Behind The ScenesE:60ESPN

E:60 and Bob Woodruff showcase storytelling at its best in Boston Marathon special

39 Boston Marathon runners race to the finish line prior to the start of the 97th Indianapolis 500 (Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)
In May 2013, 39 Boston Marathon runners raced to the finish line prior to the start of the 97th Indianapolis 500. (Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)

ESPN’s award-winning news magazine show, E:60, will make its Spring 2014 premiere on Tuesday, April 15 (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) with “E:60 Presents Dream On: Stories from Boston’s Strongest,” a special hour dedicated to the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The show, hosted by award-winning journalist Bob Woodruff of ABC News, will present five stories of survivors, narrated by celebrity voices of Boston. It will air first on ABC this Saturday, April 12, at 4 p.m. followed by an updated version Tuesday on ESPN. Front Row spoke with Woodruff – who is again teaming with E:60 – about his role in the upcoming special:

Bob Woodruff (Thomas LaGrega / ESPN Images)
Bob Woodruff
(Thomas LaGrega / ESPN Images)

Why was it important for you to be part of this show?
As a country we have lived through catastrophes and trauma, and this was one of the worst. In journalism we report as many facts as we can gather, but perhaps the most important story is about the people whose lives have been touched. It is important for me to make sure that the country and the world get to know these remarkable victims and their families – that recoveries are possible, and that they can learn something positive about themselves or those around them in ways they never expected. That is what these stories are about. Boston did not cancel this year’s marathon. They expanded it by 10,000 people. This city, this country will not surrender.

Was there one story that really resonated with you?
I can never pick just one, but there is something about children that move me the most. One of the stories features Karen Rand, who miraculously survived while her close friend did not, and found a way to change the life of a 14-year-old girl. She gave her hope in a world that does not always treat people equally, and as one of the victims of this bombing, made it possible to help others.

Where were you during last year’s Boston Marathon?
I was doing a story that week half way around the world in China when I heard the news. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey was making his first visit ever to the world’s fastest-growing country. It was a kind of irony that while there was a tragedy in Boston I was with him in Tiananmen Square which is the place I witnessed tragedy almost 25 years ago when my wife and I were living in China from 1988-89. At the time I was a lawyer and because of what I saw – hundreds killed by the armed Chinese military – is the reason I became a journalist – to tell the stories and reveal the truth. On this anniversary of these bombings in Boston, we are trying to do that.

Bob Woodruff filmed stand ups for E:60 on the streets of Boston. (Photo courtesy of E:60)
Bob Woodruff filmed stand ups for E:60 on the streets of Boston. (Photo courtesy of E:60)
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