Jemele Hill to speak at First Amendment lecture at U of M
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Former ESPN host Jemele Hill will speak at the University of Memphis on March 12 at the eighth annual Norm Brewer First Amendment Lecture .
The event, set for 6 p.m. in the University Center Theatre, is free and open to the public.
Hill is an Emmy winner and was named Journalist of the Year in 2018 by the National Association of Black Journalists.
She co-hosted the 6 p.m. broadcast of SportsCenter beginning in February 2017. She moved to ESPN’s online publication The Undefeated and is now a writer for The Atlantic.
Otis Sanford, journalism professor at the U of M and the organizer of the Norm Brewer Lectures, said Hill was the perfect person to speak on a college campus. Hill has been surrounded by controversy after she showed support for Colin Kaepernick and resistance against President Donald Trump.
“Universities don’t shy away from having controversial people, no matter what side of the controversy they are on,” Sanford said. “A university is a place for independent thought, and we welcome that kind of independent thought.”
He said Hill is a nationally known journalist and appeals to students, two things he looks for when booking speakers. He said he has heard nothing but positive things about Hill’s visit to the U of M campus.
“She is the first speaker that I have had where a lot of students knew who she was,” Sanford said. “Most of our speakers are kind of older, and most of our students had never heard of them before we announced that they were coming. That’s not the case with Jemele.”
This will be the eighth installment of the Norm Brewer First Amendment lecture series, which aims to bring in national journalists to speak to students about media, politics and culture.
Some other people who have spoken in the lecture series are Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian and CNN commentator; Leonard Pitts Jr., a columnist for The Miami Herald; Dorothy Gilliam, a reporter for The Washington Post; and Keith Woods, an vice president of newsroom training and diversity at NPR.