Student Media Center emerges as digital news hub for NAU and Flagstaff

Mayoral debate
Mayoral debate
NAZ Today news director Patrick Walker co-moderated last week’s mayoral debate with Jan Petry.

Last week’s mayoral debate is a shining example of the success of Northern Arizona University’s Student Media Center at giving real-world experience for students while at the same time providing local news for the community.

“We had an outstanding production and a tremendous response,” said Patrick Walker, news director for NAZ Today, the student-run news station. “It was a heck of a debate…the gloves went off.”

Designed to mirror the consolidation of the news industry, the Student Media Center made its debut last fall as a convergence model that pools resources by collaborating between The Lumberjack, NAU’s weekly student newspaper; NAZ TodayKJACK Radio, NAU’s student radio station; and UTV62, a channel devoted to student produced television programming.

Walker said the Student Media Center has created a news outlet that is updated frequently and delivers news through print, web, television and radio to satisfy today’s younger generation’s desire for multimedia news on demand.

“Our students are looking at being the front runners of this convergence news and new media,” Walker said. “We consider ourselves Flagstaff’s nightly local news. We work hard to get out there and get what’s going on in the community, both the good and the bad.”

In addition to providing the only local television broadcast, NAZ Today also maintains an up-to-date web site,

“Our Student Media Center continues to be a rich source of information for the local community and region as well as the university campus,” said Mark Neumann, director and professor school of communication. “The students are doing terrific work.”