MediaPost Media Magazine

by Joe Mandese

As readers of our September issue may recall, over the summer I spent some time on the campus of Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., where I received a quick immersion in the university’s work in the field of media. While media studies pervade almost every aspect of the school, its hub is the Center for Media Design, a three-year-old project that got kick-started with a $20 million endowment from Eli Lilly and Co., the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical giant. The school just received a second $20 million grant from Lilly to continue its research and development on new uses of media to drive all areas of commerce and education, including an eHealth initiative. Major media corporations, including Microsoft, Sony, Time Warner, and Viacom, have begun using the Center for a wide range of research about how people use media. Like many of them, I was attracted by the publication of the school’s Middletown Studies, which chronicle and analyze how average Americans spend time with media, and how changes in media technology impact that.

Lest you think this is just another plug for BSU, here’s the light-bulb-over-the-head anecdote that is the reason for this month’s column. I was in the Center’s reception area talking to a few of the professors when I looked up at the sign on the wall and realized I was sitting in a center for “media design.” The next thing that popped out of my mouth must have sounded incredibly naïve to the academics: “What’s media design?”
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