The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons are heading to Houston for Super Bowl LI, and so are 11 Medill students.

The students, part of the school’s graduate sports media specialization, will have all-access passes to report on the Super Bowl experience from a wide variety of perspectives.

While that group reports from The Big Game, 13 other students from the specialization will be in New York City, where they will go behind-the-scenes with some of the biggest names in sports media.

“Our faculty members Candy Lee and Caryn Ward have organized a pair of incredible trips for our students that will surely be remembered as a highlight of their time at Medill,” said Director of Sports Journalism J.A. Adande. “I’m excited for the coverage and networking situations that await them. Journalism, as much as any field, is based on real-world experience, and these are tremendous opportunities.”

The two trips are part of Medill Explores, a week-long suspension of classes that enables graduate students to travel across the country and around the world to connect with Medill alumni and be exposed to life as a professional journalist. Previous trips ranged from reporting with journalists in Pakistan and learning about the combative relationship between the media and government in Argentina to going in-depth with Chicago’s arts and entertainment scene.

“Medill Explores is an extension of our decades-old tradition of connecting students with the world beyond our doors,” Associate Dean Charles Whitaker said. “My hope is that students will come away from the Houston and New York City experiences with a better sense of what the possibilities are for a career in sports media. I want their eyes to be opened to prospects beyond traditional writing and reporting jobs and see how the training they are receiving at Medill can serve them in a variety of sports-related media enterprises.”

The Houston cohort will arrive prior to Super Bowl LI and remain until the middle of the following week. The students will learn to cover an event with the size, influence and interest of the Super Bowl, and they will report on everything from player news and fan stories to security preparedness and the game’s economic impact on the city.

Once the Super Bowl frenzy has passed, the students will take in a Houston Rockets basketball game and tour the Toyota Center beforehand.

The students in New York, meanwhile, will spend five days meeting and interacting with representatives from sports franchises, leagues and media organizations, including:

  • National Basketball Association
  • Sports Illustrated
  • The Player’s Tribune
  • MLB Network
  • NBC Sports
  • Bleacher Report
  • Major League Soccer
  • US Tennis Association
  • New York Knicks
  • Brooklyn Nets

The cohort will also meet with sports editors at The New York Times and sit in on the paper’s Page One meeting.

Follow @MedillSports on Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates from both experiences, and follow the hashtag #MedillExplores to see highlights from all of this year’s Medill Explores trip.

Learn more about Medill’s sports media specialization.