By Samantha Aman
Criminal justice reform, Marvel’s “Black Panther,” the NBA’s one-and-done rule, DCCC’s College Alumni Mentorship Program, and the video game “Kingdom Hearts.”
Since its establishment in 2016, DCCC’s New Media Lab has covered all these topics and more, by producing more than 25 episodes of its two original podcasts: “This Must Be Heard,” which covers campus news and events, and “Study Break,” a pop culture podcast featuring discussions on sports, movies, music, and more.
But for the first time, this semester the organization will have access to a state-of-theart recording space in Room 1188 of the Student Center, which was reimagined over the summer with podcast production in mind.
The studio was originally designed for WDCR, DCCC’s radio station, which broadcast music around the Marple campus until going quiet 2013.
Director of Campus Life Allyson Gleason explained that when the New Media Lab inherited the space in 2016, they were given the difficult task of recording conversational podcasts in a space that was optimized for recording announcements and broadcasting music.
“A lot of the equipment that was in there and a lot of the software and technologies that were placed in there were really not suited to what is being used to produce podcasts,” Gleason said.
Maria Boyd, faculty advisor for the New Media Lab and DCCC assistant professor of communications, enthusiastically discussed the renovations and what they would mean for the New Media Lab.
“What we had to start with was leftover equipment that they put together for us, and it served us well,” she said. “But now [the space] is actually set up like a proper podcasting studio, where you can sit down with headphones and actually talk to each other.”
The renovated recording space is particularly fitting, given the New Media Lab’s mission to allow its members to experiment with evolving forms of mass communication.
“We’re always looking towards the horizon to try to be on top of what’s happening next,” Boyd said. “In 2016, when we started, a lot of people didn’t know what podcasting was. I couldn’t advertise [the New Media Lab] as ‘Come learn to podcast’ because none of the students had heard of podcasting. Now, it’s become quite mainstream.”
This shift is evident when talking to Tashea White, a liberal arts major and member of the New Media Lab, who said her interest in podcasts is what led her to join the organization
“[Podcasting] has been the form of entertainment I’ve been obsessed with the past few years,” White said. “Seeing its growth and how it doesn’t have a lot of creative limits right now, I wanted to learn more about how it’s made.”
According to Gleason, part of what makes the development of the New Media Lab unique is how it’s mirrored the general growth of podcasting.
“Now, we have this really great podcasting station, while other places are still trying to catch up to the level of [our] program, and I know there’s even more room to grow from here,” Gleason added.
Boyd said she hopes to expand the New Media Lab by attracting new members and wants to eventually branch out from podcasts to produce additional types of content.
“As interest grows, depending on who our members are, I’d love to see us do more with web design and information technologies,” she said. “We want to build up skill sets that you could use in a variety of different careers — not just in communications, but in different tech careers and other new media careers.”
All students, regardless of major, could benefit from joining the New Media Lab, said nursing major Lisa Hagood, who joined the organization in 2018.
“It’s definitely helping me figure out what’s going on with today’s technology,” Hagood said. “Jobs expect you to have computer skills, and so I knew I needed to take advantage of [the New Media Lab]. It helps me not get lost in the sauce.”
Boyd emphasized that students in the organization can choose to be on mic or work behind the scenes and said that those unfamiliar with technology or uncomfortable being on mic should not hesitate to give the New Media Lab a try.
“We’re all beginners,” Boyd said. “That’s kind of our motto. We’re all learning together.”
The New Media Lab meets every Tuesday at 11:10 a.m. on the Marple campus in Room 1170. Students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA to participate. Interested students are encouraged to come to a meeting, visit the Student Center in Room 1180, or contact Professor Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Samantha Aman at email@example.com