The Student Media Center at Jamestown College is more than a media center. It's also a business concept that might take the Innovate ND entrepreneurial challenge by storm.
The Student Media Center group will head to the third round of judging in late April for the statewide challenge. The top five ideas will receive $15,000 from the North Dakota Department of Commerce and one winner will receive a free year of rent in a downtown Fargo location.
"Our biggest problem throughout the competition is explaining what we do in 60 seconds," said Steve Listopad, assistant professor of communication and student media director at Jamestown College and competition co-leader.
The Student Media Center has been about seven years in the making and is housed in the basement of Raugust Library. The student newspaper and television station are located in the center, where students in part learn the different fields of communication.
"It's a conceptual media business that produces news and media sources for the community in an academic setting," Listopad said of the center.
That's the idea that is being touted through the Innovate ND competition. Examples of work the Student Media Center would be able to do for a community or businesses are website design, marketing, advertising, news broadcast for television and radio, and anything else modern media can accomplish, he said.
At the Student Media Center at the college, professionals and student interns work side by side and so far have created news broadcasts for Dakota Central Telecommunications, training videos for Eventide at Hi-Acres Manor and statewide promotional DVDs for an educational program.
"We think there's both an opening and an opportunity here for both the institution and the people of North Dakota," said Dana Creasy, who teaches broadcasting at the college and co-leads the group, on the concept.
The idea is considered an intangible concept, or something that can't be perceived by touch, Creasy said. This makes it hard to get the point across the judges.
"The Jamestown (Student) Media Center is definitely one of the unique ones because they are doing it a little different," said Brandi Schoenberg, Innovate ND program manager, of iceas in the competition.
Other ideas proposed this year are a carpooling system for produce and a hand-held monitor that would detect different types of gases, Schoenberg said.
At Jamestown College, streamlining communications programs is something the school has already been working toward because of class sizes.
Listopad said the Student Media Center is an idea for a business plan, not necessarily a business.
The main reason the Student Media Center idea was entered was to get feedback and then work the kinks in the plan out. Never was it expected to move this far in competition, he said.
"We've gotten more (feedback) out of this then we ever imagined," he said.
If the Student Media Center wins one of the $15,000 prizes, the choice to grow the business would be up to the administration at Jamestown College.
The Student Media Center is manned by college students. The choice would be up to administration whether or not to expand out into neighboring community and hire professionals and interns.
The streamlining of communications programs will continue regardless of the results.
"The way we have integrated our staff together for multimedia forms is something that hasn't happened easily on college campuses," Listopad said.
Jamestown College President Bob Badal said the convergence of media classes is something that he saw coming and that needed to be done.
"It's all mangled together - it's all one thing," Badal said. "If students aren't prepared for that, you got a problem."
When Listopad started seven years ago, Badal said convergence for communications programs was the ultimate goal.
"From the very beginning that was the only way we were going to develop mass communication," he said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org