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Ball State University student Kara Biernat, a resident of Crown Point, will take her videography and reporting skills to South Korea later this week to cover the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Biernat, who is studying telecommunications and journalism at Ball State, will report from the games through the university’s Department of Journalism immersive learning experience, BSU at the Games.

The student-run news agency debuted at the London 2012 Olympics, and members have been to both the Winter Olympics in Russia and the summer games in Brazil.

“My role on this trip will be to write and do some video concerning different events and stories about the athletes, events and culture,” Biernat said.

“Our team has been meeting twice a week to go over content and any ideas. We have also gone over how things are going to run and have organized ideas so we are ready when we arrive.”

Biernat and four other students are being led by Ryan Sparrow, Ball State journalism professor, and will provide daily coverage of the games Feb. 9-25.

Because of Ball State’s experience with previous Olympic contests, TeamUSA granted full media credentials to the students, the school said. Previous BSU at the Games students have had limited “behind the scenes” credentials and have not had access to actual competitions like they will now.

"Any press conference — anything we want to do — we're there," Biernat said.

“I am most excited to put everything that I have learned in the journalism department and put it into action at my own call in South Korea,” Biernat said. “I am beyond excited to be in the mix of media professionals and have the freedom to come up with my own ideas and create my own content.”

In the past, students have produced stories, news graphics, photos and videos that have appeared in major news outlets such as the Huffington Post, USA Today and the Chicago Tribune. WTHR-TV, an NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, NBC, Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer will serve as partners for BSU at the Games.

Biernat said the only other college doing something similar is Northwestern University. 

“Ball State, the College of Communications, Information and Media and the Department of Journalism have prepared me for this by teaching me how to look for ideas and just take charge of my ideas,” Biernat said. "As a whole, they have taught me to be a multimedia journalist that has allowed me to take my skills to the Winter Olympics."

Biernat and her team depart for South Korea Thursday and return home Feb. 20. They plan to dedicate two days in Seoul to explore. She said one of Ball State's professors is from South Korea and talked to the students about the country's cultural aspects and what to expect.

Biernat's parents, Joe and Kristie Biernat, called the Olympics assignment a wonderful opportunity for their daughter. 

"She's worked so hard for it," Kristie Biernat said. "It's a really big deal for us."

Joe Biernat said, "It's an experience of a lifetime." 

Fans may follow the Olympics through the eyes of the students on Twitter @bsuatthegames and The project’s website, will have original stories, blogs and photos.


Lake County reporter

Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.