It’s not often that college students get to showcase their work on a national stage, but this Friday, three Klein College seniors will get that chance. ESPNU, which will be televising Temple University’s game against University of Massachusetts Amherst on Friday at 7 p.m., requested they put together a video package to be played on air during halftime.
“Over the years, we’ve had great [Temple] students that contribute great content,” ESPNU Senior Production Manager Acie Wyatt said. “It’s not just about making ‘newsy’ stories. It’s more about helping us get to know a team, a school better. With Temple, it’s easy because you get it.”
Wyatt contacted Matt Fine, an assistant professor of practice and OwlSports executive producer, for help assembling a team for this project. Fine chose three seniors: Tracy Yatsko, Sarah Shields and Ben Otte.
The students were amazed by the opportunity and excited to take it on. “It was mind blowing,” Yatsko said. “I think I told Matt, ‘I’m trying not to scream in your ear.’”
Their project focuses on one of Temple Athletics’ taglines, “Temple TUFF.” Players and coaches will often repeat the phrase but the video package asked them to define what that phrase really means.
“It’s about a strong mentality and a grit,” Otte, the project’s editor and cameraman, said. “Overall, we thought about Temple and this video from a national perspective. What do we know about Temple that others don’t?”
The video will give the national audience a sneak peek into the university’s athletics facilities from dawn until dusk to display the team’s camaraderie. It features interviews with football coaches and players as they define “Temple TUFF” and talk about the process of earning their jersey numbers.
Fine said he chose Shields, Otte and Yatsko because they go above and beyond the average efforts of college students. Shields, their field producer, works with CBS Sports and Fox Sports as a showrunner. Otte works on his company, Ben Otte Productions, and works part-time at WGAL 8. He already has three College Emmys under his belt. Yatsko is a junior reporter for Fox 29 and reported for The American Athletic Conference last year. She won her first College Emmy last week.
“It’s exciting because they could have chosen any university,” Shields said. “But we wouldn’t be here without our advisor, Matt Fine and the resources we were given.”
While creating this video, these students operated on a tight schedule (including including production as well as in-class time). The crew completed all the interviews and important shots in time to write the script on Friday, Sept. 8, go to the Mid-Atlantic Emmys on Saturday, edit on Sunday and submit the piece to ESPNU by Tuesday.
“It’s incredible exposure from a national sports leader,” Fine said. “We always see what our athletes are doing, but it’s nice to see what our students are doing. This is the perfect bridge.”