Broadcasters Ley, Roberts to talk Friday at Quick Center
Broadcast journalists and friends Bob Ley, host of ESPN's "Outside the Lines" and "SportsCenter," and Robin Roberts of ABC's "Good Morning America," will find themselves to be the center of the story when they meet for a "Behind the Scenes" discussion on Friday, April 13, at Fairfield University.
Billed as an "inside look" into the world of broadcast journalism, it will be a night of personal recollections and stories culled from the careers of these two award-winning journalists.
It is the second such evening for Ley, a Connecticut resident, who last year hosted a discussion about sports broadcasting with some of his colleagues. This year, he said he is looking forward to sharing stories with Roberts and the audience.
"Robin is a dear friend of mine," Ley said. "She really is an amazing person."
Roberts, who is the anchor of the morning news program, initially started her career in sports broadcasting, including a 15-year stretch from 1990 to 2005 as an ESPN contributor. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, the newscaster waged a public battle against the disease, becoming an inspiration to many others.
As was the case last year, proceeds from this year's event will support FSW, a 163-year-old nonprofit social service agency based in Bridgeport whose mission is "to empower people to build brighter futures, reduce chronic poverty and transform" the community.
The organization provides counseling programs and services, youth programming, financial education, small business development, homeless prevention and literary services. The organization also works to prepare clients for jobs and offers vocational training.
Ley has been on the FSW board for several years. He initially became involved through his friend Larry Ganim, who also is a board member. The two helped work on FSW's "Ultimate Gift" fund, which Ley said supports programs that empower clients with the life and financial skills needed to gain their independence.
"It helps those with small hurdles in their lives to keep moving on a demonstrated path," he said.
"Behind the Scenes" is fashioned to be an interactive event, including a question-and-answer session with the audience.
"I always find it to be an interesting mini focus group of what's on the minds of people," he said. "Anytime you are in a social situation, you hear what's on their minds. It informs you."
Since 1979, Ley has been informing himself, and, in turn, informing others at his various posts with ESPN, the Bristol-based multimedia sports entertainment company. One of the founding SportsCenter broadcasters, he continues to anchor that program, as well as host "Outside the Lines," which debuted in 1990.
"Outside the Lines" takes a look beyond the sport of play and examines the issues behind today's sports culture. It has earned nearly a dozen Emmy Awards and several cable honors.
Ley, 57, began his career as a production manager at WOR-AM in New York, while still an undergraduate at Seton Hall University. The valedictorian of the Bloomfield (N.J.) High School Class of 1972, Ley graduated from college in 1976 with a communications degree.
Several jobs and three years later, he took the job at ESPN, a decision that has brought him to places around the world. In particular, he has long handled the coverage of World Cup soccer games. He said story gathering is already under way in advance of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"I have been very fortunate to see so much of the world," Ley said.
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