Students get hands-on opportunity at Final Four

Two senior journalism majors contributing coverage for the NCAA and a recent graduate completing an exclusive internship will give Penn State an important presence at the Final Four this week in New Orleans.

The hands-on opportunities were made possible in large part by the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State.

Through an agreement with the NCAA, Audrey Snyder of Downingtown, Pa., and Casey Kelley of Maplewood, Minn., will provide a variety of stories about all aspects of the Final Four. Their work will appear on the NCAA's website, and the Curley Center has launched "Final Four Focus" -- a news blog available at http://blogs.comm.psu.edu/finalfour that will carry the students' stories for the NCAA as well as additional stories they write from New Orleans.

Kelley also will assist the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) with coordination of its annual sports writing seminar for college and high school students, as well as the association's annual charity breakfast at the site of the Final Four.

"This is the third consecutive year that Curley Center students have had a presence at the Final Four in different capacities," said Malcolm Moran, the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and director of the Curley Center. "We are grateful that the NCAA and the USBWA have recognized the talent and commitment of some of our finest students."

The students' presence signals the continuation of a commitment by the Curley Center to provide hands-on experience at visible championship events for top sports journalism students. Along with experiences at the Final Four, two students worked in a similar capacity for the Bowl Championship Series national championship game in January.

In addition to Kelley and Snyder, photojournalist Andy Colwell, a State College native who graduated in December, will be working with veteran photographer Rich Clarkson during the Final Four. Rich Clarkson and Associates LLC manages photographic services for the NCAA, the Colorado Rockies and other major clients, in addition to a wide variety of individual editorial and commercial projects, working regularly for national publications such as The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and ESPN.

The Curley Center, a first-of-its-kind enterprise founded in 2003 and housed in the College of Communications, explores issues and trends in sports journalism through instruction, programming and research. Four full-semester core courses (sports writing; sports broadcasting; sports information and management; and sports, media and society) comprise the undergraduate classroom portion.

Complementary sponsored programming includes on-campus lectures, panels and workshops on journalism and the role of sports in society. The Center also conducts regular studies and surveys about trends in sports journalism.

Moran became the inaugural Knight Chair and director of the Center in 2006. He brings nearly 30 years of experience as an award-winning and respected sports journalist at USA Today, The New York Times, Newsday and Chicago Tribune to the position. In his distinguished and diversified career as a sports journalist, Moran has covered 26 bowl games with national championship implications, 26 men's basketball Final Fours, 16 World Series, 11 Super Bowls, several NCAA conventions and two Olympic Games.

In his role as the Knight Chair, Moran maintains many connections with professional sports journalism constituencies as well as students at Penn State and across the nation. He was recently named as the 2012 recipient of the Jake Wade Award from the College Sports Information Directors of America. The award is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in the media to the field of intercollegiate athletics. In 2007, Moran was as the print journalism winner of the annual Curt Gowdy Media Award presented by the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Last Updated March 30, 2012