Wilson reports on basketball camps
University of Illinois College of Media journalism student Ryan Wilson recognizes an underreported story when he sees one. Last week, Wilson traveled back to the university’s Urbana campus from his home near Springfield, Illinois, to cover the annual basketball camps hosted by Disability Resource and Educational Services and the Wheelchair Athletics Office.
“Wheelchair basketball is one of the most underreported stories at Illinois,” Wilson said. “The women’s team is number two in the nation, and the men’s is number four. It’s a remarkable program, they’re rarely in the media and they deserve a spot.”
Wilson is producing audio, video and print stories using skills he developed as a student in Assistant Professor Charles “Stretch” Ledford’s Multimedia Reporting class. “I want to make my stories accessible to anyone. The print pieces are for the deaf, the audio is for the blind, the video is for everyone,” Wilson said.
Wilson has osteogenesis impefecta, a condition that makes his bones fragile. He’s not strong enough to walk and operating traditional audiovisual equipment is impractical. In order to accommodate Wilson’s disability, Ledford used equipment from the Undergraduate Library’s Media Commons to rig what he and Wilson refer to as the “ChairCam” using Wilson’s iPhone 6s.
“I had some grip equipment from my years as a commercial photographer laying around; Media Commons had a mount for a mobile phone. Ryan and I put them together and mounted everything to his chair in a way that allows him to drive his chair while shooting video, making photographs and recording audio,” Ledford said.
“Our professors are great. This is just one example of how they go above and beyond to help any student,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s reporting will be available to The Daily Illini and other publications.
Ledford attaches a mounting bracket as Wilson looks on.
Wilson at work.