BSU Unveils Million Dollar Student Media Center (Photo Gallery) – Bemidji Pioneer

Media and communication students at BEMIDJI-BSU have a new place to hone their skills before launching into the world.

University staff unveiled a new million-dollar student media center on Wednesday that resembles the offices of a professional media outlet and includes a radio booth, TV studio, workspace for print media , a central meeting space and two classrooms.

“We really had no place to study or collaborate other than the library,” said Mass Communication student Sabrina Okeson. “The media center gave us a home. We have a place where teachers, equipment and production rooms – with labs that have the right software – are right down the hall.”

On Wednesday, speakers highlighted how far the university’s media offerings have come and the new center’s opportunities for collaboration.

“The new Student Media Center reflects the demanding new expectation of media professionals, which is the ability to effectively use multiple channels of communication to achieve a desired outcome, whether journalism, entertainment or marketing” , said Faith Hensrud, president of the BSU.

The new facility is set to house “News Team,” a new staff lesson plan to be offered this spring semester. Department head Virgil Bakken said students enrolled in the class will research and investigate stories, then decide what medium – print, broadcast, radio, etc. – is the best to broadcast their reports.

The combined space also reportedly inspired university staff to change the name of the Department of Mass Communications to “Department of Integrated Media”.

“I know they’re very excited. I think the (new) signs were printed before I even signed the papers,” Hensrud joked.

Bakken said the new name challenges staff to be diverse and collaborative. The university’s television and radio stations, its Northern Student magazine, and the Headwaters Film Festival will all be headquartered in the new facilities.

“I’m proud to say it’s completely student-run,” Bakken said. “We have faculty advisors, but the students run every organization.”

University staff also read a long list of BSU alumni who went on to long media careers in the Bemdji and Minnesota area, including Dan Seeman, the award-winning Vice President of Hubbard Radio who spent three years in school.

BSU spent $1 million to build the new facility, $250,000 of which came from the Joseph and Janice Leuken Family Foundation. The BSU Alumni & Foundation Board voted in 2015 to allocate the foundation’s gift to the media center.

“It’s the addition of these dollars, donated through BSU’s five-year Imagine Tomorrow campaign, that has kept the project as well-equipped as it is,” wrote Scott Faust, director of university communications and marketing.

Faust said the remaining $750,000 came from the school’s general fund.

The new media center was once home to Lakeland Public Television, which has since moved to a new building near the Sanford Center.

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