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GSU to officially launch Center for Community Media

The broadcasting hub will be led by experts from the Chicago Cubs, WGN, WBEZ and other prestigious partners

Photo Students working with media equipment

Governors State University is expanding its efforts to amplify diverse voices with the launch of the Center for Community Media (CCM), a production, teaching and research center that will serve as a broadcasting hub in the Southland.

On Sept. 22, the center is inviting community members to celebrate at an event that will include a panel discussion moderated by Jelena Radovic-Fanta. Special guests Moustafa Bayoumi, a critically acclaimed author and Oswaldo Zavala, a journalist and professor of contemporary Latin American literature and culture, will give insights on democracy, inclusion and the media. RSVP here to reserve a seat at the event, which starts at 6:45 p.m. in Engbretson Hall. 

Professor Novia Pagone, the CCM interim Director and a Steering Committee Member, said the launch is coming at a critical time for the state of media in the Southland and the nation. By creating the CCM, “GSU is activating the public square,” in a region often overlooked by the Chicago media market, she said.

“The Southland has much to offer that is that is not always picked up by larger  outlets,” said Pagone. “The Center for Community Media aims to partner with local organizations and smaller outlets to amplify the voices of our community.” 

More broadly, Pagone pointed to limited coverage of news and events as inspiration to help students understand the basic tenets of journalism –truth, accuracy and integrity.

“It’s a tough time to be a journalist right now, so we have to make sure students understand the responsibility through our programming,” she said.

To do that, the center will serve as a mecca for students to hone their journalistic skills, providing tools through programs such as an 8-week boot-camp covering interviewing techniques, social media, audience engagement and reporting with integrity.

Bolstering the rigor of the CCM program will be a powerful board of directors, which includes  media experts including Steve Edwards, former Chief Content Officer of WBEZ Chicago Public Media, Emmy award winning journalist Micah Materre of WGN News, Julian Green, Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs for the Chicago Cubs, Investigative Journalist Mago Torres and more.

The Sept. 22 event will be the first of many from the CCM, which comprises three units: Media Across the Curriculum (MAC), Student Media Institute (SMI) and the Media Research Initiative (MRI).

The Media Across Curriculum (MAC) unit will support the integration of media literacy, production, distribution, and community development across GSU’s curriculum.

 The Student Media Institute (SMI) develops and coordinates a student-produced media network, including GSUTV, which broadcasts on the first Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. on Homewood Public Access TV Comcast Channel 19. Other parts of the media network include the Phoenix Newspaper, the Jaguar Pride Podcast, and a student-led radio station slated to launch in 2023.

The Media Research Initiative (MRI) will promote and support research projects that use investigative media with a competitive year-long academic fellowship.

Though the CCM is officially launching this year, the center has been active on campus and in the community since the Illinois Board of Higher Education approved it 2021 under the leadership of Dr. Deborah James.