Vicki Michaelis receives Association for Women in Sports Media award

Vicki Michaelis, the John Huland Carmical Chair in Sports Journalism & Society and director of the John Huland Carmical Sports Media Institute, is the recipient of the 2022 Ann Miller Service Award by Association for Women in Sports Media. It is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to the organization.

Michaelis has worked at Grady College since 2012, and has been the faculty adviser for the AWSM student chapter at the University of Georgia and she regularly participates in conventions as a moderator or panelist.

Before joining UGA, she spent more than two decades as a sports journalist, including at USA Today as the lead Olympics reporter and Denver bureau sportswriter covering professional and college sports. She also was a reporter for The Denver Post and The Palm Beach Post.

“Getting an award named for Ann Miller? Priceless to me,” Michaelis said. “She isn’t just part of AWSM’s foundation. She’s part of its soul. That soul, that community, has meant so much to me and my career — as both a journalist and a professor. I am truly honored.”

Michaelis is a former president and chair of the board who has played a role in several AWSM endeavors. She was a regional coordinator, helping plan and host events in the Denver area, and took on treasurer responsibilities during her time as chair.

“Vicki’s involvement and support of AWSM long after serving on the board embodies what the Ann Miller Service Award is all about,” AWSM president Ashley Colley said. “She has helped so many women at both the student and professional level. I’ve witnessed her contributions on both fronts, working with student chapters and giving advice to many of our members seeking guidance from a veteran woman in this industry. We thank Vicki for always making time to give back to AWSM.”

Established in 2013, AWSM’s service award is named in honor of Ann Miller, a longtime Hawaii-based sports reporter who was the organization’s treasurer for its first 10 years, served as board chair and has attended nearly every convention despite the long travel distance.


Editor’s Note: The above was edited from a feature written by AWSM. An original copy of this feature can be found on the AWSM website.

Vicki Michaelis provides input to students in an outdoor class of Multi-platform Storytelling in Sports in April 2022. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Amelia Green

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

Grady offered versatility and an environment that was challenging yet welcoming to a new student at the University of Georgia. I felt as though the goals outlined in Grady coursework aligned with my personal career goals and that the Sports Media Certificate would offer me real-world experience in the sports media field. I am so grateful that I pursued my undergraduate education with Grady and will cherish the experience for a lifetime. 

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

To me, tenacity means thriving when challenges are presented and offering innovative and creative solutions when new endeavors present themselves as difficult.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about presenting the world of sports to viewers and fans in a new and captivating way. Whether it is working for the PGA TOUR as head of event planning, the Nashville Superspeedway as a social media manager, or even the National Olympic Committee as a marketing analyst, ideally, I see myself in a field that allows me to make meaningful contributions to both the media consumers and the athletic organizations. I enjoy telling stories and I enjoy making compelling content, but most importantly I want to make people care about the why in sports. 

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

Professor Finlay had acted as my mentor for the past three years at UGA. He has given me so much advice and is always available when I need to ask a question or simply decompress about school to someone who understands the convoluted times of undergrad.

Green was selected to work as an Associated Press Photojournalist for the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing.
What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

My proudest moment in the past year was being selected to travel to the Beijing Winter Paralympics as an Associated Press Photojournalist. Even though we were not able to go due to COVID-19, the other selected students and myself prepared for months and strengthened our skills to be able to tell stories about the incredible athletes competing in Beijing.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

The best piece of advice I have received while at UGA has been to take risks. During my early years in the Sports Media program, Professor Finlay and Professor Michaelis reminded me that while skill is important, being willing to do any task that is asked of you says a lot about your work ethic and character. I was encouraged to make opportunities where there are none and that stepping out of my comfort zone is what will continue to give me a competitive edge in a very competitive field. I now believe that every success in your personal and professional life comes from taking risks and that is the key to being successful in today’s sports media industry.

Green is an intern for the Clarke Central High School Sports Information Department.
What are you planning to do after graduation?

