Sports Media Trainee Programme 2014-2015 ECC Blog

© WCF / Richard Gray

Throughout the week, the World Curling Federation’s Sports Media Trainees will be blogging from Le Gruyere European Curling Championships 2014.

Read about their experiences below:

Reflection

Sarah Lane (Journalist)
Well, it’s been a whirlwind experience working for the World Curling Federation here at the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships.

I have got to do things here that I would have never imagined myself doing in a million years.

I’ve met Olympians, written for a global audience and made contacts with people from all over the world. This is truly an experience that I will never forget.

It’s almost painful to think that I have to get on a plane tomorrow and fly back home to my daily life.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited to see my friends and family again, but how do you go back to your regular routine after doing something like this? How am I supposed to concentrate on finals when I know that there is so much more to the world than college?

Normally, I would be heartbroken at the thought of missing the last UGA vs GA Tech game of my college career (they play today), but instead I’m here having the time of my life and not wanting to leave this world that I have gotten so familiar with this week.

I guess I just have to push through my last semester and graduate in May.

That’s all from me. Hopefully you will see my work again sometime in the future. Until then, so long and farewell.

Jordan Schenkelberg (TV Production)
This has been an experience that I will never forget. The past 10 days have opened my eyes to all the possibilities outside of school.

Before coming here, I felt that I might not have been going in the right direction and I may have made a mistake in studying TV production.

This event has allowed me to see that all the trouble that I’m having is worth it. The idea of traveling all over the world while working on something that you love doing is amazing.

I know I want to work in live production now. The unpredictability of it all is incredibly exciting and I can’t imagine sitting in a studio show anymore.

I have met many fantastic people here and made plenty of contacts who have told me that they will help me when I get back and get me going in the right direction. This whole experience has been life changing.

Flannery Allison (Photographer)

© WCF / Richard Gray

Although I have technically been working the whole time I was at the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships, it really hasn’t felt like work.

Our days are long at the arena. We’re busy from around 9am to 11pm, but they go by quickly because I enjoy what I’m doing.

It is crazy to think that it has been 11 days since I stepped on the plane in Rochester, USA to start this adventure.

I have learned so much about photography here. I have also gained some images for my portfolio which is always valuable. The better my portfolio is, the better my chance of being able to find work.

In the arena, it feels like any other curling club. However, on the few occasions that we had time off, it was fun to go explore a place that I had never been before. I took a cable car up the mountain where I saw one of the coolest views I have seen in a while.

Along with the new place to visit, there were new people to accompany it. The people around me have been nothing but helpful and welcoming throughout this adventure.

This experience has made me want to work even harder at school so that one day I can enjoy adventures like these again!

Day 7

Sarah Lane (Journalist)

© WCF / Richard Gray

Well, I think I have finally found an aspect of this job that I do not like.

Today was the first time I had to interview skips from the losing team. It breaks my heart to see these great athletes look so upset. But, as a wise lady once said, success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed. I suppose Emily Dickens is right and you can’t truly celebrate a victory without experiencing a loss.

Two of my features have been published, with the third well on its way. This is the first time I have written for a truly global audience and the feeling is indescribable, but I’m going to try anyway.

It’s like I’m ecstatic, thrilled, joyful, nervous and slightly nauseous all at the same time (How’s that for a Taylor Swift song). But really, it’s incredible.

Because I haven’t written many news stories in a while before I came here, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pros. But today, I had one of the greatest compliments that I have ever received in my writing career. My mentor this week, Mike Haggerty edited one of my features and changed nothing. He said that he didn’t need to because it was great the way it was. I don’t think that has ever happened to me before. It was truly amazing (That didn’t mean that Danny didn’t change a few things, but I guess you can’t win them all).

I’ve amazed myself by how quickly I’ve gotten back into story searching mode, noticing everything around me and looking for details that I would normally miss. I guess it’s kind of like riding a bicycle (actually, I wouldn’t know. I don’t know how to ride a bike). I hope to keep this up when I get back home, even though I may not have any news outlet to write for.

I guess this is my last blog post for the week. It’s kind of hard to say goodbye. I may be more tired here that I ever have been before, but I’d be lying if I said I would never want to do it again.

