UNC is one of only two universities sending journalism students to cover the Olympic Games this summer in Rio, Brazil.

Led by undergraduate Senior Associate Dean Charlie Tuggle, 29 students from UNC’s School of Media and Journalism are off to Rio for three weeks along with students from the University of Memphis.

Twenty-five of the students will be working as media interns in the Rio 2016 Olympic news service, and the other four will be covering Olympic news relevant to North Carolinians.

“A lot of TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, will be using our material about athletes, coaches, fans, whoever we happen to run into with North Carolina ties,” said Tuggle.

UNC was among 10 other universities to send journalism students to cover the Olympic Games back in 2008 in Beijing, China.

Tuggle says that trip inspired the idea to cover the Olympic Games again this time around, which is a great opportunity for his students.

“Not too many people get to go into the venues, behind the curtain if you will, and these young people will be doing that.”

While this is a unique and exciting opportunity for these students, Tuggle says his students know to be realistic and alert.

“I don’t want them to go in with rose colored glasses on because they’re in an international setting that they’re unfamiliar with, there are issues in Brazil and we need to be aware of what those issues are and be careful,” said Tuggle.

“I think as long as we stay in groups, and we’re just being mindful of what’s going on around us, we can really soak in the aura, if you will, of the Olympic Games.”

Tuggle says the UNC School of Media and Journalism has a good reputation and that people understand that students coming with the school’s “stamp of approval” are known for their quality.

“We did really very carefully vet this group. And I feel very good about how they are going to represent our school of Media and Journalism, UNC, the State of North Carolina and the United States.”

Rio 2016 Olympic Games will run from August 5 until August 21. The students will be in Rio a week prior to the games and will stay until the end of the games.