Journalism ShowcaseStarting 5

ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – March 24, 2017

For Women’s History Month, Sunday’s SportsCenter SC Featured segment will visit with Kathrine Switzer, who 50 years ago ran into the history books by becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a registered entrant. On April 17, Switzer, still an active athlete, will return to Boston to again compete in the famous race.

In her first piece for SC Featured, ESPN’s Julie Foudy interviewed the now 70-year-old Switzer at her home in upstate New York. Producer Dale Mauldin also talked with Switzer at her second home in New Zealand. The feature will debut in the 10 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter on Sunday and re-air in other editions of the program throughout the day. Foudy spoke with Front Row about the piece.

How did you get involved in this feature?
Victor Vitarelli [ESPN senior coordinating producer] reached out and asked if I’d be interested in talking with Kathrine and I said, “Heck yes!” I know Kathrine already, I love Kathrine, I think her story is incredible and inspiring and courageous and all these adjectives that come with fearlessness, and yet there’s still a lot of people who don’t know her story so I was thrilled to help tell it in any way I could.

When you hear her tell it in first person and take you back to that day, I thought, oh my goodness, this is a 20-year-old running the Boston Marathon, and at Mile Two, she gets literally attacked by the race director and has the strength to carry on after her boyfriend checked him out of the way.

What do you hope people will take away from it?
I think the perspective for what she endured at 20 and what she did and how she carried on, and by carrying on she inspired so many women to do the same, in any part of their life. Because imagine if she hadn’t carried on and she hadn’t finished that race. She said, “I thank the race director, Jock Semple, for attacking me,” because that created a photo that women could look at and say, she got through it, and she made it, and I can do that too, I can be fearless and overcome anything that’s coming at me. I think to be able to tell that story in a really personal way, with the incredible footage we have of that actual moment, and to be able to celebrate it 50 years later and say Kathrine Switzer is still making a difference globally, not just in the running world but in the lives of many women, I hope that’s the story we can tell and share because it’s incredibly inspirational.

Pulitzer Prize winner Eli Saslow on his feature with Yoan Moncada, once MLB’s richest teenager, now its most intriguing prospect

Highly-touted prospect Yoan Moncada was traded to the Chicago White Sox in the offseason. Now, the Cuban-born infielder will try to prove he’s worth the hype. At 19, the Cuban slugger became the highest-paid prospect in MLB history. But two years later, he’s still acting like a kid.

How did the idea for the story come about?

We were interested in writing about Moncada because he’s largely unknown, even though he has already had a major impact on the baseball world. He was the centerpiece of a key trade this offseason. In stories like this, we also look for tension and drama, and Moncada’s life has had plenty of that during these last years. In a very short time, he went from earning $4 a month to receiving a signing bonus for $31.5 million. That kind of dramatic change — even a positive one — would create stress and tension for anyone, and especially a 19-year-old.

How did it all come together?

I was lucky in this case that Moncada’s agent — David Hastings — is also essentially his American father, so David was able to tell me about much more than just Moncada’s baseball life. It’s not often that you find an agent who has also lived with a player, taught them about America, bought them Twinkies, etc. David and his wife, Josefa, understood all aspects of Yoan’s transition to life in America.

What types of challenges did you face in the reporting?

It is always hard to write in detail about a player’s journey from Cuba to America. Parts of Moncada’s journey were obvious, but others were more obscure for legal reasons, and it took some digging to figure out some details of his journey.

This story appears in ESPN The Magazine’s MLB Preview Issue on newsstands Friday, March 31.

– By Carrie Kreiswirth

Journalism on Display

  • SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross shares his emotional experience as a father watching his son walk onto the ice and play the final game of his high school hockey career. In an essay on ESPN.com, Buccigross reflects on what the game of hockey means to him and how watching his son’s last game brought him full circle to when he first fell in love with the game. Bucci’s first tweet linking to the story received thousands of retweets and likes and universal praise. “When I made myself tear up writing the piece (which has happened once or twice in 16 years of writing at ESPN), I thought it might have an impact,” he said. “But, nothing like this. It took two months to articulate what I felt inside. It was worth the grind.” Also, catch Bucci on ESPN’s coverage of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Division I Ice Hockey Championship, beginning today.
  • When an accident tragically cut short the life of Jason Ray, the student who served as the University of North Carolina mascot, it ended up saving the lives of many others through a final, selfless gift: organ donation. In an update to E:60’s very first feature – airing 10 years ago – the Ray family continues Jason’s memory through the people whose lives he saved and through becoming an indelible part of the college he loved. ESPN The Magazine’s Wayne Drehs joins Bob Ley in studio on Sunday’s Outside the Lines (9 a.m., ESPN).
  • Throughout NBA locker rooms, team planes and hotel rooms, NBA players are obsessed with PB&Js. ESPN The Magazine’s Baxter Holmes explores how a simple PB&J became the performance-enhancing sandwich that “spread” throughout the league. The story appears on ESPN.com and in the Analytics issue of ESPN The Magazine.
  • ESPN investigative reporter Tom Farrey makes his debut on The Undefeated with an in-depth analysis of the gentrification of NCAA Division 1 sports. Farrey’s analysis shows that first-generation college students are disappearing from Division I sports at a rapid rate.
  • espnW editor Matt Eisenberg tells the Cinderella story of the No. 12 seed Quinnipiac women’s basketball team on ESPN.com. Eisenberg writes about the days when Quinnipiac basketball was an unknown Division II program whose practices were held in a glorified high school gym. They’ve come a long way and now the Bobcats prepare to face South Carolina in the Sweet 16 on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN.
  • Panelists on Sunday morning’s The Sports Reporters (9:30 a.m., ESPN) include Mike Lupica (host), Manish Mehta, Bob Ryan, and Jeremy Schaap.
  • – By Molly Mita