Annenberg hosts panel on sports media

The new USC Annenberg Institute for Sports, Media and Society will host a panel Thursday that will speak and answer questions about the role of ethics in the sports media world.

The event is part of the institute’s “Sports and Social Change” speaker series, and will take place in Town and Gown.

The idea for the institute was first proposed by Daniel Durbin, a professor in the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

Durbin, now the director of the institute, said he saw a variety of needs among the student body that could be fulfilled by the institute. The ability to begin expanded research into sports and media using resources uniquely available to the Annenberg School is one of the major goals that Durbin sought to accomplish with the creation of the AISMS.

“There is not a better place in academe to build a world class institute for study, research, teaching, professional programs and community outreach centered in the intersection of sports and society through media,” Durbin said.

The goal of the Nike-sponsored speaker events is to “bring together academics and professionals from the world of sport to discuss important current issues impacting sports and sports media,” Durbin said.

The event on Thursday will formally launch the institute and bring more awareness to the programs that it can offer, both through the minor offered in the Annenberg School or through internship opportunities and career growth.

Pat O’Brien, a radio host on Fox Sports’ Loose Cannons show who spent 16 years at CBS Sports and nine years as an entertainment anchor on the shows Access Hollywood and The Insider, will moderate the panel. The panel will feature MLB agent Scott Boras, Olympic gold-medalist Tara Lipniski, former NBC Sports executive David Neal, former CBS Sports executive Joseph Heitzler and sports communication scholar Lawrence Wenner.

“Our goal is to enlighten, to bring the world to the student. I always had a mentor when I was in college. It’s great for college kids to hear from people who have been through it,” O’Brien said.

Boras, who O’Brien said is perhaps the most famous sports agent in the world, has made his clients a brand, making them actors and spokesmen for large companies.

“Boras has helped to create this star image, making his clients not just athletes, but celebrities heavily involved in celebrity culture, which has definitely changed sports media coverage,” O’Brien said.

Another topic that will be covered is how sports reporting has changed over the years because of the Internet and social media.

“There are so many outlets to break a story. Anyone can buy a website and think they are a journalist,” O’Brien said. “They’re not. People want viewers and readers, and will go to great lengths to secure that following.”

“We have a great mixture of people who know what social media is about,” O’Brien added. “We are going to inform students about the ever-changing world of media through this event.”