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Center for Media Innovation is new incubator and collaborative space

PaulMedia-Center-openingThe Point
Winter 2016

When Point Park envisioned the future for its widely respected School of Communication, one of its foremost considerations was to create a state-of-the-art learning center where students could merge their energy, talent and ambition into a central location.

In October 2015, the University revealed the result of that academic vision, the Center for Media Innovation which, when completed later this year, will give students the opportunity to work with the latest technology. The 4,000-square-foot center, designed by Pittsburgh-based GBBN Architects, will cost $2.5 million to build and is made possible, in part, with a grant from the Allegheny Foundation. Trib Total Media is a sponsor of the Center.

“Today, we are pleased to announce the Point Park University Center for Media Innovation. An academic laboratory and incubator, where faculty and students, along with professionals working on the cutting edge of new media, will collaborate to teach and learn and be a leader in media innovation," said University President Paul Hennigan at a press conference on Oct. 21.

Open View

Located at Wood Street and Third Avenue, in a now vacant storefront, the Center will bring to life another key corner of the Central Business District. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls, flat-screen televisions and a digital ticker will offer a New York City-style media hub where passersby can be entertained and informed as students learn their craft.

“The media industry has evolved from individual labels such as print and television into a massive multimedia effort that requires knowledge and expertise in all disciplines,” President Paul Hennigan said. “This is an innovative incubator and collaborative space that brings together a cohesive, interactive strategy to education, while simultaneously engaging a Downtown audience.”

The Center will act as a critical educational complement to Point Park’s Academic Village Initiative, the multi-block living and learning hub that has led to a transformation in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh.

Inside the Center

Key areas will include:

  • Television and radio broadcast studios. The TV studio will include a green screen, industry-specific lighting, and state-of-the-art high-definition cameras. A radio broadcast booth will share a common control room. Both broadcast areas will be self-contained modules with high-visibility glass walls for a “fishbowl” studio experience.

  • Photo studio. The studio will feature high ceilings and light control for the best possible shooting environment.

  • Multimedia newsroom. Reporting and multimedia storytelling, along with graphics production, social media, and website and page layout can be conducted through multiple courses in this high-tech smart classroom.

  • Transformational presentation and gallery space. The center will open into an event space for networking and educational sessions with newsmakers and industry leaders. The same area also can be used as a photo gallery, offering another space for students to showcase their work.

Industry Partner

Trib Total Media will be an active participant in the education and development of students in each of the key areas, another example of Point Park’s commitment to providing an education rooted in real world experiences.

Richard M. Scaife, the late owner of Trib Total Media, was firmly committed to journalism and its essential role in American life, according to Matt Groll, chairman of the Allegheny Foundation.

“Dick always said he wanted to find ways to help build journalism, not just through the Trib and his other papers, but through the education of future journalists,” said Groll, who succeeded Scaife as head of the foundation in 2014. “This partnership is a perfect opportunity for us to do that with one of his two foundations. It is especially exciting because Point Park’s program is here in Pittsburgh.”

Also featured in the Center will be café-style work stations for editing, reporting and design situated throughout the facility and open to students for class projects, the Point Park News Service, Wood Street Communications, and student publications such as The Globe, the weekly student-run newspaper, and The Pioneer, a classroom-based digital magazine.

Focus on Experience

“Point Park prides itself on offering a real-world, career-focused educational experience,” Hennigan said. “The Center for Media Innovation will play a key role in the University’s mission to teach students to be entrepreneurs and to embrace technological change, while adding another vibrant corner to the important Wood Street corridor.”

According to Hennigan, “Point Park has a reputation for training world-class professionals in the communications and media industry. We currently have over 2,700 communications alumni living across the country.” For some of alumni, it’s a family affair, he added. “For example, in the Pittsburgh market alone, I can highlight three successful alumni who can trace their start back to Point Park – beloved Pittsburgh sportscaster Bob Pompeani, and Bob’s daughters Chelsea and Celina.”

Alumni Lead the Way

Chelsea, who graduated in 2011 with a degree in broadcast journalism and communications, is currently the director of public affairs and spokesperson for AAA East Central, located in Pittsburgh, after previously working as a TV news reporter and anchor at Channel 8 in Rochester, NY and at WJET/FOX 66 in Erie, PA.  Celina, who graduated in December 2013 with a B.A. in Broadcast Reporting, won a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award in the Interactivity category in September 2015, at 23 years old, for her role in hosting Pens Trends, an online show that highlights what's trending with the Pittsburgh Penguins on social media.

A 24/7 Hub

“It is important for us to continue to offer the most cutting-edge tools and meet the demands of unprecedented and constant change within the media industry to keep our students on track for success,” said Hennigan. “The new Center for Media Innovation will be an energetic, 24/7 hub that stimulates inter-university scholarly and programmatic partnerships.

“The Center will be an intersection for professional leaders and students to collaborate in the educational process, for educators to provide their students with experiential opportunities that will prepare the next generation of journalistic innovators to meet the challenges of global media issues.”


Photo by John Altdorfer
The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University.