LSU graduate launches site focused on Louisiana football
BATON ROUGE, LA — When LSU Manship School of Mass Communication master’s student Michael Wunderlich walked into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Tuesday, Jan. 29, to cover Super Bowl Media Day, he felt like he was in a dream.
“Throughout the day, I kept trying to take mental pictures that I could hold onto forever, because it was such a surreal moment,” Wunderlich said.
The Florida native and University of South Carolina alum is one of six LSU Manship School master’s students taking a Louisiana-focused sports journalism graduate course this semester.
The goal of the course is to produce sports journalism in real time, while teaching multimedia skills and good reporting, according to Amy Reynolds, Manship professor and associate dean, who co-teaches the course with The Advocate sports writer Scott Rabalais. The class’s reporting can be followed at LouisianaFB.com, a website also designed and implemented by Manship graduate students that launched on Thursday, Jan. 31, or on Twitter at @LousianaFB.
“We wanted to give these talented students a vehicle to produce great stories about Louisiana football, starting with the Super Bowl and ending with the NFL draft,” Reynolds said. “The course challenges them to think and write about the incredible impact the sport of football has had on the state.”
In addition to covering the NFL, the students will report on National Signing Day, produce weekly blogs about football in Louisiana, cover the LSU spring game and write in-depth issue stories and personal profiles all connected to football in Louisiana.
“Sports writing helps hone skills for a variety of reporting disciplines that extends far beyond the playing field – covering hard news; writing features, opinion and business stories; to name a few,” Rabalais said. “I think our students will benefit from the skills they learn in this class no matter which facet of journalism they choose for their career.”
On Jan. 29, the students covered Super Bowl Media Day in New Orleans, tweeting from the event and interviewing coaches, players, media and others for their stories that appear on LouisianaFB.com, which will continue to showcase the students’ work across media platforms throughout the semester.
“I’m taking this class to perfect my skills as a sports reporter,” said Farren Davis, a first-year master’s student and Georgia State University alum. “And I’m learning from the best. The opportunity has been hugely helpful. I’m so thankful!”
Thomas McCall, a graduate student in the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, is taking the course as an elective. McCall worked with student media as an undergraduate student at the University of Notre Dame.
“The magnitude of the access journalists receive at Super Bowl Media Day really sunk in when Jim Nantz walked over to me, shook my hand and, in that unique voice that so many sports fans have come to know over the years, said he was happy to chat with me.”
Reynolds and Rabalais hope the learning experience is not only professionally helpful but also personally meaningful.
“Standing next to Stuart Scott while talking to Anquan Boldin was unbelievable,” Wunderlich said. “These were two people I had literally grown up watching and here they were right in front of me, so close that I could see the scars on Boldin’s arms from years of football, and the brand of eyeglasses Stuart Scott wears.”
He added, “Not many people get the chance to shake the hand of the heroes they had growing up, but I got to do that and more. Truly a once in a lifetime experience.”