ASU students drafted by NFL for Super Bowl command center

ASU students receive Super Bowl training at the Cronkite School. More than 200 ASU students are assisting the NFL and major media outlets, providing critical support and news coverage for Super Bowl XLIX. Photo by: Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
ASU students receive Super Bowl training at the Cronkite School. More than 200 ASU students are assisting the NFL and major media outlets, providing critical support and news coverage for Super Bowl XLIX.  Photo by: Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
ASU students receive Super Bowl training at the Cronkite School. More than 200 ASU students are assisting the NFL and major media outlets, providing critical support and news coverage for Super Bowl XLIX.
Photo by: Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Jacob Garcia has been fielding questions all week from football fans coming to the Phoenix area.

He’s been asked about transportation, event locations and even which stars will be holding autograph signings.

The Cronkite School sophomore isn’t an expert in those topics, but this week he’s working with the NFL in its Social Media Command Center during the lead-up to Super Bowl XLIX.

Garcia is one of more than 150 ASU students who are monitoring all activities and conversations on the NFL social media channels and helping to answer fan questions about the big game.

“The fact that the Cronkite School was able to garner these types of opportunities for its students is incredible and just goes to show how much respect and credibility the program has from outside companies like the NFL,” Garcia said.

The Social Media Command Center at the Phoenix Convention Center is also home to one of the many NFL Network television studios where broadcasters are on the air in advance of the big game, allowing students the opportunity to watch professionals at work.

In addition to those volunteering at the Social Media Command Center, more than 200 students who attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication are reporting and writing about the Super Bowl for major media outlets.

Thirty students in Cronkite’s Phoenix Sports Bureau are producing stories about the Super Bowl for the Cronkite News broadcast and digital outlets.

Cronkite News, the Cronkite School’s award-winning broadcast news and digital media outlet, will have student journalists reporting on breaking news and events from Radio Row, the media epicenter of the Super Bowl.

In addition, nearly 50 Cronkite students are helping with Super Bowl-related show operations at major television networks and production companies such as ESPN, CBS Sports, NBC, MSNBC and Dick Clark Productions.

As part of the newly launched sports journalism program at the Cronkite School, students also produced Super Bowl-related content for news organizations such as NFL.com, Sports Illustrated, azcentral.com and FOX Sports Arizona.

In the Cronkite School’s Public Relations Lab, students will be working on four NFL-sanctioned Super Bowl events, including the 24th Annual Taste of the NFL, the NFL Gospel Celebration, the NFL Player Networking Event and NFL Mom’s “Basket of Hope.”

After the Super Bowl, Cronkite students will conduct a social media audit for the NFL, analyzing the league’s Super Bowl-related activities on social media. Students will provide recommendations in a report and presentation to the NFL.

Back at the Social Media Command Center, where the student volunteers were given Super Bowl polo shirts as a thank you for their time, Jacob Garcia is monitoring the Super Bowl twitter feed, pulling up a question from a fan asking about the exact location of the super-sized, 20-foot football in downtown Phoenix.

“Being affiliated with the NFL and the Super Bowl isn’t something that many can claim, so the experience was just invaluable,” Garcia said.

Written by Samantha Pell, ASU News