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CMI strives for service through storytelling

Triple-platinum singer-songwriter Andy Grammer could have been talking about journalism when he gave a piece of advice to students last month during a visit to the CMI. 

When students first embark on their careers, people such as faculty, family and friends, are generous with their time and energy to serve as support for learning and growth. But, eventually, something should shift: "You gave to me – instead of me giving to you ... in every interaction leave someone feeling like you gave them significantly more than they gave you."

At the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, a laboratory for the present and future of journalistic storytelling, we work toward that service by sharing stories of all different types of people – people who have served in the military, people with disabilities, people from small towns and large cities.

Whether it's a Dis/Ability Symposium, a roundtable like Answers on the Airwaves, a collaborative project like Bridge Pittsburgh, an opportunity to teach students at High School Media Day or a review of emotion-filled sports photographs at Stories from the Field, we strive to bring people together.

We hope you'll read about these past events and feel inspired, so you can join us in the future and take part in using storytelling to serve others.

– Director Andrew Conte and CMI staff

Above: Andy Grammer and Point Park spokesman Lou Corsaro listen and react to a question from a Point Park student when the singer-songwriter visited the CMI to share advice for aspiring arts and entertainment managers and performers.

Veterans' experiences through storytelling discussed with CBS, NPR journalists

NPR's veterans correspondent Quil Lawrence – visiting Point Park as part of the Media Innovators Speakers Series – took part in "Answers on the Airwaves: Veterans, Disabilities, Podcasting," a roundtable discussing how to tell stories about the veteran experience.

Jennifer Szweda Jordan of Unabridged Press (left) led the conversation with Lawrence, Postindustrial's Carmen Gentile, Pittsburgh veteran Sean Tyler, and (remotely) Military Veterans in Journalism founder and CBS producer Russell Midori. Lawrence also spoke with WESA-FM's The Confluence about how the mission of his reporting experience has changed as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan carried on.

Singer Andy Grammer inspires students with career journey

"Do whatever it takes to make sure you are always inspired. Getting inspiration is like filling up your gas tank," said singer and songwriter Andy Grammer during his visit to the CMI ahead of a performance at the Roxian Theatre in McKees Rocks. Read students' reactions to his advice, or watch the video from the livestream with more than 12,000 views.

NHL announcer 'Doc' Emerick says to never give up on passion

During a recent visit to Point Park, Mike 'Doc' Emerick, lead NHL play-by-play announcer on NBC, urged students to never give up: "It's like loving a person in life that's high maintenance," he said. "There's a lot that can be difficult, but you still love them or you love the job, and any setbacks don't mean that much if you still have a love for it." Read more coverage from the university and by The Globe.

Sports create moments full of emotion, P-G journalists explain

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Gerry Dulac and photographer Steph Chambers shared "Stories From The Field" on Nov. 7 at the McKeesport Community Newsroom. Chambers explained how she captures emotional images, while Dulac recalled memorable players and moments from his career that began at the Daily News in McKeesport. Watch the livestream video.


'Pittsburgh Today Live' from CMI discusses college homesickness

Point Park alumna Celina Pompeani of KDKA hosted a segment of Pittsburgh Today Live from inside the CMI, talking with Point Park President Paul Hennigan and Leatra Tate, visiting assistant professor of psychology, about what's happening at Point Park and how students can combat homesickness. See the full segment.


On Media: These journalists speak for the river

PublicSource, Pittsburgh’s nonprofit news outlet, has teamed up with six other newsrooms across five states to cover almost the entire length of the Ohio River, starting from here in Pittsburgh. CMI Director Andy Conte, who serves as NextPittsburgh's public editor, takes a look at the project in his latest column.

News organizations come together to brainstorm Bridge Pittsburgh project topic 

Bridge Pittsburgh hosted a daylong strategic planning session on Oct. 30 at the Energy Innovation Center. The grant-funded collaborative journalism initiative hosted journalists from several different organizations, who heard from Tyler Fisher of News Catalyst, and worked together in hands-on, interactive sessions to prioritize resources and choose a topic for the 2020 project. Newsrooms such as Pittsburgh City Paper, The Incline, PublicSource, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, KDKA, WESA and more were represented among the attendees.

Learn more about the project and how your news organization can participate.

Dis/Ability Symposium allows Point Park community to share experiences

An event hosted by Unabridged Press, the Dis/Ability Show & Tell: A Community Symposium on Oct. 22 allowed community members, Point Park students, staff and alumni to share creative and personal stories around the issues of disability, accessibility and inclusivity. 

