ESPN3 broadcasts give students sports broadcast experience
By Dushaun Headd
Students at Ohio University can now work on live sports broadcasts through an arrangement between Ohio University Athletics and ESPN. Women’s volleyball games, as well as men’s and women’s basketball games, began streaming on ESPN3 this past Fall.
This is all thanks to a TV deal between the MAC and ESPN, which was negotiated two years ago. It took a couple of years to get the broadcasts up and running because OU Athletics needed to invest more than half a million dollars to pay for needed equipment. The investment was possible partly because of enrollment increases over the past few years.
Cooperating with the Athletics Department in this program are the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, OU Southern’s Electronic Media Program, and the School of Media Arts & Studies. Students in these areas are now building resumes that will help them in the “real world” as a result of their experiences in handling these transmissions.
The program in anchored by a course taught by Don Moore, director of OU’s Electronic Media program and an associate professor based at OU’s Southern campus. In addition to Moore’s main Electronic Media course, students enroll in a series of one-credit “practicum” courses to get credit for the live productions. Over the course of four years, these courses can add up to a nine-credit specialization area for journalism students.
According to journalism major Jake Hromada, the new program is the pinnacle of what can be done as a college broadcaster.
“To work with something with an ESPN type of brand is a little overwhelming,” Hromada said.
Jason Chiappino, an OU Media Management grad who is now assistant athletic director for video productions and was hired to manage this program, has found it very attractive. With an ESPN trailer scheduled to be built and the opportunity to work with students, it was an easy sale for Chiappino.
“To be able to give back to Ohio University and the students is what makes it all worth it for me,” he said. He wishes for the class to live up to the ESPN standard as well as the Ohio University standard and sees the experience the students will gain in the trailer transferring immediately to the workplace.
“In this industry, no one person can make a production,” Chiappino said. ”I really hope they take away how to work as a team, and how to lead and follow as a team as well.”
Journalism freshman Gabe Genovesi is already seeing the benefits of the program.
“I would ... recommend this to anyone,” he said. “Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, you’re going to get so much experience before you hit the job market.”
Discipline is what Moore says makes people successful in this industry. “The students pay a little more attention because they are carrying the ESPN brand,” Moore said. Using the same type of equipment ESPN broadcasts would typically use, students understand the uniqueness of the opportunity which they have been presented.