Five juniors and one senior were chosen by a blind ballot of their National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) Chapter at HPU to go to the tournament. Juniors included Austin Ford, Danielle
Garland, Taylor Renwick, Kevin Russell and Joel Wilson, along with senior Joe Hutzler. They were accompanied by Dr. Bobby Hayes, assistant professor of journalism and adviser to the chapter.
While in Atlanta, they were given access to all of the press conferences,
locker room interviews, practices and a Full-Court Press Seminar held by the United States Basketball Writers Association. The students say the experience prepared them for careers after college.
“The Final Four is the top collegiate event,” says Wilson. “There are only a handful of events in the country that are bigger than this. To cover it is an opportunity only a handful of professionals get, let alone students.”
“This trip gave me perspective and knowledge of what it takes to make it in the real world. You have to hone in and focus on what you need to get done,” adds Ford. “We know what it’s going to be like on the front lines.”
Renwick appreciated the opportunity to experience the event from a reporter’s side, even though her focus is on public relations and marketing.
“Now I’ll know what reporters look for when I write press releases,” says Renwick. “They literally gave us 40 pounds of information when we arrived – I weighed it. No one is going to read a three page press release when they’re handed 40 pounds of materials.”