by Joe Mandese
Ball State University, the alma mater of David Letterman that has been developing a reputation for advanced media studies, Thursday unveiled a major initiative designed to advance the study of emerging media and to better prepare students for careers in a rapidly changing digital economy. The program, backed by $17.7 million in funding over the next five years from a combination of institutional and private sector sources, is another in a series of commitments the Indiana state university has made to become an area of academic excellence for the media industry.
BSU, which may be best known for a century of its so-called “Middletown Studies” observing and analyzing how average Americans actually consume media, is the home of the Center for Media Design, which is likely the first American university program to spin-out a commercialized research business for the media industry, the Media Behavior Institute, in collaboration with Sequent Partners (MediaDailyNews, June 26). It also has been working on an ambitious multi-market study for the Nielsen-backed Center for Research Excellence that leverages its proprietary observation methods to understand how consumers use media. And BSU, of course, is the alma mater of its most famous media alumnus, late-night host David Letterman, in whose name it has launched a new speaker and workshop series featuring prominent industry guests such as Ted Koppel and Tom Kelley.
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