Named after a five million dollar donation from a prominent Indiana newspaper family, the Pulliam Centre for Contemporary Media, or PCCM, has served as the home to some of the most engaging student activities and organizations, such as WGRE radio, the D3TV student television, A Midwestern Review, and Depauw’s very own student-run newspaper, The DePauw.
Throughout the years, the building has gotten minor updates, but recently the building has undergone a few more changes, which the associate director of the PCCM and operations coordinator of WGRE Chris Newton was able to talk about. Newton has been at DePauw for almost 34 years. With his dad, mom, and wife all also working at the university, he described it as “family business.” Newton is the only remaining original staff member at the PCCM and was hired before they even finished building the center.
Over the last couple of years, the core idea behind all the updates made to the PCCM were to get the building in a better shape. The building received a new roof, new skylights, and a new air conditioning and heating system. Out of these changes, the new roof seems to be the most crucial one.
“The most important thing to me, personally, was to get the roof done because we had a lot of leaks around the skylights and that’s not good for equipment,” Newton said. The other two updates are also significant. The new skylights serve as a good source of natural lighting, and the new air conditioning and heating systems combat Greencastle’s intense heat and extreme cold, making the workplace more comfortable for students and staff.
More recent changes to the building include the introduction of the “Grottos,” which are new rooms in the basement for students to use and work in as they please. The Watson Forum, a 100-seat audio-visual auditorium, was enhanced with modernized equipment and a new audio-visual classroom was created. The audio-visual classroom helps professors integrate multimedia more effectively and efficiently into their classes. Lastly, a few years ago, the new podcasting studio was introduced for students and faculty to create their own podcast shows with up-to-date equipment.
Newton believes that the building has received all the major updates it needs, with only minor updates remaining. He stated that the university will keep renewing equipment every five to ten years at the PCCM for the students and staff to use. Adding to this, Newton also said that the future of PCCM is dependent on “where the future of electronic media goes,” as creating a contemporary environment for students to express themselves and keeping up with modern media is what the PCCM was built for. “Whatever we need to do in those areas to keep those areas contemporary, we’ll do,” Newton said.
The next leap for the PCCM is exploring the expressive forms of television. Although it’s only speculation for now, Newton put an emphasis on the subject, questioning whether the building should invest into creating a new studio or start teaching new video classes. “TV will be one of our next big things that we’ll go after,” Newton said. In addition to emphasis on TV, Newton also was passionate about the idea of integrating the use of the internet more deeply than it already is into the activities carried out at PCCM because of how diverse and widespread it is.
“You have a lot of power to put your things out there,” Newton said. That’s ultimately the goal of PCCM – to help students express themselves in front of an audience using their own mediums and forms of art and expression.
The interview with Chris Newton highlights the true purpose of the building, while giving insight on how PCCM will develop and expand in response to electronic media in the future.