Journalism Showcase

ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – August 26, 2016

Sarah’s story embodies the expression “Can you have it all?” The conflict she encounters at the crossroads of continued career growth and impending motherhood is one many women can relate to.
– Jenna Anthony, ESPN Films, on distance runner
Sarah Brown

espnW’s short film series, Run Mama Run – in which Sarah Brown, an elite track athlete who makes the extraordinary decision to train for the 2016 Olympic Trials through an unexpected pregnancy – concludes this week with the fifth and final episode from the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

Run Mama Run follows Brown as she trains through her third trimester, gives birth and has only 16 weeks postpartum to prepare for the Olympic Trials. As Sarah and her husband/coach Darren explore uncharted territory, they deal with everything from some controversy over her decisions to an unforeseen injury.

ESPN Films’ Jenna Anthony, manager of development and production, worked closely with espnW and director Daniele Anastasion. Anthony spoke with Front Row about the project:

Why do a series, rather than a feature-length film?
Sarah’s narrative organically fits in segmented milestones – prenatal, birth, postpartum, and the Olympic Trials, and distributing as an episodic digital series was the ideal rollout within the espnW environment.

Over how long a time period did the filming and production take place?
Daniele and the team filmed over a [period] of six months, beginning in February and concluding this July with Sarah’s performance at the 2016 Olympic Track and Field Trials in Oregon. Throughout that time, they brilliantly captured the essence of Sarah and Darren’s journey.

Why does Sarah’s story resonate so much?
Sarah’s story embodies the expression “Can you have it all?” The conflict she encounters at the crossroads of continued career growth and impending motherhood is one many women can relate to. But why choose? Her millennial mindset to pursue both in tandem was met with some criticism but is a truly inspiring act of perseverance. At its core, Run Mama Run is a beautiful story of love and family.

An all-female panel on The Sports Reporters

The Sports Reporters will have its first ever all-female panel this Sunday airing at 9:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2 and 10:30 a.m. on ESPNEWS. The cast will feature Jemele Hill, co-host of ESPN2’s His & Hers, alongside Kate Fagan, Jane McManus and Sarah Spain, hosts of espnW and ESPN Radio’s The Trifecta.

Hill, McManus, and Spain spoke to Front Row about what it means to be part of another milestone. (Fagan was on vacation and not available)

Jemele Hill:
“It’s a tremendous honor to guest host this show considering the incredible legacy of The Sports Reporters. These women represent the very best of our company and our business. Naturally, there’s a part of me that hurts because it’s the first Sports Reporters show I’ve done since we lost John Saunders. But knowing what mentorship and diversity meant to him, I know he’ll be smiling down on all of us with pride and warmth.”

Jane McManus:
“I’ve really enjoyed watching all the firsts for women on our network – Jessica Mendoza absolutely crushing it as a baseball analyst, Jemele Hill paving the way as a sports analyst with her own show, all-women panels on Around The Horn, First Take and now, The Sports Reporters. This year on the weekends, two radio shows with women — our own Trifecta and TMI with Michelle Beadle and Ramona Shelburne — helped lift the ratings for ESPN Radio. Hopefully, this success leads to more opportunities for women at the network. We’ve added layers to the daily conversation when given the chance. Taking advantage of a deep bench of knowledgeable women at ESPN is smart for business.”

Sarah Spain:
“As one of the women who participated in the first all-female Around The Horn panel and co-hosted both of ESPN’s first all-female national radio shows, I can personally speak to ESPN’s commitment to putting female talent in opinion-giving roles. As an industry, we need to get to a point when all-female shows are no longer groundbreaking, and each of these ‘firsts’ is a great step toward that.”

By Molly Mita

Journalism On Display

  • Investigative reporter Don Van Natta Jr., in collaboration with Outside the Lines, uncovers the rise and fall of the Daily Fantasy industry in his story “Welcome to the Big Time.” The piece debuted Wednesday on and appears in ESPN The Magazine’s NFL Preview available today. Outside the Lines will air the corresponding report on Sunday at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2.
  • ESPN senior writer Elizabeth Merrill tells the story of the Ryan brothers as they enter their first season on the sidelines together in Buffalo. Rex and Rob talk about their childhood, coaching, family and their dad. After the death of their father and former NFL coach Buddy Ryan, Rex and Rob are feeling the pressure to perform and believe there’s no better way to continue their father’s legacy.
  • On Sept. 11, 2001, Mark Bingham was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93, and one of the heroes who stopped the plane from reaching its intended target, the United States Capitol Building. But it is the lives that Bingham has saved, and those he has impacted since his passing, that help to define his legacy, and Sunday’s SC Featured segment will help depict that legacy. The Bingham story debuts in the 10 a.m. edition of SportsCenter and will re-air in other editions of the program throughout the day.
  • What words best describe former Notre Dame and Kansas football coach Charlie Weis? Through the ups and downs of his career, there are many options. writer Tommy Tomlinson gives a real perspective through the voice of Weis himself in “The Lexicon of Charlie Weis.”

-By Molly Mita

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