A reflection on things learned

July 23, 2010

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Covering the athletes, recording myself

The first thing you’re taught as young journalist is to leave your biases at home. In this case, I took them with me.

For the last two weeks the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications has been documenting the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games. This unique class allowed students to cover the USA National Games like a journalist or broadcaster.

After we collected sound-bites, video and interviews, the information was edited and published on the Internet for the world to see. We even sported official press credentials.

Beginning on July 12, students got a crash course in the world of journalism and mass media. We were taught how to use the latest professional non-linear editing software, learned how to operate three different types of high definition video cameras and were reminded that active voice is always preferred to passive voice.

Most of us may have assumed Special Olympics athletes are less capable of doing the things we might do ourselves

So how does an unbiased journalist block out the sentiment of joy when these athletes do more when they are perceived to be able to do less? We don’t. We feed this emotion on the inside by capturing it on the outside.

Scott Rohrer, 21, broke the Special Olympics international golf record this week with his 71 score for 18 holes of golf. Michigan’s Kolan McConiughey has bowled seven perfect games in his life. Team Florida’s basketball squad was so dominant in Special Olympics Games play this week that it was invited to play an exhibition game against former star high school basketball players. Team Florida won that game, too.

These performances and many more were amazing to see – and not solely as sport. The personalities were the real show.

The athletes’ enthusiasm was contagious. The high-fives never got old. The smiles were unrehearsed and could brighten the cloudiest of days. The sportsmanship was in full force. NBA commissioner David Stern should use it as a “101 good sportsmanship video” to show professional basketball players.

Bob Els, who directed the golf venue in Lincoln, said, “When you get out and watch the players play and cheer for each other, and for themselves when they make a good shot, it is something special.”

The last two weeks I have learned a lot. I am now comfortable approaching others for interviews. You do not pan just to pan while videotaping. Having a backup memory card is a must.

But what I will take most out of Special Olympics Journalism 498 is that the media have the power to shine a light on issues the public sometimes overlooks.

Journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault once said, “If people are informed, they will do the right thing. It’s when they are not informed that they become hostages to prejudice.”

Mass communications can change others’ outlooks – as well as my own.

Story by Aaron Krienert, Picture by Josh Kellams



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Husker athletes help out at basketball clinic

July 22, 2010

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Story by Farooq Baloch and Christine Scalora, University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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Celebrity football clinic steals night

July 21, 2010

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Players battle one-on-one in a drill at the clinic.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Cody Green reacts from Team Red’s sideline.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Scrimmage participants pose for a post-game picture.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Athletes run agility sprints as a part of a drill at the clinic.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Athletes put their hands together in a huddle following a defensive drill.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Craig Simmons, a flag football player from the Indiana Kats runs the ball at the beginning of the Red-Black scrimmage.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Vershan Jackson, founder of Nebraska Football Academy, gets the participants fired up.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A New Jersey flag football player practices running as a part of a drill.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Athletes, including Indiana Kats flag football player Jeffrey Miller (right), practice running and tackling at a drill.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Vershan Jackson gets a huddle of athletes pumped up before clinic drills.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Team rushes the quarterback from Team Black during the scrimmage.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, Unviersity of Nebraska-Lincoln

Craig Simmons, 29 from Kokomo, IN, runs the ball for Team Red.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Players from Team Black (left) and Team Red (right) fight for a pass during the clinic’s scrimmage.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tennessee Thunder flag football player Kevin Evans tries to avoid a flag pull from Team Red celebrity football players.



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President and COO of Special Olympics meets with UNL students

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Brady Lum with (from left) Dora Lopez, Casey Mattison and Kat Spader.

Brady Lum, president and COO of Special Olympics, met with documentation team members from UNL at the power lifting event. Lum was once part of the management team at Coca-Cola for 15 years before getting involved with the Special Olympics. Asked about his move from Coca-Cola to Special Olympics, he said, “It just felt right.”

Lum works directly with the CEO of Coca-Cola, who also happened to be on the board of directors for Special Olympics. When the position opened, he turned to Lum. Lum decided to attend a Special Olympics event and said, “You volunteer one time, and you’re in it for life.”

Lum continues as a part of the organization as a member since 2008. His advice to students was to “soak it all in. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Soak it in.”



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Huskers and Olympian motivate volleyball athletes

July 20, 2010

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln volleyball players helped competitors at the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games. Olympics gold medalist Tom Hoff was also present.



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Huskers assist volleyball athletes

July 19, 2010

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln volleyball player Lindsey Licht assists Special Olympics athletes at the USA National Games volleyball clinic on Monday, July 19, at the Abbott Sports Complex in Lincoln, Neb.

Photo: Amanda Schutz, University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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Athletes arrive on UNL campus

July 17, 2010

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Photo by Chelsey Criner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

An escort led the athletes for the games to University of Nebraska-Lincoln on Saturday, July 17. Athletes had just arrived in to Lincoln courtesy of Cessna.



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Staff at Abel Hall help with check-in

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Photo by Chelsey Criner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Staff are ready at Abel Hall to help students to check-in for the Games. Teams staying at Abel Hall include Nebraska, Texas, Mississippi and Iowa.



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Michigan athletes ready to see the sights.

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Photo by Chelsey Criner at the University of Nebraksa-Lincoln

Athletes from Michigan checked into Schramm Hall Saturday morning. After checking in they decided to take in the sights and find out where the buildings for competition.



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Local elementary students support athletes

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Photo by Chelsey Criner at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Students at Lincoln Elementary Schools show their support to the athletes. Signs of support like these ones are posted up around the dorm rooms at UNL.



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