UNC Hussman students produce field hockey national championship documentary

The premiere documentary screening of "Earn it The Carolina Way" will be held in the Freedom Forum Conference Center on Tuesday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m. The documentary — created by students in the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media — showcases UNC’s 2020 NCAA national championship field hockey team.

The documentary will also premiere online at the same time. 

This is the third time UNC Hussman students, under the direction of Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and John H. Stembler Jr. Distinguished Professor Charlie Tuggle, have produced a documentary on the winning UNC field hockey team, which also won the 2018 and 2019 national championships. Previously, the team had three consecutive title wins in 1995, 1996 and 1997.

“Seeing our students stretch themselves to longer format storytelling is a real rush, especially when it comes out as well as this documentary  did,” Tuggle said.

In honor of the screening, Julia Roth ’23 and Nick Perlin '21, two of the UNC Hussman students who worked on the documentary, wrote about their experiences helping produce the piece.

By Julia Roth

The UNC field hockey team not only brought home another national championship this year, but they also gave a group of students from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media the opportunity to tell a thrilling story with the documentary we produced on their win.

Our class started working on the documentary project virtually: checking quotes, noting timestamps and organizing all the content. Our adviser, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and John H. Stembler Jr. Distinguished Professor Charlie Tuggle, and the documentary’s production coordinator Laura Brache ’17 scored us some great A-roll with interviews of field hockey coach Karen Shelton and team members Erin Matson ’22, Cassie Sumfest, Courtnie Williamson and Bryn Boylan ’21.

Then, to up the energy and narrative of our documentary, we gathered game footage from the UNC Athletics archives, including some we were able to film ourselves at the last few field hockey spring games.

This was my first experience working in-person at UNC Hussman. It was exciting to collaborate with other students and alumni in our makeshift media room studio. We broke down the season into 11 chapters, and each of us focused entirely on one to two of them. This process allowed us to really home in on our editing and rework every cut, transition and decision we made.

As a member of Sports Xtra, a weekly sports broadcast by Carolina students for Carolina students, I’m used to quicker turnarounds with my videos, so I enjoyed spending more time with my content and getting to put a lot of love into my chapters with this project. Through weeks of editing, we had tours come through, many food deliveries, some crises that needed averting, lots of laughs and eureka moments — and even Matson popped in for a day.

Through it all, our group of editors, producers and collaborators bonded over our work and were able to put together a piece that we’re really proud to show to the field hockey team and to the greater UNC community. Go Heels!


By Nick Perlin

Working on “Earn It the Carolina Way” was such a great experience. First, I was able to make friends with some of my classmates who I had not met in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Secondly, I was able to learn from experienced people who helped me grow as an editor. Under the guidance of Laura Brache ’17, our production coordinator, and Johnny Gil ’12, our video coordinator, I feel as though I learned a lot of the little things that help make a good piece a great piece. I learned a lot about the importance of well-placed music and audio transitions.

This documentary was a whole team effort. We divided the work, and we worked hard throughout the summer to make the work the best we possibly could. I really enjoyed sitting with my work over the course of the summer and watching how it grew into something that I’m really proud of.

One of my old basketball coaches when I was younger told me to always get 1% better after every practice. Every time I left Carroll Hall after working tirelessly on this documentary, I felt as though I got 1% better as a video editor and as a storyteller. I would like to thank UNC Hussman for giving us the opportunity to share this documentary with the UNC community. Thank you to our adviser Dr. Tuggle, Brache, Gil and the rest of my colleagues who worked hard to make this something special. And of course, thank you to the UNC field hockey team for continuing to be better than everyone. Go Heels!