Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Immersive Learning

July 24, 2015

In 2014, students from Ball State's journalism and telecommunications departments covered news at the Indiana State Fair. Students will return to the fair in August, working nearly round the clock to provide coverage to media outlets.

Ball State University journalism students will be at the 2015 Indiana State Fair in a few weeks, covering topics ranging from a medieval jousting tournament to the daily life of Hoosier farmers.

Led by Colleen Steffen, a journalism instructor, 30 students will participate in BSU Journalism at the Fair Aug. 7-23.

The immersive learning experience will provide content to various Indiana media outlets during the fair. Students also will be reporting almost around the clock on every aspect of fair life and disseminating their work via social media and the web.

Steffen said the expanded group, which features some of the university’s most talented undergraduate students, will build upon the initial success of 2014, when the group produced about 200 pieces of work published by 40 professional media outlets across the nation. Last year, students reported on everything from cows giving birth to deep-fried Oreos to two students’ very different reactions on carnival rides.

At the Indiana Fair

The students will post their stories on the website

"While those outlets and their consumers received unique slices of Hoosier life, stories that likely would have gone untold in today's era of strained newsroom budgets and staffing, the students learned to meet tight deadlines and professional standards in a real newsroom environment," she said.

"They also ate a lot of corn dogs."

The highlight of last year’s state fair occurred when students set up a slow motion video camera and filmed the 90-second clip "Puppy Lovin'." The video of the dog kissing both quickly went viral, getting national media attention from "Good Morning America" and USA Today.

The state fair project is a continuation of the university’s initiative to provide students with real life journalism experience. Previous immersive learning experiences took students to the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Steffen, who served as a faculty adviser during both the Sochi and London games, believes there are plenty of stories to be uncovered during the state fair in Indianapolis.

"The Indiana State Fair is all about life we see every day," she said. "Bringing those stories to Hoosiers will provide the students with a tremendous experience that they will remember the rest of their professional lives."

In addition to the website (, the group will post stories, photos and videos on Twitter and Instagram (@theindianafair) and on Facebook (At the Indiana Fair).