Media Matters Blog

Picture of Jessica Boren at IMS
IUPUI Alumna Jessica Boren

By Emma Lewis

Each year, IUPUI Journalism and Public Relations students and alumni take part in events surrounding the Indianapolis 500 – whether it be reporting on the race, working for a racing team, or creating social media posts for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through IUPUI’s Event Social Media Team. We spoke with students and alumni who are eagerly looking forward to being a part of the greatest spectacle in racing this year:

Madison Chandler
First-year grad student, Master of Arts in Sport Journalism
Assignment: Covering the Indianapolis 500 for IUPUI’s Sports Capital Journalism Program

Madison Chandler headshot

Sports Journalism Master’s student Madison Chandler  

“I grew up in the Indy area, and my family has always gone to the race and followed IndyCar. It’s a family tradition to go every year. I had a couple extended family members in business with IndyCar at a time as well.

Prof. Malcolm Moran, director of the Sports Capital Journalism Program, informed me that covering the race may be a possibility after I spoke with him about the Sports Journalism Master’s program earlier this year. After hearing about the tradition with my family, he thought it would be a great opportunity for me to see another side of the 500. 

I’m really excited to experience the race from a different perspective. I’ve watched the race from the same seat for 10 years and this is an opportunity to switch that up and gain some new insight into IndyCar. I think it will help my career by adding a unique element to my portfolio. Not many students get to cover an auto racing event, and I feel lucky to have one so close to home that holds so much familiarity and significance to my family.” 

Seth Hine
Senior, Individualized major studying Sports Journalism and American Studies
Assignment: Covering the Indianapolis 500 for IUPUI’s Sports Capital Journalism Program

Image of student Seth Pine

Senior Seth Hine

“I believe the Indy 500 is truly the greatest spectacle in motorsport. While I have never been fortunate enough to see the race in person, I try my best to make sure I watch the race and qualifying every year. 

I would not have this opportunity without the Journalism and Public Relations Department, specifically Prof. Malcolm Moran. Opportunities like this come about because professors like him take the time to see how students can succeed differently. Prof. Moran submitted the application for press passes and made the workload for myself as easy as could be when it came to the application process. 

My goal for this weekend is to simply gain experience and get solid work to add to my portfolio, as well as to enjoy the surreal experience of getting a behind-the-scenes look at various aspects of the Indy 500.”

Follow our students’ work at the Sports Capital Journalism Program website.

Austin Lawton
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, ’23 (Sports Journalism concentration)
Assignment: Covering the race for The Campus Citizen

Picture of Austin Lawton

Senior Austin Lawton

“As a big motorsports fan, I always look forward to the race and just look forward to seeing it play out throughout the day. The opening ceremonies are amazing too, as they are a spectacle themselves.

I am covering the race on Sunday, but most of my time at the track so far has been telling individual, smaller stories about a team or a driverI’ve never covered a race before, but I went to the Open Test at IMS in April, so that prepped me a little bit for what May would look like.

Prof. Mark Haab has helped me edit my stories and has given great feedback on them as well. I’m really thankful for this opportunity.”

Follow Lawton’s reporting at

Jessica Boren
Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Certificate in Public Relations, ’23
Assignment: Working in premium services department at the IMS

Jessica Boren picture

IUPUI Alumna Jessica Boren

“I work under the division that works with the suites at IMS. Companies and families rent these suites out either for the entire month, or just for a day. Some of our clients include IU Health, Visit Indy, IMI, and the families and sponsors of racers. My title is suite concierge — I am essentially a liaison between the clients and any of the service providers (catering, cleaning, product delivery, and, most importantly, their sales rep). My tasks involve hospitality and relationship-building.

Each day I rotate between three of the suite locations which totals to about 100 suites every day. I have worked every day the doors have been open to the public, and I will be there every day this weekend.

The most important skills I have been able to apply to the role are problem-solving, professionalism, and the ability to network and make connections with the suite owners and guests.”

Rob Peeters
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism ’18; has been covering auto racing since 2015; co-hosts and produces the Racing with Rob and Roller podcast; runs The Racing Freelancer website
Assignment: Freelancing for Motorsport Illustrated and IndyStar

Picture of Rob Peeters for blog post

IUPUI Journalism Alumnus Rob Peeters

“During the month of May, I am writing for Motorsport Illustrated, a startup motorsports news website. I will also return to the IndyStar staff briefly to freelance for them on race day. (I previously worked for the IndyStar sports desk for six years, and then moved on to digital producer for Gannett/USA TODAY Network in 2022. I am now in between jobs after being laid off by Gannett in December. I am currently putting things together to hopefully be able to return to a digital producer role soon.)

I have always had a passion for motorsports and it feels good to know that there are people out there who rely on me for coverage of the race. IndyStar has trusted me to produce quick stories right after the race. I am always trying to do the best work that I can and prove to those around me that I’m worthy of being given more responsibilities. 

Earning my degree from IUPUI gave me the skills and connections needed to get to where I am today. I learned how to work under pressure and under deadline. Prof. Malcolm Moran gave me advice that I’ve never forgotten about how to produce a story on a time crunch. I also learned how to take initiative whenever I might not have the amount of work I want. I’m always looking to do more whenever I can. It might wear me out, but that’s what rest days are for. 

For this year’s race, I’m most looking forward to the last 50 laps. I think in the current era of IndyCar with the competition being so tight, it’s hard to pick a winner before the green flag falls on race day. The last 50 laps are when all the magic happens and I always relish in those moments every year, even when I am trying to come up with multiple different ledes for all the different race outcomes.”