February 21, 2007 EditionAlso in this issue...
Wally Hall speaks
Wally Hall had several interesting things to say Monday night when he spoke as part of the Williams Baptist College Lecture-Concert Series. Hall is known around the state for his columns on the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He has also made news in recent days, along with the Razorbacks, regarding the U. of A. football recruiting class.
With the announced coming retirement of U. of A.'s Frank Broyles as athletic director, Hall said he predicts the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University will play one another in two to three years at most. "It's going to be a win-win for everybody," Hall said. "I've always been an advocate of the game.
"The U. of A. has never had a rival," Hall said in reference to a game between the two in-state schools. Texas was a rival for Arkansas, but Texas always had bigger rivals than Arkansas, such as the University of Oklahoma.
"Do you know how small Walnut Ridge is?" Hall asked the comfortable crowd assembled in the student center. "My doctor and lawyer are both from Walnut Ridge." He was referring to Karen Pickett, M.D., who actually grew up in Black Rock, and Sam Hilburn, a Walnut Ridge native.
Hall allowed ample time for audience questions, which came from students, faculty and guests. It was obvious that the students, many of whom were Williams athletes, are readers of Hall's column. The questions were good ones and covered many topics.
Without repeating all, here were a few other interesting things that Hall had to say:
- Hall said the role of the media has changed. During Orville Henry's 57-year career and reporting of the Razorbacks, he devoted many column inches to reporting the game. "Our role today in the media is to make sure you know the news É to bring the truth to you."
- "If you learn to read, write and communicate well, you can do anything."
- Spinning of news began during the Clinton administration. "The media has to get control of itself. Anyone can put about anything on the Internet, and we live in the age of 24-hour television."
- Hall told of Razorback Darrin McFadden's spiritual conversion in recent months, and that it has changed McFadden's life for the better. Hall told of his own religious experience that filled a previous hollowness in his life. Hall said he does have a conscience and lost two nights sleep over the column he wrote detailing why he thought the Razorbacks are challenged in football recruiting.
- On being a Razorback fan, Hall said, "When you become a journalist, you check it at the door." Hall said he is a fan of no one organization, as he's seen too much. "Coaches are overpaid and under-worked. I still love the game and the kids."
- "Arkansas is still way behind in high school football compared to other states."
- The popularity of sports goes in cycles. "It's (Razorback) football right now."
- "In athletics, you have to be accountable to your fans. In the last two or three years, the U. of A. hasn't been accountable." Hall said the empty seats at recent home basketball games is the fans making a statement that they are displeased with the program.
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