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ESPN discontinues Public Editor position

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kevin Merida, ESPN Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief for The Undefeated, also serves as Chair of ESPN’s Editorial Board.

After careful consideration, it was recommended by ESPN’s Editorial Board to discontinue the position of Public Editor (originally begun as an Ombudsman).

In recent years, both the Washington Post and the New York Times eliminated their Ombudsman role in recognition that the position had outlived its usefulness, largely because of the rise of real-time feedback of all kinds.

ESPN’s Public Editor History

ESPN hired its first Ombudsman in 2005, a position held by George Solomon until 2007. He was followed by Le Anne Schreiber (2007-2008); Don Ohlmeyer (2009-2010); The Poynter Institute (2011-2012); Robert Lipsyte (2013-2014) and Public Editor James Brady (2015-17).

While ESPN has valued the input and dedication shown by everyone who held the position, we too have seen how access to the Internet and its social platforms has created a horde of watchdogs who communicate directly with us to share observations and questions. Beyond our users, our multi-faceted newsgathering operation is made up of a diverse collection of seasoned journalists who engage in spirited discussion and respectful disagreement to land in the best possible place. No one holds our journalists to higher standards than we do.

Our Editorial Board meets regularly and discusses current journalistic issues and best practices. ESPN’s commitment to quality, impact journalism is as strong as ever and we welcome the continued scrutiny our fans and critics offer and we vow to continue the dialogue.

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