SOJC students take on the Worlds

SOJC Students Take on the Worlds
 

Sports Media Interns Cover the World Athletics Championships Oregon22

STORY BY WHITNEY CONAGHAN, CLASS OF ’23
PHOTOS BY OWEN LOWE-ROGSTAD, CLASS OF ’23

Tens of thousands of people are expected to flock to Eugene this summer to welcome one of the largest sporting events on the planet, the World Athletic Championships Oregon22 (WCH Oregon22). The track-and-field competition, hosted at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon July 15-24, will be broadcast to over 200 countries and is expected to draw a global TV audience of more than 1 billion viewers.

While the top track-and-field athletes across the world are training in advance of the competition, over 75 UO School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) students are putting in their own kind of preparation to seize a distinctive sports media and communication opportunity by creating content for WCH Oregon22.

“WCH Oregon22 has provided once-in-a-lifetime media experiences to SOJC students,” said Juan-Carlos Molleda, the SOJC’s Edwin L. Artzt Dean and professor. “I hope students and faculty will enhance their skills and knowledge with productions, networking and internships before, during and for many years after the championships.”

75+
students directly engaged in creating WCH Oregon22 content
6+
Hours of footage produced by content production students
20+
students working as loggers and runners for World Athletics Productions
2 a.m.
When earliest student shifts begin

Setting the Opening Tone with Animation

hand drawn storyboard idea featuring track athletes
This storyboard by UO student Josh Daniel visually outlines his idea for the 30-second opening credits video to be played on the Jumbotron in Hayward Field for WCH Oregon22. The project was part of the SOJC’s motion graphics course.
UO student Quinn Connell won the competition for his 30-second opening credits production in the SOJC motion graphics class. Reporter Devon Haskins of KGW News interviews Connell and shows a preview of the credits in this video.

Immersive media instructor Nikki Dunsire’s motion graphics course teaches students how to assemble video and animation content. Dunsire partnered with World Athletics Productions, the organization in charge of WCH Oregon22, to devise a competition where each student produced a 30-second animated opening title sequence for the broadcast.

Because it’s an introductory course, most of the 16 students had no prior motion graphics experience. To ensure they had the know-how to produce a title sequence, Dunsire front-loaded the course with skill building.

“It was a delicate balance of getting their skills up to par first, and then focusing on application,” she said.

Students had access to a library of over 150 videos and were granted creative freedom to conceptualize storyboards. The course was designed to be collaborative. Students worked closely with Dunsire, received feedback from classmates and underwent review sessions with World Athletics Productions. At the end of the 10-week term, students posted their final productions for a panel of judges who evaluated the submissions on a point system and selected one video to be the opening title sequence.

Advertising student Madyson Arthur was one of three runners-up, each falling just one point short of the winning piece, which was created by first-year cinema studies student Quinn Connell.

"I wanted to try something I've never done before,” Arthur said. “I like the process of turning ideas into real things, so this course sounded interesting. But I was skeptical because I had zero experience with motion graphics."

She said the opportunity to produce a project featuring world-renowned athletes ignited an empowering feeling of being a “part of something bigger than [her]self” and taught her that nothing is unattainable – a mindset vital for any creative professional.

Jake Savelich, a strategic communication master’s student, was another runner-up. Working on this project led him to change the focus of his future studies and work. Darrel Harrison, an advertising major, was the other runner-up who came within one point of winning. Harrison plans to be a graphic designer, social media producer, or media producer.  

“Students came out of the class in a position to step forward, and if they desire to do this work in the future, they have a solid foundation of professional portfolio work,” Dunsire said.

My colleagues and I have been thrilled by the students’ standard of work, quality of shot choice, and graphics integration. Hopefully, this real-world television production experience will inspire talented students into forging careers in the industry.
Alastair Waddington, Managing Director, World Athletics Productions
 
 
Reporting from the Sidelines

In the Track Bureau class, SOJC students learn what it takes to be a sports journalism or public relations professional. The 10-week course coincides with Hayward Field events, allowing students to apply the reporting skills they learn in the classroom to covering top-tier events like the NCAA Championships and Olympic Trials

Professor of Practice Lori Shontz taps her deep experience in sports journalism to push her students out of their comfort zones and ensure they master the skills of interviewing athletes, taking concise notes and reporting on deadline. 

