Journalism Showcase

ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – April 29, 2016

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Five years ago this Sunday, an early spring baseball game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies turned into something much more than a Sunday Night Baseball contest between division rivals. It was during the course of that game that the nation and the world learned of Osama Bin Laden’s capture.

SNB: Yankees at Red Sox

Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees travel to Fenway Park to take on Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox on Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell (8 p.m.. ET, ESPN). The SNB team of play-by-play voice Dan Shulman, analysts Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza and reporter Buster Olney will have the call. The telecast will be available nationally. Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown with host Karl Ravech and analysts Dallas Braden and Tim Kurkjian will be on site in Boston previewing the matchup (7 p.m., ESPN).

This Sunday, on the fifth anniversary of that historical moment, Outside the Lines (ESPN, 9 a.m. ET) will feature the story of what happened in that May 1, 2011 game through the eyes of some of the people who were there including David Wright, Jimmy Rollins, Bobby Valentine and ESPN’s Dan Shulman. President Barack Obama also makes a special appearance sharing his memories of that night, one that transcended sports in an unforgettable way. Led by the efforts of E:60 feature producers Michael Johns and Matt Rissmiller, Front Row asked Rissmiller for some details on how the piece came together:

How did the concept to do a five-year anniversary piece come about?
This was Mike’s idea. About a month ago, we started production. For me, it’s been fascinating to see how this historic moment intersected with the baseball game on ESPN. Specifically, it’s really intriguing to learn the timing of how different groups of people (e.g. the players, fans and production staff) all found out the news that night.

What was the most challenging part about putting this piece together?
I think the storytelling and doing it in a streamlined way that’s ideally most compelling for viewers is the most challenging part. For this particular story, you have groups of people that are finding out the same news at different periods of time, so you’re trying to make sure what you’re putting together isn’t repetitive as you’re moving through the narrative.

Aside from documenting a moment in time, what do you think makes this piece special and what are you hoping viewers will take away from it?
Although we all have our differences, in a lot of ways we’re similar. At 8 p.m., Mets and Phillies fans walked into Citizens Bank ballpark rooting for their respective teams. By the end of the night, everyone was united, so it’s really interesting to see that shift take place.

The feature will re-air on E:60 Tuesday, May 3 (ESPN, 10 p.m.).

Journalism on Display
  • On espnW, and in the ESPN the Magazine “Fame” issue, writer Maya A. Jones and photographer Zackary Canepari combine for an essay “The Fight in Claressa Shields.” With the Rio Games in sight, the Olympic champion boxer tells ESPN of her road since 2012 and her desire to shine for those closest to her. Shields also will be the subject of an upcoming report on ESPN’s prime-time newsmagazine E:60.
  • In Sunday’s SC Featured segment on SportsCenter, Tom Rinaldi reports on NFL Draft prospect Mackensie Alexander (see photo below), who since the age of 10 has helped his family make a living by picking oranges in the groves of Immokalee, Fla. With a draft selection, Alexander’s life will drastically change forever. “Gift From the Groves” debuts in the 10 a.m. edition of SportsCenter and will re-air in other editions of the program throughout the day.
  • On, Christina Kahrl writes that catching Dee Gordon was a necessary part of the price for punishing PEDs in Major League Baseball.
  • On Outside the Lines, Sarah Spain and Julie DiCaro discussed this week’s participation in a PSA showing men reading hate-filled tweets in an effort to raise awareness of bullying of female reporters in social media. Bob Ley moderated the discussion that also included ESPN’s Jemele Hill and two of the men who appeared in – and worked on – the video. On espnW, Spain writes that women in sports media should not have to “ignore” abuse.
  • A recap of the biggest stories and in-depth reporting from the month of April on Outside the Lines.
  • Panelists on Sunday morning’s The Sports Reporters (9:30 a.m., ESPN; 10:30 a.m. ESPN2; 11 a.m., ESPNEWS) will be John Saunders (host), Mike Lupica, Bob Ryan and Gene Wojciechowski.
    – Andy Hall

    NFL Draft prospect Mackensie Alexander is profiled on the next "SC Featured."
    NFL Draft prospect Mackensie Alexander is profiled on the next “SC Featured.”
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