Point Park alumnus and former Walt Disney World Entertainment Costuming Manager Brian Rutherford talked with WESA's Bill O'Driscoll about his experiences at the company prior to losing his sight to a series of strokes, as well as his current work aiding local theater companies with audio description. Other topics featured were: learning disabilities, Certified Autism Centers, narcolepsy, mobility disabilities and representation in film and theater.

Join us for an upcoming event:

Save the Date – More details to follow:
Unabridged Press Watch Party
at 6 p.m. Dec. 5 in GRW Auditorium

Media Innovators Speakers Series at Pittsburgh Playhouse

Feb. 6, 2020 – Jim Acosta

As Chief White House Correspondent for CNN, Jim Acosta regularly covers presidential press conferences, visits by heads of state and issues impacting the executive branch. His new book, “The Enemy of the People,” is an explosive, first-hand account of the dangers he has faced reporting on the current White House.

May 7, 2020 – Neda Ulaby

A reporter on arts, entertainment and cultural trends for NPR’s Arts Desk, Neda Ulaby scours the worlds of art, music, TV, film, new media and literature for stories reflective of political and economic realities, culture issues, obsessions and transitions, as well as artistic adventurousness.
Buy Tickets

Zombies join more than 190 high school students at High School Media Day for fall

At High School Media Day on Nov. 1, visiting high school students from across western Pennsylvania found out that "Storytelling Lives!" with sessions topics covering different types of media, visual effects, turning your passion into a career and more. 

Special thanks to: Cinema arts assistant professor Matt Pelfrey and student makeup artist Maricela Valencia; our zombie student volunteers; Point Park Cheer and Dance team; Point Park student media, faculty and visiting professional journalists who led sessions; and zombie novel author Lucy Leitner, Point Park alumna, who gave the keynote speech about how zombies can enhance a story.
By the numbers:
  • 192 students
  • 16 teachers
  • 11 schools
  • 10 sessions

Point Park alumni profile:
Carley Bonk, '19, Public Opinon reporter

"I've noticed myself reflecting on the reporting I did for classes and The Globe a lot when working on stories at my job now. The skills I learned on how to not only feel comfortable interviewing someone, but how to make that person feel at ease have been super helpful out in the field."

Read more about her on Point Park's website.

News about news: Journalists deal with racism, reflect on Tree of Life

Columbia Journalism Review: Racism wears down Pittsburgh’s reporters of color
"If newsrooms truly seek to racially diversify and improve coverage of communities of color, they must do more than simply hire more people of color: They must allow journalists of color to thrive, and they must also directly challenge institutional systems of racism within their organizations."
WESA: Want To Support Community Journalism? WVU Says Buy A Newspaper
Applications opened recently for a new local news leadership initiative aiming to recruit, train and support the next generation of community newspaper owners and publishers. Former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editor and current visiting WVU assistant professor of media innovation Jim Iovino talked with WESA’s The Confluence about the program. Created by WVU’s Reed College of Media in collaboration with the West Virginia Press Association, NewStart participants would receive a fellowship to a fully-funded, year-long program that culminates in a master’s degree in Innovation and Media Solutions.

Post-Gazette: Keeping faith: Jewish Chronicle staff observed Sabbath before covering Tree of Life massacre
"Reporting and writing about events so deeply intertwined with her faith and community forced [Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle senior staff writer Toby] Tabachnick 'to compartmentalize a great deal,' she said. 'But if you’re a human being with a heart, you can’t really separate yourself out completely. I get choked up a lot. But now I’m at a point where I think that’s OK.' "

Point Park: Pittsburgh Current's Margaret Welsh Discusses Music Journalism with students
“What I thought was most interesting and beneficial was that she explained what makes a good pitch, dos and don’ts for making a pitch and she even shared a little of her own past awkwardness in interviews to help give us an idea of what to steer clear of when preparing for an interview,” said Emma Christley, a junior interdisciplinary design major, who organized the event sponsored by Point Park's Center for Inclusive Education and the Department of Literary Arts and Social Justice.
BOOK THE CMI for your next event:

Students   |   Faculty and Staff  |   Professional Community
Get in touch with us:
305 Wood St., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15222

Newsletter compiled by CMI Graduate Assistant Stacey Federoff

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Point Park University Center for Media Innovation · 201 Wood St · Pittsburgh, PA 15222-1912 · USA

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