Journalism Showcase

ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – May 12, 2017

With two of the richest histories in all of journalism, there is no question that Bob Ley and Jeremy Schaap deserve to have a studio of their own where they can tell the greatest stories in sports.

Now, for the first time in their careers, Ley and Schaap will debut the new weekly E:60 and daily Outside the Lines in a studio built just for them located in ESPN’s Digital Center 2. Studio Z has already been deemed the “home of storytelling.”

“I don’t think I quite understood just how much Bob Ley loves shiny new studios. He is a connoisseur, I found out, not only of fine red wines,” Schaap said. “Our new studio, Z, is amazing and Bob couldn’t be more excited if the E-Street Band were in there every day performing the Outside the Lines theme song. I love the studio, too, but Bob is a true believer.”

In addition to a shiny new studio for both shows, this will be the first time that E:60 has a regular weekly spot on ESPN.

“This is huge. Moving E:60 to a weekly schedule represents an enormous investment in journalism and storytelling. I know everybody working for E:60 and Outside the Lines understands just how significant this is,” Schaap said. “Essentially we’ve been told, we like what you guys have been doing for all these years, now give us more, a lot more.”

Outside the Lines will air Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN and E:60 will air every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN.

“The run-up to the show has been extremely, extremely time consuming — but it’s worth it,” Ley said.

And yet somehow in the middle of all of their rehearsing they managed to take a quick trip to the Big Apple for a mini-press tour to share the news before presenting at Tuesday night’s Sports Emmys on Tuesday night. It included a stop at SiriusXM and a visit with Mad Dog Sports Radio’s Chris Russo.

“As a New Yorker, it’s kind of hard not to enjoy sitting in the studio with Chris Russo as he fires questions from unusual angles at you. Bob and I walked out of Mad Dog’s Sirius studio and I think we both marveled at the pure adrenaline output,” he said. “Naturally, I also enjoyed interviewing Bob for my radio show. We go down some blind alleys, which makes it an adventure. It reminded me of the years when I co-hosted a show with my father and we talked about things mostly only the two of us were interested in. It was a great show.”

It’s evident that Schaap and Ley genuinely enjoy spending time together and sharing some of the greatest stories. This Sunday their new adventure together begins at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN.

“The hardest part of our jobs in some ways has been deciding which stories we couldn’t do, because we didn’t have anywhere to put them,” Schaap said. “Now we do.”

Steve Fainaru previews investigation into Syrian national soccer side
ESPN’s crew of producer Greg Amante, photographer Bill Roach and translator Ahmad Ajouz is escorted by a young Syrian refugee (L) eager to help them with their gear. (Greg Amante/ESPN)

Pulitzer Prize winner and ESPN senior writer Steve Fainaru provides an inside look into the seven-month investigation of the Syrian national soccer team by Outside the Lines and ESPN The Magazine. The piece — entitled “The Dictator’s Team” — will make its television debut on E:60 Sunday, May 14 at 9:00 a.m. ET on ESPN.

You and your team have gone to great lengths to tell this incredible story. What were the greatest challenges you faced?
The logistical challenges were significant, and they were essentially a function of the fractured state of Syria. And of course they paled in comparison to the challenges faced by the people we were covering. The national team plays its home games in Malaysia, south of Kuala Lumpur, 4,000 miles from Syria. We talked to former players at a Turkish refugee camp near the Syrian border; in Berlin; in Kuwait City; in Helsingborg, Sweden.

What goes through your mind throughout this process?
In each place I came away with, basically, awe, for what these Syrian players are going through and how complicated their lives are. They are making decisions for themselves and for their families in a deadly, impossible situation. I think I just hoped we could be able to capture the complexity of it all, and represent all sides as completely as possible.

Some of the footage in this piece was tough to watch. Why is it important to show it?
I think it’s important to show exactly what it means when the top official for the national team asserts that President Assad is protecting all the Syrian people, and that the team is playing for him. It’s not only that there’s a civil war that has killed 450,000 people; the Assad regime has been accused repeatedly of committing war crimes against its own people, and there is significant evidence of that. This is what it looks like. I think the hardest — and most important — question is how much to show, and that the violence in the piece doesn’t exist for its own sake.

– Carrie Kreiswirth

Journalism on Display
  • For Mother’s Day, the weekly SC Featured segment on SportsCenter will feature five well-known athletes surprising their moms with letters of love. The athletes include Bryce Harper, Laurie Hernandez, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Russell Wilson and J.J. Watt, and the full feature will premier in the 10 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter on Sunday, May 14. In addition, the multiplatform presentation debuted one of the athletes per day on SportsCenterthis week, and a podcast hosted by Jen Lada will post Sunday morning. The videos will be available digitally on ESPN.com, the ESPN App and WatchESPN, and photos will appear on ESPN.com beginning today and in the issue of
    ESPN The Magazine that goes on sale May 19.
  • This Sunday in an emotional, in-depth interview with Jeremy Schaap, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott opens-up about his mother, Peggy Prescott, and her battle with cancer which took her life in 2013. Prescott discusses the ways he keeps his mom close from the tattoo on his wrist to the letters he writes to his mother before every football game he plays. The profile of Dak Prescott airs during the new E:60 on Sunday at 9 a.m. on ESPN.
  • The staff at espnW is full of women who have found inspiration from the women who raised them. In honor of Mother’s Day, the staff answered the question, “How does your mother inspire you?” The answers are all unique, yet relatable as they bring about feelings many can relate to when reflecting on some of the most courageous and inspiring women in their lives.
  • In honor of Mother’s Day senior writer Kelley Carter of The Undefeated sheds light on the mothers of professional athletes. From mom’s like Wanda Durant and Annie Apple, Carter reminds people of who raised the super stars. Through sacrifice and struggle, these moms, like many moms, put their children first.
  • This Sunday the New York Yankees will retire Derek Jeter’s number. ESPN.com writers shared the top ten moments that defined Jeter’s career from his greatest plays to a memorable speech that no Yankees fans will ever forget. Sunday Night Baseball will begin coverage from Derek Jeter Night live from Yankee Stadium at 6:30 p.m. before the Yankees host the Astros at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Dak Prescott shares how he keeps his mother’s legacy alive on E:60 from ESPNFrontRow on Vimeo.
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