Eton Tuttle, a high school student from Davis, California, hopes to one day be a baseball play-by-play announcer, preferably for the San Francisco Giants. Another high school student, Marenis Kansfield, from Peoria, Illinois, wants to direct sports documentaries similar to the ones on ESPN.
The two 16-year-olds took their first steps toward their dreams last week through a sports journalism summer camp at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The Cronkite Sports Broadcast Boot Camp is a two-week residential summer camp that exposes high school students to the growing field of sports journalism. Thirty students from 16 states are participating in the July 19-31 camp, which includes baseball play-by-play sessions in the press box during Arizona Diamondbacks games, as well as trips to cover the Phoenix Mercury basketball team and the Arizona United Soccer Club.
“It’s the perfect way to get a sense of what being a sports journalism major at ASU is all about,” said Mark Lodato, assistant dean of the Cronkite School, who leads the school’s sports journalism program. “Students are exposed to the resources, faculty and partnerships that make our program the best in the country.”
Sessions include video editing, interview training and play-by-play techniques taught by Cronkite faculty as well as leading Arizona sports broadcasters and producers from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phoenix Suns and KTAR sports, among others.
Kansfield, who is editor of his high school’s newspaper, said the camp’s video editing session will be helpful for cutting highlight reels of football games back home. Tuttle is excited to get in the broadcast booth at Chase Field later this week and call a Diamondbacks game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I’m a big baseball guy, a little basketball and football, but primarily baseball,” Tuttle said. “I just like to be around the game as much as possible.”
According to Cronkite production manager Brian Snyder, who is leading the camp, students will have the opportunity to record a play-by-play broadcast, which they can watch back at the Cronkite School. Before visiting the booth, students will receive play-by-play advice from Diamondbacks announcers Steve Berthiaume and Jeff Munn during a session at the Cronkite School. Additionally, Cronkite alumna Siera Santos, a sports broadcaster for CBS Los Angeles, is co-directing the camp with Snyder.
“I don’t know of another place in the United States where students can get on-field access to Major League Baseball, where they can do play-by-play broadcasting of a Major League Baseball team and learn the ins and outs of what it takes to put a sports story together for broadcast,” Snyder said.
In the past year, the Cronkite School has significantly grown its sports journalism offerings to include bachelor’s and master’s degree in the discipline as well as sports reporting bureaus in Phoenix and Los Angeles where ASU students cover professional and collegiate sports under the direction of veteran journalists.
Students regularly cover MLB spring training and recently reported on Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix. Lodato said students also will have the chance to travel to Rio de Janeiro to cover the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
At the Broadcast Boot Camp, students experience life as a sports journalism student on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, staying at the Taylor Place residence hall and using the Sun Devil Fitness complex. Kansfield said he has been amazed by the camp so far as well as the state-of-the-art media facilities at the Cronkite School.
“I looked all over for the best journalism schools and ASU just kept coming up,” Kansfield said. “When I finally came out here for a tour, I was introduced to this camp. Since being here, I have just fallen in love with this school.”