On Monday afternoons, cameras are rolling and the record light is illuminated on the fourth floor of Cavanaugh Hall. Inside, the studio is buzzing with IUPUI students anchoring, editing and producing Jag Sports Zone.
“It’s IUPUI’s version of ESPN’s SportsCenter for our teams,” senior Joe Tykane said.
In the show’s fourth season, the Jag Sports Zone crew showcases the best of IUPUI’s athletics, and it all starts with game highlights. You can find students recording video and interviewing players at swim meets, soccer matches and volleyball games.
“We’re in the heat of covering a team and being the main force covering it,” said Tykane, a sports journalism major. “It’s a nice learning experience, and it’s cool to feel like we’re giving more publicity to these teams that might not be getting it from other outlets.”
For the show’s sixth episode this year, Tykane helped put together the graphics for the show. He and fellow senior Dee Dee Gaddie designed the images that appear behind the anchor’s shoulder.
The team is encouraged to try out as many different studio jobs as possible. They have opportunities to learn everything, from running cameras to anchoring to running the teleprompter.
“You are getting the behind the scenes of an actual studio and getting hands-on experience,” said Kristin Kemp, one of the anchors on the show. “It makes you well rounded, and you can go into an internship or a part-time job and say ‘I have actually done some of this.’”
Jag Sports Zone is written and run by the students, but it is taught as an elective class under the leadership of Jon Greenhoe and John McCurdy in the School of Liberal Arts. Greenhoe was a big part of getting the show started in 2019 and revamping the Cavanaugh Hall studio.
“My first season we only had four students, so we had one person who wanted to be an anchor, one gal who wanted to be a producer and two other people,” Greenhoe said. “I think I had to recruit people just to get extra hands to run teleprompter and audio.”
The program has since grown to 10 students in the class, and the show is housed on the front page of IUPUI’s athletics website. They meet Mondays to record the show and Wednesdays to start planning for the week ahead. Greenhoe and McCurdy also hold workshops to take a deeper dive into editing, camera and production skills. It’s during those learning experiences that students say they start to find their niche.
Matthew Cassidy, a senior in the group, said his career goal is to get into sports radio, but he has found a liking to a job behind the scenes as a producer.
“The sports writing comes easy to me,” Cassidy said. “I’ve always been all about sports. I was the ESPN kid while everyone else was Nickelodeon.”
IUPUI sports are ramping up with Horizon League tournaments for the fall sports and the start of basketball season. Jag Sports Zone reporters met with the men’s and women’s basketball teams during Hoopsfest, a new kickoff event that featured a scrimmage and three-point contest to preview the upcoming season.
Now that most sports are returning to normal post-pandemic, the students are getting more of the in-person game experience that will continue to help them grow and open more opportunities.
“They’re getting their feet wet in positions that they can relate to at legit TV stations, which is that next step for an internship or a job,” Greenhoe said. “They’re editing for the first time or shooting for the first time and it doesn’t look that pretty, but hopefully they can put a check mark and say I’ve at least done it once. It’s that foundation of ‘I’ve done this before’ so they can keep getting better.”