Registration open for conference on ethics and sports journalism

March 25, 2015

Registration is now open for “Fair or Foul: Ethics and Sports Journalism,” a public conference to be held April 10 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Robert Lipsyte, veteran sports journalist, author and recent ombudsman for ESPN, will be the keynote speaker. A series of panel discussions will include noted journalists, former athletes, sports media executives and academics.

Photo: Robert Lipsyte

Robert Lipsyte

The event is the seventh annual symposium of the Center for Journalism Ethics in the university’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Registration is required and can be completed online.

The past year alone has witnessed any number of significant incidents implicating sports journalism, Robert Drechsel, director of the ethics center, points out.

Among them were coverage of the NFL and domestic abuse, the leaked recordings involving racist comments by former NBA owner Donald Sterling, coverage of the risk of concussions, commentator Bill Simmons’ suspension by ESPN for criticizing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and daring his own management to punish him, and coverage of the first openly gay college football player drafted by the NFL.

Topics to be covered by panels and breakout sessions will include:

  • Money and sports media
  • The ethics of investigating sports
  • Criticism and vitriol in sports journalism
  • Race, gender and sexuality in sports coverage
  • Ethical issues in covering high school sports
  • Challenges for journalists working for sports teams and college athletic departments

Confirmed panelists include:

  • Walt Bogdanich, New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Mark Fainaru-Wada, journalist and co-author of “League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth”
  • Ira Basen, CBC Radio producer and reporter
  • Christina Kahrl, baseball writer for ESPN and founder of Baseball Prospectus.com
  • Jessie Garcia, sports reporter/anchor for WTMJ, Milwaukee
  • Scott Bukstein, sports lawyer and professor at the University of Central Florida
  • Jason Wilde, Packers reporter for ESPN Wisconsin
  • Chris Kluwe, former punter for the Minnesota Vikings
  • Melissa Isaacson, columnist/writer for ESPN Chicago and former sportswriter for the Chicago Tribune
  • Mary Byrne, managing editor, USA Today Sports
  • Greg Hughes, senior vice president for communications, NBC Sports
  • Jim Miller, co-author of “Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN”
  • Tammy Madsen, freelance sports reporter and former sports reporter for The Capital Times
  • Steve Berkowitz, projects and database sports reporter for USA Today

Also at the conference, the Center for Journalism Ethics will present its annual Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics. And the first-ever Tom Mulhern Scholarship will be presented in honor of the late Wisconsin State Journal sports reporter.

The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Union South on the UW–Madison campus.

Financial support for the conference is provided by gifts from:

  • Evjue Foundation
  • James E. Burgess
  • The Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation
  • WPS Charitable Foundation
  • Wisconsin Newspaper Association
  • Wisconsin Broadcasters Association