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IU National Sports Journalism Center Receives Grant from McCormick Foundation

Tim Franklin
Tim Franklin

Published:

May 3, 2010

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The McCormick Foundation of Chicago has awarded a $35,000 grant to Indiana University's National Sports Journalism Center, based at IUPUI, to launch a free Sports Media Diversity Institute this summer to select high school students from Indianapolis and Chicago.

The institute will be conducted from June 27 to July 2, 2010, on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), and it will offer students intensive, hands-on training in the development and production of a sports broadcast and Web site.

The students will interview professional athletes, coaches and prominent sports journalists during that week, and then work with media professionals and IU faculty to produce a television segment and a webpage. Students who successfully complete the institute, graduate from high school and go to college will receive $500 vouchers toward their education.

The most outstanding student will receive the equivalent of in-state tuition to study in the National Sports Journalism Center.

WFYI-TV, the public broadcasting station based in Indianapolis, is partnering with the National Sports Journalism Center on the institute, and will be assisting students in the production of the television sports segment. WFYI expects to air the segment later this year.

The 18 students participating in the institute were chosen after submitting extensive applications and receiving recommendations from their schools.

Tim Franklin, director of the National Sports Journalism Center, said the goal is to introduce Indianapolis and Chicago youth to a real-world experience in sports media, and show them the potential of a career in sports beyond the playing field.

"We are in the midst of a serious high school dropout crisis in America, and it disproportionately affects cities like Indianapolis and Chicago, and people of color," Franklin said. "If we can turn students on to the exciting possibilities of careers in sports media, this will have been more than worth it. I'm very grateful to the McCormick Foundation for its support of this worthwhile program."

Franklin said he also hopes that programs like these will eventually help improve diversity in the sports media industry. A 2008 report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida found that 94 percent of America's print and online sports editors and 87 percent of sports reporters are white. And, more than 90 percent of those jobs were filled by men.

Franklin said IU would continue to work with the students after they leave the institute this summer, providing faculty critiques of work, career counseling and tracking their progress. He said that he hopes to make the diversity institute an annual event at IUPUI.

Clark Bell, the journalism program director of the McCormick Foundation, said funding of the Diversity Sports Media Institute "directly addresses our vision of developing a more informed, news-literate and engaged citizenry. We applaud Tim Franklin and his staff for their passion in creating this innovative approach to youth journalism."

Brad Hamm, dean of the IU School of Journalism, said the institute symbolizes his goal to improve diversity in the journalism school and, eventually, in sports media.

"We take our mission to serve diverse communities in Indiana and the Midwest seriously," Hamm said. "This institute will give students an amazing, hands-on experience in sports media that could be life changing. We're thrilled that the McCormick Foundation is partnering with us on this important initiative."