Press Release: IU to inaugurate Media School, dedicate Ernie Pyle sculpture

The Media School Report • Oct. 13, 2014

Note: IU Newsroom’s George Vlahakis sent this press release Oct. 13, 2014.

Contact:George Vlahakis
IU Newsroom
812-855-0846
vlahakis@iu.edu
Anne Kibbler
The Media School
812-855-1705
akibbler@indiana.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCT. 13, 2014

Franklin Hall
Franklin Hall, future home of The Media School, will be renovated by 2016. (IU Newsroom)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana University will inaugurate its newest school at the Bloomington campus, the Media School, with a celebration and the dedication of a new sculpture depicting alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ernie Pyle on Friday, Oct. 17.

Sculptor Harold “Tuck” Langland, a professor emeritus and an award-winning artist who taught at IU South Bend from 1971 to 2003, will present his latest work to IU President Michael A. McRobbie at a ceremony beginning at 2 p.m. in the future home of the Media School, Franklin Hall.

Langland also created a sculpture of beloved IU President and Chancellor Herman B Wells, which has become a popular spot for IU students, alumni and other campus visitors.

McRobbie will preside over the event in Presidents Hall in Franklin Hall. Other participants will include Lauren Robel, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president; Larry D. Singell, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Maria Elizabeth Grabe, professor of telecommunications in the Media School. The public is welcome.

Efforts are now underway to establish the Media School as IU’s pre-eminent site for teaching, research and service about the understanding and production of media. It brings together the faculties of the Bloomington campus’s journalism, communication and culture, and telecommunications programs and draws on their long and established traditions. The new school is based in IU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

“This is a historic day for the IU Bloomington campus,” Robel said. “The inauguration of the Media School, which is built on our longstanding traditions of excellence in journalism, cinema and film, and communication, is a major step toward our goal of becoming the pre-eminent public university site for teaching and research about media. This school will ensure that our students are able to work within and think critically about the modern and ever-changing media landscape and graduate prepared to succeed in existing fields as well as those that haven’t been invented yet.” 

With about 70 faculty members, the Media School will capitalize on a rich and diverse heritage in the creation and production of all forms of media, including print, broadcast, radio, film and digital art forms such as gaming, as well as new forms of media and multiplatform storytelling.

Franklin Hall to undergo transformation

A national search is underway for the school’s first dean, and renovation of Franklin Hall will soon begin. Built in 1907 as a library, the building will be transformed and again become a hub of student activity. In addition to serving as a classroom and faculty office building, Franklin Hall will house student media and a central commons open 24 hours a day.

Crowd with sculpture
The installation of the Ernie Pyle sculpture Thursday drew a crowd in front of Franklin Hall. (IU Newsroom)

“The fluid technology environment of the 21st century offers our students and faculty an opportunity to boldly imagine the shape of media in the coming decades,” Singell said. “The faculty have worked long and hard to build a curriculum for the new school that offers the complex knowledge, experiential learning and professional skills our students need to assume leadership roles in today’s media professions. I am very excited for our students and truly grateful to the faculty for their work and vision.”

“Positioning Pyle near a school devoted to storytelling through new technologies is fitting,” said Lesa Hatley Major, associate dean of the Media School. “Pyle was embedded with the troops, where he relied on several forms of technology to transmit his columns from the field. But it was his stories about the soldiers’ experiences that drew his devoted fans, not the way the columns made it to print. This is our focus: to prepare students to tell great stories using the best technology at hand.”

For decades, the legacy of one of the school’s best-known alumni has been recognized with Ernie Pyle’s name on a building. With the dedication of Langland’s bronze sculpture, Pyle’s legacy will be one of the first things that thousands of students and campus visitors will see when they step onto campus through the Sample Gates.

“This beautiful new sculpture continues an IU Bloomington tradition of honoring the legacies and achievements of historically important individuals and doing so in a tangible, interactive way for our students and other members of the campus community,” Robel said. “In highlighting Pyle, his typewriter, his notes and his coffee cup, it also reflects the human side and humility of the Media School, even as we continue to focus on all of the modern technologies that this new institution will offer our students.”

“We’ve listened to students, alumni and faculty about the significance of honoring Ernie Pyle,” Major said. “This sculpture is a tangible way of honoring his legacy. It is one of several initiatives we are working on to preserve his ideals, his work and his continuing influence in the lives of our students.”

Franklin Hall will be transformed, as the building will be filled with transparency and light. A large roof window is anticipated to open up the interior space, filling the commons on the main floor with natural light.

Other new features planned for Franklin Hall include a large broadcast studio, with a separate control room. The building will feature six teaching labs and a dozen editing labs equipped with the latest technology. Classrooms will be capable of also being used for film screenings. There will be a new advising and career suite for students.

In addition to resources equipping students for careers in print and electronic media, Franklin Hall will have a special area designated for the game design program in the new school, including a physical computing prototyping space and areas for testing games.

It also will become the new home for faculty research initiatives, including the Institute for Communications Research, currently part of the Department of Telecommunications. There also will be dedicated resources for graduate students.

In addition to facilities in Franklin Hall, improvements and upgrades already have been made to existing studios and classrooms being used across campus by Media School students and faculty.

The College of Arts and Sciences is investing $1.3 million in architectural renovations and updated equipment in Studio 5 in the Radio/Television Building. The “black box” studio, featuring a new control room, lighting, a “Foley” audio room and a self-leveling floor, will be integral to many student film projects.

Another key investment was a studio classroom — also in the Radio/Television Building — with new editing spaces and large production areas, which support classes taught by Professor of Practice Robby Benson and other faculty. IU Student Television also will continue to use its cutting-edge studio space in Read Center.

The Media School will provide frequent updates on its website and through its official social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

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