Play by Play
Tucked away in a corner of the Mullins Center behind an unassuming door lies a dizzying array of screens, mixers, switches, and control boards with blinking neon buttons—simultaneously impressive and overwhelming. This setup is where junior and senior sports journalism students are learning to stream, edit, direct, and eventually master all manner of sports broadcasting. Students in the Live Digital Sports Production I and II courses taught by Senior Lecturer Greeley Kyle finish their second semester having broadcast UMass athletic events for channels that include ESPN+ and NESN. From maintaining the scoreboard to cuing up instant replays, they develop muscle memory of operating the intricate control board switches and moving around the control booth with deft precision, not unlike the athletes they capture on their screens.
This hands-on method of teaching was the brainchild of Kyle, who also serves as the director of the sports journalism department. “Students get very excited about the class, as it gives them a chance to experience the production side of a subject they’re passionate about—sports!” he explains. With more than 20 years’ experience in journalism, news reporting, and editing for television, Kyle recognized the need for undergraduate students to get as much hands-on training as possible before graduation.
“Coming into the class,” he says, “most students are planning careers writing about sports, doing color or play-by-play broadcasting, or covering sports on camera. They’re fascinated to go ‘behind the scenes’ and take part in the complexities and technology that look so seamless for the fans sitting at home.”
The class … is extremely interesting, and, for me personally, it’s opened up a lot of opportunities for a career in sports.