ESPN’s presence at NABJ

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PHILADELPHIA — During Thursday’s Sports Task Force Mentor Breakfast at the 2011 National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), ESPN’s own Claire Smith was recognized in a prequel to her “Legacy Award” ceremony.

Smith officially will receive her award on Saturday, during the “Salute to Excellence Awards & Gala” at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, home of this year’s NABJ Convention & Career Fair.

At the breakfast, the ESPN news editor spoke before hundreds of NABJ participants about her 20-year plus career in the world of sports, serving as a writer, author and member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

“As a native of Philadelphia, I’m honored to receive this award in my hometown,” said Smith, who was profiled on Front Row in May.

The ESPN panel that welcomed Smith to the podium included Stacy Williamson (Human Resources), Al Jaffe (Talent Production) and Rob Parker (commentator).

Parker, a contributor on ESPN’s First Take and columnist for, described Smith as “the Aretha Franklin of sports journalism.”

The mentorship breakfast, an annual event powered by ESPN in conjunction with the NABJ, concluded with Williamson discussing the various job opportunities at ESPN and inviting aspiring journalists to the “electrifying” ESPN Career Fair recruitment booth.

Several ESPN representatives from different departments/regions of the company helped at the recruitment booth.

ESPN representatives spoke about working for the company, ESPN’s commitment to diversity, job postings and encouraged candidates to apply online via

Highlights from the booth also included:

– potential sports anchors who were critiqued after a pseudo commentator audition with representatives from ESPN’s production department;

– ESPN commentators Don Bell, Jay Harris, Mike Hill, Jemele Hill, Stuart Scott and Michael Smith. They answered questions between posing for pictures with participants;

– photo/video displays of current ESPN employees and their roles at the company.

The 36th annual NABJ Convention & Career Fair started Wednesday and will continue through Sunday.

Front Row will have more details about the convention next week.

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