Student Journalists Travel to Omaha to Cover College World Series
After a nail-biting series against the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the Tennessee Vols baseball team advanced to the 2023 College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska.
It was the team’s sixth trip in school history, second in the last three seasons, but for two team members of The Daily Beacon, Caleb Jarreau and Edward Cruz, it was their first time attending the College World Series.
Both have covered major competitions before like the SEC baseball tournament but nothing on this scale before. Financial support from the School of Journalism and Electronic Media and The Daily Beacon enabled Jarreau and Cruz to travel for the tournament.
“It was really cool,” Jarreau, a second year student in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media and incoming Beacon sports editor, said. “We weren’t any different from anybody else. You see people at the event you grew up watching and reading, and then you’re there with them, working alongside them and getting to interact with players and coaches from every team.”
Cruz, a junior Wildlife and Fisheries major and incoming Beacon photo editor, said the magnitude of this opportunity sunk in when a group of curious teenagers saw him carrying his photo equipment back to the hotel. He said they were excited by the fact that he got to go on the field, adding as a photographer he is able to view the tournament from a very unique perspective.
Jarreau said he enjoys working alongside sports professionals in such settings because it helps him grow as a professional and he always takes away something from the experience. For example, he took notes of the type of questions other journalists asked players and coaches.
Cruz also finds working alongside other photographers helps him grow as professional. For example, he said body positioning is an important aspect of getting a great shot and he has found himself parroting what other photographers have done.
Cruz said photographing baseball can be challenging because anything can happen in a blink of an eye. He feels this experience has helped him develop the ability to quickly acquire a subject for a photo which would be helpful later on as he hopes to get more involved in wildlife photography.
“I’ve heard plenty of stories from the trip and something definitely echoed from each student: This hands-on learning opportunity positively impacted their collegiate journalism experience,” Kylie Irvine, financial associate with the Office of Student Media, said. “Whether it was the opportunity to take photos and capture stories on the biggest stage in college baseball or network with collegiate and professional peers, I have no doubt that the cooperation of the School of Journalism and the Office of Student Media has the power to provide students exactly what they need: professional, hands-on experiences before they belong to the ‘real world.’”
Getting hands-on from day one
Jarreau started covering sports as a student at Karns High School in Knoxville. On his first day of school at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, he visited The Daily Beacon’s office interested in getting on staff to cover sports.
He started off writing a feature on the Vol football coaching staff. From there he moved on to covering volleyball, Lady Vols basketball, spring football and baseball.
Jarreau said the 2022 Tennessee-LSU football game was the moment he felt covering sports was something he wanted to pursue as a profession. With family from Baton Rouge, he turned a family trip into an opportunity to cover the game, which Tennessee won 40-13.
“That was really my first big experience covering football and in Death Valley,” Jarreau said. “And that was the moment where I was like ‘yeah, I want to do this for a long time.’”
Jarreau said he chose the School of Journalism and Electronic Media because he felt there will be a lot more opportunities early on and he was correct, adding he doesn’t think many students, especially as a freshman, would have gotten the chance to attend the College World Series.
Cruz came to the University of Tennessee to study wildlife and is very passionate about conservation and preservation work.
“I approached The Daily Beacon just to take pictures because I liked it. It was a hobby of mine,” Cruz said. “But, my experience with them has really opened up the possibility of pursuing photojournalism.”
He said after learning about American journalist Edward J. Meeman he began viewing journalism as a potential vehicle to merge his passions for conservation work and photography.
Born in 1889, Meeman founded the Knoxville News, the successor of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, and through that position and others in his 60-year news career he used his journalistic talents to advocate for the conservation of state’s and nation’s natural resources. His efforts include laying the foundations for the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority and being a prime mover in the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
His admiration of Meeman’s career has led him to explore photojournalism more and take advantage of opportunities to grow his skills. For example, this past spring he signed up for an advanced photojournalism. As part of the class, he got to participate in the Eyes on LaFollette project, which is celebrating 30 years of photo storytelling in the small Tennessee town. Cruz found the experience rewarding, adding he felt Professor Rob Heller helped him grown as a photographer and he got to meet some amazing people.
“Ever since I read about Edward Meeman and what the news can do for conservation, I’ve been reading a lot about photography and photojournalists to learn more about what this kind of life is like,” Cruz said. “If you can make an impact (on conservation efforts) being a journalist, I wouldn’t mind doing that.”
To see Jarreau and Cruz’s coverage of the College World Series visit www.utdailybeacon.com/sports/.