I find myself striving for an opportunity in the sports media field because of its extensive range, rapid pace and growing influence in today’s society. After graduation, I will be attending Vanderbilt University for a Masters in Marketing to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the evolving, complex and global reach of the sports marketing and media industry.

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?

Instagram is my favorite social media channel because of my passion for photography. Instagram allows me to follow my favorite photojournalists and photographers around the globe and provides a lot of inspiration when it comes to making engaging photographs and writing stories. 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am a licensed pilot and frequently fly rescue missions for Pilots N’ Paws Animal Rescue!

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

The UGA Intramural Fields is my favorite spot on campus because I can either play in one of the many intramural sports leagues for students, take a relaxing walk around Lake Herrick or read a good book!

 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Armani Kardar

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?  

I chose Grady and journalism because I love to talk and tell stories. I love meeting people and learning random information. Journalism has allowed me to be put in spaces and opportunities that I wouldn’t normally be in because I have to tell the story.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity means to never give up. Nobody can truly stop you from being successful other than yourself. It means to bet on yourself every time regardless of your confidence in your abilities.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

Professor Carlo Finlay marked a pivotal moment in my development as a man and journalist. I was interested in the Sports Media program as a sophomore but opted not to apply out of the belief that I wasn’t good enough to be accepted. My Junior year a friend of mine, Tylar Norman (Grady and Sports Media Alum),  told me that Professor Finlay asked about me and wondered why I had not applied to the Sports Media program because he felt like I would be a good fit. It shocked me because while I didn’t believe in myself, someone else did. It made me realize I held myself back out of fear of failure and changed my outlook on life. I eventually went on to join the Sports Media program as a senior and decided to stay an extra year at UGA to complete it.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

The best advice I’ve received is from my fraternity advisor Dr. Dennis Humphrey. He always uses old and obscure adages and the one that stuck with me the most is: “The race is not given to the swift, but to those who endure.” Which essentially means that it is better to finish at your own pace rather than placing a timetable on accomplishments based on others.

Kardar, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, hosted the Greek NPHC Step Show in 2021. (Photo: submitted)
Who is your professional hero?

My professional hero is Stephen A. Smith because of how he went from being a beat reporter in Philadelphia to the biggest name in sports show business. I also appreciate how he is able to be himself on television without being stereotyped or ridiculed.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

I plan to work in sports media as a career. 

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?

I love to use Twitter because of its versatility. It provides news, jokes, updates and a platform to share your creativity with others.

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

I don’t learn very well in classroom settings and most of my skills are self taught. I really enjoy learning new things.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is North Campus because of how beautiful it looks and how close it is to downtown.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about mentoring young black men in hopes of instilling the confidence I once lacked in them at an early age. It is important to invest in our youth because they are the future and need to know that their potential is truly limitless.

 

Carmical Symposium Spotlights Women in Sports and 50 Years of Title IX

Every facet of the sports media ecosystem was in the room. 

Seasoned and aspiring media professionals, accomplished athletes, proud parents, team administrators, and more gathered to celebrate how far women have come in sports and to discuss how to maximize opportunities for continued progress. 

The first Carmical Symposium on Sports Media, hosted by UGA’s John Huland Carmical Sports Media Institute, was held Feb. 2 to coincide with National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The symposium focused on women in sports to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX, a law that prohibits gender-based discrimination. 

The keynote conversation with UGA women’s basketball coach Joni Taylor and Atlanta Dream president Morgan Shaw Parker, led by Carmical Institute associate director Welch Suggs, highlighted the importance of empowering women in sports. 

“We still need to continue to make opportunities available,” Taylor said. “That comes from using our voice. There is progress. I think organizations are better at understanding the strength and power women have.”

Andrew Billings researches sports media coverage at the University of Alabama.

The keynote speakers said advocating for change is taxing but necessary. 

“If I use my voice, progress is made,” said Parker. “I don’t know if society fully understands how difficult that is.” 

