Published on April 9, 2014 by Sean Flynt  
Darrell Waltrip

Samford University's journalism and mass communication (JMC) department will offer a day of special events April 15, with campus visits by political journalist Kyle Whitmire and NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee and Fox Sports "NASCAR on Fox" analyst Darrell Waltrip.

Whitmire, KyleWhitmire will be the guest speaker for the department's 2014 Timothy Sumner Robinson Forum April 15 at 7 p.m. in Brooks Auditorium, Brooks Hall. The local government and politics reporter for The Birmingham News will speak about ethics in journalism in the digital era.

Whitmire, an Alabama native, graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2001 and has had a 13-year journalism career, including work as production manager for The Western Star, staff writer and new media editor for Birmingham Weekly, stringer for The New York Times and new media editor/senior writer at Weld for Birmingham.

In 2008 and 2009, Whitmire's "War on Dumb" column was awarded first place for the best political column in the 55,000 and under circulation division by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and the Medill School of Journalism.

"The online reporting era has brought new challenges to modern journalists, and we look forward to hearing Kyle's perspective as a member of a profession that has seen profound changes in the past several years. Kyle has witnessed the entire shift from online to interactive journalism, so he brings a voice of someone in the middle of the foundational shift in reporting," said JMC department chair Dr. Bernie Ankney.

Every other year, the Timothy Sumner Robinson Forum brings a leading voice in American journalism to Samford University's campus. Robinson was a 1965 graduate of Samford's journalism program who had an accomplished career working at The Washington Post and National Law Journal. The forum was named in Robinson's honor posthumously.

The JMC department and Talladega Superspeedway will host Waltrip for a presentation in Brock Forum, Dwight Beeson Hall, from 11-11:45 a.m. He will then take part in a meet-and-greet event in Ben Brown Plaza until 12:45 p.m. The event will include food, contests, giveaways and photo opportunities with the Talladega Superspeedway pace car and a vintage stock car. Members of Talladega Superspeedway's staff will also be available to answer any questions about the May 2-4 race weekend. Student tickets for the race will be available for $19.

Also at the Waltrip event, Samford JMC students will host a fundraiser for Feed The Children, a Waltrip-supported philanthropy that provides hope and resources for those without life's essentials. Talladega Superspeedway is offering NASCAR memorabilia for silent auction and donations will be accepted on-site.

All of the day's activities are free-of-charge and open to the public. For more information contact the JMC department at (205) 726-2948.

Samford JMC students Griffin Benton and Sarah Brook Williams contributed to this story


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.