Nowhere is the School of Communication and Media’s mission to providing an unmatched student experience more obvious than the rollout of the school’s new Red Hawk Sports Network, an exciting new partnership between SCM and the MSU Athletics Department.
The network’s first offering, “Inside the Nest,” is a weekly sports show that’s available on the MSU Athletics homepage and Youtube channel. The program made its debut in September, and while a number of faculty and staff provide oversight, the production team and on-air talent is comprised solely of students, beginning with the show’s producer and editor, Gabby Tancredi. The staff also includes RHSN broadcast interns Jack Barteck, George Jamgochian, Jon Kociban and Sonny Bartell. These four SCM students do most of the on-air news stories. In the spring semester, two more broadcast interns and an additional production intern will be added.
There is also a RHSN student club in which anyone can join. Club members pitch and do their own stories, help with shoots or shadow more experienced students. Dr. Stephen Andon is the faculty advisor for the club. Next semester, Professor Stacy Gitlin, who oversees Tancredi on the production and editing elements of the show, will teach a TVDM special topics class that will continue producing “Inside the Nest.” Much like the Montclair News Lab format, students taking the special topics class can take the class multiple times.
According to SCM Assistant Professor Kelly Whiteside, who serves as the network’s advisor, “Inside the Nest typically will be full of news, features and highlights about MSU sports. We certainly have had to get creative this semester given all fall sports were cancelled, so no games are taking place. Luckily, the teams are practicing so we’ve been able to do features on various teams as well as highlight special events on campus — for example, MSU hosted its first professional women’s soccer game recently when Sky Blue of the NWSL played two games on campus.”
In the spring, all MSU sports will be competing. This includes both fall and winter sports, as well as the traditional spring sports schedule. “Inside the Nest” will cover all MSU games held at Panzer Athletic Center and Sprague Field using the new Pixellot cameras that were installed in those venues by the Athletics Department. The new cameras can track the ball using artificial intelligence. They are fully automated and can capture high-quality sports game footage. The show can be streamed live or on demand directly to fans, all without a broadcasting control room. This initiative puts the network at the forefront of internet sports broadcasting, with students learning the newest technology available.
The show has also done special projects for the Athletics Department. During Virtual Homecoming on October 24 students produced a special Homecoming Edition of “Inside the Nest.” The SCM student team produced videos that the alumni office streamed to all those tuning in — a feature on the 2020 football team, a look at MSU’s fall sports and interviews with the 1970 football team, considered one of the greatest in school history, celebrating its 50th anniversary. Professor Steve McCarthy lent a hand when Don MacKay, an assistant coach on that 1970 team, came to campus for the shoot. The program has also produced several recruiting videos for the athletic department since many prospective recruits weren’t able to visit the campus last semester.
The title of the show was the brainchild of Tancredi, who came up with the idea to have a social media contest in which the audience could post suggestions and based on those suggestions with input from the four current RHSN broadcast interns settled on Inside the Nest.
The Red Hawk Sports Network launched in the Fall of 2019 and is a joint venture between the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media. It is the result of discussions between Keith Strudler, the director of SCM, and Rob Chesney and Shannon Howley with the athletic department. The collaboration has given SCM students valuable sports media experience covering games and telling stories while the Athletic Department is being covered in a more immersive way.