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 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. Byliner.com, 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.
UT Austin creates the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation
Recognizing the need for college and professional athletes to serve as leaders and role models, The University of Texas at Austin is launching a new center that will help young male and female athletes succeed on and off the field as responsible citizens.
The Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation will leverage UT Austin’s expertise in academics and success in athletics to change the culture at a time when national headlines remain focused on high-profile athletes’ behavior and responsibilities. The first-of-its-kind program will also build on the university’s long-held philosophy of “winning with integrity.”
“As a society, we should be doing everything we can to leverage the enormous popularity of athletics to develop leaders and cultivate integrity. We’ve long known that sports can teach critical virtues like teamwork and discipline,” said university President Bill Powers. “I’m excited to explore new ways to use the inherent power of sports as a force for good. By blending two areas in which UT has long been strong — athletics and leadership training — we are creating an important nexus of study and training.”
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.