The Long Haul to Franklin A Peek Inside IU's New Media School

He sits with a pensive expression atop a box of ammunition. The flaps of his aviator helmet are secured beneath the band of a pair of goggles and the collar of his shirt is tucked inside the folds of his bomber jacket. As his fingers glide across a typewriter, he becomes lost in telling the captivating soldiers’ stories of desolation and triumph. A stack of notes and tin coffee mug lay strewn across a wooden desk which conceals his crossed legs. He has not moved for nearly two years.

This statue of Ernie Pyle, a former IU journalism student and beloved World War ll correspondent, serves to greet students as they ascend the stone steps which lead to the imposing facade of Franklin Hall. For the past couple years, IU's Media School has been in the process of relocating to the hundred-year-old building, and this summer the changeover is finally nearing its completion. Even with all the new renovations, the splendor of its original structure was still preserved, so it’s easy to see why many are excited for this change of scenery. Take a peek inside its grand entryway and preview Franklin Hall’s most recent additions for yourself.

The Media School is a somewhat recent expansion of IU's academics program. It was formed two years ago out of a merger between the School of Journalism, Department of Telecommunications, and the Department of Communications and Culture. The majors that fall into this category span everything from film to public relations and even game design.

After the Ernie Pyle statue's installation in 2014, Media School administrators were surprised to discover that the word correspondent had been misspelled on the patch on his left shoulder. The embarrassing blunder was rectified last summer to the relief of many grammar fanatics.

Franklin Hall was erected nearly a century ago in 1907 to serve as the library for the original Bloomington campus. For decades, it housed administrative offices where students would come to register for class or pay bills. Because only about 85% of the building is occupied by the Media School, part of it will continue to function as office space for the Board of Trustees.

Upon setting foot inside the building, students will be greeted by a commons area which serves as a meeting location and a comfy place for them to hang out or complete assignments in between classes.

The feature of this room is a gargantuan multimedia screen that boast 24 ft by 14 ft dimensions. It can be split into up to nine screens and is utilized to display news broadcasts and student work. By downloading an app called Tunity, students can even select which portion of the screen plays sound.

A skylight was also added to the atrium-like entryway to combat some of the dim lighting characteristic of early 1900s architecture.

Up next is the student media space, which accommodates various student-run news outlets such as the magazine and radio station programs. The Indiana Daily Student, IU's student newspaper, just moved in at the beginning of this week, and staff members are already hard at work.

In addition to the publication groups, Ernie Pyle’s desk also takes up residence in the student media space. In fact, it has become a tradition that when a student editor completes their term, he or she signs the top drawer of his ancient workspace.

This vibrant collage of signatures gracing Ernie Pyle's desk has been decades in the making. It's a wonder editors haven't yet run out of space to pen in their own name.

After departing from the student media space and ascending a short flight of stairs, the studio and control rooms come into view. These areas are used both for classes and Indiana University Student Television (IUSTV) broadcasts. When planning for the installation of this revolutionary technology, architects still strived to maintain the integrity of the original structure. For example, instead of replacing the windows in the studio, custom coverings were placed over the glass panes to prevent the quality of light from impacting the broadcasting.

Crews in the studio are currently working on set installation. Eventually there will be six unique sets so the IUSTV camera operators can pan the lens one way and the audience will see a news desk, and then turn it another to reveal a talk show setup.

Quite a high-tech addition to the Media School is the game design lab, which is a dedicated workspace for students to develop and test their programming software. Students typically work in teams of four, so a corresponding number of computers will eventually be placed at each station. Game design was introduced as a new major this year, and has rapidly grown since its debut.

Most of the classes in the Media School aren't that big because they tend to be incredibly hands on. Additionally, a vast majority of media classes must be taught in a computer lab. The largest classroom in the building is the lecture hall, and even that only seats a maximum of 60 students. Due to a higher level of enrollment, some of the introductory courses will be taught in other facilities.

Perhaps one of the more artistic features of Franklin Hall is the film screening room. It is a quaint movie theatre designed for film students in criticism or theory classes to view movies without taking a trip to the cinema. These students will also have the opportunity to screen their own projects in this space.

After receiving a brief glimpse inside Franklin Hall, it's obvious that students enrolling in the Media School this fall have a right to be thrilled about their stunning accommodations.

All the tools for success have been lain out before them. They have the opportunities to test visionary limits, explore their passions, and maybe even gain the same level of recognition as the seasoned journalist who sits outside the entryway to their creative space. Though that last one may prove to be quite the endeavor. Ernie Pyle is rather monumental.

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