Editors, media executives, educators and MTSU alumni gathered Thursday evening at the Newseum, the interactive museum of news and journalism located in the nation’s capital, to welcome the new dean of the MTSU College of Mass Communication.
Ken Paulson, who joined the university July 1, outlined his plans for the college at the event that highlighted the partnership between MTSU and the Freedom Forum, which operates the Newseum, as well as the First Amendment Center in Nashville.
Paulson was also recognized Friday by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) for the advocacy work by Paulson and others with the First Amendment Center. AEJMC, the accrediting organization for journalism education, presented its First Amendment Award during the group’s annual conference in Washington.
“We intend to be the most innovative college of mass communication in America,” Paulson said at the Newseum event. “It is important that we give our young people who graduate from MTSU the skills they need to be competitive — to get a job, to engage on every possible platform: video, audio and platforms still to be invented.”
Thursday night’s event included executives and MTSU alumni from major news and journalism organizations, such as the Gannett Co., the McClatchy Co., CNN, The Travel Channel, USA Today, as well as MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and journalism educators from universities attending the AEJMC conference.
“I am so pleased that we have a person of Ken’s caliber, experience, background and tenacity to lead our world-class College of Mass Communication,” McPhee told the group. “We want you to be a part of this new level of excellence.”
Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute, noted the “special relationship” between the Freedom Forum and MTSU and said that with Paulson’s hiring, “it can only grow and prosper.”
During Friday’s AEJMC conference, Paulson also narrated a performance of Freedom Sings, a multimedia musical he authored that tells the story of free speech through music. Freedom Sings has toured America’s campuses since 2003.
MTSU boasts the fifth-largest mass-communication college in the nation and is the only one that features departments of recording industry, journalism and electronic media communication. It also is home to the Center for Popular Music, which maintains a large research library and archive and interprets various aspects of American vernacular music, and the new Center for Innovation in Media.
— Andrew Oppmann (Andrew.Oppmann@mtsu.edu)