JMC, student media unite in Franklin

Christina Stavale

Construction continues on Franklin Hall. The current construction will not affect classes, which begin today.

Daniel Owen | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Franklin Hall, the new home to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, will open its doors today to students new and old.

After months of renovation and construction costing about $21 million, the building will house classes starting today, and soon, the converged newsroom of the Daily Kent Stater, TV2 and Black Squirrel Radio, with a focus on convergence and the future of the media.

“I think the big thing (Franklin Hall) does is going to be in the newsroom,” said Gary Hanson, associate professor of journalism and mass communication.

Since 1987, Taylor Hall housed print media, while the Music and Speech Center housed electronic media, Hanson said. With convergence, both mediums will be under one roof and will be able to work together to “decide what platform is best to tell a story.”

Bryan Wroten, managing editor of the Daily Kent Stater, said with convergence, the news staffs will take advantage of the Internet and the new Web site,, and combine the different media.

“It’s taking all these mediums together and putting them into one product,” he said.

With the new technology of the building, and the concept of convergence that even some professional news companies have not yet begun, Hanson said it is possible students who graduate from Kent State’s journalism school may now take a step back when they begin their first job.

“It’s the way everything is going,” said Danielle Sarver, assistant professor of journalism and mass communication. “You need to know how convergence works to get ahead of the curve.”

Sarver, who is beginning her first year teaching at Kent State and grew up in the area, said one of the reasons she wanted to teach at Kent State was to be close to her home.

“It was nice to be able to come back home,” she said, “but to come back into this atmosphere is phenomenal.”

Students also expressed excitement over Franklin Hall.

“It’s going to be a lot more convenient for students,” said Hannah Leishman, a senior applied communications major. “Everything’s previously been scattered everywhere.”

Wroten said the new facilities will give students experience similar to professionals’.

“Everyone’s talking about it so far,” he said. “It’s going to give students an incredible opportunity.”

Though the actual newsroom may not open until October, Hanson, also the faculty adviser for TV2, suggested thinking of the move as an “adventure.” He said working in temporary quarters will give students real-life experience and flexibility.

Wroten said while the move may have some difficulties, the experience of the news staff and faculty will help.

Contact minority affairs reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].