A morning panel led by Carmical Institute director Vicki Michaelis featured current athletes, a sports media researcher and a multimedia reporter. A portion of the discussion involved the pros and cons of social and digital media for female athletes and women working in sports media.

Kendell Williams is back in Athens after competing in her second Olympic Games.

With sports on social and digital media, the audience can provide direct feedback to those who decide what sports are broadcast, according to Andrew Billings, journalism professor at the University of Alabama.

“Everything is going streaming,” said Billings. “If you are a fan of women’s sports, you get to have your voice heard as much as anyone. 

Jaiden Fields plays on the UGA softball team and is a student in the Carmical Institute’s undergraduate Sports Media Certificate program. She has witnessed the growth in fan support, but sees opportunity for more.

“Our games in the Women’s College World Series had a ten percent increase in viewers last year,” Fields said. “That was at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday. Imagine what that could be in prime time.”

Jaiden Fields discusses the athlete experience as a UGA softball player.

Another topic of the panel focused on how athletes and reporters often receive targeted comments online and on social media based on gender.

Michella Chester reports for Turner Sports on NCAA athletics.

“”When you look at women in sports, or really women everywhere, there are comments about how they look or what they are wearing,” said Kendell Williams (AB ‘17) a two-time Olympic heptathlete who is pursuing her Master’s degree in public relations. “It should be about the athletic success.” 

“I produce content for NCAA, but I don’t work for the NCAA,” said Michella Chester, digital reporter for Turner Sports and an alumna of the sports media program. “I’m the face on the internet that people message when they aren’t happy with something.”

The Carmical Symposium on Sports Media is a biennial event hosted by the John Huland Carmical Sports Media Institute at the University of Georgia. It is designed to prompt critical discussions about how sports media intersects with society. 

You can view the full keynote conversation here:

Learn more about the Carmical Sports Media Institute at: https://sportsmediainstitute.uga.edu/

#ProfilesOfTenacity: DonA Traylor-Askew

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?

I chose to study journalism because I developed a love for storytelling while in grade school. I love talking to people and getting to know more about what makes them who they are. I also love sports and how they bring people together. The idea that I could combine the two and pursue a career in sports journalism seemed like a dream. I knew Grady had a great program and reputation for successful journalists. In addition, I knew the Sports Media Certificate program would help me to best position myself for a fulfilling career.

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you?

Tenacity means pushing through whatever comes your way and never giving up. It means setting your mind on a goal and doing whatever it takes to reach it no matter what situations arise in life that could stand in your way. Simply put, it means unrivaled determination.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

In my Fall 2021 sports broadcast class, I was the producer of our last show of the year. When I first learned I would have that task, I was so nervous. It was my job to get everyonethe anchor, analysts, feature reporter, and graphics producer, etc.all on the same page. It was the first time I had ever produced a show, but I created a new structure for the show. My classmates and I came together and pulled it off with my new plans being implemented almost seamlessly. I was very proud of myself and although I had never considered pursuing a position as a producer, this experience changed me. Now I really feel like I could do this in a professional setting.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

The sports media program has had the biggest impact of my life during my time at UGA. I arrived here hoping to begin building a foundation for a career in sports media, but it was really just an idea. It has only been through the experiences in this program that I have truly started to realize that I can be successful in the field. Each class and the challenges I’ve faced in them have allowed me to learn new skills that will not only be applicable in the workplace but could also give me an edge over my competition early on when starting in the industry.

Traylor interviewing a trainer on Dooley Field
Traylor-Askew interviews University of Kentucky Football strength and conditioning coach Rafael Horton.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

I have two great pieces of advice from Professor Vicki Michaelis that I try to keep in mind with all that I do professionally. The first is “Don’t let perfection get in the way of done.” This advice has helped me to stay out of my own way when it comes to being a perfectionist. Instead of trying to find some cute way to dress up a graphic or some fun phrase to add to a sideline hit, it’s always best at the end of the day to deliver the truth of the information in a clear and concise format, and to worry about the additives later. And the second is “If you know what you don’t know, you’ll be fine.” As long as I remain aware of the areas where I can improve, I will always be working to better myself and therefore better position myself for the future.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

I hope to begin working in social media production for an NFL or NBA team in Los Angeles, Phoenix or Atlanta. I could also see myself working in sports broadcasting in some form, either as an anchor or producer.

What is your favorite app or social media channel and why?
Traylor on the Newsource set
Traylor-Askew is an active volunteer and manager for Grady Newsource.

TikTok. It is such an informal platform that even professional TikTok accounts are able to create a silly atmosphere for consumers. When NFL and NBA teams can use this form of media to make jokes about one another and it’s not only acceptable, but to be expected, I think it is great.

Where is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is Sanford Stadium. I have been able to make so many great memories there with the new friends that I’ve made during my time at UGA. The atmosphere is phenomenal. And as a major sports fan, I didn’t miss a home game all year and I don’t plan to miss one next year either.

Who is your professional hero?

I would consider Maria Taylor to be a professional hero of mine. She also attended Grady and is having a very successful career in sports broadcasting. She is one of the younger successful Black sports broadcasters that I feel has recently blazed a trail for women like me who could follow in her footsteps before creating my own path.

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

I was part of a small team of student reporters who worked to create “The First Five,” a documentary about the five black men who integrated the UGA football team in 1971. I didn’t realize how much work would go into the project when we first started, and I had some self doubt in the beginning because I’d never done anything like it before. However, I worked hard to give each subject a true voice when I finished my portion of the piece and when I saw what it added to the overall story, it was one of the proudest moments of my life.

 

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Palmer Thombs

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study?  

As an out of state student, Grady is what drew me to come to Georgia. I knew I wanted to study journalism in college, and I knew that Grady was the place I wanted to do it. So, for me, choosing Grady happened long before I applied to the college. It happened when I applied to the university because I saw the people that have come out of here and the opportunities students have while here as second to none. 

Who is your professional hero? 

I’ve always enjoyed the work of Adam Lucas, a writer for the University of North Carolina and its athletics program. I grew up reading Lucas’ work, specifically relating to UNC basketball, and admired the way he is able to relate to readers by using his voice. This is something that I have always tried to do too, not let the facts block out my voice, thus allowing the reader to get to know both me and the story I’m reporting. 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I think a lot of people would be surprised to know about my passion for writing. That doesn’t come as a surprise to anybody in Grady, or anybody that’s gotten to know me well enough, but it’s just not common that you see somebody with a desire to go into journalism these days. It’s something that makes me different from most of my best friends, and something that I think people would be surprised to know about me. I’m passionate about it, knew that and decided to pursue that professionally. 

What are you passionate about? 

I would say that I am passionate about sharing stories. Whether that is the story of an individual, a team, a community, a game or anything else, I thoroughly enjoy finding the right way to convey my experiences to others. 

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?  

The Grady Sports Media program has probably had the biggest impact on my life during my time at Georgia, specifically professor Carlo Finlay. I came into the program already having some experience in the field of sports media, however I’ve still been able to grow exponentially. I actually remember meeting with Professor Finlay and talking about the sports media certificate during a visit to Georgia when I was in high school, so his impact goes beyond just my days in Athens. 

What is an example of a time you used your studies and skills in a real-world experience?  

While every day on the job uses the skills that I’ve learned through my studies, I think the biggest example of me using them came during the summer of 2020 when I worked as a communications intern for the Carolinas Golf Association. In fact, it was myself and two other Grady students and graduates tag-teaming communications, so we all used skills learned through our time here. However, skills like photography, social media and writing absolutely came in handy in this fast paced, real world work experience, and I can thank Grady for that knowledge.

What are you planning to do after graduation?  

I have accepted, and actually already started, a full-time job with On3 Sports as their team beat writer for their Georgia site. I will be living in Athens and covering the Dawgs. This is an exciting opportunity for me to get in on the ground floor of a promising new sports media outlet and stay connected with a school that I love so much.

