Hastings College media students will produce the live video streams of the 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship semifinal games for the ESPN3 network, marking the first time HC students will produce under a global broadcasting network.
The semifinal games will be broadcast March 17 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and will be available online at WatchESPN.com, as well as on smartphones and tablets through the Watch ESPN app.
“It’s an opportunity for our students to take the production work that they normally do and share it on a national stage,” said Chad Power, assistant professor of journalism and media arts and student media team sponsor.
This is the 11th year Hastings College students have traveled to Sioux City, Iowa, to cover the NAIA DII Women’s Basketball National Tournament, and the eighth year that the student’s video productions have been broadcast through a paid Web streaming service offered by the NAIA Network on naia.org.
At the tournament, the college students produce live video stream for all 28 games in the first, second and quarterfinal rounds of the tournament, which are watched by audiences across the region through the NAIA site. The first three rounds of this year’s tournament are March 12-18.
The NAIA set up five national championship games around the country to be broadcast on ESPN3 this year. Representatives from the network had heard about HC’s past success streaming games for the NAIA and contacted Power in November to see if it was a possibility to use the students’ work.
The professionalism of the productions and the technical details of broadcasting with the network were big considerations, Power said.
“During one of our live streams of a basketball game in February, ESPN representatives logged on to watch our production to see what our product was like. The students didn’t know they were being watched. But after that night, ESPN gave us the go-ahead,” Power said.
“The entire HC Media staff couldn’t be more excited about this unique opportunity. Very few schools can say their students get this level of experience on such a big stage. We’re confident in the quality of our productions and we’re eager to potentially pave the way for future national broadcast experiences with Hastings College students and HC Media,” said Sam Gentry, a senior broadcasting student who will be a member of the tournament team for the fourth year this year.
Power said that the college team will add a piece of equipment to its normal production in order to broadcast with ESPN, and the two entities are still in discussions about how to coordinate graphics, game timeouts and live interviews. The tournament championship game will be produced and broadcast by a professional media team.
“The success of each year at the national tournament is always a reflection of the work that’s been done before. We have a professional foundation that has been put in place by our students over the last 11 years and that has given our product and our program a good reputation,” Power said.
Along with live streaming the tournament games each year, the HC student production team also participates in an experimental learning lab through the college journalism department by developing and maintaining an interactive, informative website covering all aspects of the championship.
The students produce print, audio and video recaps of each game, social media updates, photography, and feature stories on tournament players and participants. Their work can be seen during the tournament at mynaiatourney.org.
The HC media crew will consist of 18 students from areas of academic focus including journalism, broadcasting and communication: John Bouc of Weston; Austin Druse of Fort Collins, Colo.; Sara Fishman of Danville, Calif.; Sam Gentry of Lincoln; Kaitlin Grode and Mason Lindbloom, both of Omaha; Allen Hamil of Merrill, Iowa; Alex Hedlund of O’Neill; Russ Heitmann of Hebron; Anna Lichti of Shickley; Maggie Meisinger of Littleton, Colo.; Allyson Pelchat of Johnson; Lauren Sawyer of Gretna; Garrett Shafer of Haxtun, Colo.; Nicole Sherrill of Windsor, Colo.; Colton Spearman of Superior, Colo.; Brianna Turek of Wood River; and McKenzie Wedel of Colorado Springs, Colo.