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We are FGCU? No, we are ESPN 3

As excitement begins to rev up in support for another successful basketball season, the Eagles journalism department has been getting a bird’s eye view of the action.
A few lucky and proactive journalism majors have been working with ESPN3. They are the ones responsible for shooting, running and airing the clips from the FGCU home games.
Getting the experience of broadcast and programming is an important first step toward these students’ hopeful careers.
Unfortunately, FGCU does not offer a TV production program, making it difficult for some students to get a taste of broadcast journalism. Professor Judd Cribbs is helping aspiring journalists to get out in the field. He met with the athletic department and WGCU to inform staff of students’ enthusiasm for involvement.
Cribbs and professor Lyn Millner made announcements in their classes, persuading students to get a jumpstart toward their goals. Now, around twenty-five students are working hands-on with ESPN3 to cover men’s and women’s home basketball games.
The athletic and journalism department representatives said they couldn’t be more thrilled.
“ESPN3 sets up the system by which it can be broadcasted. The students do the actual camera work,” Cribbs said.
Though it seems to be an amazing offer for students, Cribbs said that there are only a handful of universities taking advantage of this opportunity as FGCU has.
“It’s a nice way to not only give our students the exposure to TV production, but also our players who weren’t being broadcasted anymore.” Cribbs said he shares the excitement of one of his students, Kaneisha Atwater, who is a member of the women’s basketball team. She was elated that her relatives in Virginia could finally watch her play division one basketball without the travel.
FGCU students work diligently to cover all home games that are not currently being broadcasted on other networks such as ESPN2, WINK and the Big Ten Network. So far, FGCU students have filmed a total of five games with the help of producer Sheri Colman, who is in charge of WGCU’s TV facilities.
Cribbs is offering service-learning hours for those who choose to get involved. He hopes journalism classes will eventually cater to broadcast journalists as well. “I would like to make this a class, but basketball season bridges two semesters,” Cribbs said.
Oscar Santiago Torres, a junior and journalism major, heard about the opportunity through another classmate. “I’m glad students are doing this, because it is giving us the experience we need,” Santiago Torres said. He said that, even though sports are not his forte, he enjoys learning the ropes of an unfamiliar task. “I like writing. I like photography. I like graphic design, so I was interested to see what TV production was like,” Santiago Torres said. Santiago Torres has filmed two games with several other students. At his first game, Eckerd versus FGCU, he was a graphics operator. He said he enjoyed making charts and graphs depicting statistics of the teams.
At his second game, Ave Maria versus FGCU, his job was floor camera operator. “That was interesting. The camera got pretty heavy after the first half of the game,” Santiago Torres laughed. He said that though he enjoys both writing and TV production equally, he can express himself clearer through writing.
This experience not only taught students what they wanted to do, but also what they didn’t want to do. “It’s all about finding your niche. Seeing what you’re good at and what you’re not,” Santiago Torres said. Besides an internship, this experience is the next best thing for aspiring journalists.
The opportunity to meet people currently working in the field, gain valuable references, and become exposed to the working environment gives students a chance to evaluate the work and consider if it is the job that matches their personal interests and personalities. ESPN3 provides a link between academic learning and professional employment. The students getting involved said they feel grateful and rewarded.

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