Monday, October 7, 2013

James Miller Talks About the Power of Great Journalism

Sienna Lee

On September 23, James Miller came to New Hope-Solebury to talk about the relationship between ESPN and the upcoming documentary about the NFL. Mr. Miller is the author of several books, including Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, and articles such as Live from New York, An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, and numerous others. He is currently in the spotlight for his article in The New York Times:N.F.L. Pressure Said to Lead ESPN to Quit Film Project.”

 Mr. Miller wrote this article for the New York Times, which quickly received a lot of mixed reactions. The article focused on how ESPN ended their affiliation with PBS and “Frontline,” with whom they co-produced the documentary League of Denial, which airs on Oct. 8. This documentary is about the health issues that NFL players may face as a result of severe head injuries during the game, referred to by Frontline as a concussion crisis. Soon after learning about this documentary, the NFL made it clear that they were not happy that ESPN was associated with it. Mr. Miller wrote in his article that "the face-off with ESPN comes at an unusually sensitive time for the NFL, which is engaged in a potentially far-reaching legal dispute with more than 4,000 retired players and their families, who have charged the league concealed for years and even decades what it knew about the long-term dangers of repeated hits to the head." Since then, the NFL has agreed to a 765 million dollar settlement after being accused of concealing a link between professional football and traumatic brain injury by over 4500 retired players.
 The meeting, which took place in the library during third period on Monday and was available to all journalism students, was very interesting and informative. Mr. Miller went very in-depth with this issue and answered a few questions from students. One of the questions that he was asked was about the backlash that he received after writing this article. He said that while there were some strong reactions to his article and not everyone was happy about it, it is important as a journalist to write about these issues anyway, even if it does upset some people. He also showed the trailer for the documentary and asked our opinions on it. He also pointed out during the meeting that when writing the article, he never expected it to get as much attention as it did, emphasizing the point that any one person can make a huge difference with their writing, even us at our age. This visit was a great way for students to learn more about this issue and get some interesting insight into what the life of a journalist is like.

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