Palmer participated in the Sports Media Certificate, where he got to interview players, coaches and other sports professionals.
What is your favorite app or social media channel and why? 

I would say that Twitter is probably my favorite app and social media because it’s the quickest and easiest way to stay up to date with the happenings of this fast-paced world. 

Where is your favorite place on campus and why? 

My favorite place on campus would be Sanford Stadium because I feel at home there. Not only is it a place where I do my work, but over the years it is also a place where I’ve gotten to spend so much quality time with my friends in the stands. There’s really nothing like a Saturday in Sanford. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year? 

My proudest moment in the last year would have to be getting and accepting my full-time job offer with On3 Sports to cover Georgia athletics. It’s something that I have been working toward for a long time, a full-time opportunity in this field, and a place that I feel certain I wouldn’t have ended up in had it not been for coming to Georgia.   

Countdown to the Olympic Games: Vicki Michaelis

The Olympics in Tokyo will be the first Summer Games Vicki Michaelis has not covered in nearly three decades. Between Summer and Winter Games, Michaelis has reported from nine Olympics.

The press badges Michaelis has collected over the years. (Photo: submitted)

Her Olympics coverage for the Denver Post, USA TODAY and TeamUSA.org has taken her to Sydney, London and Athens, Greece, among other global hubs.

She witnessed every Olympic victory from Michael Phelps, including his historic performance in 2008 in Beijing when the swimmer won eight gold medals. Michaelis wrote about documenting that history for TeamUSA.org in 2016.

“The Olympics are a potent mix of everything I love about covering sports,” Michaelis said. “You have an endlessly rich array of athletes and their narratives to explore. You also have the social, political and cultural layers of the athletes and teams competing against each other.”

Michaelis is now rooted in Athens, Georgia, where she is the John Huland Carmical Chair in Sports Journalism & Society and director of the Carmical Sports Media Institute.

Her first visit to UGA’s campus was for the 1996 Olympic Games when soccer was played in Sanford Stadium. Little did she know then that her career would one day be planted steps away from that same stadium.

After Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal in Beijing in the medley relay, Michaelis captured this image. Phelps and his medley relay teammates are visible in the background on the top step of the podium. (Photo: Christine Brennan)

“It is very special to me now,” Michaelis said. “But, to be honest, my memory of covering that game isn’t vivid or anywhere near complete. More than anything, I remember being deeply grateful for the cold hot dog that UGA sports information legend Claude Felton (ABJ ’70, MA ’71) offered after the game, as I filed my story from the Sanford Stadium press box.”

That small gesture of kindness was received with much gratitude considering Olympics coverage deadlines make sleep scarce and good meals rare. The multi-week grind was always worthwhile for Michaelis because it was a small price to have a first-hand account of athletic history.

In Atlanta in 1996, she covered the U.S. women’s gold-medal games in soccer, basketball and softball.

“I saw and chronicled those watershed moments in U.S. women’s sports,” Michaelis said. “Both soccer and softball were new to the Olympics, and it was the first time Americans — a generation after the 1972 passage of Title IX — really embraced women’s teams and not just individual women’s athletes at an Olympics. The Atlanta Games changed how we view professional women’s sports leagues and women in sports overall. That I was there for those historic Olympic victories is a career highlight.”

Michaelis was part of the ecosystem of professionals around the Olympics. Many of her best memories and connections were created in the shadow of the iconic five-ring logo. Now, she and the Carmical Sports Media Institute create similar opportunities for young journalists.

Students in the Carmical Sports Media Institute began covering the Paralympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro and will continue in perpetuity thanks to the generosity of the Carmical Foundation. This coverage is in partnership with The Associated Press.

Professor Vicki Michaelis talks with Miranda Daniel, left, Nikki Weldon and Zoe Smith as they plan out coverage at the US Air Force Academy of the Department of Defense Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday, May 31, 2018. (Photo: Mark E. Johnson)

“The Paralympic Games offer all that I love about the Olympics, amplified,” said Michaelis. “Media outlets, though, generally don’t devote resources to amplifying the Paralympic stories. That gives us the opening to give our students the social, cultural and practical experience of covering a Paralympic Games while also giving them the chance to get their stories and photos published by high-profile media outlets.”

