Editor’s Note: With this multi-week series — the Front Row Forward/Rewind, 2014/2013 — ESPN’s Communications Department takes the pulse of content executives throughout ESPN for their views on what’s ahead across ESPN for 2014 and some of what transpired in 2013. The snapshots provide a look at where ESPN has been, where it’s going and how it plans on getting there.
What was the “most social” moment of 2013?
There was an embarrassment of riches when it came to social moments, many tied to those very same discussion-driving news stories (Manti Te’o, Alex Rodriguez, Richie Incognito and certainly Aaron Hernandez). That said, the organic social streams around projects such as #NBArank are truly remarkable to witness. We rated every player in the NBA, top to bottom, and unveiled them in serial fashion on Twitter, including the much anticipated countdown from 10 to 1. Needless to say, even the players themselves jumped feet-first into the deep end of the social pool on this one, with both fans and celebrities alike riding the wave.
What was the best example of your unit’s teamwork from 2013?
Again, we have a long menu from which to choose. The print-digital collaborations on such major features as Wright Thompson’s unparalled profile of Michael Jordan at 50, to Don Van Natta’s exhaustive examination of Roger Goodell, were clear highlights — in the former, Wright unearthed some of the most insightful and personal truths in exquisite interviews with MJ, while in the latter, Don conducted 80 interviews to chronicle an NFL commissioner who refused to be interviewed. Both were remarkably revealing. And from an investigative perspective, the ongoing coverage of the concussion crisis in the NFL and the Biogenesis case in MLB, and all of the attendant consequences, proved true multimedia, cross-platform projects that distinguished our enterprise teams.
What is your New Years’ resolution for 2014?
Personally, I wouldn’t mind shaving a few minutes off my PR times for both the half marathon and marathon (or at least keep running — I’ll settle for that). Professionally, it’s to expand the depth, breadth and quality of coverage for our fans on all fronts, from localized projects (such as NFL Nation) to global events (such as ESPNFC and the World Cup), from our core news and information teams to the analysis and commentary of all pro and college sports sections, from our print-and-digital enterprise efforts to our rapidly evolving collaborations with our ESPN TV and audio productions. And of course, do all of that with a best-screen-available mindset, serving fans with enhanced and redesign apps, sites and other personalized products. When you work with the most dedicated, talented, creative and credible team of journalists in all of sports, dreaming big is something you get to do every day. That’s ESPN.
Forward/Rewind logo by Samantha Baron