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Big 12 Conference to Partner with Rhoden Fellowship Initiative
October 19, 2017

The Big 12 Conference and the Rhoden Fellowship Initiative announced a unique partnership in conjunction with Big 12 Men’s Basketball Media Day.

Three Rhoden Fellows – Isaiah Smalls, Simone Benson, and Donovan Dooley – will work with Big 12 staff members to help orchestrate planning, production and media coverage activities for the Conference’s annual basketball media preview event, to be held October 24 at Sprint Center in Kansas City.

The Rhoden Fellowship Program, headed by ESPN The Undefeated editor-at-large and former New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden, is a two-year training program for the next generation of sports journalists from historically black colleges and universities. Through the Initiative, Fellows utilize sports as a backdrop and lens to produce relevant, timely and informative stories about culture, race, and class, while also serving as campus correspondents for The Undefeated.

“I could not be more pleased about this partnership, and the opportunity to impact the lives of young people in a meaningful way, while providing a hands-on, career-enriching experience,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “We believe this is the first of many opportunities to team up with Bill and the Rhoden Fellowship Program around Big 12 events.”

“This partnership is just one example of what happens when people talk and discuss issues that impact future generations,” commented Bill Rhoden. “After participating in the Big 12 Athletic Forum, Commissioner Bowlsby and I worked together to create this partnership that will benefit Rhoden Scholars by providing real-life experiences in the fast-moving world of sports media and journalism.”

The Rhoden Scholars who will participate in the partnership with the Big 12:

C. Isaiah Smalls, II studies cinema, television and emerging media studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta, and is also Editor-in-Chief of The Maroon Tiger. Smalls will be working with the Big 12 social media team covering Men’s Basketball Media Day.

Simone Benson attends Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md., and is majoring in multimedia journalism. She will be assisting Conference staff with public relations efforts around the event. Her experience includes reports on food access and social justice, and recently helped produce a documentary in Havana, Cuba.

Donovan Dooley is a multimedia journalism major at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, NC and has done extensive print and social media coverage for The Undefeated. He will be reporting on highlights from the Media Day.

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