virtual town hall series


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How Do We Communicate about Sports When There Are No Sports?

How has the cessation of all sporting events in response to COVID-19 impacted our understanding of the role athletic competition and entertainment plays in American culture? Panelists take stock of comparisons between this situation and previous moments of national crisis, the continued erosion of legacy media and standards of sports media practices in the time of international pandemic.
Panelists include:
• Andy Billings: University of Alabama
• Kevin Blackistone: Washington Post/University of Maryland
• Bryan Curtis: The Ringer
• Jane McManus: New York Daily News/Marist College
• Kevin Robbins: UT-Austin School of Journalism
The panel was moderated by CSCM Director Michael Butterworth. This event took place on April 17, 2020.

Women in sports in COVID-19

Women in Sports Media during the COVID 19 Crisis

Panelists for CSCM's second virtual town hall event:
• Tamryn Spruill, Freelance Journalist, The Athletic, Teen Vogue, and Bleacher Report, and Editor of Swish Appeal.
• Jessica Luther, Freelance Journalist/University of Texas, Author of Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape (2016) and co-author of the forthcoming Loving Sports When They Don't Love You Back: Dilemmas of the Modern Sports Fan (2020).
• Erin Whiteside, University of Tennessee, Former writer for Major League Baseball.
• Molly Yanity, Quinnipiac University, Former full time journalist and current freelance reporter for The Athletic covering the Connecticut Sun (WNBA).
• Guy Harrison, Youngstown State University, Author of the forthcoming On the Sidelines: Post-Feminism, Neoliberalism, and the American Female Sportscaster (2020)
The moderator is CSCM director Michael Butterworth. This event occurred on May 1, 2020.


Sports History and Memory as a Resource during Crisis

Sports History and Memory as a Resource during Crisis

his event examines the ability of sports to generate community at times of uncertainty or anxiety. Popular wisdom tells us that sports helped heal the nation after 9/11 and brought hope to communities such as New Orleans and Houston that were ravaged by natural disasters. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, current sports have been unable to perform this role, leading to an intensification of sports memory (perhaps best demonstrated by ESPN's The Last Dance). This virtual town hall discusses the historic role of sports in times of crisis, evaluates its ability to comfort anxious communities, and considers the limits to the claim that sports can uniquely unify a fractured public.
Panelists include:
• Marta Crilly, Archivist, City of Boston
• Meredith Bagley: Associate Professor, University of Alabama
• Daniel Grano, Professor, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
• Andrew Maraniss, author and freelance writer
• Louis Moore, Associate Professor, Grand Valley State University
• Angel Rodriguez, Assistant Managing Editor, Los Angeles Times
Dr. Michael Butterworth moderated the event, which occurred on May 14, 2020

pandemic politics

Pandemic Politics on the Playing Field

In this time of COVID-19, "Pandemic Politics on the Playing Field" gives us an opportunity to discuss the great number of ways sport intersects with American culture and politics. Questions about these intersections include:
1) What is the role of sport/athletes in the wake of new incidents that dramatize ongoing racial injustice and violence?
2) How do we make sense of labor concerns in the rush to return to sports?
3) Related to #2, what do we do with the various experiments ongoing in the UFC or the proposal to bring back MLB?
4) In light of mainstream sports media's collective retreat from "getting political," is it possible to provide responsible coverage of things like the government's declaration that athletes are essential workers?
5) The most talked about sporting "event" over the past two months has to be ESPN's Last Dance. How would that have looked had politics been more legitimately integrated into the narrative?
Panelists include:
• Howard Bryant:, senior writer at ESPN
• Courtney Cox, Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon
• Abraham Khan, Assistant Professor at Penn State University
• Jennifer McClearen, Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Austin
• Michael Serazio, Associate Professor at Boston College
The moderator is Michael Butterworth, Director of the Center of Sports Communication & Media. The event was recorded on May 28, 2020.


organizational brand management

Organizational Crisis and Brand Management during COVID-19

A conversation topic that was originally conceived at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, recent events related to the death of George Floyd and the resulting protests underscore the volatility of social issues and the ways athletes and leagues comment publicly about race and racism, some obviously more genuinely than others. This conversation addressed three broad areas of concern.
1) how do sports organizations serve the community when they cannot play;
2) what do sports organizations and athletes say about potentially returning to competition;
3) what is sport's role acknowledging the need for and facilitating meaningful social change?
Panelists for this event include:
Shaun Anderson, professor at Loyola Marymount University
Lance Blanks, former professional athlete and NBA executive, currently a basketball analyst for the Longhorn Network
Natalie Brown-Devlin, professor in the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at UT_Austin's Moody College of Communication.
Karen Hartman, professor at Idaho State University
Mark Pannes, CEO of the Vancouver Whitecaps
CSCM Director Michael Butterworth moderated the event, which was recorded on June 11, 2020.

youth sports town hall

Youth Sports and Family Communication under Quarantine

In this time of COVID-19, "Youth Sports and Family Communication under Quarantine" gives us an opportunity to discuss the great number of ways sport intersects with family relationships and behaviors. Questions about these intersections include:

• How has the pandemic affected youth sports uniquely when compared to commercial, mediated sports?
• Has the pandemic affected access to youth sports, especially in communities with limited resources?
• How has the absence of sports affected families?
• What are expectations for coaches and parents who want their children to compete now and in he coming weeks/months?
• How is the experience of competing in youth sports likely to change under our current circumstances?
• What do you worry about the most in the wake of this pandemic?
• Has the shutdown opened any space for re-imagining how youth sports are structured?

This conversation was recorded on June 25, 2020. Panelists include:
• Matt Bowers, Assistant Professor at UT-Austin’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Education
• Elizabeth Flores-Amaya, Director of Community Impact at the Women's Sports Foundation
• Trennis Jones, Executive Director at Central Texas Positive Coaching Alliance
• Karlee Posteher, Assistant Professor at Cal State-Monterey Bay’s College of Business
• Jimmy Sanderson, Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University’s Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management
Michael Butterworth, director of the Center for Sports Communication & Media is the moderator for the event, which was recorded on June 25, 2020.