Sports Capital Journalism Program
By Cameron Stewart |@
Every now and then, I’ll talk to friends from high school who either chose not to go to college or decided to give up on college after a brief stint. I’ll hear them say the same old things about how college is stupid, designed to keep students in debt, and how people they know did great in school but have jobs outside of their major that have rendered their time and money spent on their education more of a burden than a tool for their success.
All of those points could be valid for some individuals, but thanks to the Sports Capital Journalism Program at IUPUI, it won’t be true for me. I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime as an aspiring sports journalist to cover the 2016 Final Four and national title game in Houston, Texas.
While I have yet to graduate and my future in sports journalism is a book that has yet to be written, IUPUI has given me a tremendous opportunity to gain professional experience that cannot be quantified. Before this weekend, the only events I had been given media credentials to attend were a couple of Indiana Pacers games and an Indy Fuel hockey game.
One of the criticisms with majoring in journalism is that you can learn about the day-to-day grind and how to do certain aspects of the job, but it’s just not the same as actually doing it. At first I was reluctant to ask questions. I felt I lacked confidence from my lack of experience. I was in a media room full of familiar faces that I’ve seen on television and people I’ve read over the years.
I have quickly learned that there is no room to be timid in a media room.
After all, my job is to get a story and tell it to the reader, the same thing that Andy Katz, Dana O’Neil, or Pat Forde are all trying to do.
I’ve spoken to a few friends at other universities who are also pursuing a career in sports journalism and the jealousy has shown me just how special this experience is for me. There aren’t many, if any, student-journalists who get this chance.
I’ve been given the full package that comes with credentials; locker room access, entrance to press conferences, third-row behind the student section seating. This doesn’t come with training wheels. It’s the real deal.
When I arrived at NRG Stadium for the first time for media coverage on Thursday, I felt like an outsider or like a visitor in someone else’s home. By the end of Friday’s media availability, I felt as if the media workroom was my workroom.
The experience is unique because you are in an enormous temporary office, surrounded by people doing the same job. But they are not your co-workers. The hours are long and I’ve probably spent more time in the workroom than in the hotel, but there aren’t many places I’d rather be.
I can’t thank IUPUI and the Sports Capital Journalism Program enough for giving me this opportunity. I came to IUPUI as an 18-year old who was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life professionally. After a few stints exploring other majors and career fields, I tested out some classes in sports journalism. I quickly discovered the strength of the program and the quality of the opportunities that students could receive.
I’m becoming more confident in my work, meeting veterans in the industry and learning that I belong in the media workroom. At IUPUI, I’ve discovered the profession that I feel like is for me, and I have been given every opportunity to be in a position to advance professionally. Not too many people can say that about their college experience. Whatever comes out of my time and money spent at IUPUI, I know it will have been worth it.