If March is Madness, then April is an Adrenaline Rush!

Posted on: April 9, 2013

deanwhitten-200x200Written by Whitten

The level of intensity within the classrooms, media and computer labs, editing studios and just about every nook and cranny in the CAS building escalates in April as spring semester wraps up. Surviving April report deadlines, capstone projects, award and commencement ceremonies, and guest lectures takes a lot of fortitude, if not adrenaline.

It's also the most exciting time of year!

While basketball fans (like me!) rabidly track their brackets through the NCAA finals, and baseball fans get spring fever, faculty and students prepare for the frenzy over another kind of finals.

This week over 50 CAS undergraduate students will participate in the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) at the MSU Union. This annual event gives our undergraduates an opportunity to showcase their scholarship and creativity before faculty, peers and external audiences. Aspiring researchers gain experience presenting their research, answering questions and receiving constructive feedback from judges. This is a huge event with well over 500 undergraduates from across campus participating through oral and poster presentations.

As I shared with you last week, we will also have 20 high profile sports journalists, analysts, commentators, bloggers and network executives sharing their expertise and career advice with our journalism students as part of the Spartan Sports Journalism Classic. Sitting across the table with NBA stars like Steve Smith,  Greg Kelser and Mateen Cleaves, or pro sports reporters like Joe Block of the Milwaukee Brewers, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News or Shireen Saski of CBS Sports Network -- just to name a few -- is enough to give anyone an adrenaline rush! All of these professional sports reporters and analysts are MSU graduates committed to helping prepare our students to be the next generation of all-star sports journalists.

This time of year, amazing opportunities like this abound for our students. Just over a week ago, CAS hosted the judges for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Best in Photojournalism 2012 competition, thanks to Bob Gould, CAS broadcast instructor and NPPA member. Our students were able to shadow the judges -- all national-award winning photojournalists -- and listen firsthand as they carefully critiqued each of the entries. The Media Sandbox later hosted an evening event in which students joined the judges to discuss what makes award-winning storytelling.

The judges offered advice such as "look at each story from the perspective of the viewer," "make sure what viewers are seeing matches up with what they are hearing," and "approach people using more of a conversational style than a formal interview style." When asked why the judges put so much time into judging, the only NPPA four-time Video Editor of the Year, Shawn Montano (visit Shawn's blog - Edit Foundry), wisely answered, "Critiquing others' work makes me a better editor. I'm an awards junkie because I want to know what good is in all genres." 

That sums up why we do a lot of what we do right here at CAS every day, and particularly this time of year!

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