In the span of four days, ESPN landed lengthy sit-down interviews with two major figures in sports, with both one-on-ones resulting in widespread praise and recognition for the journalistic chops of Rachel Nichols and Tom Rinaldi.
Rinaldi’s two-part interview with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer – aired Sunday and Monday – and Nichols’ in-studio talk with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on Wednesday’s The Jump were just the latest examples of newsmakers going to ESPN to have their stories told for a mass audience by respected journalists.
“Urban Meyer and Mark Cuban command enormous attention in good times and bad, so our having exclusive access with each of them in moments of intense public scrutiny carried great responsibility — and great pressure,” said ESPN Senior Vice President, Original Content Newsgathering & Digital Media Rob King. “Nevertheless, Tom and Rachel conducted direct, insightful and fair interviews, terrific work informed by their shared commitment to journalistic excellence and the nimble, meticulous work of our behind-the-scenes producers and editors.”
A sampling of the reaction:
One thing that jumps out while watching @Rachel__Nichols interview Mark Cuban right now is how effective it can be to literally read/quote from an investigative report — to see that person's reactions. Very telling.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) September 19, 2018
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) September 20, 2018
Not that we needed any more proof of this, but incredible job by @Rachel__Nichols today with this interview with Mark Cuban today.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) September 19, 2018
@Rachel__Nichols I love how you conducted that interview with Mark Cuban! To put a person you’ve known so well and respect in that position and ask him WHY did YOU not do anything was powerful!
— Bindiya Singh (@BindiBerri90) September 20, 2018
Everybody in the journo biz can be proud to be in the same field as @Rachel__Nichols for her interview with Mark Cuban.
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) September 19, 2018
Worth watching is @Rachel__Nichols interview of Mark Cuban about the NBA's findings of sexual harassment inside the Mavericks organization.
Part I: (https://t.co/eMptTnA1OI)
Part 2: (https://t.co/sEvs4X047J].
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) September 20, 2018
Tom Rinaldi asks a lot of tough questions here. Much repect for how he conducted this. https://t.co/giMtmfdQmi
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 16, 2018
In thousands of interviews over 40 years of writing and broadcasting, I just wish I’d done as good a job as Tom Rinaldi did with Urban Meyer.
— Jack Ebling (@JackEbling) September 18, 2018
Show this Tom Rinaldi interview w/Urban Meyer at every journalism school across the country in perpituity.
— Matt Barrie (@MattBarrie) September 16, 2018
Tom Rinaldi has been at the top of our profession for a long time. But he’s never done a better job than he did with that interview.
— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) September 16, 2018
His interview of Urban Meyer that aired this morning on "SportsCenter" may be Tom Rinaldi's finest moment at ESPN. Outstanding job. He asked the hard questions, but in a respectful tone.
— Pete Dougherty (@Pete_Dougherty) September 16, 2018