With every Olympic Games competition comes new stories from athletes and their home nations. It is where local cultures meld with sporting achievement serving as a common and universal language. For a sports storyteller, the Olympic Games are bountiful garden of meaningful narratives.

“You have the heightened drama and emotion of the competition, because every moment and every result is so consequential when the chance to shine comes only once every four years,” said Michaelis.

The Olympic Games in Toyko will be different for Michaelis. She will enjoy the spectacle as a spectator and through the eyes of the audience she’s long served. It will surely stir up a variety of emotions and memories.

Just as many athletes find themselves coaching the next generation of gold medalists, she now serves as a coach. Some Olympics content she consumes in July and August will be created by students she trained.

“As fulfilling as it was to be an Olympics reporter,” Michaelis said, “the reward of seeing our Sports Media Certificate graduates live their dreams is beyond compare.”

#ProfilesOfTenacity: Henry Queen

Why did you choose Grady and your course of study? 

The Grady Sports Media program initially attracted me to UGA. Growing up an Auburn fan, I might not have given UGA a second thought without it. I remember going on a tour with assistant director Carlo Finlay and being blown away. He recommended I join The Red & Black my freshman year, and the rest is history.   

What does the word “tenacity” mean to you? 

Keeping sane during the last year is tenacious in and of itself. We’ve endured a lot, but that doesn’t mean we should ever let go of hope, gratitude and empathy. To me, tenacity means holding onto those qualities even when it’s most difficult. 

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I’m a childhood cancer survivor!

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about learning new things and restoring shared narratives within our local communities. I want to tell stories that unite more than divide. Sports are an incredible opportunity for that. They’ve been a lifelong passion of mine, but for reasons that have changed. As a kid, I memorized baseball statistics and idolized the game’s best players. Now I see sports (along with music) as one of the best ways for people to connect with strangers. It’s rare for that many people to gather as one, especially in our sprawling, car-dependent cities. Coming out of the pandemic, I expect people to be hungry for that connection.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Getting sick on the way to Super Bowl Media Day. I’m prone to motion sickness, and the ride to Atlanta with my classmates wasn’t fun. But I ended up doing the interviews, making photos and writing two stories in time for that afternoon’s deadline.

What is your favorite app or social media channel?

Twitter, but only because I can curate my own feed. That power scares me. 

What has been your proudest moment in the past year?

When two people independently took my Twitter recommendation and ate at Groove Burgers on the same day. I’m always happy to spread the good word.

What or who has had the biggest impact on your life during your time at UGA?

My friends. Aside from the great times and personal memories we’ve shared, they’ve also meant a ton to me professionally. My storytelling skills were drastically improved by interacting with people outside the journalism bubble.      

Queen interviewed football players as a part of the Super Bowl LIII Media Day. (Photo courtesy of Henry Queen).
Who is your professional hero?

I have so many. Some of my favorite sports journalists include Mirin Fader, Wright Thompson, Howard Bryant and Joe Posnanski. My favorite magazine journalists are Ed Yong, Tom Junod and Chris Jones, although he is now a screenwriter. But that brings up a good point: I admire storytellers of all mediums. I take inspiration from filmmakers, podcasters, YouTubers and songwriters. There is so much good stuff out there.  

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from an instructor, mentor or family member?

My mom told me recently that nothing is permanent. I think that’s an important lesson from the pandemic and something to keep in mind going forward. Savor everything you have while you have it.  

Where is your favorite place on campus?

I’m going to be cliché and say North Campus. It’s so beautiful, especially this time of year. 

John Huland Carmical Sports Media Institute established at University of Georgia

Sports media education, already a signature program at the University of Georgia, is expanding with the establishment of the John Huland Carmical Sports Media Institute.

