Op-ed: University unwilling to put effort into new Sports Media program?

(Photo: Bryce Johnson)

by Bryce Johnson
edited by CeLynn Siemons

The Sports Media Major is a thriving new program available at Franklin Pierce University which is currently being limited by the university’s unwillingness to allocate funds for necessary equipment.

In January of 2016, the university announced that it would be adding a new Sports Media Major but in the nearly two years since, it has done little to expand the program’s resources. One of the items needed is a portable TV studio that would cost roughly $30,000. In other words, it costs less than the tuition for one student for one year of classes.

Sophomore Sports Media Major Tyler Aragao said, “I think that if this school wants to pride itself on having the ‘best sports media’ program in New England. It needs to invest more into it and start taking it seriously.”

The portable studio is a 3-camera operation with communication units, microphones, a switching board, monitor and cables.

“(It would) allow the sports media students to go out and get good experience,” Professor Richard Roth, creator of the major, said. “It allows them to go out and get experience in producing and announcing.”

The sports media major has quickly grown to 46 students with another two students minoring in it.

The equipment would be used for the Sports Broadcasting and Sports Media Production classes, as well as Sports Event Production, a class Roth plans to add to the major in the future.

“I think getting a portable studio can only bring positives to the school,” Senior Sports Media Major Sean Ellertson said. “This is a campus where a huge chunk of the student body is an athlete, so covering one of the largest entities on campus only makes sense.”

The equipment could benefit more than just the sports media program as the games could be broadcast live on FPTV and on the Athletics YouTube or webpage. This would allow those who are unable to attend the game, whether they be parents, students or faculty, to enjoy the event. The game footage could then be taken and edited into highlight reels and recruitment videos and put on the Athletics YouTube page or shown to potential recruits. Then, sports media students could use what they have broadcasted, edited, ect. and add them to their personal portfolios upon graduation.

The program is not as appealing when compared to other sports media programs in the region. Quinnipiac University in Connecticut obtained a used ESPN broadcast truck to support their sports journalism major. Now Franklin Pierce is no Quinnipiac, our athletics are Division 2, they are Division 1, and they obviously have more money. No one is asking for the university to go out and get a used ESPN truck (though it would be nice), all the Sports Media Program is looking for is a $30,000 system.

I recently went to Southern New Hampshire University for the NE-10 Women’s Soccer Championship game to take footage of the game to make into highlight reels. While I was there I got an up-close look at their operation. They had three cameras rolling at all times, one on the sideline getting up field-level footage, another one overhead getting a wide shot of the action and the third up above getting close-up footage of individual players. It was nothing too fancy but it got the job done providing a solid product that they could play on their campus TV Station. And SNHU does not have a sports media program.

Ellertson said, “It would make the sports media major look much more legit.”

A portable TV studio would be a big step towards legitimizing the Sports Media Major.

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