ESPN's Jemele Hill speaks at Griot Drum Awards in Tampa tonight
She's an opinionator who has drawn strong opinions of her own -- from those who criticized her column suggesting fans pelt quarterback Brett Favre with batteries to others who carp every time she tackles race in a story.
But ESPN commentator and columnist Jemele Hill has made a reputation by doing what many sportswriters do -- pushing the envelope in commentary to make the strongest points possible.
Hill sits in a small club; among the few women and people of color who comment regularly on sports from one of the highest perches in America's largest sports media company, writing columns for ESPN.com while appearing on shows such as SportsCenter, Jim Rome is Burning and Around the Horn.
And she'll be sharing her insights about sports and journalism in Tampa tonight, at the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists' Griot Drum Awards. The event starts with a 6 p.m. reception and 7 p.m. dinner tonight at the the Dr. Blaise F. Alfano Conference & Banquet Center, 11606 McKinley Drive, Tampa.
The Griot Drum Awards were revived more than five years ago to help encourage quality coverage of communities of color by rewarding people who do it right (full disclosure: I am the immediate past president of the TBABJ and serve as sponsorship chair of the current event). This year, we've nominated organizations such as ABC Action News, Fox 13, The St. Petersburg Times, PBS affiliates WEDU-Ch. 3 and WUSF Public Media and the Tampa Tribune for major awards, while giving out $5,000 in scholarships to journalism students of color.
The idea is simple: Diversity in newsrooms and in content leads to more accurate coverage of increasingly diverse communities.
The whole shindig is hosted tonight by WFLA-Ch. 8 morning anchor Rod Carter, with performances by the Gulfcoast Academy of Performing Arts (formerly the Soulful Arts Dance Academy) and Tampa musical prodigy Caleb E. Sanders. Tickets are $20 for TBABJ members, $25 for non-members and $200 for a table of 10, available for purchase at www.TBABJ.com.
Events like this can become valuable community resources; opportunities for networking, education, inspiration and achievement. Check out more information on it all below: