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By Steven Gransky - News Editor. October 11, 2017 - 4:11 pm
Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU) communication department hosted ESPN sportscaster and former HPU athletic department administrator on Sept. 21, 2017. Co-anchor of ESPN’s late night SportsCenter Neil Everett spoke to students and faculty about sports journalism, new media and politics within professional sports.
More than 30 students and faculty were in attendance for the event, which took on a question and answer (Q&A) format. HPU communication department Chair, Dr. John Hart led the Q&A discussion.
The discussion began with the topic of using professional sports as a political platform, specifically about Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem before NFL games, and Everett responded by saying, “Colin Kaepernick’s not a sports story anymore, he’s a larger story than that.” Everett elaborated on his position stating that SportsCenter is not the time or place for that type of discussion.
As the topics changed, the discussions were more about how consumers are moving away from traditional cable broadcast, to the effects of the modern smartphone and social media. The Q&A went on for a little over an hour.
HPU senior Jenna Allen doesn’t care for sports or news, but really wanted to hear Everett’s take on how to start a career in the communication field. “He was talking about his career and what got him into the media. I thought that was a lot cooler for us to hear because we’re obviously not all trying to be news anchors for sports,” she said.
Allen appreciated the way Everett spoke to the students. “It was cool that he kind of spoke to all of us in a way that was important to every single one of us.”
Everett worked at the HPU athletics department for 15 years prior to working for ESPN and was in town to deliver a keynote address to the Global Tourism Summit. He explained, “I was out here to speak at the Hawaii Visitors Bureau, and my topic was paying it forward, how Hawaii saved my life.”
Everett ended his Q&A by stating that he wanted to live up to his topic. Coming to HPU to speak to the Communications students and faculty was his way of “paying it forward”.