Bureau producer Jim Witalka was with Jeremy Schaap Tuesday at Fonte Nova in El Salvador, Brazil, before the USA-Belgium game. At 2:22 p.m. ET, he emailed event news editor Sandy Rosenbush, at ESPN’s Copacabana Beach office, to report USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann told Schaap forward Jozy Altidore, cleared to play after a hamstring injury, would not start against Belgium. One-minute later, Rosenbush forwarded that breaking news to a distribution list of more than 400 people, many responsible for disseminating news and information across ESPN’s platforms.
“All credit to the reporters in the field — Jeremy, Bob Woodruff, Paula Faris of ABC, and the producers – Jim, Michael Baltierra and Drew Millhon, who let me know (of) breaking news as Jim did yesterday,” Rosenbush said. “Once it’s cleared, I send out an ‘alert’ so everyone has it. We have a lot of radio folks, for example, who want to go right on-air with such (news), and as soon as I sent the Altidore news out, one of our ESPN Brasil folks said, ‘I am going to report this.’”
Rosenbush spends most of her time on the road working with ABC Saturday Night Football, College GameDay, U.S. Open tennis and Wimbledon, and college basketball crews since joining ESPN in 2008. She arrived after 13 years at Sports Illustrated, where she held multiple high-level editing positions, including assistant managing editor. “My work here [in Brazil] is different in that I’m in an office daily, working on keeping all platforms of our operation up to date on the news as it affects the tournament.”
But being in her particular office — at the host set at the Clube dos Marimbas — isn’t all that bad.
“It’s the most beautiful spot I’ve ever worked, though I have to say the Rose Bowl is a really close second,” she said. “This is my second World Cup, and South Africa  was stunning as well. I work in an internship program aimed at getting more women and minorities into the business, and I always tell them that I’ve seen the world thanks to my profession.”
In Brazil, Rosenbush, who greets her email constituents with overnight “While you were sleeping” updates, shares her world with associate news editor Javier Perrone, who splits the “Hot List” (news updates) and news dissemination duties with her and is the chief contact for studio planning in Bristol, as well as much of ESPN International.
“We make a good team with our diversity of experience since Javier’s work is more studio oriented and in Bristol while I’m mostly on the road, and, he is usually the go-to news editor for those from our various international platforms as he works with them much more regularly than I do,” Rosenbush said. “Between Javier and I, I’d say we typically send out maybe 12-15 mass emails a day, and if we send out 15 emails to [those lists], we probably send 50 back-and-forth to each other though we sit mere steps apart!”
Unlike their proximity, the vastness of the tournament tests everyone involved.
“The World Cup is the greatest challenge due to its scope — length of the event and size of staff, plus the fact it is both a remote-event and studio production,” Rosenbush said. “But it is also one of the most exciting! Football and futbol, what a combination for me.”