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ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – April 13, 2018

ESPN The Magazine's Sam Alipour takes you inside his controversial Josh Rosen interview

ESPN The Magazine’s NEXT issue is on newsstands now.

ESPN The Magazine senior writer Sam Alipour sat down with NFL prospect – and fellow UCLA Bruin – Josh Rosen for an interview that covered everything from Tom Brady’s rings to life on Mars. Alipour spoke with Front Row about the piece that has received a lot of buzz this week:

How did you prepare for this interview?
Beyond reading up on Josh, most of my prep-work had to do with interview strategy. I had a couple of pre-game chats with one of our editors here, Ryan Hockensmith, where we talked about all the routes the conversation could take. Worst-case scenario? Josh is combative, won’t like my questions about his perceived character flaws, and then maybe I get in a fistfight with a college kid. Best-case scenario: He’d welcome the opportunity to address and either own or dismantle his so-called character flaws. Thankfully, that’s exactly how it played out.

It’s hard not to notice the conversation skewed more toward off-the-field topics rather than on the field. Was that intentional, or is that just who Josh Rosen is?
Both. It was intentional because that’s who Josh is. Those closest to him say he’s a curious guy and unafraid of expressing his opinions on a variety of topics. My research backed that up – I figured he’d be willing to speak on, say, social issues and the NCAA, so I was prepared to drive the conversation to those places while also fully expecting to lose control of the wheel, so to speak. So, yeah, that’s how I ended up on a tangent about interplanetary colonization, a topic I know next-to-nothing about. But that’s one of the many reasons I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. I learned a lot – and not just about Josh. About Mars, even.

So, yeah, that’s how I ended up on a tangent about interplanetary colonization, a topic I know next-to-nothing about. But that’s one of the many reasons I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. I learned a lot – and not just about Josh. About Mars, even.

-- Alipour on interviewing Rosen

What do you think about him being labeled “NEXT”?
It’s a snug fit. NEXT is an issue about a new generation of athletes who, we feel, can shape the future of sports. In Josh’s case, his greatest impact could come off the field. We’re seeing a rise in athlete-activism and, assuming Josh pans out on the field, he’ll be in a unique position to lead this pack of socially-conscious athletes because he’ll be helming the most high-profile position in America’s top sport, a position typically manned by polished pitchmen who play it safe. Josh isn’t that guy. He’s a bold, informed voice, a change-agent in the ready position.

ESPN The Magazine’s NEXT issue is on newsstands today.

Journalism On Display

ESPN’s Studio Z, the home of Outside the Lines and E:60 that debuted in May 2017, has been selected by NewscastStudio as “Set of the Year” in the category of Set Technology:National. NewscastStudio judges praised the “innovative use of curved, tracking LED panels with a blend of dark and backlit backgrounds.” NewscastStudio is a trade publication for broadcast production.