“In the real world, there are deadlines you have to meet, so this is really good practice — jumping right from the event into writing the story,” said recent journalism graduate Tristen Shaw.

The course structure mirrors athletic preparation: Students learn tangible skills in the classroom, practice covering meets on the field and build up their repertoire to cover large-scale events like WCH Oregon22. 

“I’m excited for them to get the experience of working side by side with professionals,” Shontz said. “Everything we teach in the SOJC is a craft, and you learn your craft by doing it."

As part of their SOJC Track Bureau internships, eight SOJC students will be providing stories and social media posts for World Athletics Productions and helping to run the behind-the-scenes communications, particularly by facilitating video interviews with athletes. They will be paid with funds from the Office of the President and SOJC to work more than 40 hours a week covering Hayward Field track events from the Nike Outdoor Nationals and USATF Outdoor Championships in June through WCH Oregon22 in July.

Track Bureau student Elias Esquivel aspires to be a sports journalist. He is eager to cover a high-profile event and wow future employers with his portfolio.

“There's not one job out of college that I could have gotten where my editor would sit with me until 12 a.m. looking at my story,” he said. “[Shontz] really commits herself to us and … wants to ensure we really are improving and becoming better sports writers.”

8
Track Bureau interns covering WCH Oregon22
10-12
hours per day worked by track bureau students, who are often the last to leave the stadium
2015
the year track bureau was established by SOJC Instructor Lori Shontz
a student shoots photos at Hayward Field
Cierra Hitner '22, a recent journalism graduate, took sideline photos as a photographer for the SOJC's spring 2022 Track Bureau class.
SOJC Track Bureau class members
Eleven SOJC students participated in the Track Bureau spring course. Eight of those students will work paid internships during WCH Oregon22.
an SOJC Track Bureau student interviews an athlete at Hayward Field
Journalism major Aaron Heisen ’23, shown here interviewing UO distance runner Evan Holland, is part of the Track Bureau summer internship.
An SOJC student takes photos at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22
Results at the Finish Line

Throughout the Track Bureau’s 12-day work period during WCH Oregon22, plus two days of preparation, the eight interns represented the SOJC and UO professionally and authentically, both on camera in several interviews with Oregon media and behind the scenes while covering the event. In total, 57 stories produced by Track Bureau interns appeared on four websites: DyeStat, FanHub, Athletics Africa and FloTrack. They conducted live interviews with athletes, took photos and created thumbnails for World Athletics’ YouTube and other social media channels, and produced content encompassing the entirety of the competition for the Track Bureau and SOJC social channels. The interns and Shontz also represented the SOJC and UO in media interviews for the “UO SOJC in Action” video, KGW, KVAL and OPB.

SOJC student Mackenzie Days interviews gold medalist Anna Hall at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22
19
Instagram photo essays produced
250-300
interviews used by international press
57
stories written for publications
8
students who had a life-changing experience

Creating Content Worthy of International Broadcast

SOJC alums Sutton Raphael ’16 and Jordan Bentz ’12 led a weeklong Spring Sports Documentary Bootcamp as a portfolio-building primer for students looking to enhance their skill set ahead of WCH Oregon22. Fourteen student participants learned cinematography, aerial photography, drone flying and video editing.

four people look into the viewfinder screen of a video camera
SOJC alum and documentary bootcamp leader Sutton Raphael ’16 (left) worked closely with students to teach them cinematography and how to use high-tech equipment to produce high-quality footage for WCH Oregon22.

“The more we can help students lift those bylines and published pieces on their portfolio, the better we can prepare them to get through the door during their first job interviews,” Raphael said.

The students shot with high-tech cinema cameras to create a library of video footage professional broadcast units can use in their WCH Oregon22 coverage. They also produced a two-minute video with interviews of runners and action-packed footage from the Eugene Marathon and local trails, with the hashtag #whywerun as the common thread pulling the profiles together.

“I had never shot with professional cameras before,” said second-year student Maya Merrill, “but this made me realize it was something I want to continue doing in the future.” 

