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"The CMI not only represents a physical space, but a symbol of the University's commitment to innovation, creativity and excellence in media education." 

Kendra Summers '23

Point Park University's Center for Media Innovation (CMI) — a cutting-edge learning lab for students, as well as a hub for local media and the Downtown Pittsburgh community — now has a space on the first floor of West Penn Hall on Wood Street. The CMI first opened in a vacant storefront on Wood Street and Third Avenue in 2016.

"We've gone through a change in journalism since we opened the first CMI. Disruption has caused so much pain in our industry, and now we've seen that change turn into opportunity," said Andrew Conte, Ph.D., CMI director. "If you look at the ecosystem here, and the news outlets that exist now that didn't before, it is really remarkable. So many of those organizations are part of what we do here at the CMI. We're doing important work and celebrating our way forward in our new home in West Penn."

Opportunities for Students, Local Media and the Community

The CMI features a glass-walled video studio, flat-screen televisions and a digital ticker that offers a New York City-style media hub where passersby can be entertained and informed as students learn their craft using the multimedia newsroom, TV and radio broadcast studios, a photo studio and a transformational presentation and gallery space. 

"The CMI not only represents a physical space, but a symbol of the University's commitment to innovation, creativity and excellence in media education," said Student Government Association President Kendra Summers '23, a journalism major minoring in creative writing and social justice studies. "The CMI will provide students unparalleled opportunities to explore and experiment with the latest technologies and techniques in media production." 

"The CMI has allowed me to grow as a journalist and a media practitioner," said Justin Stewart '23, a journalism major who co-hosts a sports podcast on Apple podcasts. "Because of the CMI and its dedicated staff, I learned how to create and co-host a podcast, and it's changed the trajectory of my life. I'm really excited to use this space to continue my podcasting career."

Additionally, the CMI supports and promotes local journalism through programs such as the Pittsburgh Media Partnership (PMP) and the Pittsburgh Downtown Media Hub.

The PMP  which comprises 24 media outlets — encourages collaboration among partner outlets, develops and distributes resources, builds capabilities and advocates for local journalism. The Downtown Media Hub  located within walking distance to campus — serves as a shared newsroom. 

"The CMI is doing important things that have an impact on our community," said Chris Brussalis, Ed.D., interim president of Point Park. "All of this activity at the CMI creates opportunities for our students, prospective high school students, alumni and members of our community. We're so excited to share this beautiful space."

Designed by Pittsburgh-based GBBN Architects, the original CMI cost $2.5 million to build in 2016. LGA Partners led the $1.5 million relocation and redesign project in 2023 — all made possible with grants from the Allegheny Foundation. Trib Total Media is a founding sponsor of the center.

Photos: CMI Re-Opening Celebration

CMI Opening in West Penn

Student Media Interviews WQED's Rick Sebak

As part of the re-opening celebrations, student media leaders interviewed WQED's Rick Sebak about his broadcasting career in the TV studio. 

"I grew up watching Rick Sebak's Kennywood Memories, so getting to meet him is a true full-circle moment. And to say that I've directed an interview with him is even cooler," said broadcasting major Nick Konopka '23.

"It was truly an honor and a surreal experience asking Rick Sebak about his career and his favorite projects," said Natalea Hillen '24, broadcasting major, marketing and sales minor and HSO president. "It was very inspiring to listen to him talk about his life and career journey."

Following the interview, Sebak participated in a Q&A with the Point Park community. 

Photos: Rick Sebak Visits CMI

WQED's Rick Sebak Visits Point Park's Center for Media Innovation

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