TUSCALOOSA, Ala. —The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences will hold a grand opening for its 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Digital Media Center Thursday, March 13, with a symposium and tours of the facility.
The events will kick off at 4:30 p.m. in Bryant-Denny’s North Zone with a keynote address from UA alumnus John Cochran (ABC News), followed by a panel with Cochran and recent C&IS graduates working in digital media: Lee Boulie (Country Music Hall of Fame), Kathy Nontasak (Google) and Victor Luckerson (Time.com). The panel will discuss the past, present and future of digital media.
Following the panel, the College will host a reception in the North Zone, and guests can take self-guided tours of the Digital Media Center, located on the two floors below the North Zone.The reception and tours will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The Digital Media Center is a high-tech teaching laboratory that houses the College’s professional media operations: Center for Public Television and Radio, WVUA-TV and Alabama Public Radio. It also is home to Crimson Tide Productions, part of UA Athletics.The Digital Media Center, a project nearly a decade in the making, is designed to contribute to the teaching, research and service missions of the University.
“The Digital Media Center is designed to be a laboratory for students, just like a teaching hospital,” said Elizabeth Brock, who oversees all of the College’s professional media outlets in the center.
For example, instruction for journalism majors in their required web production and editing class will be moved to the DMC starting next fall. Students will work under faculty and professional supervisors to help produce the WVUA-TV website as part of their lab hours, she said.
“It’s a wonderful way for our students to get real-world, hands-on experience,” Brock said.
Construction on the Digital Media Center began in 2011, and tenants began moving in last fall.The center will be fully operational within a few months, said Dr. Jennifer Greer, interim dean of the College.
About 90 employees will work in the center. Additionally, more than 100 students will work in the Digital Media Center each semester in student jobs, internships and in classes working in conjunction with the professional operations. The center includes four full broadcast studios that serve viewers and listeners in the Tuscaloosa and statewide.
“This center is one of the top facilities in the country, and it is the result of the vision and support of UA’s academic and athletic leadership over the past decade,” Greer said. “These facilities allow us to fulfill our mission of serving the community and the state with quality news and information content and also our mission of educating future communication leaders in real-world settings.”
Justin Brant, director of Crimson Tide Productions, said he looked forward to the collaborative nature of the new space.
“The Digital Media Center will be a production hub for athletics and academics to collaborate in sharing content, creative ideas and relevant training for students to pursue their future careers, all of which will enhance the brand of The University of Alabama,” Brant said.
Those planning on attending the March 13 events should RSVP by March 11 to Sheila Davis at 348-4787 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. All guests are asked to enter through the North Zone entrance of the stadium (Gate 1).
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.