Academics

Students interested in pursuing careers in sports media have a wealth of opportunities at Indiana University. The Sports Media Program at IU is a comprehensive educational program which allows students to combine unparalleled hands-on media experiences with state-of-the-art classroom education.

Incoming undergraduate students have multiple options for their sports media academic career. Many student choose to enroll in the Sports Media Concentration, which is housed within the B.A. in Media. This concentration allows students to explore the sports media landscape through courses in sports broadcasting, media management in sports, sports production, social media in sports, sports writing, and more.

The Media School offers the following sport-focused courses:

MSCH-B 330 Sports Media Literacy: The purpose of this course is to provide aspiring sports media students with a greater understanding of sports and the sports industry, the media institutions that cover it, and the individuals within those patterns of coverage. Working in sports media requires an in-depth understanding of a broad array of on-field and off-field rules for sports, as well as the ability to comprehend the similarities and differences between the different forms and types of media used in and around sports. Through readings, lectures, guest speakers, and activities, students will acquire a greater understanding of key concepts and elements within the sports world, how those concepts and elements may enter into media coverage of sports, and how sports public relations professionals approach those elements.

MSCH-B 331 Managing Sports Media: This course provides an overview of the business side of the sports media industry, including the processes of content distribution, finance, and technology. Students learn about the symbiotic financial relationship between sports and the media, and evaluate the rise of teamand leaguebased media that compete directly and indirectly with traditional media. This is a project and discussion-based class that gives students varying perspectives from a diverse range of professionals in the field. This course often partners with the FOX Sports University program on hands-on sports media industry projects. 

Team Members work control room during CBS Event

Team members from The Media School, CBS and IU Radio-Television Services work in the control room during the taping. (James Brosher | IU Studios)

MSCH-B 332 Sports Writing: This course introduces students to the most common genres in modern sportswriting. The introduction comes in two forms: reading terrific sportswriting, old and new; and producing sportswriting of your own, both in class and through formal assignments. The reading and the writing are equally essential—they reinforce each other. There will also be some lectures and some class visits from college athletes and working journalists. Basically, we’re going to write great, real-world stories. To prepare, we’re going to read great, real-world stories. If you haven’t done any sportswriting before, that’s OK. This class will provide all of the tools. It will also make you a better writer in any genre.

MSCH-B 333 Sportscasting: This course is designed to provide students with specific knowledge and training focused on sports broadcasting, particularly in the areas of hosting, reporting, and anchoring. This class introduces students to the history, theory, and sociocultural importance of the sportscaster position, and examines the changing role of the position in the new media age. Students will also be introduced to a broad variety of techniques for effective sportscaster preparation. Students will actively broadcast throughout the semester, primarily utilizing the Beckley Studio facility in Franklin Hall. Live sportscasting exercises include script writing, teleprompter performance, effective ad libbing, anchoring, interview skills, on-camera discussion, IFB practice, and a final project where students shoot, broadcast, and edit a 5 minute sports-themed video program for publication.

MSCH-B 334 Social Media and Sports: Social Media is a key element of all sports media, from the way stories are published and distributed to the way that audiences interact with sports figures, journalists, and each other. This course looks at how social media operates in the sports environment, how social networks have grown into key platforms for athletes and teams to reach the public directly, and how the features of social networks directly impact the way consumers receive and evaluate sports related content. This course uses a hybrid approach to learning, utilizing readings, videos, and discussions to evaluate the sports and social media landscape, and hands-on projects and training to provide students with experience working in various social media platforms.

Media School senior Juan Alvarado broadcasts Spanish-language play-by-play for the IU men’s soccer game v. Kentucky. (Emma Knutson | The Media School)

MSCH-B 340 Sports Video Storytelling: The purpose of this course is to provide aspiring sports journalists with the skills they need to put together packages for television and social media, conduct interviews for video, write for television and improve on-camera presence. Students learn how to tell a story with a visual narrative. Students will be asked to turn packages (stories) at regular intervals throughout the course. The goal of this course is to help students learn the process of finding a story, setting up a story, shooting a story, writing a story and editing a story.

