Bob Ley '76 of ESPN will teach a master class at Seton Hall for 30 students. Entitled "Sports Journalism and Its Challenges," the class is by invitation only and will include 18 students from the "Introduction to Sports Media" class taught by Professional-in-Residence B.J. Schecter, as well as four students each chosen from the Sports Marketing program in the Stillman School of Business, the Visual and Sound Media program in the College of Communication and the Arts and WSOU, the University's award-winning student-run radio station.
Ley, who graduated magna cum laude from Seton Hall in 1976, got his start in broadcasting as a sportscaster and program director at WSOU. For much of his career at ESPN (which started just three days after the network's launch in 1979) Ley hosted "SportsCenter." Since its inception in 1990, Ley has hosted ESPN's in-depth investigative program "Outside the Lines." Ley has won multiple Emmy Awards for his work at ESPN.
The longest tenured sports reporter at the network, he has recently taken a six-month sabbatical.
"Returning home to Seton Hall to teach this class is very meaningful for me," said Ley. "What I learned here as a student gave me the tools and the grounding to not only work in the industry, but help to create programming that's essentially become a part of the wider culture. A 24-hour sports network was unheard of in 1979 just as 'Outside the Lines,' using investigative journalism in the world of sports, was new in 1990," he said. "Now, with the ever-changing digital age, today's students have their own opportunities to develop new content and push new boundaries – as long as they're prepared for the challenges of 21st century sports media."
In 2018, the College of Communication and the Arts launched an 18-credit interdisciplinary minor in Sports Media. With classes led by Professional-in-Residence B.J. Schecter, former executive editor of Sports Illustrated, the minor incorporates courses from several programs within the College of Communication and the Arts, including Visual and Sound Media, Journalism, and Communication. Students also take courses offered by the Stillman School of Business through its Center for Sport Management. The new Sports Media minor has also partnered with Seton Hall's award-winning radio station, WSOU, to develop hands-on practicums for students to produce professional reporting. Seton Hall Athletics' Pirate Sports Network (PSN), which already puts student broadcasters and producers on the field (and online) to call Seton Hall Pirates' games, is also featured in the program, allowing students the opportunity to further hone their skills.
Dean of the College of Communication and the Arts, Deirdre Yates, said "We are thrilled to welcome Bob Ley back to Seton Hall to teach this class. He is both a trailblazer and a mainstay in the world of sports journalism. Known as 'The General' to his colleagues within the industry, his career is marked by innovation, awards and the utmost respect from esteemed sports media colleagues. His return to Seton Hall to teach a master class is emblematic of what our Sports Media minor is intended to do: offer students practice-based experience from the very best in the business."
Christopher Russo is one of the 30 students chosen to take part in the master class. A junior in the Visual and Sound Media program with a Sports Media minor, he is also the assistant sports manager at WSOU and a co-host of PirateTV's "Hall Talk." "I'm excited for this opportunity," he said. "Bob Ley is an icon. Who doesn't want to learn from an icon in their profession? And even better, because of the way this program is structured, I'll get to take what I learn on-air, to an audience, within hours – and that experience is simply invaluable."
The master class, entitled "Sports Journalism and Its Challenges," will be held on November 12, 2018.