The Texas Program in Sports and Media

The Texas Program in Sports and Media


Sport and Society: Spring 2015

Frank Deford Lecture on Sports Journalism: Taylor Branch

Historian and author Taylor Branch will deliver the 2015 Deford Lecture on Tuesday, April 21 at 3:30 pm in BMC 2.106. The lecture is presented by the The McGarr Symposium on Sports and Society.

Branch is an American author and public speaker best known for his landmark narrative history of the civil rights era, America in the King Years. The trilogy’s first book, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards in 1989. Two successive volumes also gained critical and popular success: Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65, and At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. Some reviewers have compared the King-era trilogy, which required more than twenty-four years of intensive research, with epic histories such as Shelby Foote’s The Civil War and Robert Caro’s multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson.

In the October 2011 issue of The Atlantic, Branch published an influential cover story entitled “The Shame of College Sports,” which author and NPR commentator Frank Deford said “may well be the most important article ever written about college sports.”  The article touched off continuing national debate., a pioneer e-book publisher, issued an expanded version of the article as a digital book and on-demand paperback, The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA.

Branch began his career in 1970 as a staff journalist for The Washington Monthly, Harper’s, and Esquire. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from ten colleges and universities. Other citations include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and the National Humanities Medal in 1999. Sample of book reviews, lectures, media appearances, blogs, printed commentary, and musical tracks are available on the website,



Join the community

TPSM is developing a local community of faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students with an interest in sports, media and society. The emerging field is broad and deep, replete with questions and issues that require a diverse and interdisciplinary community of scholars to address in a meaningful manner.

TPSM posits that:

  • Sport precipitates beneficial social change and economic development.
  • Media stimulate human engagement and inter-connection.

Sports and media are two sides of a common coin, revealing (for better or worse) human nature, culture and community in a manner that no other aspect of society can touch. TPSM engages these issues at UT-Austin by supporting curriculum, research and programming within the related disciplines of the College of Communication: Advertising/Public Relations, Journalism, Radio-Television-Film and Communication Studies. TPSM also supports an interdisciplinary discourse across campus with departments and faculty that share an appreciation of stories from sports.

In addition to this website, TPSM maintains a Facebook page and a Twitter stream to stimulate and sustain this dialogue. If you would like information pushed out to you, please join our email group for the latest on curriculum, programming and research initiatives.