“Around the Sphere” focuses on different areas in MDJ

Chong Chen, Reporter

Editor’s Note: Maddy Haberberger, guest of the podcast, serves as the social media manager for The Kent Stater and KentWired. Given her role and relationship to the story, KentWired interviewed her as a source.

Around the Sphere’s logo. (Courtesy of Around the Sphere )

The podcast “Around the Sphere” brings the stories that are most relevant to School of Media and Journalism students and helps all students discover their own brand stories while feeling the power of storytelling.

In spring 2021, the school of Journalism and Mass Communication was renamed to the school of Media and Journalism. To highlight rebranding and showcase the importance of media rather than just journalism, professor Luke Armour proposed a podcast.

“It started to increase the awareness around the name change,”  said Kimmy Daniels, a senior public relations major and the project manager, “also to tell stories that are going on within MDJ to everybody else outside of it.”

The podcast started in fall 2021 when the first episode came out in September.

All contents are centered around MDJ’s four majors: journalism, public relations, advertising and digital media production. The theme of each episode alternates among the four areas.

Each episode tells a feature story and usually includes a student organization. Stories include students bringing their projects and accomplishments, professors using their expertise to tell stories, alumni sharing their experiences and many other topics.

There were six episodes last season. This season is also planned to be around six episodes with episodes being released every two weeks.

The podcast gets an average of about 100 listens per episode, Daniels said.

“We stay up to date with what’s going on in the school and as news pops up, figuring out how we can use the people at MDJ to talk about it,” said Maddy Haberberger, a senior journalism major who worked on two episodes.

The workspace where the podcast “Around the Sphere” is created. (Chong Chen)

Each story covers at least one of the four areas.

“Since there are six episodes, there’s enough for one feature story per major,” Daniels said. “The two leftovers, we sometimes do special feature episodes with professors, which include all aspects of media, journalism and public relations.”

It is a good way to learn more about interesting things beyond the students’ majors.

“We are in the same building, but we don’t have the opportunity to see all of these different niche areas all the time,” Haberberger said. “However, the podcast highlights that, so we can hear about what is going on in all the different areas.”

The podcast is run by three core personnel. Daniels, Nick Underwood, a senior digital media production major and production manager and MDJ Director Emily Metzgar as the adviser.

Daniels and Haberberger recommend everyone listens to two particular episodes.

Season one episode four: “MDJ Examines the Tragedy on the Set of ‘Rust’ Through Production, Media and Crisis Comm.”

The episode featured Christopher Knoblock, a digital media productions professor, Stephanie Smith, public relations professor and Gretch Hoak, a journalism professor.

“That was a really fascinating and educational discussion,” Haberberger said. An opportunity for them to apply their knowledge to a real-life scenario that was relevant to all of us.”

The other recommendation is the first episode of this season, episode 7: “Senior Scaries: The Job Search, Graduating Without an Offer and More.”

The episode talked about how terrifying it can be to graduate and not know what to expect, Daniels said.

“We had an alumna sharing experiences about how to find a job and what we should be doing,” Daniels said. “I think it is relaxing to hear that and it could be beneficial for everybody.”

For an upcoming episode, the team is preparing an Oscar special.

“We will be talking about who was nominated, what happens at the Oscars and why the media is so involved with it,” Daniels said.

The podcast can be listened to on the Around the Sphere website and on any podcast platform by searching its name.

“I hope to show everybody how many opportunities there are not just in their major, and how much we are learning from the experience,” Daniels said.

Chong Chen is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].