SOJC alum Lucas Hamilton ’20 is leading a three-month project with 20 paid students to deliver four interview-driven videos about Eugene’s connection to the track community. The 1- to 5-minute videos focus on the Track Bureau class, Prevention Science Institute’s research with Kidsports, Bowerman Sports Science Center on Hayward Field, and TracktownUSA. They will be accessible to international media looking for fully edited informational videos to insert into their broadcast productions.

a student films with a video camera
Journalism student Fiona Gibbens worked behind the camera to learn pre-production, production and post-production skills to prepare her to contribute content for WCH Oregon22.

This was journalism student Fiona Gibbens’ first videography experience that covered pre-production planning, production practice and post-production editing. The opportunity to be behind the camera allowed her to apply the filming and editing techniques she learned in production classes.

“I thought it was an amazing opportunity to work with these alumni who have been really successful in their craft,” Gibbens said.

I hope to give students the confidence to start producing their dream stories right now … we have so many tools at our disposal through the SOJC that I want them to know that there’s a low barrier for entry, and they don’t need to wait until they are out of school to start.
Sutton Raphael ’16

SOJC Student-Produced Videos for WCH Oregon22

 
 
Turning Allen Hall into a Media Hub

Allen Hall, home of the SOJC on the Eugene campus, will operate as a touchdown space for event attendees and international media. Meeting rooms and classrooms will be open to media professionals, and student workers will be trained to assist with technical issues.

Student ambassadors, who will be the first point of contact for visitors to Allen Hall, will get to network with media professionals and participate in informal workshops relevant to their work during the World Championships. They will coordinate tours for WCH Oregon22 guests, including prospective students, their families and donors visiting campus. Their preparation began four weeks before the event and included designing maps and signage for Allen Hall, creating social media content, perfecting talking points and organizing SOJC swag.

The opportunity to meet diverse journalists enticed future sports journalist Graham Metzker to become an ambassador.

“I don’t think I will ever be at a spot where so many different [journalists] from so many different media outlets will all be at one place, and I want to learn new perspectives from their experiences,” Metzker said.

SOJC students will also work as “loggers” who watch the live event feed in the World Athletics’ production trailer and write detailed accounts. The notes on the events will be edited into short stories and voiceovers assembled by World Athletics’ international and foreign language productions. Students will also work as runners, or general assistants who support the production team by securing items and running errands.

The professional relationship between the SOJC and the World Athletics Productions’ affiliated international broadcasters, news agencies and media outlets has evolved over the past three years. The continued exchange has opened the door for the SOJC’s professional partners to learn about the school’s legacy and its renowned student and faculty work.

“Our work during the championships will show future students, faculty and staff the value of the professional programs we offer at the SOJC,” Molleda said.

 
 
Turning Allen Hall Into a Media Hub

Allen Hall, home of the SOJC on the Eugene campus, will operate as a touchdown space for event attendees and international media. Attendees can rest in the atrium, get water in SOJC-branded water bottles, and recharge their devices. Meeting rooms and classrooms will be open to media professionals, and student workers will be trained to assist with technical issues.

Student ambassadors, who will be the first point of contact for visitors to Allen Hall, will get to network with media professionals and participate in informal workshops relevant to their work during the World Championships. They will coordinate tours for WCH Oregon22 guests, including prospective students, their families and donors visiting campus. Their preparation began four weeks before the event and included designing maps and signage for Allen Hall, creating social media content, perfecting talking points and organizing SOJC swag.

The opportunity to meet diverse journalists enticed future sports journalist Graham Metzker to become an ambassador.

“I don’t think I will ever be at a spot where so many different [journalists] from so many different outlets will all be at one place, and I want to learn new perspectives from their experiences,” Metzker said.

SOJC students will also work as “loggers” who watch the live event feed in the World Athletics’ production trailer and write detailed accounts. The notes on the events will be edited into short stories and voiceovers assembled by World Athletics’ international and foreign language productions. Students will also work as runners, or general assistants who support the production team by securing items and running errands.

The professional relationship between the SOJC and the World Athletics Productions’ affiliated international broadcasters, news agencies and media outlets has evolved over the past three years. The continued exchange has opened the door for the SOJC’s professional partners to learn about the school’s legacy and its renowned student and faculty work.;

“Our work during the championships will show future students, faculty and staff the value of the professional programs we offer at the SOJC,” Molleda said.