EUGENE, Ore. — The World Athletics Championships, also known as Oregon22, kicks off in Eugene on July 15 and eight students from the University of Oregon will be among the journalists covering the competition.
The opportunity is part of a paid internship partnership between the school and the event. The students are with the university's Track Bureau, which is a class within the School of Journalism and Communications.
Track Bureau didn't exist until Lori Shontz was given permission to start it in 2015 which gives students real world experience covering track and field in depth.
"So what you need to do is to know the sport really well," Shontz said. "What sets this class apart from most of what we teach in the journalism school is that you cover the same thing week after week after week. So you get to know the sport on a deeper level, which is not really possible during a 10-week term."
So imagine being in that classroom and your seat overlooks Hayward Field.
"The students work at Hayward Field every meet. They don't leave until their work is done," Shontz said.
Students come from a variety of majors to study sports journalism with a specific focus.
"It's a deadline-based class and it's a beat class. They start knowing very little about track and field and now at this point, they are experts. They've covered as much track and field as anyone in the country by this time of term," said Shontz.
The Track Bureau has already covered a wide variety of track events this spring, from the Pac-12 Championships to the Prefontaine Classic, and their work has been featured outside of the school.
"Everything gets edited by me before it goes out," Shontz said. "Over the course of the class, we have published with 38 professional news organizations from across the country and we've had more than 200 stories published."
For the 10-day competition, the students will work with event organizers to cover three main areas from reporting. They will also post on social media platforms and conduct interviews with the athletes.
"I just want to be a sports writer," said senior Elias Esquivel, who will write articles. "I just want to be a good sports writer, so this class and this experience is making me a well-versed sports writer. I never had the chance to cover track and field before and now I do."
Sophomore Chloe Montague will work social media.
"I haven't had a lot of experience before this class with social media. Especially not with a big audience like World Athletics has. It's kind of a crazy opportunity and I'm excited about it," said Montague.
Tristen Shaw just graduated and will help conduct interviews with athletes and help other media outlets.
"To do it in front of world class athletes, and being from Oregon, doing it in my home state, it's a pretty cool experience." said Shaw.
For Shontz, it's an opportunity to teach a subject she loves and to see her students excel from the beginning of the class, to the moments after an athlete crosses the finish line.
"A lot of teaching is you plant a seed and you hope you get to see it bloom at some point, and I get to see it bloom in this class," Shontz said.
The World Athletics Championships starts July 15 at Hayward Field and will wrap up on July 24.