Photo of student working in media lab
Senior Sheena Gebhardt says she’s looking forward to using the new lab to produce 515 magazine.

Multipurpose lab will help students’ multimedia and design skills soar

Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) offers more than just the journalism basics — writing, editing and reporting. With a gift of $150,000 from Liz Newell, JO’69, and Jack Kragie, AS’65, former owners of Integer Group in Des Moines, and an initial $10,000 gift from Meredith Corp., the SJMC has built a state-of-the-art media lab that will rocket Drake students right into the new multimedia world.

“Our need for a multimedia facility matched up with gifts from Newell, Kragie and Meredith Corp.,” said Kathleen Richardson, JO’76, GR’01, LW’02, associate professor and director of SJMC. “We are fulfilling a need for SJMC and for students to have exposure to multimedia communications.”

Construction crews have transformed the Reading Room, student offices and Room 104 in Meredith Hall into the new Kragie Newell Interactive Media Lab and Meredith Teaching Center, which also will be used to offer continuing education programs for media professionals. The lab has workstations with software including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Quicktime Pro, DVD Studio Pro and Soundtrack.

The space gives students with the opportunity to work on design and Web design, and video and news editing projects on 16 new flat-screen iMacs. Three workspaces will be designated for Podcast, operator and EZ News workstations, and students can work on presentations in the lab equipped with a conference table, projection screen, printers and speakers.

“The space will also provide a place for multimedia projects for different majors,” Richardson said. “For students working on advertising and public relations capstone projects, where they develop campaigns that might have both print and online needs, they can put it all together in this room.”

Faculty members are starting to incorporate multimedia into classes across the curriculum, enabling students to gain first-hand experience and exposure to working with different media. Richardson said, “Our students will have an edge on other graduating students and professionals because they have this multimedia and Web knowledge.”

The media lab will be unveiled during Homecoming Week the first week in October.