass Communication Building. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU received an honorable mention in the “Innovator of the Year for College Students” category in the 2012 APME Journalism Excellence Awards announced earlier this week.

The University was lauded for “reforming and reshaping its student media.” According to the judges, “the converged newsroom is a model for journalism schools and professional news organizations.”

APME is an association of editors at newspapers, broadcast outlets and journalism educators and student leaders in the United States and Canada. APME works closely with The Associated Press to foster journalism excellence. The APME board added two contests this year—one recognizing innovation in radio and television and the other for innovations by college students.

The awards will be presented at the group’s annual conference Sept. 19-21 in Nashville.

MTSU’s College of Mass Communication formally unveiled the new almost-$700,000 center in April during a special celebration inside the Bragg Mass Communication Building.

The center combines the newsrooms for Sidelines, the student newspaper; WMTS-FM, the student-run radio station; MT Records, the student-run record label; MT10, the student-operated cable television station; and WMOT-FM, the 100,000-watt public radio station at MTSU.

“This outstanding award reflects the forward thinking of the MTSU College of Mass Communication and the university as a whole,” said Stephan Foust, director of the center. “Under the direction of Dean Roy Moore and with the support of President Sidney McPhee and Provost Brad Bartel, mass comm faculty members contributed their skills, knowledge, and vision to the creation of what has become the Center for Innovation in Media. It exists with our students’ best interests in mind.

“As future interns, as part-time employees and as full-time professionals, our students are now more than ever positioned to separate themselves from the crowd, to be those special people with the skills and education the industry wants.”

The new Center for Innovation in Media enables students from all media disciplines to hone their real-world skills while working under one roof. Inside the facility, students write stories for print and the Web, create audio versions of the same stories for broadcast on radio stations and provide video versions of those stories for use on MT10 and on the station and center websites.

“I am extremely pleased with this prestigious recognition. The new center places our college at the forefront in educating our students about innovation in mass communication,” Moore said. “Through their extensive work in both student and professional media outlets, our students now gain enhanced multimedia skills, knowledge and experience so, upon graduation, they can move seamlessly into a new and constantly changing media environment.

“The center takes particular advantage of the uniqueness of our college that includes programs in recording industry, journalism and electronic media communication as well as the Center for Popular Music, a new all-HD Mobile Production Lab and the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies. The ultimate goal of the center is to educate and train the future leaders in mass media innovation.”

Funding support for the center included the Cornerstone Donors, a group that included Dr. Richard Campbell, former director of the School of Journalism; Gannett media operations in Murfreesboro, Nashville and Clarksville; the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters; the Tennessee Press Association; former Knight Ridder vice president Virginia Dodge Fielder; former professor and music journalist Beverly Keel; CNN executive producer Jeffery Reid; First Amendment defender John Seigenthaler; and Verizon Wireless.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and its collaboration with the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison took the APME’s top award as Innovator of the Year for College Students.

For more information about the Center for Innovation in Media at MTSU, visit its website at www.mtsu.edu/innovationinmedia.