USD prepares for Chris Berman
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USD prepares for Chris Berman

USD is preparing for veteran ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman to arrive April 24 for a series of workshops and press conferences.

Berman won the 2016 Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media last year, which was presented in June by the Newseum Institute in Washington D.C.

This was the first year in the award’s history that the ceremony didn’t take place on USD’s campus.

Berman made another “first” for the award because he was the first sports journalist to receive it.

Michelle Van Maanen, chair of the media & journalism department, said the event has been nearly a year in the making.

“Ever since we heard that Chris Berman was going to be the first sports media person to receive the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media we were especially excited to bring him in,” she said. “Especially because sports journalism is where Al Neuharth got his start. It seems that it has come full circle back to sports.”

Van Maanen said she thinks students will gain a lot from Berman’s longtime experience in the industry.

“I think the students will really benefit from the expertise that Chris Berman brings,” she said. “Whether or not you’re a fan of Berman, because everyone has their own opinion on their favorite sportscasters, I think that you can really learn from his experience. It’s not only what the audience sees or hears on the air, he’s also a part of the behind-the-scenes planning and promotion and strategy that ESPN has had over the years.”

Berman’s resume is filled with notable events throughout sports since he first started with ESPN in 1979, including the Super Bowl 34 times, the MLB All-Star Game 30 times and the World Series 29 times.

Berman has also hosted several shows on ESPN.

Freshman Nikolas Wilson said he thinks it’s great to see the university bring in such a big name.

“I think it is really cool to bring in such a notable guy that a lot of people recognize,” Wilson said. “He is just one of those guys that has done almost everything in sports and has a voice that has always stood out.”

Berman’s first event on campus is a workshop about “On Air Talent Tips for Sportscasters” at 1 p.m. After the workshop is a Q&A only open to media & journalism majors and minors with Gene Policinski, COO of the Newseum Institute, Erik Thorstenson, KSFY-TV Sports Director, Hailie Meyer, PR & Social Creative Strategist and Jay Elsen, Midco Sports Network play-by-play announcer.

Following the discussion will be a brief time for autographs and pictures with Berman. His last event is a lecture at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center at 6:30 p.m., which is open to the public.