Story by Maggie Johnson, Reprinted from InterCom
Photo by Allison Moons. Dr. Kevin Hull teaching the Sports, Media and Society class.
When Dr. Kevin Hull interviewed with Dr. Andrea Tanner for a job at the University of South Carolina, he told her about his favorite class at the University of Florida. She remembered the conversation and now, just two years later, he is teaching Sports, Media and Society to 142 students.
Dr. Hull says that his class focuses less on the actual sports news outlets, and more on how they deliver the news, and “how ESPN impacts your life.” The class studies how ESPN covers Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James instead of talking about how LeBron James plays. Dr. Hull says his class does not shy away from touchy subjects and controversy. They have looked into the different ways the media cover men versus women, as well as how media covers different races. He was glad to have the issue of San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, refusing to stand for the national anthem because it has led to good class discussions. He says that having this class in the fall, with both college and NFL football games in process, provides topics every week for the class to discuss.
Before coming to USC, Dr. Hull was a sports broadcaster in Wilmington NC. He covered games from NCAA championships to the Superbowl, but after a few years he tired of the long hours and discovered his real passion was working with the interns. He then taught high school in Wilmington, but realized that he would be a better fit in a college setting. Dr. Hull received his Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the University of Florida and applied for a position at Carolina because he loved the atmosphere in Columbia.
Dr. Tanner expressed interest in the new course idea during Dr. Hull’s second semester of teaching. He contacted colleagues at the University of Florida who were happy to provide information. He received additional suggestions from the sports faculty at USC’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. They, too, were eager for the new class for some of their students.
The class was put on the roster this fall and was an immediate hit.
Will Dodson, a broadcast journalism major, appreciates that the class isn’t just about sports. “You learn a lot in there about how the sports journalism world works, as well as the history of the eld. It’s a great course for any journalism major,” Dodson says.
For now, Sports, Media and Society is only a temporary class. But Dr. Hull thinks it will become permanent. The students are learning that the games behind the scenes can be just as competitive, and thrilling, as the games on the field.