School of Communications + Journalism celebrates opening of Media Hub

More than 100 people – including FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg and CARTA Dean Brian Schriner – attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the School of Communication + Journalism’s Media Hub Monday evening at the Biscayne Bay Campus.

Schriner, the driving force behind the multimedia, multi-disciplinary facility, said his overarching goal is to provide students with the best in experiential learning using cutting-edge techniques and tools. He said this is particularly important now given the headwinds the profession is facing.

“Our commitment to is to teach that journalism and journalists are important,” he said. “I think it is essentially important more so today when we hear the administration openly challenging whether journalism is a profession and whether journalists are professionals.”

For her part, FIU student Massiel Romero said she is grateful the Media Hub offers resources such as computers and the software needed for video production.

The nearly 5,000-square foot space, located on the first floor of the Academic II building, houses the South Florida News Service, the Caplin News and the Strategic Communication Lab. The lab includes space for the BOLD agency and serves as a multimedia classroom for students enrolled in the Global Strategic Communication master’s program.

Future plans include renovations to the school’s broadcast studio and the addition of spaces dedicated to the production of augmented and virtual reality projects.

“FIU believes in making sure students are prepared when they graduate,” Rosenberg said in an impromptu news conference prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This new Media Hub represents 21st century technology, 21st century technique and a 21st century approach to how the news and to how social media is evolving.”

Prior to the ceremony, attendees were given a tour of the newsroom by Allan Richards, an associate professor and founding digital director of SFMN.

“It’s a big adventure for us and it’s a whole lot of fun,” said Richards as he presented a student project from The Urban Boulevard Miami. Associate Professor Moses Shumow directs the project, which explores the cultural, racial and economic complexities of South Florida.

In September, the department celebrated the opening of two bureaus in Washington, DC and New York. There, students will have the opportunity to study and conduct investigative fieldwork.

“We are doing this to prepare students for the future,” said Schriner.

He added that student enrollment in journalism programs around the nation has increased. At FIU, enrollment went up nearly 10 percent in recent years, he said.

Alfredo Richard, a senior vice president for communications at Telemundo, said he is impressed with the school’s graduates.

“I think that FIU’s school of journalism and the whole CARTA concept is very well positioned to serve as the communications academy of the future,” said Richard, an FIU alumni.

Em Mendez, the Palm Beach Post’s newsroom manager, said the students that graduate from the FIU’s journalism program are “some of the best.”

At a little past 6 p.m., attendees in the open area outside the Media Hub – recently renamed “The Forum” – gathered to hear from BBC student President Jefferson Noel, Schriner and Rosenberg.

“I’m very excited about the future,” Rosenberg said. “To go to the next horizon.”