ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – September 16, 2016
ESPN The Magazine and Vice Sports collaborated on “the story of Josh Basile, a quadriplegic who uses adaptive rehabilitative sports adventures to motivate others with spinal cord injuries. Basile organized a sail to Cuba on the Impossible Dream, which was designed by a quadriplegic and is the only wheelchair-accessible yacht in the world.
Tim Rasmussen, Director of Photography, Digital and Print, spoke with Front Row:
How did this story come about?
Freelance photographer Carol Guzy pitched the story to me about Josh Basile, an amazing man who was paralyzed at 19. Carol talked about how Josh has used sports as a way to get himself and others out of their homes and wheelchairs to live life more fully. He patented a version of golf called SlingGolf, for those with disabilities, and founded his own non-profit, Determined2Heal, offering assistance and inspiration to others who are paralyzed.
Carol had photographed Josh 12 years earlier when he was going through rehab and the two stayed in touch. ESPN Digital and Print enterprise editor Jena Janovy saw the pitch as a perfect match. She then tapped Eric Nusbaum, through our partnership with Vice Sports, to join Carol on the story and senior editor Justin Ellis of the Magazine to edit.
What were some of the challenges that stood out?
One challenge was arranging for travel to Cuba on a sailboat, and figuring out all the rules for Americans and journalists to work there. We had a great deal of help from Margo Krampitz in [ESPN] production in securing last-minute visas.
Ironically just before the trip, Guzy was hospitalized with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which was temporarily paralyzing to a degree. She faced some of the same challenges she was documenting, using a spare wheelchair and a compassionate fixer to pick her up when her legs wouldn’t work. But it offered a view from their perspective that provided inspiration to “live every breath,” as Josh says and (he) called Guzy a true warrior.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In May 2016, VICE and ESPN announced that they will be joining forces for the first time.
The Versus short film series continues today on espnW and SportsCenter with the “The Third Man” by director Matthew Heineman. The moment where American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved hands in defiance on the podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics is one of the most memorable images in sports history. But there is a third man in the photo, the white Australian who finished second to Smith and ahead of Carlos in the 200 meters. His name is Peter Norman, and he stands in quiet solidarity with them. Norman’s story is retold in this film with passion and perspective. The film can be viewed on espnW and will premiere on tonight’s 6:00 p.m. ET SportsCenter.
-By Jay Jay Nesheim
- SportsCenter’s Sarina Morales makes her debut as a writer for TheUndefeated.com with her story on Olympian gymnast Laurie Hernandez. Hernandez discusses her Puerto Rican heritage and the criticisms she has faced as an Hispanic-American, “I was too Spanish for American kids and not Spanish enough for the Latino kids,” Hernandez said. Morales, who is also proud of her Hispanic heritage, contributes to the conversation based on her experience.
- ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com writer Don Van Natta Jr. will be honored on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at the 2016 Excellence in Journalism conference by the Society of Professional Journalists.
- ESPN.com writer Chris Jones reminds readers what makes hockey great in his story “Rink of Dreams.” As sports fans prepare for The World Cup of Hockey, Jones tells his story about when his love for the sport began. The World Cup of Hockey begins Saturday with Team USA taking on Team Europe (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2).
- Panelists on Sunday morning’s The Sports Reporters (9:30 a.m., ESPN2; 10:30 a.m., ESPNEWS) will be Mike Lupica (host), Israel Gutierrrez, Frank Isola, and Ben Volin.
-By Molly Mita