USD will dedicate Al Neuharth Media Center

USD will dedicate Al Neuharth Media Center During two days of events involving prominent journalists and national media leaders, The University of South Dakota will dedicate the Al Neuharth Media Center on the Vermillion campus. The dedication events, which include a concert and media symposium, are all free and open to the public.

The events will start with a concert and multimedia program celebrating the First Amendment at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 24, in Slagle Auditorium. The event, titled "Freedom Sings," will feature an all-star cast of Grammy award-winning musicians from Nashville, TN, and is moderated by Ken Paulson, executive director of the First Amendment Center.

Media executive and journalist Al Neuharth will be joined by South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, University of South Dakota President James W. Abbott, former U.S. Sen. George McGovern, Ruth Ziolkowski and other distinguished speakers for the dedication and unveiling of the Al Neuharth Media Center at 4 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 25. The dedication will be followed by an open house and reception.

The Al Neuharth Media Center Symposium, scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at Slagle Auditorium, features a panel of distinguished journalists, all of whom are past winners of the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism. The symposium, titled "Is the Free Press a Fair Press?" features former Associated Press CEO Louis Boccardi, Associated Press CEO Tom Curley, former NewsHour host Robert MacNeil, First Amendment Center founder John Seigenthaler and CNN anchor Judy Woodruff.

Freedom Forum Chairman and CEO Charles Overby and President Peter Prichard will moderate the event.

Neuharth will give closing remarks. The symposium will be televised live by South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

The state-of-the-art Al Neuharth Media Center is the result of a $5 million renovation of the former "New Armory" funded by the Freedom Forum and the University of South Dakota Foundation.

It houses media and journalism organizations, including Freedom Forum offices and conference facilities, the university's Department of Contemporary Media and Journalism, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, the Native American Journalists Association, The Volante, which Neuharth edited as a student, campus radio station KAOR and television station KYOT.

Neuharth agreed to lend his name to the facility because it was "a true media center. The facilities are even better than I thought they would be," Neuharth said. "I hope it doesn't spoil them. It's better than a lot of the places they'll be working when they're done with school."

Neuharth, a Eureka native and 1950 USD journalism

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graduate, is founder of USA TODAY, the nation's largest daily newspaper, and founder of the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people.

Abbott said "with the exception of the capitol, the Al Neuharth Media Center is the finest state-owned building in South Dakota and a great re-use of space.

"We look forward to turning out a new generation of journalists who go on to gain the prominence of our alumni Al Neuharth and Tom Brokaw," Abbott said. "This building will house everything they need to put them on that path."

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