COLLEGE PARK (10/3/19) — The 14th annual Shirley Povich Symposium at the University of Maryland, which will focus on investigative journalism, will take place Nov. 12.
The discussion of Big Stories that Changed the Game will feature Marisa Kwiatkowski (USA Today), Sacha Pfeiffer (NPR), Mark Fainaru-Wada (ESPN), Joe Drape (New York Times), Bob Ley (ESPN) and David Aldridge (The Athletic).
The panel will be moderated by Emilio Garcia-Ruiz (’84), who, as sports editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 2000, directed the newspaper’s Pulitzer prize-winning investigative pieces uncovering academic fraud in the University of Minnesota men’s basketball program.
The panelists were selected by the Povich Center in consultation with the Philip Merrill College of Journalism’s new Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.
The assembled journalists have worked on some of the most impactful sports-related investigations published in the past two decades.
Kwiatkowski, while at the Indianapolis Star in 2016, worked with a team of reporters to publish the initial article exposing USA Gymnastics for failing to report allegations of sexual abuse against team doctor Larry Nassar. The investigation ultimately led to Nassar’s conviction as a serial child molester.
Pfeiffer, who worked at the Boston Globe for nearly 18 years before joining NPR, was a member of The Globe’s spotlight team, which won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its reporting on the Catholic Church’s cover-up of clergy sex abuse. Pfeiffer also helped produce the multi-episode podcast Gladiator, which focused on the life and death of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez.
While at the San Francisco Chronicle, Fainaru-Wada worked with a colleague on the BALCO steroids case that earned multiple national honors. In 2006, Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams published “Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports,” which became a New York Times best-seller and prompted MLB to launch an investigation into steroid use.
Drape has been writing about the intersection of sports, money and culture for The New York Times since 1998. His investigations of the horse racing industry this year disclosed that the 2018 Triple Crown winner failed a drug test before the Kentucky Derby and that abuse of performance-enhancing drugs was a factor in the shocking number of horse deaths at the Santa Anita racetrack.
Ley is a multiple Emmy-award winner and the former host of ESPN’s investigative series “Outside the Lines.” Ley was the longest-tenured on-air employee at ESPN before his retirement in June.
Aldridge is the editor-in-chief of The Athletic D.C. He has worked for nearly 30 years covering the NBA and other sports for Turner, ESPN and The Washington Post.
“There is nothing more important in sports journalism than outstanding investigative reporting,” said George Solomon, director of the Povich Center. “To highlight the reporters, topics and ideas of this essential element of our business is crucial to our students in moving forward into the future.”
The Shirley Povich Symposium will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 in Orem Hall of the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center on the University of Maryland campus. Doors open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are needed, but registration is required: go.umd.edu/PovichSymposium2019
About the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism:
The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism is a resource for journalists, academics and the public who want to explore the complex role of sports in society. The Center is led by its director, George Solomon, who was the assistant managing editor for sports at The Washington Post from 1975-2003.