The Carmical Sports Media Institute will give UGA’s undergraduate Sports Media Certificate program a home base and a distinct brand as well as the resources to increase student support and experiential learning opportunities, on-campus programming, community outreach and industry networking.

Vicki Michaelis chats with Jimmy Alston and Charles Davis at a celebration for the first Sports Media Certificate graduates in 2015. The undergraduate certificate program laid the foundation for the Carmical Sports Media Institute.

Housed in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Carmical Sports Media Institute will operate on foundational journalistic principles while innovating the future of sports storytelling.

The Carmical Sports Media Institute is possible because of a generous gift from the Atlanta-based John Huland Carmical Foundation, which now has committed more than $3 million to sports media education at UGA.

“The University of Georgia is grateful to the John Huland Carmical Foundation for their significant support,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “I look forward to the many ways the Carmical Sports Media Institute will enhance our students’ academic and professional development and sustain our efforts to provide educational opportunities in sports media to young people across Georgia.”

With the resources the Carmical Sports Media Institute will provide, plans are underway for a sports media-specific study abroad program, an annual lecture series and periodic symposia. Sports Media Certificate students will receive financial assistance with travel and housing costs related to internships and other experiential learning opportunities.

Students in the Carmical Sports Media Institute will cover high school, college, professional and international sporting events.

In addition, the one-off opportunity that saw Grady College students in sports media and visual journalism covering the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in partnership with The Associated Press will become a perennial offering. Institute funding also will allow the UGA-Grady High School Sports Broadcast Program to operate in perpetuity. The program, launched in 2019, provides equipment and trains students in underrepresented and/or underserved communities across Georgia to produce live broadcasts of their school’s sports events.

The Sports Media Certificate curriculum prepares students to work in sports reporting and writing, broadcasting, social and digital media, communications and media relations. Program alumni are working at some of the nation’s premier sports media outlets and sports organizations, including The Washington Post, ESPN, The Athletic, Atlanta United, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Miami Dolphins and Turner Sports.

Joe Ripley (ABJ ’14), now a journalist for 11 Alive in Atlanta, interviews Damian Swann in the football locker room during their college days.

The Sports Media Certificate program, launched in 2014, is unique among Southeastern Conference universities and one of the few programs nationally that offers sports-specific media training for undergraduates. Available to all UGA students regardless of major, the program is in high demand, annually attracting at least twice as many applicants as available spots.

“Jimmy Alston and his fellow Carmical Foundation directors Henry Bowden, Jimmy Fluker and John O. Knox first supported the vision of legendary UGA professor Conrad Fink to offer sports-specific journalism training here in Athens,” said Vicki Michaelis, a longtime sports journalist hired to be the John Huland Carmical Chair in Sports Journalism and Society in 2012. “Now they are making our big-league dreams come true as the Carmical Sports Media Institute will allow us to really ramp up what we can offer our students, the community and the sports media industry.”

John Huland Carmical, a distinguished journalist at The New York Times, graduated from Grady College at UGA in 1917. A native of Rico, Georgia, Carmical always credited the education he received at the University of Georgia for his success in journalism, according to Jimmy Alston, chair of the John Huland Carmical Foundation.

Brianna Patton captures content for social media at a high school football game.

“The creation of the Carmical Sports Media Institute represents another milestone in the program’s short but powerful story,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “The program, founded in a college that has produced countless stars in sports media, uses experiential learning and the many opportunities for sports coverage on an SEC campus to produce best-in-class training for its students. The institute gives this flourishing program a brick-and-mortar home, as well as offering a launchpad for future endeavors. We can’t possibly thank the Carmical Foundation enough for their visionary support, without which the institute would be but a dream.”

Michaelis will be the director of the Carmical Sports Media Institute. Welch Suggs, who worked alongside Michaelis to create the Sports Media Certificate program, will be the associate director. Carlo Finlay will be the assistant director.

Visit sportsmediainstitute.uga.edu and follow the Twitter and Instagram accounts for the Carmical Sports Media Institute to see the latest program news.