After a one-year hiatus from ESPN’s familiar spot at the industry’s pinnacle position, the company won the most awards at the New York Festivals International TV & Film Awards, thereby earning the title “Broadcaster of the Year.” The honors were presented in Las Vegas on April 19. ESPN had been named “Broadcaster of the Year” seven consecutive years, 2008–2014.
ESPN’s industry-leading effort – 26 medals including 12 Golds – was bolstered by three Golds from Outside the Lines; and two each from SC Featured, Monday Night Football and last summer’s Special Olympics World Games.
Dwayne Bray, senior coordinating producer who oversees Outside the Lines, said, “I’m most pleased by the range of our work that was recognized — stories and investigations dealing with topics from NFL and youth football safety to crimes by marquee college athletes to an examination of transgender policies and a mysterious death in North Carolina. Our producers and reporters delivered compelling report after compelling report to the OTL audience.”
The tremendous work from the Features Group in production – which enhances a wide variety of studio programs – is overseen by Victor Vitarelli, senior coordinating producer, who said, “From the Sherpas of Mount Everest to a 7-year-old wrestler born without legs, SC Featured captures storytelling through an unparalleled lens. Our producers are some of the highest skilled in the business, whether it’s documenting Lauren Hill, a young woman with inoperable brain cancer and a dream of playing college basketball, or sharing the story of Austin Hatch, a two-time plane crash survivor. Recognition by New York Festivals for these four outstanding features is an honor, and I’m incredibly proud of our entire team.”
Clearly, ESPN’s special presentation of last summer’s Special Olympics World Games stood out to all who watched. Kate Jackson, coordinating producer, reflects on what it meant to those involved:
“Through our telecasts, we sought to both pay tribute to the athletes and to convey the central message of the Special Olympics – ‘The power of sports is not just for some, it is for everyone.’ The winning tease was shot in cooperation with our feature unit deployed around the globe – telling the story of 14 competitors from six continents,” she said. “Refusing to be defined by their disabilities, through sports they discovered a welcoming community that let them explore what they can do. Through their accomplishments on the fields, courts and in the pools, they have found joy and a sense of belonging. The tease, reflective of the entirety of our presentation, was a celebration of those who were once counted out and left behind. For all, it was a most fulfilling project. I remain truly inspired by the Games and ESPN’s commitment to projects like the Special Olympics.”
Andy Hall contributed to this post.