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A $500,000 grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation will fund construction of a new media laboratory for the University of Tennessee’s College of Communication and Information in Knoxville.

The facility, which will be called the Scripps Convergence Communication and Information Laboratory, will be designed to help UT students prepare to work in a media industry that is becoming increasingly more digital and interactive. Construction on the lab is scheduled to begin during the summer of 2008 on the fourth floor of the UT Communications Building.

“The Internet and other emerging electronic platforms are revolutionizing how people are consuming media,” said Judith G. Clabes, president and chief executive officer of the Scripps Howard Foundation. “Consequently, much of our focus at the Scripps Howard Foundation has been on helping schools of communication across the country prepare their students to work in our ever-evolving industry. We view our growing partnership with the University of Tennessee as a wise investment in the education of future media and communications professionals.”

The Scripps Howard Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The E. W. Scripps Co., which owns and operates Knoxville-based Scripps Networks and the Knoxville News Sentinel newspaper. Scripps Networks includes the company’s portfolio of national lifestyle television networks, including HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living TV Network and Great American Country.

“Today, knowledge of new media is vital for those interested in a career in the field of communications,” said John Lansing, president of Scripps Networks. “My hope is that this new lab will expand the students’ understanding and knowledge which, ultimately, will make them more attractive job candidates.”

Bruce Hartmann, president and publisher of the Knoxville News Sentinel, said, “The grant for the new media lab at UT demonstrates in a very tangible way the Scripps Howard Foundation’s determination to help today’s journalism and communications students get out in front of the changes and opportunities in our industry. Managers of local and national media businesses will soon be looking to those same students for creative ideas and solutions.”

The grant for the media lab is the second commitment that the Scripps Howard Foundation has made to UT’s College of Communication and Information. Previously, the Foundation presented the university with a $50,000 gift to fund the Tennessee Journalist Web Journalism Project, which connects UT journalism and electronic media students with top Web journalism professionals.

About the College of Communication and Information

A center for innovative excellence in learning, scholarship and societal engagement, UT’s College of Communication and Information boasts faculty members recognized both internationally and nationally for their teaching and research. The college is made up of four schools: the School of Journalism and Electronic Media, the School of Advertising and Public Relations, the School of Communication Studies and the School of Information Sciences. The college offers four undergraduate majors, two master’s degrees and is home to one of the oldest doctoral programs in communication and information in the southeastern United States.

About the Scripps Howard Foundation

The Scripps Howard Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the E.W. Scripps Co. Its mission is to advance the cause of a free press through support of excellence in journalism, quality journalism education and professional development. The Foundation helps build healthy communities and improve the quality of life through support of sound educational programs, strong families, vital social services, enriching arts and culture and inclusive civic affairs, with a special commitment to the communities in which Scripps does business.


April Moore, (865) 974-0463,

Judith G. Clabes, Scripps Howard Foundation, (513) 977-3048,

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