Area of Study: Media Studies
Office: 132 Bynum Hall
Office Hours: By appointment
Jim Lampley is a 1971 UNC graduate with a B.A. degree in English literature who teaches Comm 490, Evolution of Storytelling in American Electronic News Media. The course examines the events and dynamics of the past 100 years in the development of news programming on radio, television and digital media, looking for the ways in which news storytelling was altered or influenced by technological progress, institutional changes, personnel factors, economic forces and politics.
The central through line of the content pursuit is the role of objective truth. What is the nature of that societal convention? How responsibly has it been treated amid the continuing cascade of message deliveries? What are the differences in how radio, television and the internet have performed in that area? There are various other filters through which the last 100 years of electronic media news can be studied and evaluated, but nothing is more significant than truth.
In 1974 Jim Lampley was completing coursework in the Master’s Degree program in UNC’s Department of Radio, Television and Motion Pictures when ABC Sports unveiled a plan to (for the first time ever) place a reporter on the sidelines of its weekly national college football telecasts. From a national talent hunt, the network interviewed 432 candidates for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and with UNC’s ardent support Lampley got the job. That launched a unique 46-year odyssey in the worlds of television network and radio sports, news and entertainment during which Lampley fulfilled contracts with ABC Sports, ABC News, CBS Sports, CBS News, NBC Sports, Turner Network Sports, and a variety of radio stations and networks, TV syndicators and motion picture studios. Among an interminable laundry list of identities and accomplishments in commercial media, Lampley’s fourteen Olympics television assignments, most of them as a studio host, are the largest number for any American broadcaster. In his last and most beloved television arc, he spent 31 years as host of boxing and Wimbledon tennis for the incomparable content curator, HBO, and as senior reporter for that network’s Realsports won the last two of his five Emmys.
Since 2020, along with his wife Debra, Lampley lives in Chapel Hill and focuses his attention on teaching Comm 490. He delivered the department’s commencement speech in spring of 2021.