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ESPN columnist tabbed to lead sports journalism program

J.A. Adande, renowned sports journalist and Northwestern alumnus, will serve as program director

  • New role begins in September
  • Sports journalist will continue to contribute to ESPN platforms
  • Adande earned undergraduate journalism degree from Medill in 1992

adandeEVANSTON - Nationally acclaimed sports journalist J.A. Adande will join the Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in September as director of the new sports journalism program and as a faculty member.

Adande has been a columnist for for nine years covering the NBA as well as a sideline reporter for NBA games. He has been a panelist for ESPN’s “Around the Horn” for the past 13 years. Previously, he wrote for the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and the Chicago Sun-Times.

“J.A. brings tremendous experience, talent and loyalty to Medill,” said Bradley J. Hamm, dean of the school. “I’ve been impressed with his dedication to students and his ideas and drive to make this program the best of its kind in the world.”

Adande earned his undergraduate degree in journalism from Medill in 1992. He was sports editor of The Daily Northwestern, the student newspaper.

"Enrolling at Medill was the best decision of my life, and I'm thrilled to return to the launch pad for my career, this time to help educate the sports journalists of tomorrow,” Adande said. “Dean Hamm has a vision and drive to make Medill the best journalism school in all fields, and I'm excited and ready to do my part to bring that to fruition. The Northwestern family always welcomed me when I returned, so heading back on a full-time basis feels like I'm coming home." 

USA Today’s Christine Brennan and ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, both Medill alumni and Northwestern University trustees, support the Medill sports journalism program throughout the year as professors of practice.

“I’m thrilled that J.A. is joining Medill,” Brennan said. “I’ve known J.A. for more than 20 years and have been impressed by his talent, his integrity and his humility. Plus, he’s a Wildcat to the core. He will be a terrific resource and leader for a new generation of Medill students.” 

Medill has an impressive alumni network of outstanding sports journalists. Its sports journalism specialization in the one-year master’s program offers students an unmatched experience through hands-on reporting projects, professional mentoring and connections to sports journalism leaders and companies.

Adande will continue to contribute to various ESPN platforms on a contract basis while leading Medill’s sports journalism program. He has covered the Olympic Games, Wimbledon, the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four, college football national championships, the NBA Finals, the Masters golf tournament and soccer’s World Cup.

He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and served as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism from 2004 to 2015.

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