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Professors show students, teachers how to mix media

Faculty Member Robert O'Gara speaks to a group of high school students and teachers at High School Media Day, Fall 2010. | Photo by Gabrielle Mazza
Point Park Professor Bob O'Gara leads a break-out session on advertising and public relations during High School Media Day.

High school students and teachers learned about the evolving world of journalism and media during the Point Park's High School Media Day, a biannual event sponsored by the School of Communication.

Point Park faculty members led more than a dozen interactive sessions within a theme of "Balancing Old & New Media at Your School," helping high school students and their teachers learn how to mix various forms of media to advance their publications.

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Participating High Schools

  • Avonworth
  • Butler Area
  • Central Valley
  • East Allegheny
  • Elderton
  • Fox Chapel
  • Hampton
  • Karns City
  • Laurel Senior
  • Leechburgh Area
  • McKeesport Area
  • Meyersdale Area
  • Plum Senior
  • Ringgold
  • Turkeyfoot Valley Area
  • Woodland Hills

Held Nov. 12 on the Point Park campus, the program included opening comments from Dean Tim Hudson, then moved to break-out sessions on topics including law and ethics, photography, multimedia, broadcasting, advertising and public relations, and print.

"We wanted to give some sessions that would either individually talk about old or new media or the transition between the two," said Heather Starr Fiedler, associate professor of multimedia.

In some sessions, students participated in contests related to multimedia, editorial writing, and advertising/ public relations. In other sessions, students could have a Point Park professor critique their student newspaper.

"I learned a lot of stuff about media and I talked to (Associate Professor) Bill Moushey about law enforcement and the Innocence Institute," said Central Valley High School junior Austin David, who attended Moushey's session on law/ethics. Moushey is director of the Innocence Institute at Point Park University. "I'm really interested in the Innocence Institute program now so it was neat to talk to him," David said.

This year's program included a chance for the visiting high school students to talk one-on-one with current Point Park students during a student panel discussion about college life.

"I really liked meeting the different professors and getting the feel of being in a college setting," said McKeesport Area High School senior Kayla Haidle. "It helps you experience what it would actually be like going to a university. People can tell you all about it, but you really have to experience it yourself to understand."

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Justin LaBar, a University alumnus, gave the lunchtime keynote address, describing how broadcasting propelled him into new media opportunities. He concluded with a discussion of the "raw side of the web" and the inevitable multi-tasking that comes with working for the news media.

"Everybody is everybody," said LaBar, explaining how his co-worker majored in print journalism and ended up doing online and broadcast work.

Students and teachers left talking excitedly about what they had learned.

Ringgold High School teacher Sarah Knox found the program helpful for her students.

"I wanted them to have the experience with up-to-date technology, as well as people who are educated in this field, to provide them with a broader spectrum of what we could use in our own classrooms, online journalism or in the publication of our yearbook."

The next High School Media Day will be held spring semester.

Article by Nicole Chynoweth, sophomore print journalism major
Photo by Gabrielle Mazza, senior photojournalism major