Unique Wintersession course offers hands-on sports reporting experience

Holly Sinnema and Mariah Alne take turns as play-by-play and color commentator for the Lady Griz vs. Idaho State game.

Photo: Holly Sinnema (right) and Mariah Alne (left) take turns as play-by-play and color commentator for the Lady Griz vs. Idaho State game. (John Twiggs)

Students were able to experience what it’s like to report during live sporting events in a one of a kind Wintersession class called Sports Journalism.

John Twiggs, an adjunct professor in the J-School and television producer at Montana PBS, teaches the three-week, three credit Wintersession course. Prior to joining Montana PBS in 1996, Twiggs spent eight years as a sports reporter/anchor throughout Indiana, Montana and New Mexico.

“Twiggs is a great professor for this class,” said Holly Sinnema, a J-School senior who took the course this year. “He is knowledgeable about the subject and I feel that his criticisms are super helpful in steering us in the right direction to be successful. He keeps class interesting and I've enjoyed having him as a professor.”

The students are split into teams of three and cover six games throughout the course. One student acts as a play-by-play announcer, one student gives the color commentary and one is the producer. The students switch roles at each game.

“It’s fun. The students get excited about going to the games and the live aspect,” Twiggs said. “It’s fun to watch them and even though it’s only three weeks long, you get to see them make improvements.”

Sinnema said she had never done any sports reporting before signing up for the class but has always enjoyed playing and watching sports.

“I like sports reporting because I love sports and reporting on them brings me closer to the game,” she said. “Every game has a story, every season has a story, every team has a story, every player has a story and I enjoy finding those stories and telling them to people.”

Sinnema said her favorite experience from the class was getting to go to a Lady Griz game and sit courtside to call the game against Idaho State.

“I would definitely recommend this class to others, sports fans and non sports fans alike,” she said. “It's definitely a bigger time commitment than other Wintersession classes with all the games you have to go to, but it's so much fun. I think I've laughed more during this class than I have in any other during my college career.”

- posted on 01/27/15 -