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Sophomore Matt Barnes selected as 'Gridiron Glory' eighth-season host

ATHENS, Ohio (April 19, 2006) -- After a challenging and engaging audition process, Matt Barnes, a sophomore broadcast journalism major, was chosen from a pool of 10 highly-qualified students as host for the 2006 season of "Gridiron Glory," a 30-minute weekly program on WOUB-TV that covers local high school football.

"I love TV, talking and sports, so sports journalism just seemed to fit," Barnes said about the passion he realized while in high school. "When you're passionate about something, you give it your all. We (the "Gridiron Glory" team) are under a bit of pressure because the region depends on us, but at the same time we're given the opportunity to learn the craft."

As the host, Barnes, along with the other 30 to 40 team members, will be expected to volunteer two hours or more per day each week this fall to prepare for the program. Some nights, he said, the team members find themselves working on the show until well after midnight on a weeknight. But, according to his peers, the stress doesn't faze him.

"Matt is calm under pressure, and that's the overall personality I was going for," said Evan Shaw. Shaw is a senior video production major and the program's new director. "As far as being on camera, he's very smooth, knowledgeable about football and he brought good ideas to the table."

Shaw said each season the team adds new visions and ideas to the program. This next season, Shaw hopes to incorporate more of the community, an endeavor he sees Barnes taking on easily. Another of Barnes' team members said Barnes' experience as a reporter last year gave him an edge on his host competition.

"This year, we had the most difficult time choosing a host, and I've been around for three years," said Terrence Theetge, a senior broadcast journalism major and the show's new producer. "We had several qualified people, but we think Matt will do exceptionally well. Matt started reporting last year, so we worked with him everyday. He shined as one of the best reporters, and we had several that had done a great job."

Barnes' personality, Theetge continued, is what won the selection committee over. He said Barnes' ability to carry himself in front of the camera in a professional and personal manner made him a great fit.

"Once the show goes live, the host communicating with the reporters and relaxing them becomes very important," Theetge said. "This job takes the certain personality. When he worked as a reporter, Matt could go up to strangers and get them to be friends with him on the camera; that is what we need."

Barnes said the show is giving him a taste of real-life journalism. Each week the team critiques the previous show, identifying mistakes, like talking too fast or looking at the wrong camera, and praising a job well done.

"It gives us something to build on to make the show even better," Barnes said. "I remember one time last year when I was a volunteer reporter the video cut out early. I wasn't ready at all, but I had to start talking. I just had to go with the flow and not stop. It went OK; I just hope it doesn't happen again. But I know mistakes will happen. That's something I want to work on this summer."

Barnes will also be working as the sports anchor for "Newswatch," WOUB-TV's evening news program this summer.

"Gridiron Glory" is a student-produced program and airs every Friday night at 11:30 p.m. during the football season. To read more about "Gridiron Glory," visit www.woub.org/gridiron/.

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Media Contact:External Relations Coordinator Erin Roberts, (740) 593-0030 or roberte1@ohio.edu

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