Alumnus Roger Ailes helps fund newsroom
ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 31, 2007)—FOX News Chairman and CEO Roger E. Ailes, a 1962 graduate of Ohio University, has made a generous contribution to the university's Scripps College of Communication that will provide significant support for a new, technologically advanced newsroom.
The newsroom, located on the third floor of the Radio-Television Building, is part of a larger project to build, by 2012, an integrated communication facility for the Scripps College of Communication. Construction of the newsroom, which should be fully functional after the first of the year, is under way. A dedication is slated for April.
"This state-of-the-art newsroom will allow Scripps College students and WOUB professionals to work side by side," Scripps College Dean Gregory Shepherd said. "This gift is a wonderful and generous act of giving back by a very accomplished alumnus. I am very grateful to Roger for this extraordinary support."
Since 1994, Ailes has provided scholarships for Athens campus students enrolled in the Scripps College and working for campus telecommunication organizations such as the public broadcasting stations of WOUB and the All Campus Radio Network.
Ailes, a radio and television major while at Ohio University, served as WOUB Radio's student station manager for two years before embarking on an accomplished career as a television producer, television executive and political media consultant. He oversaw in 1996 the creation and launch of FOX News Channel, which passed CNN in the ratings in 2002 to become the No. 1 news channel in America. Most recently, he launched FOX Business Network.
"Ohio University ignited my interest in broadcasting, which became my lifetime career," Ailes said. "The education I received there gave me the opportunity to take on my first managerial responsibilities and provided early lessons in leadership. I'm happy to contribute to a great university."
The newsroom gift will double the space currently available to Scripps College students. It will serve as a real-life learning ground for the more than 300 student employees who contribute their talents to "Athens MidDay" and "Newswatch," two daily, student-produced, live newscasts, as well as "Gridiron Glory," WOUB's student-produced football show, and "Bobcat Blitz," the Ohio University football coaches' show that airs statewide.
The newsroom's features will rival the best in the industry today.
"This will be such a quantum leap from the newsroom we have, which has not been updated since the 1960s," said Tim Sharp, news director for the WOUB Center for Public Media.
The newsroom will include a live camera area that will allow students for the first time to produce live reports, interviews and weather cuts from the newsroom.
Senior Matt Barnes, who serves as host of "Gridiron Glory" and sportscaster for "Newswatch," said the newsroom will be "an amazing resource for college students."
"Being able to use the equipment and software I'll be using when I graduate is extremely valuable," he said. "I'm grateful to Mr. Ailes for his commitment to the Scripps College."
The gift also will double the number of core students at WOUB, defined as those who spend more than two hours a week honing their skills. That number now is limited due to space constraints.
Plans for Scripps College's integrated building involve renovation of a portion of the former Baker University Center, renovation of the Radio-Television Building and removal of part of Baker to construct a new section that will connect the two buildings. The facility will house the college's five schools and the WOUB Center for Public Media.