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Leadership at the World Special Olympics

posted Monday October 29, 2007

MPSC multimedia designer Jay Heinz recently returned from a one-of-a-kind trip to China, where he helped provide news coverage of the Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai.

Heinz, along with six other journalists and media professionals from organizations such as The Washington Post and The News & Observer, acted as an adviser for a team of 18 UNC-Chapel Hill journalism students and faculty during the games in China, which were held Oct. 2 through Oct. 11.

He was in charge of managing the Shanghai University site, one of the four sites in the city where 40 students from UNC and surrounding universities provided coverage of five different sporting events. Heinz set up equipment for the students, taught the students how to shoot and edit footage and ensured that the overall operation ran smoothly.

The project was initiated last spring, when four classes in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication helped create stories about Special Olympic athletes training and preparing for the games. Students from Shanghai's Fudan University were also part of the project and were taught by visiting professors from UNC.

The students posted their material on the Special Olympic World Game’s Web site, www.specialolympicslive.org, and it was updated daily with news coverage of more than 7,000 athletes participating in the program. Heinz's team alone created and edited more than 3,100 videos.

"It was amazing just knowing that these [athletes'] friends and families could see them from halfway across the world. It was just an amazing experience to be a part of that," Heinz said.

Heinz is a recent graduate from the UNC School of Journalism graduate program in visual communications. At MPSC, he is part of the production team for planetarium and NASA Digital Theater multimedia shows.