Of the many people who have left ESPN in the last year, reporter and columnist J.A. Adande may be in the most unique situation. After a decade working for ESPN as an NBA reporter, writer, and Around the Horn panelist, Adande is walking away from the television industry to focus on his career in higher education.
As reported by The Big Lead and detailed by Adande on Twitter, he will leave ESPN to put all of his efforts towards being the director of the sports journalism program at the famed Medill School at Northwestern University. Adande told TBL that he simply “couldn’t do two jobs at once” and wrote more on Twitter about his path from the LA Times to ESPN and now beyond.
A few words… pic.twitter.com/ARvcH9IrkM
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) August 10, 2017
Adande is a Northwestern alum and was the sports editor of the student newspaper in 1992. He was named to the new position as director of the program and as a faculty member last August.
What Ohio State and Alabama are to college football, Northwestern and Syracuse are to sports journalism. (Some fun has been had in the past with the “rivalry” between the dozens and dozens of people you see every day from the two schools.) Northwestern’s list of notable alumni includes Adande, Michael Wilbon, Christine Brennan, Mike Greenberg, Brent Musburger, Adam Schefter, and many others.
Come to think of it, it’s amazing that Adande was able to get through a year working full-time for ESPN and trying to preside over a J-school program. It must be a tough decision to walk away from what (as Adande says) would be a “dream job” in the industry, especially considering the number of jobs at top places like ESPN appear to be shrinking with layoffs happening everywhere. It’s really difficult to break into the industry now as a sports journalism major with so much change and uncertainty happening. Adande should be applauded for investing in the next generation of journalists and helping them to navigate the sports media landscape.