ESPN’s Andy Katz’s desire to give back

This past November, ESPN senior journalist and University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus Andy Katz visited Madison for four days to speak to classes, interact with students, and of course cover a men’s basketball game.

Katz loved his experience back at Wisconsin. A graduate of the Class of 1990 (B.A. in History and Political Science), Katz told Robert Schwoch, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s undergraduate adviser and lecturer, and Professor and Director Hemant Shah that he wanted to do more.

Schwoch told Katz that a summer course could work, especially with Katz’s busy schedule reporting as well as serving as a back up host for ESPN’s Outside the Lines. 

“The experience in November really got me thinking about this aspect of teaching and giving back,” Katz said. “And to me it has so much meaning for me to do it at Wisconsin.”

The class will cover a variety of topics ranging from the state of journalism, specifically in sports and present day challenges such as all of the different outlets, the controversial subject of “sources”, and the conflict of breaking news vs. making sure you have the full story. Katz added that the class will look at certain cases, including the Bo Ryan situation that played out this past year.

Katz will contribute remotely and be available for advice and critique as another way to give back. A lot of students reach out to begin with, especially at his college paper The Daily Cardinal, so it will be an extension of networking and advice.

“One thing I can never promise is jobs,” Katz joked.

But most importantly, Katz wants to continue his relationship with UW-Madison just as much as the students he meets.

“My hope is that, like in November, and now as well, I don’t want it to be one-offs,” Katz said. “I would be more than happy, if we can work things out, that they can count on me to contribute at some points of the year.”

He won’t exactly be Professor Katz, but one of ESPN’s top senior journalists could only laugh when picturing the situation forthcoming in the next few weeks.

“My dad just retired a year ago as a professor at Boston College Law School. I grew up with a professor, and I will tell you that I never, ever thought that even in just a tiny way of loosely teaching at a university that that would ever be me.”

Sometimes it’s funny how things work out.

Along with Professor Robert Schwoch, UW-Madison alumnus and ESPN reporter Andy Katz and long-time Washington Post sports editor and NFL beat writer Len Shapiro will teach Sports Journalism (J475) this summer, starting Tuesday, May 24. The course will have 25 students, but is unfortunately already at capacity. 

Photo by Sarah Morton, UW-Madison College of Letters & Science.

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