A longtime visual journalist who expanded her focus to train others to use mobile media will lead MTSU's nationally recognized Center for Innovation in Media, university officials have announced.
Val Hoeppner, who's served since last fall as journalist in residence in the School of Journalism in MTSU's College of Mass Communication, took the reins July 1 at the student-focused center, which houses all student and university mass media outlets under one roof.
"Val Hoeppner brings a special combination of journalistic experience, digital expertise and impressive teaching skills to her new role at MTSU," said Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Mass Communication.
"She'll build on the foundation of innovation established by our former director, Stephan Foust, and give our students the kind of skills and experience that will best prepare them for opportunities in a digital era."
Foust worked closely with college administrators to open the almost-$700,000 facility inside the Bragg Mass Communication Building in January 2012 and had directed its operations since. A veteran broadcast journalist and corporate communications consultant, Foust is retiring from the university.
“The CIM job is a dream job, really,” Hoeppner explained, “as I get to spend my days helping student journalists find their voice and pursue a career as a storyteller. Our students’ stories may be written, photographed, voiced, filmed or sung.
“That’s the most unique thing about our College of Mass Communication and the center itself. We have a traditional newspaper that is going digital, a radio station that is both on-air and streamed, a television station using digital technology to broadcast and a record label using social media to bring attention to its artists.”
The Associated Press Media Editors lauded the Center for Innovation in Media soon after it opened 2 1Ž2 years ago for its efforts in “reforming and reshaping its student media." The center received an honorable mention in the “Innovator of the Year for College Students” category in the 2012 APME Journalism Excellence Awards.
The Center for Innovation in Media combines the newsrooms for Sidelines, the student newspaper; WMTS-FM, the student-run radio station; Match Records, the student-run record label; MT10, the student-operated cable television station; and WMOT-FM, the 100,000-watt public radio station, in a single location.
MTSU’s center enables students from all media disciplines to hone their real-world skills by writing stories for print and the Web, creating audio versions of the same stories for broadcast on radio stations and providing video versions of those stories for use on MT10 and on the station and center websites.
Before joining the MTSU staff, Hoeppner served as director of education for the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute for five years and spent 20 years in newsrooms as a photojournalist, newsroom leader and multimedia director at The Indianapolis Star.
“I got into journalism to make a difference in people’s lives. I was lucky enough to do just that in a variety of newsroom roles,” Hoeppner said.
“The CIM is a great sandbox to play in, and every day I find new ways to stretch our storytelling skills.”