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Trib reporter to be 1st director of Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation

An award-winning Tribune-Review reporter will become the first leader of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, the school announced Wednesday.

Andrew Conte, a veteran investigative reporter and author, will become director of the center, a $2.5 million building at Third Avenue and Wood Street, Downtown.

Conte will remain a regular contributor to the Trib, too, writing a monthly column on media issues and working on special investigative projects, Trib editor Frank Craig said.

“Andy is a remarkable reporter, and his work for the Trib has been outstanding,” Craig said. “He developed a strong relationship between the Trib and Point Park over the past decade, even as he won many of journalism’s major investigative awards.

“We are all thrilled that he will continue his relationship with the Trib as he helps to build a university program that can develop the next generation of talented, dedicated journalists — reporters like Andy himself.”

The center will work with all regional media organizations and leaders as “a convener of thought,” the school said.

“The media industry continues to rapidly evolve in the digital age and it is critical the center be led by someone who has lived professionally in that world,” said Paul Hennigan, president of Point Park.

Conte will collaborate with Point Park professors, instructors and student-run media operations to facilitate the best use of the center. He will work with students, faculty and professional journalists to ensure the center’s vitality, the school said.

“Point Park University has a reputation for training world-class professionals in the communications and media industry,” Hennigan said. “The center will allow us to elevate that training to the highest possible quality.”

Craig said that Conte’s media experience and his interest in higher education will enable the newspaper and the university to cooperate more closely in preparing students for careers as journalists.

“We expect that he will bring more Point Park students out of the classroom and into our newsrooms, as paid interns and, eventually, as full-time reporters and photographers,” he said. “We all see this collaboration as a great way for the university’s students to learn directly about journalism before graduation, and for the Trib to identify the most promising students as potential employees.”

The Allegheny Foundation, created by late Trib owner Dick Scaife, provided much of the funding. Trib Total Media is a sponsor.

The Downtown location will feature floor-to-ceiling glass walls, flat-screen televisions and a digital news ticker that will allow passers-by to be entertained and informed as students learn their craft.

The center will provide television and radio broadcast studios, a photo studio, a multimedia newsroom and presentation and gallery space.

Conte joined the Trib in 2001. Over the years, his work has been recognized in national, state and regional competitions for journalism excellence. The Scripps Howard Foundation in 2013 awarded Conte and reporter Lou Kilzer the William Brewster Styles Award recognizing their series on offshore accounts. Conte has received national awards for his investigations on cybersecurity, health care costs and liver transplantation. He is a four-time recipient of the Ray Sprigle Memorial Award from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania.

Conte has worked for the past decade as a part-time professor with Point Park and director of the Point Park News Service. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. He is a graduate of Dickinson College.


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