Media Studies Students Intern With NFL Films At The Super Bowl

News Story: February 1, 2012

On Sunday, February 5, 2012, approximately 113 million people domestically and worldwide tuned into multiple broadcasting stations to watch one of the biggest sports games of the year – the Super Bowl. Thanks to countless hours of work before and during the event by multiple media professionals, this year’s game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, which set a record as the most watched TV program in history, was broadcasted without a hitch.

“Most people don’t really know how much work is done behind the scenes to make the event viewable to millions worldwide,” says Sacred Heart University Media Studies Professor Brian Thorne. “Various media crews and companies arrive two weeks before the actual event to start preparing for the big day. Part of the preparation involves laying down about 250,000 feet of camera cable around the entire stadium and the field.”

Thorne works for the Super Bowl Core group, NFL Films, which he calls “the arms and legs” of the Super Bowl Engineering department.” When the location for the Super Bowl is announced and set, media engineers go to the site to survey the stadium and decide where the international and domestic broadcasting feeds will be located. Once the broadcasting outline is determined, various companies and crews bring their trailers, filled with equipment, to start setting up for the big day. This year, NFL Films was in charge of the international broadcasting feed.

“Our job was to work with international media clients who wanted the Super Bowl broadcasted live in their home countries. We worked to give them a Super Bowl experience that made it seem like they were watching it from right here in the United States,” said Thorne.

NFL Films had some helping hands at the big game from three carefully selected SHU media study students. These students accompanied NFL Films as production assistants and were the only three college interns at the event. To get to the game, the students applied to the media studies department chair through an essay about why they should be selected as an intern. The students were chosen based on their essays, GPA and grade level.

“The interns really had a great opportunity to see all the behind-the-scenes work pertaining to media that goes into the Super Bowl,” said Thorne. Thanks to NFL Films production manager, Tim Farrell, the interns were given all-access passes that permitted them to go almost anywhere and see almost everything relating to the media side of the Super Bowl.” The interns’ main responsibilities as production assistants were to assist NFL Films in ensuring that all their media feeds and equipment were ready for game day. This included helping set up and break down cameras, assisting the camera crew that day and communicating important information among the various media crews on site.

One SHU student who was selected as an intern was senior media studies major Maile Hetherington. “I was absolutely ecstatic when I received the email informing me that I had been selected to go to the Super Bowl. Not only did I do work at the stadium, but I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Showtime’s “Inside The NFL.” I helped them shoot an Iron Chef segment at Macy’s, and I also got to conduct interviews at Ron Jaworski’s Jaws Cigar Party,” she said.

Another student who made the trip was senior psychology and media studies major Caroline Campo. “It was a no brainer for me to take this trip. I am a huge sports fan, and one day I want to be in the broadcasting field. As an intern at this year’s Super Bowl, I was able to see all the different kinds of media jobs and opportunities that are out there,” she said.
Both said they gained real-world, hands-on experience that they will take with them as they prepare to enter the media field after college.