Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The sports media industry lost a great supporter Monday when author David Halberstam died in a car wreck at the age of 73. Halberstam won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in Vietnam, but one always got the sense that he would much rather write and report on sports. His books on sports, and especially baseball history, have become classics.
Perhaps Halberstam's greatest contribution is the prestige he gave to sports media. Sports journalism has long been derided as the "toy" department of news, but Halberstam gave it weight and importance. All his accomplishments, including the Pulitzer, made sports journalism seem much more important and relevant. In a much smaller way, that's what we're trying to do with the Journal of Sports Media.
I actually got to meet Halberstam a couple of years ago. He was the commencement speaker here at Ole Miss and the night before the department hosted a meet-and-greet with him. I remember how big and imposing he seemed (much like Frank DeFord), but also how open and honest. When I nervously asked if he would be interested in contributing to the journal he politely said that he was simply too busy with other projects to consider it. The next day at graduation, just as Halberstam stepped to the microphone to begin speaking, the skies opened up and it began pouring. Halberstam had the good sense to cut his remarks short and run for cover like everyone else. Good sense and great writing ... that's what we should remember about a remarkable sports journalist.


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