'Expert Opinion' TV series continues Oct. 7 on Big Ten Network

From the impact of social media on sports journalism to careers for burgeoning sports journalists, to the experience of NCAA athletes transitioning to life after college, "Expert Opinion with Graham Spanier" explores three topics foremost on the minds of professionals related to the business of covering college sports.

Penn State President Graham Spanier hosts three hour-long shows in October that bring together the perspectives of prominent sports journalists, sports media executives and former collegiate and professional sports athletes, respectively, to discuss "Careers in Sports Journalism," debuting Oct. 7; "Impact of New Media," airing Oct. 14; and "Life After NCAA," airing Oct. 21.

In the first show of the fall on Oct. 7, "Careers in Sports Journalism," panelists offer advice for today's students who are hoping to find a career covering the big games. Panelists include Marlen Garcia, sports reporter for USA Today; Malcolm Moran, Penn State Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and director of the University's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism; and Brad Wolverton, senior editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education. They talk with Spanier about the challenges of objectivity, the coverage level of college sports versus pro teams, the issue of whether the broadcast field is being crowded by former athletes, and the state of the industry for students hoping to break into the field.

For the Oct. 14 show, "Impact of New Media," panelists Marie Hardin, Kathleen Hessert and Jason Kint discuss the impact of online and social media. Hardin is associate director for research at Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. Hessert is founder and president of Charlotte, N.C.-based Sports Media Challenge, a firm that offers coaching in traditional and social media to athletes and other sports-industry clients. Kint is senior vice president and general manager of CBS Sports.com. Spanier and the panelists examine the breadth of new media, its merits and faults, whether coaches' and athletes' use of technology like Twitter and text messaging is flirting with NCAA recruiting violations, and what the future of sports reporting might look like given the dominance of new media today.

On Oct. 21, the panelists, all former college and pro athletes, take on the topic of whether athletes are prepared for "Life after NCAA." Coquese Washington, Penn State's women's basketball coach, helped lead Notre Dame to the 2001 NCAA women's basketball championship and was the first player in WNBA history to lead three different teams to the postseason. Chris Zorich, a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and manager of student welfare and development at his alma mater, Notre Dame, played defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins. Kyle Brady, named an analyst for the Big Ten Network in September 2009, is a former player for the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots, and helped the Penn State Nittany Lions win their first Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl victory. Spanier and the panelists debate salary inflation, ego inflation and entitlement among young all-stars, and whether universities prepare them enough for dealing with fame and fortune, or for other careers if they fall short of their dreams of making the big leagues.

In "Careers in Sports Journalism," Moran said he tells students "to be prepared -- when that chance comes, when you get that internship opportunity, that you take full advantage of it. You cross every platform you can." He added, "If you have the opportunity to work on a game broadcast as a cable puller, you want to be the best cable puller in North America so you'll be asked back. You take advantage of every chance you get."

"Expert Opinion" is scheduled to air at 9 a.m. and again at 3 p.m. Eastern time on three consecutive Wednesdays in October on the Big Ten Network. Air dates are subject to change; check local listings.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010