Oh, and I got to play in the snow a little bit! It was fantastic!!

Day 6

Jordan Schenkelberg (TV Production)

Over the past few days, I’ve had a chance to see the more technical side of the sports television production. I’ve spent as much of my time as I can inside the of the production truck. It’s great to watch the director run the show, making it look easy. He manages to keep focus on everything that’s happening as well as tell a story or a joke in between shots.

I sat in with the shading crew and they allowed me to control the colouring and shading of a few of the cameras during one of the broadcast games. There’s quite a bit of micromanaging, having to keep an eye on every camera as well as adjusting the slightest change of lighting that may occur.

Today we had the afternoon off. Most of the crew got together after the morning game and had a very large fondue party for lunch. It’s great getting to see the people you work with outside of the arena, you can just relax, have fun and get to know each other.

Since this was our only time off, Flannery, Sarah and I decided to go for a hike. We took the cable car up to the top of the mountain to see the view. It was breathtaking. There is a huge valley on the other side that I had no idea was there. Seeing the mountains from our chalets is nothing compared to seeing them from above and looking down at the clouds. This country is incredibly beautiful. ​

© WCF / Richard Gray

Day 5

Flannery Allison (photographer)
Over the past few days I have continued to shoot as much as possible. I am beginning to learn that events like these are more like marathons than sprints.

I have shot lots of sports before but they have all been no longer than a day. This is very different in that you don’t want to take the same shot over and over again. That gets boring and when I do that I feel like I am playing it too safe.

I tend to like to shoot the safe shots and then afterwards try something new. Along with getting bored with the same basic shot over and over again there are also more photographers here than there was at the beginning of the week.

This means that there’s less choice on where to shoot from because there may already be a photographer in one of the spots.

With these two issues I have started to explore new locations and lenses to shoot with. At the beginning of the week I was shooting mainly with my 300 mm lens. I am still shooting with it a fair amount but using it in different ways.

I have also started to use a wide angle lens more than I did original. I have found it harder to work with it because with more in the frame it is harder to clean up your backgrounds so they do not distract from what you are trying to show in the image.

I have also played with getting up higher and shooting down. I have found this has a few advantages – one it cleans up the backgrounds and it allows you to get a new angle on something you have seen before.

These are lessons that can be applied to photography in general, not just sports or just curling. My class mates and I sometimes get frustrated when there is too much shooting of the same subject.

This week has taught me that this is how the real world can be. I have also discovered that if you look for a new spot where people are not at, you can make some interesting images.

© WCF / Flannery Allison

Day 4

Sarah Lane (journalist)
I have always considered myself to be a good interviewer. As a communication studies major, talking to people is something that just comes naturally to me. However, this is the first time I’ve ever tried to interview people who can be considered famous.

My first interview here was with Niklas Edin, the skip from Sweden who I watched play at the Olympics. Talk about a surreal moment.

The most insane moment of interviewing for me was when I was able to talk to Thomas Ulsrud, the skip for Norway. If you were to ask me who my favorite athlete is, I would immediately say Ulsrud. His team and their loud pants are the whole reason I fell in love with the sport of curling.

I can remember watching curling late at night with my mum because we couldn’t find anything else on. Norway was playing Germany and we were so happily confused with their pants and with Thomas himself.

We decided to call him Hottie McSweetpants (Thomas, if you ever read this, I promise I’m not a stalker!).

Since then, I have loved the sport of curling and it’s been phenomenal to be around people who love the sport as much as I do (the South of USA doesn’t really do winter sports).

So interviewing Thomas was one of the coolest things I have ever gotten to do in my life. I kept it together throughout the interview, but the minute I finished, my face had the goofiest grin that just wouldn’t go away.

Since that first day, I have interviewed almost every skip from every team and it has given me so much practice in the art of interviewing.

Some interviews are harder than others because most of the athletes here do not speak English as their first language and because I have a bit of a southern drawl.

It makes me want to learn as many languages as I can in order to communicate better with the people here.

So far I haven’t majorly messed anything up yet, but there’s always tomorrow.

