Journalism Showcase

ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – July 28, 2017

ESPN NFL reporter Jim Trotter (right) interviews Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Jones’ helicopter.
(Dominique Goodridge/ESPN)

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made himself available to ESPN cameras to be the subject of an all-access feature for the Sunday, July 30 SC Featured segment on SportsCenter. Reporter Jim Trotter and producer Dominique Goodridge spent time with Jones in Dallas and at Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, Calif.

But he’s also caring and, dare, I say, softening in his golden years. He won’t like that comment, but the fact that he admits in the show (how’s that for a tease?) that he’s now open to honoring former coach Jimmy Johnson in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor — two years after all but publicly slamming the door on it — is an indication that he’s not as inflexible as some believe.
– Jim Trotter on Jerry Jones

“Jerry’s World” will debut in the 10 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter and Trotter will join the program for additional insight. The feature also will re-air in other editions of the program throughout the day and will be expanded into a half-hour special on Friday, Aug. 4, at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

Trotter spoke with Front Row:

What effect did spending considerable time with Jones have on your prior impression of him?
My impression of Jerry did not change. Although he has his critics, the soon-to-be 75-year-old is a business savant. He’s fearless, relentless and energetic. But he’s also caring and, dare, I say, softening in his golden years. He won’t like that comment, but the fact that he admits in the show (how’s that for a tease?) that he’s now open to honoring former coach Jimmy Johnson in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor — two years after all but publicly slamming the door on it — is an indication that he’s not as inflexible as some believe.

Jerry Jones talks with ESPN producer Dominique Goodridge during the making of “Jerry’s World” (Dominique Goodridge/ESPN)

What might viewers see or learn about Jerry that they haven’t seen or known before?
Jerry is known for being energetic, brash and hyperbolic, all of which we saw during our time together. But he also pulled back the curtains and revealed a side rarely seen by outsiders, moments when he was pensive, understated and emotional, such as when speaking about the importance of family and what it means to hit it big after stepping out on a shaky financial limb. Jerry exudes self-confidence, but there have been moments of anxious uncertainty, which is why he gets emotional when discussing why he’s a big believer in “private paydays.” Without giving away too much that’s in the piece, we also learn that so much of who Jerry is, and how he approaches business, stems from the foundation his parents laid during his childhood in Arkansas. We learn that family is No. 1 to him, which is why his wife occasionally attended classes with their daughter in college, and why he slept in a dorm bunkbed the first night that son Stephen went away to college. But more than anything, we learn how much Jerry values people and relationships, particularly those with his players.

Shelley Smith reflects on finding Schyue LaRue
 

Reporter Shelley Smith spent two years working on telling the story of Schuye [pronounced SKY] LaRue for an E:60 feature debuting Sunday at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN. LaRue, a former University of Virginia basketball star, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and is homeless in the streets of Washington, D.C.

Above, Smith discusses the actual physical space and manner in which she conducted portions of the LaRue interview.
– By Molly Mita

Journalism on Display

  • The Fainaru brothers – Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru – have released their latest investigative report. In a collaboration for Outside the Lines, the investigation found that the National Institutes of Health for brain research will be ending its $30 million partnership with the National Football League at the end of the month. The extensive report comes just days after a Boston University study found neurodegenerative disease in 110 of 111 former NFL players.
  • The Undefeated’s Jason Reid profiles Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin for the Undefeated.com. Reid traveled to Tomlin’s hometown, Newport News, Va., where he was coaching the Hampton Road All-Star Football camp. In his profile, Reid makes a strong case for why Tomlin is the coach that will lead the Steelers to “the promised land.”
  • Photographer Gail Fisher tells the incredible story of “The Family of Yalla” through photography for ESPN.com. A nonprofit academy in Southern California is working with a refugee community through the world’s most universal sport, soccer. Fisher shows the various refugees, how they live and how their passion for soccer brings them together.
  • Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant is in India and ESPN.com editor Jayaditya Gupta is there to chronicle the trip. From coaching clinics to visiting the Taj Mahal, Durant will be fully experiencing India over the next few days. ESPN will capture it for upcoming features on SportsCenter and ESPN.com.
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