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ESPNU Launches New Student-Run Initiative: ESPNU Campus Connection

Friday, December 7, 2007 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 11:26 PM, under , , , , , ,

College Students Contribute Content for Multiple ESPN Platforms; First Major Assignment on Jan. 9; 11 Schools Already Committed

Bristol, CT (Dec 6, 2007) - ESPNU, in collaboration with several colleges and universities from across the country, today formally launched a new student-run initiative called “ESPNU Campus Connection.” Working with students, professors and athletic departments, the new ESPNU initiative incorporates student-generated content across multiple ESPN platforms. Some examples include students announcing games (play-by-play announcer and analyst), sideline reporting and producing televised events on ESPNU involving their schools, as well as contributing special segments and feature stories for other ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN360.com, etc.) and writing articles for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com.

The list of schools participating thus far include Florida State University, Georgetown University, University of Georgia, University of Missouri, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Ohio University, Pepperdine University, Syracuse University, University of Tennessee, University of Texas (Austin) and Texas Southern University. ESPNU plans to have at least 20 schools participate in the initial year of the program.

The UNC-Asheville at UNC men’s basketball game will be the first major assignment involving ESPNU Campus Connection students Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Students from the University of North Carolina will serve in a variety of production roles, potentially including the responsibilities of game producer, play-by-play announcer or game analyst and sideline reporter. In some instances, following assignments, students will be given constructive feedback on their performance by ESPN and their schools.

“ESPNU Campus Connection will offer sports fans a unique perspective from a college student’s point-of-view, bringing them closer to the on-campus experience,” said Burke Magnus, vice president and general manager, ESPNU. “This initiative will give each participant an opportunity to gain invaluable professional experience through various ESPN multimedia services, which will shape some of the future reporters, writers and producers of the sports media world.”

Earlier this college sports season, ESPNU showcased some student-driven segments (sideline reports and school news updates) in its college football game telecasts and during SportsCenterU, its daily news and highlights show.

“The ESPNU Campus Connection initiative has been a great program for us at Florida State University to be a part of,” said Mark Rodin, a Technical Director at Seminoles Productions, Florida State University. “It gives our students an opportunity to get their work on a national sports network, which will surely help them in the marketplace. Knowing they have a shot at being on ESPN makes them work a little harder, challenges their creativity a little more and enhances their overall educational experience.”

Added UNC communications professor C.A. Tuggle: “As educators, we try to give our students experiences that closely mirror what they'll face as professionals. It doesn't get any more ‘real world’ than working on a game broadcast with ESPN." Our students will face all the pressures of live production, as well as reap the rewards associated with doing a good job on a broadcast seen by millions of people.”

Earlier this week, ESPN announced the addition of ESPNU HD, its fourth HD service that will launch on August 28, 2008. Projected to air more than 200 HD events in its first year, ESPNU HD will offer exclusive live event coverage in HD of college football, basketball, lacrosse, baseball, softball, volleyball, wrestling, hockey and more as well as encore presentations of ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD and ABC HD college sports content.

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