© WCF / Richard Gray

Day 3

Jordan Schenkelberg (TV Production)

I applied for the World Curling Federation TV Production trainee position more for the sake of trying. I didn’t realistically think that anything would have come from it, much less that I would win.

I was on the train heading to school when I saw the email telling me that I made the shortlist. Seeing that, I just laughed very loudly in the busy train then gave a high-five to the person beside me.

One morning, I got a phone call from a blocked number. Thinking it was just an automated message, I did not answer it and let it go to voicemail. As soon as I hit the ignore button, I remembered that the winners were being announced today and my heart sank.

A message was left on my phone from Danny Parker, but I couldn’t make out what the number was. After a half an hour of playing phone and email tag, we finally got through and I was told that I had won the competition. I told everyone I saw that day; I just couldn’t contain my excitement.

Now that I am here, we are getting further into the championship and more opportunities open up. I have started shadowing in the control room and learning more about all the various positions involved in TV production.

I have also been going on outside shoots that focus on Champéry and some of the athletes, the most recent being an interview with the Estonia women’s team.

I have met some amazing people from all over the world and have also made some connections for back home in Calgary.

I am experiencing just how much work from everyone is put in to make the show run smoothly. Every position has an important purpose.

This is an amazing experience and I am truly grateful for all the opportunities I have been given.

Days 1 & 2

Flannery Allison (Photographer)

© WCF / Flannery Allison

So far, being a part of the Sports Media Trainee Programme for the World Curling Federation has been a fun and rewarding experience. We are only a few days in but I feel as if I am already growing as a photographer in some ways. However, I still feel I have a long ways to go.

I have been curling for the last five years, but I have rarely photographed the sport in that time. It is nearly impossible to both play and take photos during the same event, even if you have breaks from playing, you cannot completely commit to either one.

With this experience, I have been able to completely commit myself to photographing a curling event for the first time. This has allowed me to figure out some better ways to go about photographing the sport.

I have learned that it is ok to try something new even if it does not work because when it does work, you discover a new tool you can use not only for curling but also for other types of photography.

Along with my photography skill growing, I have also gotten to learn more about how the process works when you are under a time constraint. It is important to get the photo’s up quickly because people want to see them soon. If they’re not up in time, you may lose interest from the viewers. I had never thought of my workflow as slow until now. I have started to make adjustments to speed it up but still feel that more adjustments can be made.

Along with learning a tonne about the profession I hope to go into one day, I am also getting to go on an adventure that I will never forget. This is my first time in Switzerland so it has been fun experiencing the culture here. We also have a beautiful view of the mountains from our apartment because we are situated in a valley.

Lastly, I have gotten to meet some really nice people who are helpings us trainees navigate our way through our adventure. I look forward to seeing what else I learn and experience while I’m here.

Photo above: Lene Nielsen, Denmark skip – one of my own favourite photos so far.

© WCF / Flannery Allison

Arrival

Sarah Lane (Journalist)

Despite getting off to a rough start with an all-night paper writing session, canceled flight in the morning and a gubernatorial funeral procession, my mother was able to get a slightly hysterical, over caffeinated, highly anxious college student on a flight headed for a trip of a lifetime. In case you were wondering, the college student is me.

Word of advice, don’t ever use the excuse of saying that you can sleep on a plane because, let’s face it, that is a load of nonsense. If you tell me that you can sleep on a plane in total comfort, you are a robot and I’m going to call Will Smith to reprise his role in I Robot because you are trying to take over the human race.

Anyway, winning the World Curling Federation Sports Media Trainee Programme has definitely been the highlight of my professional career. I was so excited when I found out that I had won, I screamed in poor Chris Hamilton’s ear and then proceeded to jump and dance around my parking lot like a crazy person.

The only thing that has disappointed me so far is the lack of snow. I’m from the Georgia in America where snow is more like slushy ice, if we ever get snow, which we don’t. The exception is whenever we get a few inches, once in a blue moon, it shuts down our city. I just wanted to build a snowman or have a proper snowball fight.

However, even with no snow, this has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Being able to interview some of the best athletes in the world of curling is so cool (probably because we’re at an ice rink. See what I did there?). I honestly am so excited to be able to write for such a great organisation and I can’t wait to start working on some of the features that we have planned.