Journalism professor wins Kappa Tau Alpha research grant

Bill Cassidy

Bill Cassidy, associate professor in the Department of Communication, has been awarded a Kappa Tau Alpha Chapter Adviser Research Grant of $500.

Cassidy will use the grant to continue his study of the coverage of gay and lesbian athletes in sports journalism, including how coverage has evolved in the eight years between the coming-out announcements made by Sheryl Swoopes and Brittney Griner.

“Both announcements offered sports journalists the opportunity to broaden their horizons by addressing the issues inherent with athletes coming out, especially in relation to the broader issues of gays and lesbians in society, not to mention women athletes,” Cassidy wrote in his grant application.

Earlier this fall, Cassidy published a new book, “Sports Journalism and Coming Out Stories: Jason Collins and Michael Sam.” The book examines how sports journalists covered the historic coming out stories of NBA veteran Jason Collins and football All-American Michael Sam.

Kappa Tau Alpha, the national college honor society for journalism and mass communication, conducts its grant program to provide research assistance to chapter advisers and to recognize their efforts to promote excellence in scholarship. The society has chapters at 95 universities.

Cassidy has served as adviser of the Northern Illinois University chapter since 2007. In August, he was recognized for his 10 years of service at the Kappa Tau Alpha awards luncheon at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication national conference in Chicago.

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