Throughout my time at Ouachita within the late Nineteen Nineties, one of many phrases that Dr. Invoice Downs
hammered into mass communications majors was “monitor and alter.” I’ve at all times remembered
that phrase when plans that have been made need to be altered. Additionally throughout my time at Ouachita,
hands-on expertise within the classroom was an enormous a part of the curriculum. We realized
by doing. That hasn’t modified. Excessive-impact studying has at all times been a staple of our
division, and it performs an enormous position within the curriculum. 

Twenty-five years after having that mantra engrained into my head by all people’s favourite
red-pen-wielding editor within the halls of the Mabee basement, the world was compelled to
readjust when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. For myself and my colleagues at Ouachita,
it was within the type of altering hands-on studying to a distant type utilizing Zoom final
semester. The “prolonged Spring Break” for college students was a helpful time for school
to steer our collective ships 180 levels and start a brand new journey.

However what do you do in Sports activities Journalism class when sports activities are cancelled, and what
do you do in Broadcast Efficiency class when your college students aren’t capable of get into
the studio or work with the tools on campus?

Fortunately, there was one other group of people that have been asking themselves the identical
questions – the professionals. Sportscasters discovered themselves sitting at dwelling somewhat
than touring cross-country to broadcast the following sport. Writers discovered themselves
protecting how sports activities have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and, in some circumstances, discovered
themselves protecting information.

Fortunately, I discovered a lot of them keen to talk to the following wave of Ouachita sports activities
journalists and broadcasters by way of Zoom and to provide them ideas and encouragement.

After Ouachita despatched college students dwelling the weekend of March 13, I started to succeed in out to
Ouachita alumni within the sports activities communications business in addition to their business connections
across the area and nation. Curiously sufficient, different connections got here by
interplay on social media, significantly Twitter, as sportswriters discovered themselves
with extra time to answer to tweets or messages.

As at all times, Ouachita communications alumni have been very happy to go to with college students:
Rex Nelson (senior editor, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette); Jeff Williams (assistant director of statistics, NCAA); Cris Belvin (affiliate
AD for communications, Stetson College); Patrick Netherton (host of “The Patrick
Netherton Present” on 1130 AM, “The Tiger” in Shreveport and voice of the Northwestern
State Demons); Brent S. Gambill (Director of Communications, NASCAR Mid-Atlantic Area);
Tony Ranchino (videographer, KATV Channel 7); and Tiffany Lee (reporter, KFSM in Fayetteville/Ft.

Sports media studentsIt was additionally nice for our college students to listen to from some nationwide names. Final fall, Sports activities Illustrated and The Athletic each did items on the Battle of the Ravine. SI’s Alex Prewitt spent the vast majority of the week main as much as the sport on the town and
on campus researching the story. In a Zoom name with Alex, my college students have been capable of
hear how he produced a incredible story – his first story on the Battle of the Ravine
– that made it sound like he had been concerned within the rivalry for many years. On one other
Zoom name, Nicole Auerbach from The Athletic additionally shared how she researched the Ouachita-Henderson story, which was featured in
her weekly school soccer piece that uncovers the nice secrets and techniques of faculty soccer.

College students additionally heard from Seth Davis of CBS Sports activities and The Athletic concerning the significance of studying and writing in an effort to get higher at writing. Davis
usually would have been on the desk within the New York studios of CBS analyzing the
NCAA Basketball Event, however as an alternative he was sitting in his residence in California
giving tricks to Ouachita Broadcast Efficiency college students.

Fortunately, Twitter conversations led to talking appearances from play-by-play voices
like Pete Pranica (Fox Sports activities SE TV voice of the Memphis Grizzlies); Tom Hart (school
soccer, basketball and baseball, ESPN and SEC Community); Kyle Peterson (school baseball,
ESPN and the SEC Community); and Kevin Kugler (nationwide radio voice, protection together with
the Tremendous Bowl, Ultimate 4, Monday Evening Soccer, NCAA Baseball School World Collection,
The Masters and extra).

Not solely did each speaker inform Ouachita college students the important thing to getting higher was as
easy as studying and writing, each speaker additionally was greater than keen to talk to
them as rising professionals. In an business that has had its ups and downs on the
journalism aspect with job demand, these professionals within the business see the necessity
to assist the following wave of scholars who need to work in sports activities business communications.

Whereas we hope that we by no means have to return to that kind of studying throughout a semester,
we will likely be extra ready ought to the time come.


Chris BabbBy Chris Babb, teacher of communications and director of sports activities media productions.
(Lead photograph) Tom Hart of ESPN and SEC Community talks with Ouachita’s Broadcast Efficiency
class about technical features of broadcasting an occasion and the significance of each
crew member being a superb storyteller.




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