The School of Communications is set to offer a master’s degree in sports journalism. This move will make Quinnipiac the second university in the nation to offer such a degree.
Assuming approval from the faculty senate and the state, the program will be in place for Fall 2013. Associate professor of journalism and head of the graduate journalism department Richard Hanley will oversee its development.
“Currently students are encouraged to take a sequence of courses oriented towards sports but ultimately obtain a M.S. in Journalism,” Hanley said. “They can take those classes with this, but the degree instead will say ‘M.S. in Sports Journalism.’”
The decision to join Indiana University as the only schools to offer such a degree was an easy one, Hanley said. Quinnipiac is located within what professionals refer to as an “economic cluster,” which is when outlets related to the industry gather around a certain geographic area.
“We have an arc that includes ESPN, MSG, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, YES, SNY, MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Films and so on,” Hanley said. “In addition to that, we have all the magazines and all the writing vessels like Sports Illustrated and other websites.”
The new program will take aspects of the track that is currently offered, but will be taught by adjuncts from within the industry, according to Hanley.
“They come right from the ESPN studio to teach students about sports broadcasting,” Hanley said. “We are depending on adjuncts to teach these classes because it serves two purposes: experts and contacts.”
School of Communications Dean Lee Kamlet requested an upwards of $500,000 in funding for the program. The money will go toward new equipment and upgrades, including a venture that will put prospective students right in the middle of a professional environment.
“We’re hoping to build a remote sports trailer for our sports production,” Kamlet said. “I think it’s something that will be of huge use to the program and to the university; it goes beyond the School of Communications.”
The proposed trailer will have the capabilities of a functioning production truck used in the professional field. It will support full-replay capacities, editing software, audio support, graphics and more. Content will be distributed online through various Quinnipiac student-run outlets, and may even be used higher up.
“ESPN has contacted us because they are interested in covering Quinnipiac sports online on ESPN3, so that may be an option in the future as well,” Hanley said.
Kamlet says he believes the program will be greatly improved as a result of the addition.
“I think it will make the journalism program much more attractive because of the specialization and because of the never-ending appetite for sports content,” he said. “It’s more than just game production because that’s not just what we’re doing here; we’re training journalists to get involved with in-depth reporting. It demands a specialization in sports journalism that isn’t available now.”
If all goes as planned, Hanley believes this degree will elevate Quinnipiac to levels it has never been before.
“Five years from now, we will be the premier sports journalism program in the nation,” he said. “No question. Can’t wait.”