Story by Emily Gregor
The annual Drake Relays was a cause for excitement not only for Drake students and faculty, but also for alumni and visitors from across the globe.
In addition to the countless reunions and the track meet itself, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication gave its students another reason to look forward to the event. They got the chance to experience Relays behind the camera alongside ESPN reporters and broadcasters.
“This really is a wonderful opportunity for them to put into practice on the largest student-produced sports telecast in the country and get real-life experience working side by side with ESPN,” David Wright, associate dean of SJMC, said.
Students were able to sign up for shifts that fit into their schedules as either a camera operator or a production assistant, and they couldn’t wait to get their hands on the equipment in the stadium press box.
“It’s never anything I’ve tried before and it seemed like a good experience to have as a J-school student,” first-year student Katherine Ramsey, said.
Ramsey also emphasized how much she looked forward to working alongside professionals.
“I’m just excited to get to wear press credentials and sit up in the press box,” Ramsey said. “It’s a good group of people to get to work with.”
Lauren Grabau, another first-year student was also excited to work with ESPN.
“We learned how to operate a camera during J57 and it seemed like a fun opportunity to actually put what I’ve learned into a real situation,” Grabau said. “Plus Relays is a huge part of the Drake experience and it’s neat to be able to get involved.”
In addition, she hoped to get a free T-shirt to parade around her hometown.
“It will be an interesting story to tell my grandchildren someday,” Grabau said.
Wright said other ways students would benefit included the motivation to succeed and improve their broadcast skills during their shift.
“More than a class exercise, the output that’s going on the scoreboard, that’s going on the cable channel, that’s streaming on the internet, they know people are watching it,” Wright said. “It’s very intense and it really causes them to have to step it up to a new level.”
Not only would their skills improve from volunteering, Wright said, but the experience made them more marketable for their futures.
“I believe it’s really important for students to get hands-on in production,” Wright said. “The more experience they have the more employable they are.”