CMI 2020 Annual Report


Learn more about the work of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University during 2019-2020. If you want to be the first to know what's happening at the CMI, sign up for our monthly email newsletters:

Community Outreach

What’s scarier than fake zombies?

A real global pandemic

Actors and makeup helped us transform students for our Nov. 1 event, while COVID-19 kept

130 students from visiting campus in the spring.

By Stacey Federoff, CMI Graduate Assistant

In the fall, 192 students from 11 western

Pennsylvania schools took part in 10 sessions

covering different types of media, visual effects,

turning your passion into a career and more,

including zombie novel author and Point Park

alumna Lucy Leitner, who gave the keynote

speech about using zombies to enhance a


For the spring event, we had expected 130

students from 12 schools (including one group

traveling from Erie). But that was just as cancellations

started taking hold in order to “flatten

the curve” and stop the spread of COVID-19.

High School, Point Park adjunct instructor

Richard Kelly and New York Times reporter

Sarah Mervosh.

In all, the series’ nine shows reached more

than 10,000 people on Facebook and


Instead, in mid-March, we kicked off weekly

virtual High School Media Day sessions with

Point Park alumna and KDKA meteorologist

Mary Ours, whose session has now had more

than 900 views on Facebook and YouTube.

Other participants included Fast Company

reporter Zlati Meyer, students from Saegertown

Photo by Stacey Federoff

Photo by Stacey Federoff

Preparing for High School Media

Day takes months of planning, organizing

and communicating, but the staff of the

Center for Media Innovation, student media

organizations and faculty of Point Park’s

School of Communications are happy to do

it. We want to inspire the next generation

of journalists, Point Park Pioneers and media

consumers with the different sessions

that make up the fall and spring day-long


For the fall, the zombies were a part of the

plan, with the help of Point Park cinema

arts assistant professor Matt Pelfrey and student

makeup artist Maricela Valencia and our zombie

student volunteers. What the CMI staff didn’t

plan for – or couldn’t have planned for – was the

COVID-19 coronavirus and the campus closure

that cancelled our in-person spring event on

March 13.

Photo by Stacey Federoff

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