Baseball players aren't the only ones polishing their craft in Florida this spring.
Thirteen Ball State University telecommunications students are forsaking the tradition of hitting the beach and soaking up some rays over their spring break to spend the week hunting for Indiana-centric stories at several Major League Baseball spring training camps.
The students will be in Florida from Thursday through March 9, covering the spring training sites of the Houston Astros, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins. MLB has 12 teams near the coastlines and three in the center of Florida playing in the Grapefruit League.
The BSU students are responsible for contacting teams and setting up access, organizing and confirming travel, interviewing sources, and producing stories. Ball State telecommunications professors Suzy Smith and Tim Underhill are accompanying the students on their trip.
“This is an opportunity for our students to work as professional journalists,” Smith said. “Every student will have an opportunity to file a story from a major or minor league baseball training site.”
The team will fill its website and several social media channels with stories and infographics. Baseball fans can see the coverage at BSUspringtraining.com, on Facebook at Ball State Spring Training; Twitter, @BallState_ST: and Instagram, @BallState_ST.
Ball State hopes to partner with other news outlets to get the stories wider distribution while offering those news organizations some original content they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, Smith said.
“We know that the Midwest has a great deal of interest in pro baseball with the popularity of MLB teams in Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati, as well as minor league team scattered around,” Smith said. “At the same time, we have former college and high school players now in the training camps as well as lots of [Midwestern] retirees who make their winter homes in Florida. So, there are a lot of great stories out there.”
News media wishing to partner with Ball State on its spring training project should contact Smith at 404-312-9418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.