Madison Square Garden Exec. stresses importance of media presence

Steve Mills spoke at Mitten Hall about the importance of news coverage.

In the sixth annual Charles and Elaine Sherman Lecture series held at Mitten Hall on Sept. 25, guest speaker Steve Mills spoke about the need to change how the media present the news.

“I think there’s an obligation to change the way the news is presented,” said Mills, who is the president of business operations and team sports for Madison Square Garden Sports. “People create their opinions about sports franchises through the media, and it’s hard to tell good stories because negative [stories are chosen] over positive ones.”

Mills was the executive vice president of franchise operations for the New York Knicks in 1999 and has been at his current position with Madison Square Garden since 2001.

“You guys are embarking in a profession in a time when it needs to change. Be a student of the facts and a student of the truth.”

He said he was chosen by Elaine Sherman to speak at the lecture. Mills shared his background in communications with the more than 100 students and faculty members in attendance.

The lecture series was established by Charles and Elaine Sherman to encourage an ongoing dialogue about broadcasting, cable and satellites in a free society.

Mills discussed placing schoolwork ahead of athletics and the value of working hard and keeping academic priorities in check.

“I was a person who had my priorities backward as a kid,” he said. “I was an athlete and a student, instead of a student athlete.”

Mills also informed attendees about his duties as president of business operations and team sports. His responsibilities include providing insight to teams’ salary cap and player development. He assists players with the transition from playing college sports to the professional.

“Sports is what I do. I’m doing something where my heart and passion is,” he said.

“There’s a relationship between media and sports,” he added. “It’s a catch 22 because [what’s reported] is not always what the public wants and it’s not always what we want them to know. [The media] can change what we receive, but it’s hard.”

He stressed the values of good reporting and of being a good person as well.
“Strive to be successful without stepping on people.”

Tom Rowan can be reached at

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