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Robert Bellamy
Robert Bellamy

New JMS Visiting Professor Brings Sports and Media Expertise to UNLV

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Dr. Robert Bellamy is more than just a journalism professor. He’s also an author, a media guru, and a sports lover.

He even stayed in the same hospital room as legendary college basketball coach Adolf Rupp in his native Kentucky when he was 17.

Bellamy, 57, is the newest faculty member in UNLV’s Journalism and Media Studies department after spending the last 23 years at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh where he also spent a semester teaching abroad at its Rome campus.

He’s used to teaching at private schools with smaller student populations, but Bellamy said he’s enjoyed the students just as much at UNLV.

“At Duquesne, the population is less than 11,000. I’ve found the students here to be very chatty and I like that,” he said. “It’s very important to the classes I teach.”

Bellamy teaches two classes at UNLV: Forms of journalistic writing and Media sports and society.

In class, Bellamy had his students participate in a fantasy football league where they will write news stories, feature stories and press releases on their teams as the NFL season progresses.

“It’s important that they can differentiate between different forms of writing,” he said. “I’m hoping the students can learn more of the current state of the media.”

Bellamy has also contributed chapters to several publications about sports and the media, as well as authored and co-authored three books of his own.

His most recent work, co-authored with James Walker and titled “Centerfield Shot: A History of Baseball on Television,” was the winner of the Sporting News Research Award in 2008.

“That book is a great representation of my interests,” Bellamy said. “I believe we can teach sports through the media in a way that makes it attractive to people. But it’s not just sports. I want students to understand the business, pop culture and political economy behind the sports.”

After receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Kentucky in 1979, Bellamy earned his PhD. from the University of Iowa in 1985 where he wrote his dissertation on the first paid programming in television.

During the mid-1980s, he wrote a paper on the impact of television media and the structure of MLB.

“One of the positives of him being here is that he gives us more diversity,” said UNLV Journalism and Media Studies director Dr. Lawrence Mullen. “He’ll help give students a broad base in media communication and he’ll help us develop the media and sports certificate.”

A Pittsburgh resident since 1989, Bellamy enjoys watching Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games at PNC Park. Throughout his life, Bellamy said he’s been to at least 25 baseball stadiums. He’s also visited the NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB Halls of Fame.

Despite his love for American sports, Bellamy said his favorite sports moment was watching people in Prague react to the final of the Czech Republic-Slovakia game in the World Hockey Championships during the late 1990s.

“It was amazing to see all of those people celebrate like that all over the city,” he said. “Just to see how much sports can mean to people, it was just amazing to see. It proved to me that if you like them, hate them or don’t care about them, sports matter.”


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