Fighting Irish Media student staffers promote Notre Dame athletics, build community
Renee Pierson | Friday, November 22, 2019
The Fighting Irish Media (FIM) is a group of students and professional staffers that works to promote Notre Dame athletic programs and produce their media content.
Notre Dame football is one of the most well-known college programs in the country. However, they have not gained and maintained this notoriety alone — a number of organizations on campus such as FIM have contributed to Notre Dame’s illustrious reputation.
“FIM does a bunch of athletic broadcasts and video editing,” freshman Matt Smith said. “We’ll do a bunch of different promos for every sport so they can always put stuff up on video boards and social media accounts. We’re trying to highlight athletics at Notre Dame.”
Sophomore Maya Puterbaugh said FIM’s sports coverage is meant to energize the student section at every Notre Dame game.
“Overall, our big things are doing coverage for sporting events,” Puterbaugh said. “We operate the cameras that go to the video board and live broadcasts. We also make the promotional videos that go up on the video board like all of the hype videos with the awesome music to get the student section riled up.”
These are only a few of the many responsibilities that the FIM take on. For the football team, freshman Suneina Badoni said students are able to take up important production roles in areas such as “filming games, going to live events, making gifs for social media [and] making the hype videos for the video board.”
Generally, the work that FIM does is geared towards getting people excited for Notre Dame sports, senior Mia Berry said in an email.
“At FIM we’re consistently making sure that we’re creating a home-field advantage for every home game,” she said. “Home field advantage is just making sure that there’s a lot of energy in the stadium that ND players can feed off of and perform at a high level.”
(Editor’s Note: Berry is a former Observer sports writer.)
Freshman Eliza Smith said FIM strives to promote Notre Dame and the spirit of the Fighting Irish.
“I definitely believe FIM works to better the brand of Notre Dame,” Smith said. “We don’t put players’ names on the backs of their jerseys because the brand is not the player … right now the brand is Notre Dame.”
Supporting Notre Dame sports in this way contributes to school spirit in general, Matt Smith said.
“We hope to promote athletics in general because it’s a great thing for school spirit and school pride,” he said. “Something that Notre Dame is really good at is enhancing that.”
The student workers at FIM get to explore the world of digital media in a very hands-on way, senior Natural Baptiste said in an email.
“We have a lot of young adult and student workers who are in tuned with the times,” Baptiste said. “If someone has an idea, a lot of the time it gets green-lighted.”
FIM is one of the few programs in the country that allows students to produce media, Berry said.
“FIM has been complimented multiple times that our broadcasts look just as good if not better than other universities with professional staff,” she said.
This open access provides students with a unique experience, Puterbaugh said.
“ND is unique with how involved students can get,” she said. ”We have broadcasts where all the cameras are run by students, our replays are student-run, so much of the behind the scenes stuff they let us do. It’s real life experience and you don’t get that a lot of different places.”
The FIM provides opportunities for these students to gain knowledge that not only impacts the Notre Dame community, but also their own lives.
“Working with FIM made me realize that this was something I was doing with my free time, and I really enjoy it, and it made me realize that I wanted to go into the entertainment industry,” Puterbaugh said. “I actually ended up picking up FTT as a second major. It really helped me figure out that this is what I wanted to do as a career.”
Though the student workers have experienced personal growth through FIM, Baptiste said they have also learned the value of hard work and community engagement.
“It is a lot of work but at the end of the day, I know I was hired because I am capable of the job,” Baptiste said. “I can go back to my room after every game and know I did a good job.”
Eliza Smith said she is dedicated to the work, a commonality all the student workers share.
“I work really hard, I put in a bunch of hours, but that’s what everyone else does,” she said. “We all just have one goal which is the common goal, and the common goal is Notre Dame. I’m ok with not being recognized because if the players are meant to represent the brand of Notre Dame, why should I be any different? The point is that we made a good production and we did it together.”
Though they’re dedicated to their work, the students find time for fun, Badoni said.
“I don’t feel like work is an obligation,” she said. “It feels more like a privilege — I always have fun.”
Eliza Smith said the friendships that have formed between the staffers make the challenges of work more manageable.
“I really do believe that this is the most fun job I’m going to have in my life because you build relationships so easily,” she said. “Yeah, you’re under the wire and you have stressful moments, but then after it’s over and you just move on.”