Briar Cliff journalism & mass communication major Kaitlin Meister spent the summer interning with Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — When St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher John Axford takes the mound during this year's World Series, tens of millions of people will follow his every move.
Four months ago, Axford sat before Briar Cliff University student Kaitlin Meister. Tens of millions weren't following. The room had maybe two dozen people in it. Axford, "The Ax Man," he's called, participated as the first Milwaukee Brewers player to embrace social media.
Meister helped staff the event, one of her first duties as a summer intern for the Brewers.
"John's a very cool guy," says Meister, a journalism & mass communication major. "Very personable."
On that day in late May, Axford pitched something beyond fastballs and sliders. He served up advice for those communicating via Twitter.
DIGITAL MEDIA LAB
Mass media students like Kaitlin have access to a renovated iMac lab at Briar Cliff.
"He said Twitter allows fans to see him outside baseball," Meister recalls. "John said he could share things about his family, his favorite music, things like that. He could show more of his personal side."
It comes with a caveat.
"He said you have to be professional about it," she says. "Keep it professional."
Meister, a member of the BCU women's basketball team, uses Twitter herself. Like Axford, she keeps it professional, tweeting her gratitude to fans for supporting Briar Cliff teams. She also tweets upcoming game times and rivalries, encouraging her 362 followers to cheer on the Chargers.
“My first week with the Brewers, we had a game go 14 innings.”
— Kaitlin Meister, '14, journalism & mass communication student
Following basketball practice, Meister will take a seat to watch this World Series with more of a critical eye, thanks to her internship. She realizes that while the game unfolds between the foul lines, there's all kinds of activity popping behind the scenes.
It's where Meister toiled from May 24 through mid-August. While her peers earned a few bucks as lifeguards and nannies, the daughter of Brett and Kelleen Meister of Mesa, Ariz., worked in an office at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wis., preparing Brewers news clips, game notes and highlights.
"I gave all the information to both clubhouses (visitors and the Brewers) and to the TV and radio booths," she says.
Meister entered the trade by working with the BCU Sports Information Department, writing "Jewel of the Week" features on her Charger peers. She also compiled BCU soccer statistics and announced a couple of softball games last spring.
Weeks later, the scope of her work changed. She quickly disseminated information between innings after Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez hurt his shoulder. In an age of real-time communication, she came to realize how fast reporters work.
She also watched some media members gnash their teeth at a development she enjoyed: Extra innings.
“My first week with the Brewers, we had a game go 14 innings," she says. "And there was grumbling from the people working the game because they had to stay there a long time after it was over. As a fan, I always liked extra innings."