This year’s Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit at SUNY Oswego will explore underrepresentation in sports media with a day full of activities culminating in an all-star panel at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

The panel discussion, “Reaching for the Summit: Underrepresentation in Sports Media,” which is free and open to the public, will take place in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

Allif Karim, a 2018 SUNY Oswego graduate working as a producer/editor for WJZ-13 in Baltimore, will moderate the panel. Panelists will include SUNY Oswego alumni Ade Ellis, an Emmy Award-winning associate director and associate producer for CBS Sports; Donna Goldsmith, a marketing and operational consultant with ample sports and entertainment marketing experience; and Yaw Ofori-Atta, a producer for CBS Sports and freelance content contributor.

SUNY Oswego students Melinda Brancato and Jenna Wilson lead an executive board of students across majors to carry out planning and promotional functions for the 18th annual edition of the event. David Crider of the communication studies faculty serves as advisor.

The timing seemed right for a summit “focusing on people trying to break into what can be a difficult field,” said Wilson, a senior broadcasting major.

“These are conversations that need to be had,” said Brancato, a  sophomore public relations major. “Sports media is so prevalent so this is a great opportunity to discuss it more.”

“We haven’t done a sports-related media summit in several years,” Crider noted. “It’s been a long time coming. For a field like sports that seems to lead society in trying to create change, it’s disappointing they haven’t done a better job with representation.”

Organizers put together a collaborative event to help students prepare for the networking opportunities. Co-sponsored by WTOP-10 TV, the Women’s Center and Career Services, the Media Summit Networking Media Prep Workshop will take place at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, in the Marano Campus Center auditorium (room 132).

“This will address such questions students might have such as: What should they ask? How should they dress? How should they speak? How should they act?” Wilson explained.

All-star panel 

Before joining Baltimore’s CBS affiliate WJM, Karim served as sports director for WDVM-TV in Maryland. In this role, he covered the Washington Nationals as they hoisted the 2019 World Series title, as well as the reveal and impact of Washington D.C’s NFL franchise adopting the “Commanders” moniker. His time as sports director also allowed him to connect with communities in Western Maryland, as well as the greater D.C./Maryland/Virginia area while covering local sports from the high school level all the way to the pros.

The 2018 broadcasting and mass communication juggled many hats while gaining experience at SUNY Oswego’s college television station WTOP for four years. 

A three-time Emmy Award winner and 2004 SUNY Oswego broadcasting and mass communication graduate, Ellis works on properties including the NFL on CBS, NCAA basketball and the PGA Tour. Ellis also is creator and producer of “Beyond Limits,” a CBS Sports original program that spotlights athletes of color excelling in historically underrepresented spaces.

Ellis represented CBS Sports at the 2020 National Association of Black Journalists Convention, where he curated the panel “Face of the Franchise: The Journey to the Top in Sports Television.” He joined CBS Sports as a researcher in 2007 after an Oswego career that included serving as sports director of WTOP and running for four years with the Lakers cross country and track and field programs.

Since graduating from SUNY Oswego with a communication studies degree in 1982, Goldsmith has worked with some of the biggest events and companies in the industry. Her roles include as senior vice president of partnership marketing, international event licensing, corporate sales and consumer products for Tough Mudder; chief operating officer for World Wrestling Entertainment; a key consultant with Super Bowl Host Company, which worked with the NFL to manage all local details surrounding the 2012 New York/New Jersey Super Bowl; and leading the global product licensing business for the National Basketball Association.

Her consulting clients have included Desert Cactus (a sports and entertainment licensee for companies such as the NBA, NHL, Hasbro), Betches Media (a female-founded and led media and entertainment brand), the Drone Racing League, Lead Dog Marketing and ecommerce brand Think Geek.

Now a media professional with more than 15 years of experience in the industry, Ofori-Atta first earned his media chops by hosting radio and TV shows on student-run stations WNYO and WTOP, respectively. Those on-campus experiences led to an internship with “Regis and Kelly'' and work at ESPN – where he worked a multitude of roles – before landing his current gig at CBS Sports. He also produces freelance content for many sports entities through his own production imprint, Eleven 0 Four Media.

The 2005 broadcasting and mass communications graduate was very involved during his time at Oswego as a resident assistant in Seneca Hall; math tutor for the Office of Learning Services; and active with cultural organizations such as the Asian Student Association, Caribbean Student Association and Black Student Union, where he served as vice president his senior year. 

Making career connections

A number of SUNY Oswego alumni also serve as Career Connectors, who will participate in a networking opportunity with students starting at 4:45 p.m. in Tyler Art Gallery. Participants will include:

  • Natalie Brophy, a 2017 journalism graduate, now serving as the startups and technology reporter for The Buffalo News
  • Paul Andrew Esden Jr., a 2015 broadcasting and mass communication graduate now co-host of The Manchild Show with Boy Green on The Score 1260 in Syracuse; voice of the Syracuse Strong semi-pro football team; and New York Jets digital reporter for
  • Dylan Labadia, a 2015 communication and social interaction graduate, now a retirement specialist for Paychex
  • Destiny Lynch, a 2015 public relations graduate, now a specialty sales executive team leader for Target Corporation
  • Morgan Rumpf, a 2017 broadcasting and mass communications graduate, now chief marketing officer for C-Suite Executive Solutions

Panelists and Career Connectors also will visit classes and lead breakouts during the day.

"Some of them started in sports media and ended up elsewhere," Brancato noted. "They can talk about why they started there and decided to make a career shift."

“Our alumni will bring a lot of different perspectives,” Crider said. “It’s great for our students to see all the avenues they can explore.”

Those who are unable to attend can still see the panel on live-streaming via a live webstream on the SUNY Oswego YouTube channel. WTOP will precede it with the popular red carpet preshow starting at 2:30 p.m.

SUNY Oswego’s School of Communication, Media and the Arts hosts the Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit each fall. The summit was founded in 2005 by media pioneer and 1977 Oswego alumnus Lou Borrelli. In 2007, 1976 Oswego graduate Al Roker of NBC’s “Today” show became a co-sponsor of the event, which was renamed in memory of their beloved professor, the late Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell.

For more information on the event or biographies of participants, visit the Media Summit website,