Journalism Showcase

ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – January 6, 2017

Outside the Lines will feature the E:60 story of Jack Jablonski, a former athlete who became paralyzed and who continues to defy odds. E:60’s Chris Connelly reports on Sunday, Jan. 8 at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN.

As a boy growing up in Minnesota, Jablonski dreamed of a life spent on skates. As a sophomore on the varsity team at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, one of the state’s top high school programs, his future was bright. Then one day his whole life as he knew it changed. E:60 feature producer Russ Dinallo shares some background on Jablonski, now a student at USC, with Front Row.

What did you learn from working on this piece?
This was my first time working with a subject who has the physical challenges Jack does. The first time Jack asked me to hand him the water bottle he keeps at his feet so he could take a drink, it started to sink in how profound some of those challenges are. It changes your approach when it comes to filming. There are times when you want to emphasize what life in a chair is like, so the viewer can understand what Jack goes through. There are other times when you don’t want viewers to think about the chair, so framing and angles on interviews and B-roll becomes important.

How did this story come together?
This story has really evolved since I first pitched it in 2014. At first, we were interested in Jack talking hockey on the radio as a way to stay connected to the game after his injury. As time went on we realized that was just part of the larger story. As Jack put it, “The story of my life after my injury is still being written.” It’s become Jack’s five-year journey since his injury, including his goals with his foundation, and his life at USC.

Why is it important to tell Jack’s story?
Because Jack has gone through more at age 21 than most people go through in a lifetime. The work he’s doing with his foundation is also really worthwhile. The treatment they’re raising money for – “Epidural Stimulation” – is giving people in the spinal cord injury community a lot of hope.

Journalism by the Numbers

In order to deliver the best coverage to fans, ESPN will have more than 1,000 staff members onsite for the College Football National Championship Game (Monday, Jan. 9, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN) from Tampa, Fla.

    90+ cameras to capture every moment of the Championship Weekend
    70+ hours of coverage leading up to the game
    21 print and digital writers and editors
    20 producers
    19 analysts
    18 hosts/anchors
    15 studio shows broadcasting live from various locations in Tampa
    6 reporters
Journalism on Display

  • DeShaun Watson has the power to make history when he plays in the College Football National Championship on Monday night against Alabama (8 p.m., ESPN). But no matter what happens in that game, his legacy already has been set and his impact will be felt for years at Clemson. On ESPN.com, Ryan McGee tells the story that not everyone knows about the quarterback.
  • Marquette King isn’t like most punters and that’s not just because he’s the only black one in the NFL. Kayla Johnson writes the story of the Oakland Raiders’ charismatic punter for the Undefeated.com. King will appear in the Wildcard playoff game versus the Houston Texans on Saturday (4:20 p.m., ESPN, ABC).
  • ESPN’s E:60 feature “Barnyard Buddies” won an Eclipse Award for television, feature programming that will be presented to the show on Jan. 21 in Florida. The E:60 piece was produced by Tonya Malinowski – a former multimedia associate with ESPN Communications – and narrated by Ryan McGee. It aired on May 3, the week before to the Kentucky Derby, and documented the roles that stable animals play in racehorses’ lives.
  • Panelists on Sunday morning’s The Sports Reporters (9:30 a.m., ESPN2, 10:30 a.m., ESPNEWS) will be Mike Lupica (host), Israel Gutierrez, Bob Ryan, and Adam Schefter.

By Molly Mita

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