Indiana University

Indiana University Journalism

Media LLC provides close community for students with media interests

Thomas Miller | Oct. 20, 2011
media llc skyping
Photo by Thomas Miller
Freshman Caitlin Greer introduces her mother to freshman Jessalyn Sommers via Skype. Students in the Media Living Learning Center live at Forest Residence Center, as well as take a class and, often, work in student media together.
“Hi, Mom,” a freshman says to her laptop.

Caitlin Greer is sitting in her dorm lounge on a Thursday night. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, she can introduce her mom to her dorm mates. There’s Jessalyn Summer, Sam Dixon, Olivia Sears, Jill Sorg and Annalinda Harbottle. Each waves back at the screen and then goes back to what they were doing.

In the background of each introduction is a white banner with bold red letters: Media LLC.

The Media Living Learning Center is a dorm floor at Forest Residence Center that caters to about 40 students with an interest in the media industry. The majority of students on the floor are majoring in journalism, although a few others are studying telecommunications or communications and culture.

Like many other dorm residents, the students on the Media LLC have a residence assistant who plans floor programs and activities. Unlike their peers, however, the students on the Media LLC have access to events with IU faculty and take a class taught by a journalism professor that’s just for them.

From their first days at IU, these students have access to all that the School of Journalism and student media have to offer.

“Students have been able to, as freshmen, meet incredible speakers like Lara Logan or Joe Buck, have dinner with (journalism) Dean Brad Hamm, travel to major media markets like Atlanta, Chicago and Memphis to meet with alumni and other professionals,” said Kate Lee, director of experiential education and recruitment at the School of Journalism. “Students make friends for life on the floor, and often end up living together throughout their four years. Alumni of the LLC have leadership positions with the IDS, Inside magazine and IUSTV. By any measure I can think of, that is a success.”

Already, many students in the Media LLC are working in student media: Jeremy Smith and Michael Majchrowicz are at the IDS. Kaitlin Tipsword is at the Arbutus, and Rhiannon Noot is at WIUX. Chelsey Carr and Carmen Huff are working at WFIU-WTIU, and several are pursuing their interests at IUSTV, including Kody Gilliland, Quinn Saturday, Billy Rohaly, Ani Harbottle and Michael Felish.

Along with these opportunities on campus, the School of Journalism offers a course just for students living in the Media LLC. J160 Media Village is an eight-week course that includes an overview of media and the foundations of journalism, as well as discussions about navigating a college career.

Photo by Thomas Miller
Media LLC resident Jill Sorg also works at the Indiana Daily Student, where she hopes to get into design. Most of the LLC residents also work for student media.
“We also spend some time talking about and exploring the opportunities in Bloomington and at IU,” said visiting professor Marty Pieratt, who teaches the course. For example, students visited the IU Kirkwood Observatory Wednesday night, a campus landmark built in 1910 that has modern telescopes for astronomy research.

“We also bring in guest speakers to talk about media careers, study abroad or other travel courses,” he added.

Between the class, journalism classes and student media, you may think these students would have run out of things to talk about when they get home to the LLC. Not so, says journalism senior Chrissy Ashack, who lived in the LLC her freshman year.

“Most of my friends are the people I lived with freshman year,” she said. “My roommate was my suite mate freshman year and quickly became one of my best friends. Most of my closest friends are the people I met on the floor.”

A little after 10 p.m., the lounge has emptied out. The LLC is on quiet hours and the students have broken up into smaller groups. The talk turns to media.

“I’m working as a copy editor now,” said Sorg of her day at the Indiana Daily Student, “but I want to go into graphic design.” Others chime in about classes or projects.

Eventually, the students filter to their rooms, where the name tags on their doors are made of newspapers. Down the hall is that banner with the red letters. Everywhere they look around the LLC are reminders of the work they’d like to do when they leave it.


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