Working with the NCAA, the IU National Sports Journalism Center formed the Final Four Student News Bureau as an opportunity for a dozen students to get real-world reporting experience at one of the nation’s most-watched sporting events, being held this year in Indianapolis.
Student reporters and photographers will cover news conferences, events and activities as well as write feature and enterprise stories starting April 1. A handful of student reporters and photographers will even get the chance to cover the semi-finals on April 3 and the Championship Game on April 5.
Their stories will be made available to other college publications nationally through the College Media Advisers, Associated Collegiate Press and National Scholastic Press Association, as well as on the NCAA and National Sports Journalism Center Web sites (see sidebar).
“It will be an incredible, life experience for the students. And, most significantly, it will allow the students to sharpen their journalistic skills by covering a high-profile event on deadline,” said Tim Franklin, director of the National Sports Journalism Center. “The goal is for the students to report and write original stories for a uniquely student audience, and to give that audience a distinctive feel for the Final Four that they can’t find anywhere else.”
Greg Shaheen, NCAA vice president for basketball and business strategies, said the NCAA as a higher education association is pleased to partner with the National Sports Journalism Center on this innovative program.
“For future sports journalists and communicators, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to practice and strengthen their craft by covering firsthand the premier sporting event in the country through this unique learning laboratory,” Shaheen said.
Bureau reporter Matt Dollinger is looking forward to the opportunity to not only hone his skills, but to also bring positive attention to IU students and the National Sports Journalism Center.
"Covering the Final Four is typically something you do at the pinnacle of your career, not at the end of your senior year in college,” said Dollinger, a senior. “This experience afforded by our National Sports Journalism Center will give us an invaluable opportunity and some incredible practical experience."
Fellow bureau reporter Zina Kumok is excited to tackle the challenges that come with covering such a large event.
“When covering an event this big, the hardest thing for me is the ability to find different angles and new story ideas. I always think of (the) writing tip, ‘when everyone else zigs, you zag,’” said Kumok, a junior. “Being able to work on stories during the week of the Final Four will help me learn how to develop original story ideas on deadline.”
School of Journalism Dean Brad Hamm hopes the bureau will be beneficial not only for student reporters, but for college media throughout the nation that might not be able to send their own staffs to the big games.
“One goal is to allow our students to cover the top sports events in the nation, including many of the NCAA national championships,” Hamm said.” Our sports journalism center and program is in the ideal location in Indianapolis for many of the best collegiate events each year.”
2010 Student News Bureau participants:
• Nathan Hart
• Ben Heisler
• Stephanie Kuzydym
• Sean Morrison
• DeAntae Prince
• Greg Rosenstein
• Justin Whitaker