COLLEGE PARK (3/12/18) — Athletes’ ability to communicate directly with fans through social media hasn’t made sports journalism obsolete — but it has dramatically changed the way journalists do their jobs.
That was the message delivered last week by a panel convened by the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and hosted by the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism and University of Maryland Alumni Association at Bleacher Report headquarters in New York.
“It’s an area that’s increasingly important in the journalistic coverage of sports,” Povich Center Director George Solomon said. “The panelists, and moderator Kevin Blackistone, did a great job conveying its importance.”
The panelists — Jermaine Spradley, executive editor at Bleacher Report; Frank Isola (’87), sportswriter at New York Daily News; Kevin Merida, editor-in-chief at ESPN’s The Undefeated; Tina Cervasio (’96), lead sports anchor at Fox5 NY; Rachel McNair (M.J. ’16), broadcast associate for CBS Sports; Drew Rauso (’14), creative producer for The Players’ Tribune; and Brittany Cheng (’16), social media producer for SB Nation — spoke before a gathering of about 100 University of Maryland alumni.
Several alumni helped plan the event. Rosemary Ostmann (’93), president and CEO of RoseComm, secured the sponsors and helped shape the panel’s topic and select participants with Josh Fendrick (’13), the senior manager of branded content at Bleacher Report. Fendrick then helped execute the plan and offered his company’s new headquarters as the evening’s venue.
“Whenever we have an event in New York, our alumni line up in excitement and offer their workplaces,” Dean Lucy A. Dalglish said. “They work in really interesting newsroom environments and are eager to show them off.”
“Everyone I talked to was excited with the panelists we had,” Fendrick said. “It was a really good mix of established veterans and people in the journalism industry.”
He said those in attendance appreciated learning about the changing role of journalists.
“Social media hasn’t eliminated journalists,” he said. “It’s just given them another thing to report on.”
Ostmann echoed that. She said it’s important that the college be a leader in these conversations because it’s training the next generation of journalists.
“To have a really honest dialogue around these direct channels and what it all means is very important now,” Ostmann said. “I felt like a lot of tough questions were being asked, and people were being challenged.
“I think we’re only going to ensure the sustainability of the industry if we ask these questions and work together to answer them.”
She was also grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with fellow alumni — more than 200 miles north of campus.
“For me as an alum, these events have been a great reminder of the impressive people coming through the Philip Merrill College of Journalism,” Ostmann said. “To have the opportunity to connect with such a diverse group has been great.”
Dalglish encouraged other New York-area alumni to get in touch for future events.
“If you work in a really cool place and you want to show it off, host us next year,” she said.