MSCH-B 350 esports Journalism: This course is built for beginners and enthusiasts alike to learn more about the emerging field of esports journalism. Students will be trained to work on game recaps, feature stories, multimedia projects and more covering one of the fastest-growing sports industries in the world and also learn more about the business and traditional sports ties to esports as well as the history of the industry and controversial topics in the esports community.

MSCH-B 430 Sports Media Laboratory: This is a senior-level course designed to simulate a working sports media newsroom. Students enrolled in this course will be asked to consistently produce professional-caliber sports media content and/or contribute senior-level editing, management, marketing and decision-making skills to the process of creating, promoting, and disseminating that content. Content creators are expected to work collaboratively and publish across multiple forms of media throughout the semester. Each student will work with the professor to individually assess their work and their projects for the semester.

MSCH-B 432 Advanced Sports Writing: This class will require every student to take the next step from MSCH-B 332 Sports Writing, and across the course of the semester, produce several pieces of content that demonstrate an aptitude to report and write real-world stories, the same as any working sportswriter out there. We’ll build on the foundations you learned and honed in previous writing courses — nut graphs, story angles, approach, voice — and further develop those in a seminar format. We’ll also read some incredible stories along the way, stories picked to deepen your appreciation for the craft, cultivate your creative juices and inspire you to produce some terrific work of your own. Students will learn how to file public records requests, sift through data, find and pursue story angles, interview sources, edit each other’s work and craft a variety of stories that, ideally, will be strong enough to present to any potential employer down the line. Students also get the opportunity to speak with a collection of successful sports journalists from The Athletic, Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and Golf Digest — not to mention the general manager of an NFL team. We’ll read a lot, and write a lot, but this time, there’s going to be more freedom, and with it, more work.

Panel Discussion in Beckley Studio

Panel discussion between the hosts of The Toss Up.

MSCH-C 218 Sports, Media and Society: This course is intended to help you develop a better understanding of how sports is related to broader processes in society, with special focus on community as well as on gender and race. Sports are seen as both an independent variable (it has effects on us as participant and fan), and as a dependent variable in that sports are affected by organizational dynamics, as well as broader societal and cultural processes. Contemporary American sports are given central focus. Through the use of a variety of readings and discussions surrounding sports, you will explore the positive and negative consequences, societal risks, and ethical issues related to sports in society. In the process, you will develop a critical approach towards the study of sports. Other topics addressed by this course include the study of sports and socialization, intercollegiate and interscholastic sports, violence and more generally deviance in relation to sports.

MSCH-S 445 Sports and Television: This seminar course explores issues in televised sports in support of and in conflict with other cultural icons in society, business, and education. Our work in this course includies writing on the ways sports as programmatic content influences the media industry, and on the ways television influences college and professional sports.

MSCH-V 334 Sports Documentary: During the past decade, the sports documentary has achieved a heightened level of recognition not just in American sports culture but in the broader American public imaginary in and beyond American sports culture.  Networks such as NBA TV, NFL Network, Golf Channel and others have joined the established producers of television documentaries like HBO, PBS, and ESPN in proliferating and expanding the production of this media form. This course will examine the history and present state of the sports documentary.  We will think about a range of documentary forms and approaches that address sports as a topic.  And we will consider how these representations communicate social, political, and ethical ideas about sports and their meanings in the world.

Another incoming student option is to focus on the B.A.J. in Journalism, which allows for pursuit of concentrations in either News Reporting and Editing or Public Relations. Students are able to take the same sports media courses, regardless of which degree path they choose.

Graduate students can take part in upper-level skills-based sports media courses, as well as having the opportunity to work on special projects with experienced sports media faculty members.

For more information on our academic programs, please visit the Sports Media curriculum page.