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Putting the Leader in Worldwide Leader of Sports

This week, Northeastern’s Center for Sport in Society, in conjunction with Career Services, the College of Business Administration, and College of Professional Studies, hosted a panel discussion and networking event with ESPN, the “worldwide leader in sports.” 

Senior Vice President, Enrollment & Student Life Philly Mantella, and Athletic Director Peter Roby opened the discussion, held at the Curry Student Center Ballroom. The room was packed with inquisitive undergraduates and students from the popular Masters in Sports Leadership Program.  

Sport in Society’s Director of Operations, Dave Czesniuk moderated. Panelist included Michelle Bonner, an ESPN news anchor and 1994 graduate of Northeastern University with a B.A. in English. Her career has taken her all over the county, from being a sports anchor at Fox Sports in Los Angeles  from 2002–2003 to CNN in Atlanta, GA, where she was a sports anchor from 2003–2005.

Bonner won the Edward R. Murrow Award of Excellence in Journalism in 2001 for a feature story on Marlin Briscoe, the first black starting quarterback in the NFL. This same year, she received the Associated Press Award and Golden Mike for “Best Sportscast.”  In 2000, she earned an Emmy award for “Best Newscast.”

Bonner began her broadcasting career like many other huskies before and after her, with co-op and a lot of determination.  She landed her first job post graduation at WCHS-TV in Charleston, WV as a news producer and fill-in sports anchor/reporter after sending 200 VHS audition tapes all over the country. 

Other panelists included John Bartmon, Associate Producer at ESPN and 1998 graduate of Northeastern, and Peter Serbegis, a Sales Coordinator in the Affiliate Sales and Marketing Department and 2007 graduate of Northeastern with a B.A. in journalism.

Rayna Banks also shared her advice on how to break into the business.  In 2003-2004, Banks worked at the John Marshall Elementary school in Dorchester for the AmeriCorps Program Athletes in Service, which was based through the Northeastern University Sport in Society. She originally approached Bob Ley, host of ESPN’s Outside The Lines, during a Sport in Society gala event, and her persistence paid off. Banks is now the Associated Producer for ESPN Outside the Lines.

Bob Ley was recently honored at the 25th Anniversary True Heroes of Sport Awards Gala, where he accepted the Dick Schaap Exellence in Sports Broadcast Journalism Lifetime Achievement Award.