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:

Speaker Series

Media innovators headline

Playhouse speakers series

Speaker Series

Burke inspires students to see

strengths, embrace diversity

Photo by John Altdorfer

Joe Greco, chairman of the Point Park University board of trustees, listens to Jim

Acosta’s presentation.

CNN’s Jim Acosta, YouTuber and disability rights activist Molly

Burke, and National Public Radio reporter Quil Lawrence

headlined the 2019-20 Media Innovators Speaker Series at Point

Park University.

The series is presented by Point Park’s Center for Media

Innovation and the Pittsburgh Playhouse, in collaboration with

90.5 WESA. Sponsors for the event include Herbein + Co., the

Downtown Community Development Corporation, and

the Harris Grill.

2019-20 Media Innovation

Speaker Series

Molly Burke, Sept. 12, 2019

At just four years old, Burke was diagnosed

with a rare retinal disease that

caused a loss of vision. By age five, she

was an ambassador for the foundation

Fighting Blindness Canada. Today, she

is a highly sought after motivational

speaker and her weekly YouTube videos

reach a worldwide subscriber base of

more than 1.8 million.

Quil Lawrence, Oct. 17, 2019

Lawrence, a New York-based correspondent

for NPR News, covers veterans’

issues nationwide. He won a Robert

F. Kennedy Award for his coverage of

American veterans and Gracie Award for

coverage of female combat veterans.

He covered Iraq and Afghanistan for 12

years, serving as NPR’s bureau chief in

Baghdad and Kabul.

Jim Acosta, Feb. 6, 2020

Acosta, a chief White House correspondent

for CNN, regularly covers presidential

press conferences, visits by heads of

state and issues impacting the executive

branch. His new book, “The Enemy of

the People,” is an explosive, first-hand

account of the dangers he has faced

reporting on the current White House.

Neda Ulaby, May 7, 2020

NPR’s cultural affairs correspondent

Neda Ulaby was scheduled to appear

during the series, but shutdowns caused

by the COVID-19 pandemic forced a


Photo by Center for Media Innovation

YouTuber and disability rights advocate Molly Burke talks to the sold-out crowd inside the Highmark Theatre at Pittsburgh Playhouse.

YouTube sensation, disability rights

activist, author and social media influencer

Molly Burke spoke to a sold-out crowd

on campus at the Pittsburgh Playhouse,

as part of the 2019-20 Media Innovators

Speaker Series at Point Park University.

The event was hosted by the SAEM Club

and the Center for Media Innovation, in

collaboration with 90.5 WESA, Downtown

Community Development Corporation and

Herbein + Company, Inc.

“The Molly Burke event was a huge success

for SAEM Club! We are so happy that we

were able to partner with the CMI to bring

in such an inspiring speaker,” said Christy

Martin, a junior sports, arts and entertainment

management major and president of

the SAEM Club.

“Molly was so kind and friendly and I

greatly enjoyed working with her. Her story

brought tears to every audience member’s

eyes. We were all left feeling inspired by

her story and motivated to embrace what

makes us different. The show was sold

out and it couldn’t have gone any better!”

added Martin, a graduate of Walnut Hill

School for the Arts in Boston, Mass.

At four years old, Burke was diagnosed with

retinitis pigmentosa, a rare retinal disease

that causes a loss of vision. By age five,

she was an ambassador for the foundation

Fighting Blindness Canada. Today, she is

a highly sought-after motivational speaker,

with her weekly YouTube videos reaching

a worldwide base of nearly two million


“Molly was so pleasant to work with and her

story is incredible and so touching,” said

Shea O’Neill, a sophomore SAEM major and

vice president of the SAEM Club from Bishop

Canevin High School in Pittsburgh.

O’Neill added: “I am so glad that we, along

with the CMI, had the opportunity to bring in

such an uplifting and inspiring speaker.”

This article first appeared on Point Park

University’s website

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