MTSU class creates innovative media outlet for stu...

MTSU class creates innovative media outlet for student news

A class of MTSU mass communication students unveiled their newest media entity Tuesday when they announced plans for the upcoming Bragg Innovative News Network, which is set to go live on Dec. 2.

Members of the Advanced Multimedia Journalism class at MTSU pose in the Center for Innovation in Media while preparing for the launch of their class project, the “Bragg Innovative News Network.” Seated are Kelsey Lebechuck and Alex Erkkila; standing left to right are Quint Qualls, Kailey Jackson, Rafferty Cleary, Chris Davis, Matt Parker, Jordan Taylor and Emily West. (Photo submitted)

Members of the Advanced Multimedia Journalism class taught by assistant professor Robert Jasso announced the media project, which will focus on long-form journalism and combine news from existing MTSU student media — Sidelines, MT10 TV and WMTS 88.3 FM — into a single format.

Named by the class for the late state Rep. John Bragg, a publisher for whom the Bragg Mass Communication Building also was named, the network christening was attended by one of Bragg’s sons, Circuit Judge David Bragg, and other campus dignitaries.

The late legislator’s other son, Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg, had a schedule conflict and couldn’t attend.

“This is a very impressive operation,” David Bragg said after observing a preview of the Bragg Innovative News Network website with Emily West, editor-in-chief of Sidelines and one of the organizing students, in the College of Mass Communication’s Center for Innovation in Media.

“I know my father would be proud to see what’s being done here in this building for news and the great use of space.”

Jasso, who teaches in the college’s Department of Electronic Media Communication, noted that it’s “very unusual to have a class project bubble up to something like this. We not only wanted to nurture it but promote it, too.”

The nine students — Rafferty Cleary, Chris Davis, Alex Erkkila, Kailey Jackson, Kelsey Lebechuck, Matt Parker, Quint Qualls, Jordan Taylor and West — came up with what they’re calling “BINN” to create a new type of news format and distribution within the College of Mass Communication.

Emily West, seated, editor-in-chief of MTSU’s student newspaper, Sidelines, explains the “Bragg Innovative News Network” to Circuit Judge David Bragg, standing far left, Tuesday as MTSU assistant professor Robert Jasso, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, Guangxi University President Zhao Yanlin and Dr. Guanping Zheng, director of MTSU’s Confucius Institute, listen. West and eight classmates in Jasso’s Advanced Multimedia Journalism class developed the “Bragg Innovative News Network” as a class project. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Cleary, Erkkila, Jackson, Lebechuck, Parker and Taylor all are senior EMC majors. Davis is a junior majoring in electronic media communication, while juniors Qualls and West both are journalism majors.

Explaining that the “cross-platform class” combines the separate journalism and electronic media communication programs into one operation, West told Bragg and the other guests that the plan lets students “knock down the traditional foundations of a journalism education.”

Bragg Network logoStudents created the website, reported for video packages and print articles and collected audio to generate in-depth audio pieces.

Their work will be broadcast Dec. 2 as part of a television show airing locally on Comcast Channel 10 on the student TV station, MT10, and radio segments on WMTS. The stories also will be part of the final fall 2013 edition of Sidelines Dec. 4.

Ken Paulson, dean of the college, praised the group for their plan.

“What we have here is students generating concepts to serve the public today as well as in the future,” he said. “Our Center for Innovation in Media can set a foundation for journalism education across the country where students are full partners in their education.”

You can get a preview of the Bragg Innovative News Network at the class Facebook page here. When the site goes live on Dec. 2, the URL will be

— Gina E. Fann (