This student newsroom and media lab serves six journalism schools in Georgia.

What would happen if you built your student newsroom completely around #MOJO mobile journalism?

That was the question I asked in 2010 when I was brought in to design a new media lab for IREX.

In 2017, we now know the answer. I think you’ll like this story.

When I designed this student media lab space around mobile journalism, I thought others would quickly copy cat my approach.

After all, every detail was built for the mobile reporting lifestyle with the modular technology package, the pre-configured pool equipment kits, the built-in charging stations and universal and easy access for any student or teacher to be able to reconfigure any part of the facility on the fly.

It’s simple looking back. Here is the pitch deck from the opening ceremony

Mobile journalism is much more than having reportera using smartphones. MOJO is also a galvanizing concept to rally a design project around.

In this case: A multipurpose video studio and multimedia classroom space designed to serve an international broadcaster and several journalism schools for 18 hours a day.

Everything moves here: The walls, the chairs, the rooms, the TV studio, the recording booths, the stages, sets and event spaces. Everything is mobile.

There are only a few desktop computers tucked into an edit suite corner.

Everything else is a mobile reporting tool – ready to go.

A brief history

– Concept preso and funding pitch 2010

– Construction in 2011

– Opening in 2012


Journalism Co UK featured the Smart Media Lab in 2013


The latest IREX case study about the project

– And in 2017 the concept is heralded a wild success


I love this bit from the latest IREX report.

Last year alone, the center hosted 371 students—almost a 17% increase from the prior year. Students, teachers, and administrators said they consider the center an indispensable resource for the journalism education sector in Georgia and beyond.


“The MEC is an absolutely crucial resource for us. It gives an opportunity to our students to work both independently and collectively,” said Nina Ivanishvili, dean of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management (CSJMM).


“We consider the MEC our right hand in providing education in journalism. It is an integral part of our university, which we cherish as much as we do our own school.”

“Students who have undergone practical training at the MEC show tremendous potential,” said Caroline Sutcliffe, founder of Chai Khana, an NGO that provides cross-border journalism training and online publishing for issue-based multimedia outlets in the South Caucasus. 


“The high-tech facilities of the MEC and outstanding trainers give these journalists a 360-degree view of the field, as well as a competitive advantage in their careers.”

Their success says everything we had hoped for when building this project.

How about you? Are you ready to build a Smart Media Lab. 

I have some proven ideas and some fresh experiences with combining design thinking and mobile journalism that would make me interested in doing a big project like this again.