Allegations of misconduct in college athletic programs spawn a lot of discussion, pain, anger and confusion.

At this daylong symposium, we will reflect on some of the big questions behind these stories, and our roles as communications professionals in their telling.  How do we respond to these types of events? Are we sensitive? Ethical? Professional? Transparent? Fair?

It is deep, complex and sometimes emotional. Values, duties and obligations, roles and responsibilities make for a stew of challenges. But these questions and reflections provide lessons in an increasingly complex sports world that dominates our culture.
These types of stories are unrivaled in the questions and complications they put before us.

Four panel discussions will explore some of that:

  • Covering the story: Key media players will discuss their work, lifting the curtain on what they do, and why they do it.
  • Covering the victims and accusers: How well prepared are we to sensitively and responsibly cover these kinds of stories?
  • Managing the public relations: How do PR professionals balance obligations to client, accusers and victims, and the public?
  • Weighing the ethics: These stories include decisions — tough decisions. How are they made? What can we learn?

Our industry takes pride in its willingness to scrutinize its own work, just as it keeps an eye on others. We know there is much to learn — by sharing and reflecting on it. This symposium is not just about criticism, though there is sure to be some. It is not a replay of allegations or a debate on their merits. It’s about a frank, open and vigorous discussion — and then moving on, having become the better for it and having learned valuable lessons for the next time, for all stakeholders: fans, athletes, coaches and athletic departments, media and all communications professionals — and most of all for those who’ve been victimized or taken advantage of.

Our professors and our students here at Newhouse thank our guests for coming and making this possible. We hope other campuses, and all journalism and communications professionals, find this project to be a useful resource.

If you have questions about the symposium, please contact Steve Davis or Dona Hayes at the Newhouse School.