He wrote for ESPN.com, appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter and NFL Live, and was a frequent voice on ESPN Radio, where he will continue as a fill-in host. He also contributed to golf and NBA coverage for ESPN.com. Wells covered the NBA for 10 years—first the Minnesota Timberwolves for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and then the Indiana Pacers for the Indianapolis Star. He covered the Minnesota Vikings for the Pioneer Press during the 2000 and 2001 seasons and has worked for the Associated Press. Wells graduated from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash. He also is currently a school board member in the Brownsburg School District.
Q: Welcome to the IU faculty! What are you teaching this semester?
A: I have to give a shout out to Galen Clavio for easing me into my first semester of teaching a full load. Rather than teach three different classes, he suggested I teach MSCH-B 332 “Sports Writing and Reporting" twice this semester since I’ve taught the class in the past (Spring semester 2020, 2021 and 2022). The other class I’m teaching is MSCH-C 251 “Story Lab II.” I’m very fortunate to be able to teach “Story Lab II” with four other faculty members. We share the same syllabus so that the students in the five classes are learning the same thing. You’re probably wondering with “Story Lab II” is, right? It’s a class that helps students understand different ways to tell stories. Those different ways include broadcast and newspaper writing, audio and visual storytelling and social media along with the editing process necessary.
Q: What led you to this position and what are you most looking forward to as a faculty member in Bloomington?
A: I’ve always been passionate about education. The desire to teach increased more and more as I continued to get opportunities to speak to journalism students at different universities around the country. I had several Media School students in the past mention that I should think about teaching full time here. They evidently were on to something. My goal was to transition into teaching around the age of 50. So much for that thought. I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to have an impact on future journalists at a school like Indiana. I don’t want the students to be as good of a multimedia journalist as I was during my career—I want them to be even better.
Q: How do you think your experience in journalism will help your Media School students?
A: Journalism has consistently changed since I entered the field in January 2000. What hasn’t changed is how you report and write a story, conduct interviews, and break news. What has changed, though, is that employers are more inclined to hire those who can do more than just write. I never envisioned, 20-plus years ago, that being a print journalist would turn into writing live stories for a website, being a court reporter, learning how to request public records, shooting videos, doing stand-up television hits, and making radio appearances. I’ve done all those things. And we can’t forget about the impact social media has had on the industry. The connections and friendships I’ve made in my career will continue to transfer to the classroom. When I’ve had guest speakers talk to the students in the past, they’ve been some of the best beat reporters, feature writers, and news breakers in the business. My plan is to continue to keep it that way while we navigate an industry that continues to change.
Q: What do you wish you’d known in college that you’ll be sure to convey to your students?
A: It’s the same message I’ve been conveying to them since I became an adjunct here in the spring of 2020:
- I hope they’re not doing this job for the money because they’re likely not going to make a lot of it in their first job.
- Be willing to move anywhere in the country to pursue their career dreams.
- Journalism is an ever-evolving industry. Don’t back yourself in a corner and specialize in just one thing because those jobs are few and far between now. Being a multimedia journalist is a MUST.
- *Know proper AP style.This is fourth on the list, but definitely first in the class by a mile. *Editor’s note: We love AP Style, but with the addition of the serial comma, which has been added throughout this Engage IUB piece with apologies to Mike.
Q: If you had to choose only one sport to watch for the rest of your life and could never watch any other sport, what would you choose and why?
A: Basketball, easily. That’s always been my favorite sport. I’m the exact same height—6 foot 2—and wear the same size shoe—13—when I was 12 years old. I thought I would grow to around 6 foot 5 or so and play in the NBA. That was wishful thinking on my part. Only thing that has grown on me in the past 33 years is my waistline. My kids also enjoy watching and playing basketball. And selfishly, NBA players were the best players I covered because of how accommodating they were with the media. You said only one sport, but I’m going to add that golf would be second.
Bonus Q: What podcasts are you listening to that you recommend?
A: I’m not saying this because he’s an IU alum, my golfing buddy and a good friend of mine, but Zak Keefer’s six-episode series on former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for The Athletic is a podcast every football fan should check out. I enjoyed hearing the stories about one of the most unique athletes I’ve ever covered in my career. I was right there in the mix of things for all but one season of Luck’s career, but hearing the different voices discuss the quarterback’s shortened career in one spot over a series of episodes is a must listen.