We Got Game: Sports Broadcasting at GSU
Arika Rogers remembers feeling “apprehensive” when she was approached to be the television director for a new Sports Broadcasting program at Governors State University. No newcomer to broadcasting or technology, Rogers holds a BA from GSU in Communications and is about to receive her MFA in Independent Film and Digital Imaging.
“I was interested in learning about doing a live show,” she said, “but I wasn’t knowledgeable about sports.”
It turns out that there isn’t a crucial difference between a basketball game and any other live televised event, though, when it comes to operating the production switcher. During Jaguar basketball games, Rogers sits at a video console that allows her to view the feeds from all five cameras, instruct the camera operators on positioning, and select which feed is broadcast at any given moment.
Conference athletics is a recent development at GSU, and Sports Broadcasting arises not only as a natural outgrowth of that expansion but, more crucially for the students involved, as the result of synergistic cooperation between three departments—the Division of Digital Learning & Media Design (DLMD), the Media Studies degree program, and Athletics.
GSU’s DLMD is renowned for its capabilities and creativity; its cutting-edge HD production facility is used by outside producers and it creates video content published and distributed worldwide.
When Athletics approached DLMD about providing coverage of games, Assistant VP and DLMD Director Charles Nolley saw the opportunity to create a valuable learning environment utilizing the robust technical capabilities at hand. The faculty in Media Studies were strongly supportive, and together with DLMD they crafted a plan to integrate Sports Broadcasting into the curriculum.
“We designed our infrastructure so that we can turn students loose to learn by doing,” Nolley said. “They directly operate all of this advanced technology. Our orientation is to empower the students.”
For example, students in Sports Broadcasting are learning to operate a high-end Snell production switcher, a Ross XPression real-time motion graphics system, video servers, an instant-replay system, and sophisticated audio and communication systems.
Every opportunity we can give our students to have a real-world experience gives them that much bigger of a step up when they’re going out into the industry. Sports broadcasting is an opportunity for them to already be making connections into the industry before they graduate.
“We mirror real-world broadcasting, and now I have experience with that right out of college,” Rogers said.
And, well, it’s sports after all—is it fun?
“Sometimes it’s stressful if something isn’t working right,” Rogers said. “But when everything is working, it’s pretty fun. And I’ve learned to enjoy basketball and have really gotten into the games!”