Jack Ford and Blake Berson will present Forward Progress: The Integration of SEC Football, a CBS Sports documentary about Nate Northington, the first African-American football player in the Southeastern Conference, and the impact his arrival in 1967 had on the University of Kentucky, the SEC, and the sports and cultural landscape in the United States. The one-hour documentary aired during African-American History Month on February 16, 2015. Jack Ford served as executive producer and Blake Berson as producer.
An award winning shooter, editor and producer, Blake Berson has worked for CBS Sports Network for almost a decade. Born and raised in the Philadelphia, PA area, his work has taken him all over the world, from Italy to Nicaragua and conducted interviews with some of sports biggest stars.
Mr. Berson developed much of his journalistic background at Pennsylvania State University, where he earned a degree in Print Journalism with distinction and was one of the first graduates from the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. At Penn State, Mr. Berson helped begin the school’s first student run weekly sports television show. It still exists today, but now as a credited class in the school of Communications. Mr. Berson also helped Penn State’s athletics website gopsusports.com create it’s first video content, as he shot, edited and produced highlights and feature content.
While in school, Mr. Berson also accepted internships with Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia, NFL Films and ESPN.
After graduating from Penn State in the fall of 2005, Mr. Berson immediately went to work in Bristol, CT at ESPN Classic as a production assistant, working on long form projects. Shortly thereafter, he was offered an opportunity to move to New York City and begin a career with CSTV (College Sports Television) as a senior production assistant. CSTV was bought by CBS and eventually became CBS Sports Network. Over the last decade, Mr. Berson has moved through the ranks to become a senior feature producer at the age of 30.
While at CBS Sports Network, Mr. Berson and has shot, edited and produced features on a variety of sports and topics, but mainly focuses on college football and college basketball content. He has also produced several ‘all-access’ documentaries, which have aired on both CBS and CBS Sports Network. His work includes production on ‘One2One,’ CBS Sports’ ‘Confidential’ series and his first historical documentary, ‘Forward Progress.’
Since coming to CBS Sports Network, Mr. Berson has won several awards, including First Place and ‘Best in Show’ at the 2014 National Headliner Award, 2012 SVG College Sports Media Awards ‘Special Feature’ winner and four Cine Golden Eagle Awards. Also, in 2014 Mr. Berson was given the ‘Emerging Professional’ Award from the Penn State College of Communications for a graduate within the last ten years and based on career achievements and community service.
Mr. Berson resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his wife, Alison.
Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist, documentary producer, prominent trial attorney, author, and teacher, Jack Ford has had a unique and remarkably successful career. Raised by a single parent, his journey has taken him from a small town in New Jersey to Yale University, where he was a scholarship student and three-year starter on the varsity football team, to the Fordham University School of Law, where he helped finance his legal education with winnings from three appearances on the television quiz show “Jeopardy!”, to courtrooms and classrooms throughout the country, and, ultimately, to the upper echelons of television journalism.
Currently a CBS News Correspondent for “60 Minutes Sports” and the co-host of “Metro Focus” on PBS (WNET-New York), he is also the Co-Founder and Chief Anchor of the American Education Network. Mr. Ford began his television news career in 1984 with WCBS-TV in New York. In 1991, he was an original anchor at the launch of Court TV. He also appeared in Fred Friendly’s award-winning PBS Media and Society broadcasts, serving as Moderator for “That Delicate Balance II: The Bill of Rights.”
In 1994, Mr. Ford joined NBC News as Chief Legal Correspondent, reporting on major legal stories for NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, and Dateline. In addition, he was the co-anchor for the Weekend Today Show and a substitute anchor for Nightly News and Meet the Press. Mr. Ford joined ABC News in 1999 as an Anchor/Correspondent for Good Morning America, 20/20, and World News Tonight. He also hosted the ESPN show, The Sports Reporters II, from 2002-2003. During 2003-2004, he hosted a nationally syndicated morning show for CBS TV/King World before returning to Court TV in 2005 as the Host of “Courtside.” From 2009-2014 he served as the CBS News Legal Analyst. He has also provided college football game commentary for ESPN and the Yes Network.
Following law school, Mr. Ford spent three years as a prosecutor in New Jersey before entering private practice. He became a prominent trial attorney, successfully handling such high profile cases as the Northeast’s first death penalty trial, one of the nation’s first corporate homicide cases, and the Wall Street insider trading scandal of the late 1980s. During his legal career, he also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Fordham University School of Law. He is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Yale University, New York University, and the University of Virginia and speaks frequently at colleges and law schools across the country. He is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, “The Osiris Alliance” and “The Walls of Jericho.”
Mr. Ford’s television journalism work has been recognized with a number of honors, including two Emmy Awards, a George Foster Peabody Award, three National Cable Television Awards, a National Headliner Award, and the March of Dimes FDR Award. In 1997, he received an NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, which is presented to former outstanding college athletes who have achieved distinction in their professional lives. In 1998, Mr. Ford was honored with a “National Father of the Year Award,” and in 2009, he was a recipient of Yale University’s highest athletic honor, the “George H.W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Award.”
Mr. Ford has been awarded five honorary degrees, recognizing his professional accomplishments and his extensive public service work. He has served as spokesperson, host and/or board member for a number of charitable causes and organizations, including the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association, the N.J. Special Olympics, the Jimmy V Foundation, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, the Ivy League Football Association, the NCAA Honors Committee, the NCAA Division 1 Committee on Infractions, Meridian Health System, Monmouth University, and Yale University.
Mr. Ford resides in Spring Lake, N.J. with his wife, Dorothy. They have two children, Dr. Ashley Ford Haggerty and Colin Ford.