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Journalism Showcase: How Authentically-Forged Bonds of Trust Helped Bring “Awaken: The Morgan Hoffmann Story” to “SC Featured”

Reporter Marty Smith and director Harry Hawkings discuss their profile of pro golfer Morgan Hoffmann as he perseveres through the challenges of muscular dystrophy, sharing his path to recovery and healing

Trust – between subject and storyteller – is the foundation upon which powerful stories are built. In the case of Sunday’s SC Featured “Awaken: The Morgan Hoffmann Story,” reporter Marty Smith and director Harry Hawkings looked to establish an authentic, meaningful sense of trust with the golfer.


From the moment the duo initiated conversations with Hoffmann in April 2022, they understood the importance of gaining Morgan’s faith and confidence.

“I had to chase [him],” said Smith. “He had some concern that we’d paint him as a kook who participated in weird rituals and not respect the holistic methods he’s chosen to heal his body from muscular dystrophy.”

A month into the “chase,” Hoffmann agreed to move forward with ESPN and the team began planning for a shoot in Nosara, Costa Rica, where Hoffmann lives.

Trust, it turned out, really can be found on a path.

“There was one point during our hike where Morgan looked back at us and laughed,” said Hawkings. “We were covered in dirt and sweat, and it was in that moment that Morgan knew we were willing to go through the lengths to tell his story the right way.”

Smith tried to experience as much of Hoffmann’s alternative treatment methods himself – without limit.

“I experienced various aspects of his healing process. Dynamic breath work, temescal sweat therapy, and urine therapy,” he said. “Standing on that remote mountain top in the Costa Rican jungle, I was led to join him.”

Through their journey with Hoffmann, the SC Featured team uncovered a remarkable story of resilience, personal growth, and the journey Hoffmann undertook to find healing.

“Morgan thinks that he has no other option, and he wants to make his family’s life better the only way that he could,” Hawkings said. “We really highlighted the depth of his determination and the lengths he’s gone through to get his mind, body, and soul right.”

“Awaken: The Morgan Hoffmann Story” will premiere in the 8 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter on Sunday, June 11, with re-airs in other editions of SportsCenter on Sunday.

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