Journalism Showcase

ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – June 3, 2016

President Barack Obama looks out the window in the Blue Room of the White House before holding a press conference in 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama looks out the window in the Blue Room of the White House before holding a 2010 news conference. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This week, ESPN’s new content hub exploring the intersection of sports, race and culture, The Undefeated, launched a series of essays on the cultural impact of the presidency of Barack Obama.

The year-long content initiative is titled “The First Black President” and reported by senior writer Michael A. Fletcher, a former White House correspondent for The Washington Post.

The first piece of the series, “A Question of Racism: What’s behind the vitriol in the opposition to Obama?”, examines how much of the entrenched opposition to the nation’s first black president can be attributed to racism. In it, Fletcher weighs not just the language and actions of Obama’s critics, but the cultural and historical context that surrounds questions of race and leadership in the country.

Among the topics explored by Fletcher are the heckling of Obama by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) during a speech to a joint session of Congress, an unprecedented incident that still rankles Obama supporters. Also, despite Obama having been in office for almost eight years, many Americans still do not believe basic facts of his biography: a CNN poll from last fall found one in five Americans continue to believe the president is not American-born.

“Hopefully, this series will leave readers with a deeper sense of how the first black president changed – and did not change – the country, how we see one another, and what we consider to be culturally mainstream,” Fletcher said. combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.

Mac Nwulu contributed to this post.

Journalism on Display

  • In the wake of the continued fallout at Baylor University, and the exclusive Outside the Lines interview with former Baylor president and chancellor Ken Starr, Jane McManus wrote on “It’s time to lift the ‘veil of ignorance’ when it comes to campus assault.” And in a related post on, Andrea Adelson wrote “Mississippi State chooses football over doing the right thing.”
  • Sunday’s edition of Outside the Lines (ESPN, 9 a.m. ET) will update the E:60 story of professional hockey player Jake Dowell, whose story was first reported by ESPN’s Chris Connelly in 2013. Dowell was a man facing a harrowing dilemma – undergo medical testing to determine whether he had inherited Huntington’s Disease, the genetic disorder that killed his father and crippled his brother, or live with uncertainty. Dowell, whose chances of inheriting the disorder were 50-50, decided to have the test after the birth of his child.
  • With LeBron James trying to help the Cleveland Cavaliers win their first NBA title, senior writer Brian Windhorst wrote on how James’ experience with the Miami Heat and Pat Riley’s militaristic approach made an impression on him.
  • The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) announced this week that ESPN Vice President, SportsCenter and News Rob King, has been elected to its board of directors. Founded in 1977, CIR is the nation’s first independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization dedicated to public service journalism.
  • Panelists on Sunday morning’s The Sports Reporters (9:30 a.m. ET, ESPN; 10:30 a.m. ESPN2) will be John Saunders (host), Mike Lupica, Juliet Macur and Mitch Albom.
  • – by Andy Hall

    LeBron James (Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)
    LeBron James
    (Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)
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