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Ron Thomas and the Journalism and Sports Program to Be Featured on ESPN in January

By ADD SEYMOUR JR.

(Jan. 4, 2010) -- Ron Thomas and the College’s Journalism and Sports Program will be featured during ESPN’s January college basketball coverage.

As a tribute to February's Black History Month, the sports network will feature people at colleges and universities who do work benefiting the African American community. Thomas, who has been the program’s director since its inception in 2007, and 12 others will each be profiled in 30-second vignettes that run during commercial breaks of college basketball games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN-U. Thomas’ piece will air for one week, beginning Jan. 11.

“Most of the folks are fairly anonymous,” said Barry Abrams, ESPN’s feature producer. “That’s one of the reasons we are doing this – to highlight work that doesn’t normally get mainstream publicity.

“We came to Ron Thomas because this journalism program is specifically targeting African American men in saying there aren’t enough African Americans in the ranks of the media,” he said. “We felt this program was a worthy candidate to honor and mention in terms of this project.”

The Journalism and Sports Program started as an idea between Shelton “Spike” Lee ’79 and the late acclaimed sports journalist and author, Ralph Wiley.

“It always amazed me when Ralph would tell me he’d be one of the only brothers in the press box,” Lee said during the College’s introduction of the program, which is one of only a few in the country with an emphasis on sports journalism.

Lee’s seed money helped establish the program, which focuses on preparing students to become writers, reporters, photographers and copy editors and gives them a historical perspective on African American contributions to journalism.

“This is terrific exposure for the program -- and we’re a young program,” Thomas said. “The fact that this will get the word out to basketball fans all over the country that Morehouse has a journalism program with an emphasis on sports is just terrific for us. I’m really happy about it.”

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