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Young journalists increase athletes' air time

When the Lehigh women’s lacrosse team took on Navy in April, 230 people watched the game live on Lehighsports.com and 100 tuned in to the edited post-game shows and interviews. While viewers may not have noticed a difference from previous broadcasts, they were actually watching a production run entirely by Lehigh students.

The lacrosse coverage is one example of a partnership between the Lehigh athletics multimedia office and the department of journalism. Through an undergraduate course, Journalism 232: Special Topics Practicum, students earn academic credit while gaining real-world experience in all facets of video production.

Kristen Dalton ‘10, a member of Lehigh’s basketball team, directed the lacrosse broadcast. She was given complete oversight of the broadcast—from setup to the game to post-production.

“No one ever likes making mistakes, but I made a lot of them and the most comforting thing was being okay with that in the sense that, I had to fix things, make them better, improve upon them and move forward,” says Dalton. ”There was no time to sit and dwell. Very much like basketball, you just forget about it and move on. But you become better in the process.” (Go behind the scenes to watch Dalton and other interns at work.)

Chip Kasprzak ‘10 agrees. “Among many other things, I was most surprised about the responsibility we were given in the internship, which helped create a challenging, yet rewarding, working environment.”

Experience: More valuable than ever

In the practicum, students set up interviews, film practices and games, interview athletes, and edit film. Much of the work is produced using Adobe Creative Suite, but students also have the opportunity to edit at the university’s state-of-the-art Digital Media Studio, where they learn to use Final Cut software.

“Lehigh students are incredibly fortunate to have the experiences offered by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics,” says Jack Lule, the Joseph B. McFadden Distinguished Professor of Journalism.

“In today’s job market more than ever, students need hands-on experience before they leave school. Everyone they compete against will have a college education. Experience is what will set them apart.

“The students have loved this class—and have thrived.”

In all, 17 Lehigh students—including several student-athlete—participated in the course, a traditional four-credit academic internship, or volunteered during the 2009-10 academic year.
 
The partnership is a boon for the multimedia office, which has only two full-time employees. The office covers more than 100 live video broadcast events and produces more than 300 videos during the year.

“It really has been a winning scenario for everyone involved,” says Jeff Tourial, director of broadcast and multimedia. ”The students gain a ton of experience and learn everything that goes into producing and editing a video for our web site, not to mention live production and all that entails. Our fans get access to student-athletes that they’ve never had before—including practices, feature stories, and coaches’ pre-game locker room speeches.

“And for us, we get eager students who want to learn and help us be in more places at once.”

 

Posted on Friday, May 28, 2010

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