Students discuss their 2012 Olympics coverage

Students discuss their 2012 Olympics coverage

As pictures of athletes and landmarks rotated in the background, the students who participated in the “BSU At The Games” immersive learning program talked about their amazing summer spent in the United Kingdom at the first Professionals in Residence program of the semester.  The hopeful journalists talked about the excitement each felt being in London along with the things they witnessed and learned, but mostly they spoke about the experience of working in a real journalism environment.

Every one of the students, from photographer Valerie Carnevale and reporters Emily Thompson, Chelsea Kardokus, and Brandon Pope, to Public Relations student Kait Buck, discussed how real it felt to have assignments and deadlines that extended beyond the classroom.  “There were times where we literally never went to sleep,” they would explain. “We were working from 8 in the morning until 4 or 5 in the next morning…and that’s London time.”

It wasn’t all doom and gloom according to the students though, because they were able to rest with the satisfaction that a national audience viewed a large portion of their work.  This was due to the fact that another participant in the project, alumnus Alex Bordens of The Chicago Tribune was able to distribute their articles, pictures, infographics, and videos.  Whether it was a feature story on boxer Errol Spence, an infographic on badminton, or one of the hundreds of photos taken, these stories went from Ball State minds to national eyes.

By the end of the project, the students ended up having their work showcased by The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and USA Today College.  In addition to this, the team’s video packages were used by WTHR Channel 13 and Ludus sports, and there will even be a documentary on the project that will air on Fox Sports College Network.

The pressure to succeed and the challenge of the work were all worth it, however.  “I learned a lot about myself as a journalist through this experience,” said reporter Emily Thompson. “I discovered which skills I have down and which skills I need to work on, all while further developing my writing style.”  All in all, school credit, a chance to work in a professional environment, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience: Not a bad way to spend one’s summer as an undergrad at BSU.