Jared L. Johnson
Evaluation of how well the academic objectives were met
In all, six mentored trips took place using funds provided through the MEG Gran. These trips took place between Winter Semester, 2012 and Fall Semester, 2013. Two of the trips were driving trips. The remaining four trips required airfare for participants. The following is a list of the trips that were taken:
1. February, 2012: Staff mentor Chad Curtis took four students to the BYU basketball game at Gonzaga.
2. March, 2012: Staff mentor Chad Curtis took three students to cover the BYU Men’s and Women’s basketball teams competing in the NCAA Tournament in two different Midwest locations.
3. In October, 2012: Faculty Mentor Jared Johnson took two broadcast and two print students to Notre Dame to cover the BYU football game.
4. In November, 2013: Faculty mentor Jared Johnson took three students to cover the BYU/Notre Dame Football game.
5. In November, 2013: Faculty mentor Jared Johnson took three students to cover the BYU/Wisconsin Football game.
6. In November, 2013: Staff mentor Chad Curtis took four students to cover the BYU/Nevada Football game
Following are the objectives for these mentored trips, along with evaluations of how well objectives were met:
1. Students get real experience of working outside their newsroom on deadline: This objective was accomplished in each and every trip. All trips resulted in successful segments aired on KBYU TV during either ElevenNews or CoogTube. In every trip, students landed interviews with important sources to air on the shows. All trips met their deadlines and saw firsthand what it was like to work in the field. All students interacted with working journalists recognized in their field.
2. Guidance from a mentor who works with them from before the time of their departure until the time they return (It can literally result in some all-night working sessions editing content the night before their show.): Nearly every trip ended up in at least one all-night work session side-by-side with the faculty mentor. In each of these trips, the mentor was able to help students learn new editing software and software needed to transmit stories back to Provo. Faculty mentors worked side-by-side with students without exception in every trip.
3. Interaction with current professionals in their field: Complete success. Students were able to exchange contact information with many working professionals. Many of these set aside individual time to talk with students in the press room and offer their advice or help.
4. Resume material that students normally would not get the chance to have until they have worked as professionals: Complete success. All students were able to have material they were proud of for their resume reels. I’ve worked with nearly all of them on their reels after this experience and they all felt like the material they worked on in the field was without a doubt their best work. In one trip, for example, students felt like they were getting excellent standups shot on camera on site and we spent quite a bit of time shooting them in the snow on the field at Notre Dame so they could include this material in their resume reels. On one trip, the faculty member got students into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where they were also able to shoot standups.
5. Job skills needed for the industry that simply cannot be taught in the classroom or during home games. This sets our students apart from competitors just graduating: Universities are simply not sending students to away games to cover these events. Consequently, they are not getting the experience of reporting in the field. After returning from these trips, our students report they are ready to hit the ground running and are more prepared than their peers. BYU is leading the way in this effort.
6. Faculty mentors successfully achieved every desired outcome in this project. Experiences they had with students have been recounted in the classroom and carry great weight with the students because they feel more real – and reachable for student in the classroom. Students want to have these experiences regularly. Professionals have visited our classrooms and instructed students.
Evaluation of the mentoring environment and description of results
Without exception, each of these funded trips produced an ideal mentored environment for student learning. We intentionally set the trips up to where we had at least one more-experienced student and one student with less experience. In most trips at least two of the students were less-advanced in our program and eager to learn.
In all cases that we are aware of, the students report this experience to be a highlight of their studies at BYU. One student, Zach Brady, went on the trip to Wisconsin to cover the BYU football game there. He wrote a letter at the end of his experience indicating that, “I recently was able to go to Wisconsin to cover a football game with Professor Johnson and two other students and the amount of insights, experience and hands-on training he was able to give us made it the highlight of my college career thus far.”
In one trip to Notre Dame, the students’ flight wasn’t supposed to leave until Sunday at 5:00 pm. The faculty member made it known that the group would be attending church the next morning before heading to the airport – a suggestion that met with grumbles from some students. The group found an 11:00 am church meeting, attended, and even met a professional in the field who is LDS at the church service. Afterward, all students thanked the faculty mentor for showing them that they need not take a vacation from their religion even when on the road for work.
Other valuable lessons learned came from the communication process that inevitably must take place when reporting in the field. For example: in a trip to Wisconsin, students going on the trip had a pre-trip meeting with producers and staff back in Provo to plan the trip and the material we would be reporting on. Students proposed a new open to their segment that hadn’t been used before. The faculty mentor and student producers approved. Student producers were assigned to communicate this decision to the News Director in charge. This communication never happened. When the material was sent back and ready for air, the News Director saw the chance and got upset because it wasn’t what he expected, student producers in Provo did not say they already knew about the change and acted surprised the students in the field would make such a change. When the News Director attempted to discipline students in the field, the faculty mentor told him about the decision. This led to a learning opportunity for both the students in the field (who were not at fault) and student producers in the studio in Provo. Regardless, the content turned out excellent in quality.
Each trip produced an (approximately and varied each time) eight-minute segment to lead the newscast that week. In most cases, there was content produced for Thursday, Friday and Monday newscasts on deadline. No group failed to make a deadline or produce broadcast-quality work, though no groug was without standard challenges that reporters must face on the road.
Many other extremely positive mentoring experiences were a result of these trips – too numerous to recount in a report. Students are anxious to continue these mentored trips and attempt now to position themselves early for selection to go on a trip.
List of students who participated/academic deliverables produced
Trip to Gonzaga 2012: Shaun Gordon, Briana Carr, Clint Martinson, Spencer Ngatavai
Trip to NCAA Basketball Tourney 2012: Christine Assily, Brittani Good, Scott Hansen
Trip to Notre Dame football 2012: Blake Tillotson, Brady Tucker, Alex Baldwin, Chris Bunker
Trip to Wisconsin Football 2013: Scott Gardner, Jacob Edmonds, Zach Brady
Trip to Notre Dame Football 2013: Mark Challis, Skyler Hardman, David Neeley
Trip to Nevada Football 2013: Clark Gerber, Derek McAllister, Kyle Ireland, Scott Hansen
In all, 20 different students received the benefit of a mentored experience with this MEG Grant. One print student (Scott Hansen) was able to go twice. Many of these students have graduated and were employed in places like FOX Sports and ESPN.
Description of budget/spending
Following is a breakdown of the expenses for each trip. All expenses were verified to be within parameters of the MEG Proposal by our department’s financial administrator, Layne Peterson. No expenses were made or authorized outside the approved parameters.
All but $930.45 of the original $20,000 allocation were expended.