Student Organizations Join Forces in New Media Center

Friday, October 15, 2010

On October 12, Saint Joseph’s University President Timothy R. Lannon, S. J., along with student media leaders and faculty opened the New Media Center in Simpson Hall. The facility houses The Hawk – SJU’s student newspaper – Saint Joseph’s Radio station and 1851 Records, the University record label.

Jenny Spinner, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and faculty advisor of The Hawk, says the Center is a great move for student media and the University. It will also have a beneficial impact on the Communication Studies program, which is currently a minor. According to Owen Gilman, Ph.D., professor of English and director of the program, a Communication Studies major is being reviewed in University governance this academic year.

The new facility, made possible by two grants from the University Opportunity Fund, will allow for expansion in student positions at the newspaper and radio station, creating opportunities for hands-on experience. The Hawk now has multiple computer stations, permitting editors and reporters to work together closely.

Sam Koch ’11, The Hawk editor-in-chief, says that the newspaper staff is “grateful to have the opportunity to expand in a space that really lets us grow as an organization.”

The Hawk and Saint Joseph’s Radio share a business and production office, which allows the staffs of both media outlets to work on advertising. Gilman says all student media programs at Saint Joseph’s are responsible for producing lively and engaging media products in diverse formats. “They generate advertising revenue and manage significant accounts – with a shared business office right in the middle of Simpson's third floor hallway,” he adds. In addition, 1851 Records has a distribution office near the radio studio.

David Allan, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing and advisor to Saint Joseph’s Radio worked closely with contractors to create the professional studio, which is complete with state-of-the-art broadcasting equipment. Saint Joseph’s Radio will also be looking to employ more students as on-air personalities and sales managers. Eventually, Allan believes the radio station staff could number between 50 -75 people.

Spinner and the Communication Studies Program Committee also oversaw creation of the New Media Center. Gilman cites Vice President of Student Life Cary Andersen, Ed.D., as the logistical force behind the new location. “He played a key role in working out relocation of student activities facilities to enable all student media entities to be located together, which will contribute to synergies of creativity, productivity and purpose,” notes Gilman.

As the Communication Studies program develops, Spinner and Allan hope to install a television studio in the New Media Center. The University currently has two internal cable programs, and Allan aspires to create a broadcast center that reaches dorms and classrooms across campus. “Ideally, the studio would be student-run and would produce Internet TV programming,” Gilman says.

“All of these activities provide superb theory-into-practice, co-curricular learning opportunities for students, and we expect that many of our Communication Studies minors will be involved in keeping our communication practices current with the best anywhere,” Gilman adds. “The New Media Center is an excellent, centrally located home base for students to remain active in the Saint Joseph’s community.”


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