Ball State students cross the pond for Olympics

Ball State University students will travel to London to provide media coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games


With the 2012 Summer Olympic Games less than 100 days away, sports fans are searching for the best source of Olympic news. Students from Ball State University’s College of Communication, Information and Media in Muncie, Ind. are prepared to provide that news as part of BSU at the Games, an immersive learning program.

Through the program, more than 40 students from eight disciplines will provide coverage of the Games during the summer and in London from July 23 to Aug. 15. As part of Ball State’s immersive learning initiative, this opportunity will allow students to gain unparalleled career experience in journalism, telecommunications, photojournalism, public relations and graphic design.

“We first thought we would bring five or six reporters to London for a small media trip,” said Ryan Sparrow, head adviser for the project. “The trip exploded to a group of about 40 students from journalism to telecommunications to public relations.”

Students spent the 2012 spring academic semester preparing for the trip, operating as a news agency. Work is published at, which will be frequently updated with feature stories, photographs and blog posts. BSU at the Games is also providing Olympic news via Twitter @BSUattheGames, featuring live event coverage, images, videos and a British word-of-the-day.

A small group of students have already done some traveling, attending the Team USA Media Summit in Dallas May 12 through 14.

“The idea was to come down and start making a name for ourselves so that we weren’t starting from zero in July,” Sparrow said. “But guess what? We’re already known. As the incredible Vanessa Virbitsky (United States Olympic Committee) introduced us to press agents and athletes, many of them said they’d heard our name or heard of our project already.”

“Being the only college students at the 2012 Team USA Media Summit, I assumed we wouldn’t get a fair chance,” said Josh Blessing, a member of the sports team. “Not the case. We had just as much of an opportunity to speak with the big athletes as anyone else, and we took full advantage of that.”

As the summer season comes to fruition, BSU at the Games has completed the preparation necessary to become immersed in British culture, and more importantly, the culture of the single largest international sporting event in history.

Additional program instructors include Colleen Steffen, instructor of journalism, who heads the features team, and Chris Taylor, instructor of telecommunications sports, who heads the sports team. Sparrow, Steffen and Taylor will travel with the students to London.

“We think Americans will be interested in what life is like in London,” Sparrow said. “We know the major networks will cover the events around the clock, but we want to give people a taste of what life is like for Olympic athletes and visitors while the games are going on.”


By Alix Sappington  |  BSU at the Games