As we wrap up a school year like no other, we wanted to provide you with an update on what’s been happening inside The Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism. It’s been a challenging year filled with Zoom calls, virtual classes and more, but our students have persevered, and we are so proud of them.
We’re very much looking forward to the fall semester, when we should all be back on campus.
As always, thanks for your continued support -- without it, we would not be able to prepare the next generation of sports journalists.
During the 2020-21 school year, the Povich Center hosted seven virtual panels and the annual Povich Center Symposium. Topics included The Washington Post’s investigation into the Washington Football Team, the underrepresentation of people of color and women in sports, a World Series rewind with three former Terps, covering sports during a pandemic and more. You can view all our past panels here.
Virtual Book Club
This past fall, we hosted the first of what we hope will be many virtual book clubs with local high school students. This year's book selection was “Silent Gesture: The Autobiography of Tommie Smith," by Tommie Smith and Merrill College alumnus David Steele. On Jan. 13, approximately 40 Prince George’s County high school students met via Zoom with Smith, Steele and Kevin Blackistone, Merrill College professor of the practice and Washington Post sports columnist, to discuss the protest movement in sports and Smith’s legacy as a champion of social justice. Next semester, we will be partnering with even more students to read “I Came As a Shadow: An Autobiography” on John Thompson. You can view more on the book club here.
Sports & Politics Poll
In March 2021, the Povich Center launched a national sports and politics poll in collaboration with The Washington Post and the UMD Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement. The first poll was conducted March 12-18 among a random national sample of 1,500 adults. It addressed attendance at live sports events during the pandemic and issues related to disruptions occurring in youth sports. Each year, it's anticipated there will be as many as two Povich Center-CDCE-Washington Post polls. You can learn more about our poll and view coverage of it here.
Throughout the semesters, our professors bring in top-of-the-line experts to speak with our students. These opportunities are invaluable, and we are very appreciative of the time these speakers give to our students. Here are a few highlights: Steve Berkowitz (USA Today), Christine Brennan (USA Today), Len Elmore (Co-Chair, Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics; UMD men’s basketball legend), Boomer Esiason (CBS Sports; UMD football legend), Steve Fainaru (ESPN; Co-author, “League of Denial”), Brenda Frese (UMD women's basketball coach), Jim Gray (Fox Sports), Robert Klemko (Washington Post), Tom McMillen (President and CEO, LEAD1Association; UMD men’s basketball legend), Jon Miller (Play-by-play voice, San Francisco Giants), Christy Winters-Scott (TV analyst; UMD women's basketball legend), Tommy Sheppard (General manager, Washington Wizards), Ava Wallace (Washington Post).
We continue to review and update the Povich Center curriculum. This academic year, we offered six courses taught by Mark Hyman, Kevin Blackistone, Rose DiPaula, Ben Eidelberg and Joe Yasharoff. We want to highlight these additions and future plans:
- Spring 2021: We added courses on basketball analytics and the business of college sports.
- Fall 2021: We will offer a Povich Center capstone on Title IX and Gender Equity taught by Mark Hyman.
- Future: We are planning courses for which students will travel internationally to report on sports in a global frame.
- Ryan McFadden, Master’s ‘21, was named to the Sports Journalism Institute's Class of 2021. SJI is a nine-week training and internship program for college students interested in sports journalism careers. Ryan is among 17 students nationally selected for this year’s class. He will spend the summer working in the sports department at The Baltimore Sun.
- Jacob Rousseau, Master’s ‘20, was honored for Best Sports Story of 2020 by the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for his Capital News Service article, “The Integration of Sports and Politics Went to the Next Level in 2020.”
- Morgan Weaver ‘21, won two awards for video sports reporting from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association. Her CNS-TV piece “Howard is the HBCU making headlines during college basketball's offseason” captured first place. Morgan’s piece “'Let Them Play': Dozens rally in Anne Arundel County to push for the return of high school sports” won second place.
Finally, as our school year comes to an end, we thought we’d share some work from a few of our students:
- After years battling Lyme disease, this volleyball player is back and has Loudoun County undefeated by Ryan McFadden for The Washington Post
- Student Media at the University of Maryland has embraced the challenges of COVID-19 by Jack White for The Left Bench
- UMD alum John Smallwood remembered as a trailblazing reporter and doting father by Thomas Hindle for The Diamondback
- Mike Locksley’s emphasis on mental health has left a lasting impact on Maryland football players by Lila Bromberg for Testudo Times
- Howard is the HBCU making headlines during college basketball's offseason by Morgan Weaver for Capital News Service
- The integration of sports and politics went to the next level in 2020 by Jacob Rousseau for Capital News Service
- Povich Center