New journalism class produces weekly sports show

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    The TCU Schieffer School of Journalism's new Television Sportscast class published the first broadcast of its weekly sports program Wednesday night.

    The class gives students experience in putting together a weekly sports news show. This is the first time it has been offered in the Schieffer School, according to professor Kent Chapline. 

    Chapline's experience in broadcast journalism includes producing television news at stations in Texas and Oklahoma for 13 years and managing cbsdfw.com for seven years.

    The students produce a television news package entirely about TCU sports, including varsity, club and intramural teams, Chapline said. They will rotate weekly between anchoring, directing and writing content, while students from the TCU News Now television staff assist behind the camera.

    Junior journalism major Tori Cummings said she was “all over” this class when she heard about it last semester.

    “I want to pursue a career in sports,” Cummings said. “I want to do sports on TV specifically, so I thought this was a great opportunity to still be practicing in journalism but getting that emphasis in sports that I want to do for a career.”

    Chapline said he plans for the weekly broadcasts to be shot on Wednesday evenings and to stream Thursdays after the TCU News Now segment on local cable television.

    He said this first weekly production went well.

    “I’m really proud of the students. They did a great job,” he said. “Not only how the sportscast students did today, but I’m also really, really happy with how the crew did.”

    The work of the sportscast class will replace the sports element of TCU News Now, according to Alex Apple, a sports beat reporter.

    Apple said this week’s program covered both men’s and women’s varsity swimming and diving, basketball, tennis and men’s club rugby. He said that next week’s show will include men’s club volleyball and that he looks forward to showcasing other under-recognized TCU sports.

    Chapline conducted interviews for students wanting to take the class. He asked them questions about their understanding of a wide variety of sports, as well as their understanding of reporting and broadcasting, he said.

    “I wanted students who had a reasonably good working knowledge of TV, not just in terms of how to produce a reporter package but also some familiarity with the process of producing a program and shooting it in a studio,” he said. “And I wanted to be sure that the students were really familiar with the intricacies of lots of different sports.”

    Apple co-anchored the first telecast. He said this gave him the opportunity to learn some skills that other students may not.

    “One of the things that you learn is how quickly things actually are going for people on TV,” he said. “They make it look so easy, but you’re rotating from different cameras, you’re keeping up with your script, you’re constantly tweaking little things.”

    Chapline said the basic premise of the class will be the same throughout the semester, while gradually increasing in difficulty. They will shoot a weekly newscast at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. It will be posted online at TCU360 and aired on TV after TCU News Now.

    “It’s sort of a crawl before you walk mentality. Overall, we’re just going to do the same thing but make it better,” Chapline said. “I have no doubt that the students will be able to meet the challenge, especially in light of how well they did today for their first time out.”