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Point Park center to focus on training journalists for the future

Tom Fontaine
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Point Park University holds a press conference announcing plans for the university's Center for Media Innovation Downtown on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Andrew Conte, director of the Point Park News Service and investigative reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, speaks during a press conference announcing plans for the university's Center for Media Innovation on Wednesday, October 21, 2015.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Point Park University associate professor of broadcasting Thom Baggerman (center) and David Fabilli, professor of broadcasting, discuss plans for the university's Center for Media Innovation following an announcement Downtown on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Point Park University President Paul Hennigan makes an announcement regarding the university's plans for its Center for Media Innovation during a press conference Downtown on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015.
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Submitted
A rendering of the Point Park University's Center for Media Innovation.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Point Park University President Paul Hennigan makes an announcement regarding the university's plans for its Center for Media Innovation during a press conference Downtown on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Anne Lewis, chair of Point Park University's board of trustees, attends a press conference announcing plans for the university's Center for Media Innovation on Wednesday, October 21, 2015.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Tribune-Review board chairman H. Yale Gutnick speaks during a press conference announcing plans for the university's Center for Media Innovation on Wednesday, October 21, 2015.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald attends a press conference announcing the plans for Point Park University's Center for Media Innovation Downtown on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Point Park University senior Brittany Lauffer discusses the university's Center for Media Innovation during a press conference Downtown on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015.
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Guy Wathen | Trib Total Media
Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald discusses Point Park University's Center for Media Innovation during a press conference Downtown on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015.
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Submitted
Floor plans the Point Park University's Center for Media Innovation.
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Submitted
Floor plans the Point Park University's Center for Media Innovation.

A $2.5 million media center in a former Downtown hot dog shop will be a place where Point Park University journalism students and professional journalists can learn about the industry’s latest innovations and put them into practice, officials said Wednesday.

And with floor-to-ceiling windows, large flat-screen televisions and a digital ticker, Point Park’s planned Center for Media Innovation will be a “New York-style hub” that allows passers-by to look in and see the work taking place.

“We see the Point Park University Center for Media Innovation as both a breeding ground for future generations of journalists as well as a space for this current generation of journalists to figure out the way forward” in the rapidly evolving media industry, said Andrew Conte, a Tribune-Review investigative reporter who directs Point Park News Service.

The center at Wood Street and Third Avenue, in the former Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs space, will feature television and radio broadcast studios, a photo studio and a multimedia newsroom. It will include café-style work stations for editing, reporting and design work.

“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,” said Point Park President Paul Hennigan.

A grant from the Downtown-based Allegheny Foundation, established by Trib Total Media’s late owner Dick Scaife, will cover most of the center’s costs.

“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 Matt Groll, chairman of the Allegheny Foundation.

Thom Baggerman, faculty chair of Point Park’s School of Communication, said the center will serve as a hub for the school’s more than 500 students, who are spread out in three buildings.

“I’m ecstatic for this media center. Frankly, I’m jealous because I won’t have as much time with it,” said Brittany Lauffer, a senior majoring in broadcast reporting and broadcast production and media management.

Baggerman said Point Park hopes the center will be ready by June, when the school holds a high school media workshop.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or [email protected].

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