Smith receives WISE Women of Inspiration, Sports Journalist of the Year awards

Smith receives WISE Women of Inspiration, Sports Journalist of the Year awards

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 7:15am
Shelley Smith, ESPN analyst and UNL CoJMC alumnus, received the WISE Women of Inspiration and Sports Journalist of the Year awards.
Shelley Smith, ESPN analyst and UNL CoJMC alumnus, received the WISE Women of Inspiration and Sports Journalist of the Year awards.

by Savanah Baker

Shelley Smith, current ESPN correspondent and a University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications alumnus, has been selected to receive the 2016 Women in Sports and Events (WISE) Women of Inspiration Award and the Sports Journalist of the Year by the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation.

Smith graduated from the CoJMC in 1981 and since then has worked for The San Francisco Examiner (1984-1987), where she won a William Randolph Hearst Award in 1986 for her series on Title IX in the Bay Area, the Pacific Stars and Stripes in Tokyo, (1987) and as a writer/reporter for Sports Illustrated (1989–1997). Smith has also worked for the Associated Press.

Associate Professor Rick Alloway has known Smith for years and said it comes as no surprise that she has won either award.

“(Smith) is a tenacious reporter,” Alloway said. “She gets after stories, she gets interviews with people that nobody else will give. I think it’s a testament to how ethical she is and what her determination is like and how well respected she is by other people in her community.”

Alloway also said he views Smith as a role model for all people due to her strength and tenacity. Smith fought a battle with breast cancer beginning in 2014 and refused to let it beat her. After starting chemotherapy and losing her hair, Smith took a new headshot and continued to report on-air bald.

“She made, what I thought was a very courageous decision, to go back on-air bald,” Alloway said. “She basically said, ‘I have cancer but cancer doesn’t have me,’…. She is an incredibly strong role model for all people, not just journalists or women.”

Smith is now cancer-free and continues to pursue a career of excellence in sports journalism and broadcasting.

“I was thrilled for her to get this award,” Alloway said. “She’s been a really influential journalist for young people to look at…as she dominates West Coast coverage of the NBA and college football for ESPN.”

Smith received the Jim Murray Sports Journalist of the Year award on Oct. 29, and the WISE Women of Inspiration Award on Nov. 10, at their seventh annual gala in Los Angeles.

The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation is a charitable organization that recognizes students and professionals in sports journalism. The WISE Women of Inspiration Awards honorees are selected by the organization’s nominating committee for their qualities of extraordinary leadership in the sports industry, leading them to become strong and positive role models for women of all levels in their personal and professional development