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National sports journalists headline Super Bowl lecture series at ASU

Michael Wilbon
January 20, 2015

As the media descends upon the Valley in the week leading up to Super Bowl XLIX, some of the country’s leading figures in sports journalism will take part in a special speaker series at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The “Must See Sports” lecture series features ESPN columnist and “Pardon the Interruption” host Michael Wilbon, USA Today columnist Christine Brennan, Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins, ESPN senior vice president Rob King and Mike Arnold, the lead game director of “The NFL on CBS.”

The free public lecture series kicks off the week of Jan. 25 at the Cronkite School on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, with speakers providing a behind-the-scenes look at sports journalism at some of the world’s largest media organizations.

“We are excited to welcome some of the best in sports journalism to ASU,” said Cronkite School Dean and University Vice Provost Christopher Callahan. “This speaker series offers an unparalleled opportunity for our students to get an insider’s look at the sports news industry and coverage of the big game.”

Wilbon is one of the first sportswriters to broaden his career beyond newspapers. For more than 30 years, he was a sports journalist at The Washington Post. He joined ESPN full time in 2010, where he co-hosts “Pardon the Interruption” and is a columnist for

Brennan is an award-winning USA Today sports columnist and best-selling author and commentator. She is a leading expert on the Olympics and women’s sports issues and is the author of “Best Seat in the House: A Father, a Daughter, a Journey Through Sports.”

Jenkins was named the nation’s top sports columnist four times by The Associated Press Sports Editors. The AP also recognized her for a Washington Post investigative series co-written with Rick Maese on medical care in the NFL, titled “Do No Harm,” with a first place award.

King oversees all of “SportsCenter” and ESPN’s newsgathering operations, as well as future efforts of the company’s biggest sub-brand. He previously served as vice president and editor-in-chief of He was named by Fast Company among its “Most Creative People 2014.”

Arnold, a 1978 ASU graduate and a member of the Cronkite Alumni Hall of Fame, has served as director of numerous NFL divisional playoff games for CBS and has been a part of every production of the Super Bowl the network has broadcasted since 1982.

“Must See Sports” schedule

Rob King, senior vice president, “SportsCenter” and news, ESPN
7 p.m., Jan. 27, First Amendment Forum

Mike Arnold, lead game director, “The NFL on CBS” and “Thursday Night Football”
noon, Jan. 28, Cronkite School, room 444

Michael Wilbon, co-host, "Pardon the Interruption," ESPN; and columnist, and
7 p.m., Jan. 28, First Amendment Forum

Christine Brennan, national sports columnist, USA Today; and commentator, ABC News, CNN and PBS
7 p.m, Jan. 29, First Amendment Forum

Sally Jenkins, sports columnist, The Washington Post
7 p.m., Jan. 30, First Amendment Forum

The Cronkite School is a leader in sports journalism education, offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sports journalism. As part of the program, the school operates news bureaus in Phoenix and Los Angeles where student get real-world experience covering professional and intercollegiate sports for national and regional media outlets.