The Marist College Center for Sport’s Communication hosted broadcast journalist and legal attorney Jack Ford in a one-on-one discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 1. Dr. Keith Strudler moderated the discussion in the newly renovated Fusco Recital Hall.
Ford currently works as a correspondent for “60 Minutes Sports” and as a legal analyst for “CBS News.” Ford’s past experiences range from roles on “Good Morning America” to “World News Tonight.” Ford spoke to the audience about his upbringings, time as a lawyer, and transition to broadcast journalism.
“It’s great to be speaking here at Marist College today,” said Ford. “By walking around campus and learning about the programs here, you guys seem to be doing the right things. It’s an honor.”
After attending Yale University on a football scholarship, Ford went on to study at Fordham Law School, where he later became a prosecutor in New Jersey for three years. It was during this time where Ford dealt with prolific cases such as the first trial in the northeast regarding the death penalty as well as the inside trading scandals on Wall Street during the 1980s.
Ford began to achieve more notoriety when he became NBC’s full-time legal correspondent in 1994. Up until then, Ford’s only television experience was as a contestant on “Jeopardy!” and as a part time legal commentator for CBS. Ford initially struggled to make the transition from the courtroom to in front of the camera.
“The greatest challenge of broadcast deals with time. How do I explain something that is so complicated in such a short time? That is a true challenge,” Ford said.
Despite this obstacle, Ford continued to rise in the world of broadcast journalism. He covered prolific cases such as the OJ Simpson trial, which in Ford’s opinion, was the “most sensational case on the planet.” In 1999, Ford joined “ABC News” and became a correspondent for “20/20.”
Versatility in the realm of media, legal, and sports businesses is one of the main reasons why Dr. Strudler invited Ford to speak at Marist.
“It’s great to have someone who has such a broad range of experiences,” said Strudler, who is the director of the Marist College Center for Sport’s Communication. “Jack Ford was an athlete, a lawyer, and now a broadcast journalist. He is a really interesting guy and it’s good for the Center to expand its boundaries beyond sports.”
Ford later returned to his athletic roots by hosting ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters” from 2002 to 2003. Ford stressed the idea for good news reporting because a lot of former news programs are becoming entertainment shows.
As a result of his successful experiences, many students sought to walk away from the lecture with critical advice to help them continue in their future career path. For Marist senior Christopher Collins, Ford did not disappoint.
“I was really intrigued throughout the whole lecture. Jack Ford had this persona that exemplified a true professional,” Collins said. “The part that I will take away the most is his advice on job experience. It might be obvious, but when someone of his caliber stresses the idea of gaining work credentials, you would be stupid not to listen.”
For more information on upcoming lectures and events regarding Marist, visit Marist’s Public Affairs page.