CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 30, 2015 – Southeast Missouri State University has forged a partnership with Rust Communications and KFVS12 to develop an innovation laboratory in downtown Cape Girardeau that will house the University’s television and video production program and The Arrow student newspaper in a new Center for Excellence in Mass Media.
Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, made the announcement Friday evening during his keynote address at the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner.
Dobbins said Southeast has entered into an agreement with Rust Communications to lease 12,000 square feet on two floors of a building owned by Rust Communications at 325 Broadway. The location housed First Federal Bank for many years.
“Our Center for Excellence in Mass Media, or Media Row, as we’ve been calling it, will provide accessibility for the sharing of innovative ideas, content, and especially resources, giving our students a huge advantage over their counterparts at other colleges and universities,” Dobbins said. “I have no hesitation in predicting that our Center for Excellence in Mass Media will be the envy of colleges and universities across the country, and will truly contribute towards training our graduates for the media jobs in the Year 2030 and beyond.”
Dobbins says the arrangement will create an “interdependent relationship with the Southeast Missourian and KFVS12 to educate students to fill the jobs of tomorrow.”
Southeast began working with Rust Communications in 2011 to revise the structure of the University’s student newspaper, The Arrow. The Southeast Missourian entered into a contractual agreement with the University to provide oversight of the print publication as well as a more robust student-produced news website.
“It was a really unique opportunity for us, our journalism program, and our students, and for the Southeast Missourian, especially at a time when college and university newspapers around the country were being eliminated due to budget deficits,” he said. “The news/journalism profession is changing so rapidly, and we were looking to move to that next level and get our students prepared for what they are really going to experience once they graduate.”
Dobbins calls that relationship “a success” and says it played an important role in the re-accreditation of Southeast’s mass media program. Southeast is one of only 116 journalism and mass communication programs nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
This academic year, Southeast entered into a similar arrangement with KFVS12, which allows Southeast students to produce programming for a two-hour block of time on WQWQ, the CW affiliate of KFVS12.
Southeast students now receive the full complement of multi-media experiences – print production through The Arrow and the Southeast Missourian, television production through KFVS12 and radio production through KRCU Radio.
Southeast’s television and video production program and The Arrow student newspaper are currently housed in the Grauel Language Arts Building and in Rose Theatre on the University campus.
“The establishment of a media center that will bring together not only our multimedia journalism and television student media outlets, but also our student advertising creative services unit and our student public relations firm, provides an experiential learning opportunity that is tremendous for our students and faculty alike,” said Dr. Karie Hollerbach, chair of the Department of Mass Media. “This arrangement provides a model of media convergence that could very well set new trends in both media education and the media industry.”
Dr. Jim Dufek, professor of mass media and TV and film operations manager in the Department of Mass Media, said, “The Center for Excellence in Mass Media will be a premiere facility for the faculty to prepare our students for the present and future needs of video production. To be housed in a building on Broadway’s ‘media row’ will give our students a sense of being ‘in the thick of things’ when it comes to production, news, creative services, etc. Our current partnership with KFVS-WQWQ, and all of Raycom, will only grow and will continue to open doors for our students to have immediate access to every facet of the workings of a television station.”
Dufek said television students will work with Southeast’s multimedia journalism students in the collection and dissemination of news through current and digital platforms.
“We are preparing students to be multi-faceted professionals where they will be able to write and produce for print, radio, television and all other media outlets,” he said. “I don’t believe there is anything else like this in the country.
He said the University’s administration has recognized the growth of the mass media program and has looked toward the future to see how it can best prepare students for the workplace in a constantly changing environment.
“When you look at all of the other Centers for Excellence that Southeast has created, I believe our facility will be state-of-art and only create an environment that will see a continued growth for students interested in mass media,” Dufek said.