Jim Murray

Jim Murray

If you’re a University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) student who’s interested in sports, you just got a great new opportunity to showcase your writing talent and fund your education.

Thanks to a connection made by SOJC alumnus and ESPN “SportsCenter” co-anchor Neil Everett, BS ’84, the SOJC is one of 32 U.S. journalism programs whose students are eligible to compete for five $5,000 scholarships offered by the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation (JMMF) Journalism Scholarship program. To date, the JMMF has awarded 99 scholarships totaling more than $500,000 to journalism students across the nation.

“We are honored to be among the universities whose students compete to be Murray Scholars,” said Julianne H. Newton, interim Edwin L. Artzt Dean and professor in the SOJC.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our many students who are interested and accomplished in sports writing. They truly manifest the ‘spirit of journalistic integrity and creativity’ of Jim Murray’s legacy.”

According to scholarship guidelines, the $5,000 prizes will be awarded to U.S. journalism students who show, by academic excellence, qualities that promise to perpetuate Murray’s journalistic integrity and creativity, with emphasis on writing. Winners will be chosen based on integrity of character, interest in and respect for their fellow humans, and the energy to use their writing talents to the fullest extent.

Applicants will get the chance to demonstrate their writing prowess by submitting a sports writing essay addressing this prompt:

Write a column that tells the story of an event, incident or person who figures prominently in the sports history of your university. It could be a memorable game, or coach, or player or even an artifact that has become an indelible part of the story of your college (or maybe town).

SOJC students who wish to apply for the JMMF scholarship should send an application packet including a resume, a writing sample and the first 200 words of their proposed essay to SOJC instructor Lori Shontz by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 1. A committee of SOJC faculty will select one application from those submitted, and the student will be required to complete the essay by April 25 for final submission to the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation.

Murray, who joined the Los Angeles Times in 1961, won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1990, was named National Sportswriter of the Year 14 times and was inducted into the writers’ wing of the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988. His widow, Linda Murray Hofmans, established the nonprofit foundation in 1999 to perpetuate her late husband’s legacy as well as his dedication to his extraordinary career in sports journalism.

“Establishing and valuing relationships with faculty members at the journalism schools are the keys to achieving our goals to provide annual scholarships to journalism students nationwide,” said Murray Hofmans, who is the JMMF’s CEO. “The JMMF is extremely proud to add the University of Oregon to its scholarship program, and we thank Neil for bringing us together.”

Story by Andra Brichacek