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ESPN Hires Jim Brady For New Ombudsman Role

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Jim Brady, an award-winning editor and news executive with more than 20 years of experience in digital news, has been named ESPN’s public editor, making him the sixth in line to hold the position formerly known as ombudsman. He will assume his new duties Nov. 15 and will serve an 18-month term.

Brady will offer independent examination, critique and analysis of ESPN’s programming and news coverage on television, digital, print, audio and other media. The role will include written pieces on ESPN.com, podcasts and use of social media, with additional timely responses as issues arise.

“In these transcendent times for media, ESPN is serving more fans across more platforms and more devices in more global locations than ever before,” said Patrick Stiegman, vice president and editorial director for ESPN Digital & Print Media and chairman of ESPN’s Editorial Board. “We are proud of our commitment to the ombudsman role over the past decade, and believe those who have occupied that chair have mutually benefitted fans and ESPN.

“We are updating the title to ‘public editor’ to better reflect the goal of transparency and advocacy for fans, especially in this increasingly multimedia world,” Stiegman said. “And given the multitude of touch points we have with our audience, it’s imperative that the public editor have the breadth of experience and journalistic credibility to serve as an advocate and explainer for fans across all media.”

Brady is the CEO of Spirited Media, which operates the mobile news platform Billy Penn in Philadelphia. His career includes work in both digital and print media. Brady helped launch and then later served as both sports editor and then executive editor of WashingtonPost.com, leading the site to multiple honors including a national Emmy, four Edward R. Murrow Awards and a Peabody. Prior to that he was sports editor of Digital Ink, the first new media undertaking of the Washington Post.

Brady has also served as editor-in-chief of Digital First Media, where he oversaw 75 daily newspapers, 292 non-daily publications and 341 online sites, and in multiple executive positions at AOL, including group programming director, news & sports; executive director, editorial operations; and vice president, production & operations. He oversaw AOL’s coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2000 presidential election.

“After a thorough review of the role and potential candidates, it is clear that Jim’s deep knowledge of the industry, impressive editorial record and passion for sports — and the fact his own career has traversed the evolution of media — make him an appropriate choice,” said Stiegman.

“This role is not about playing critic, per se, but instead helping demystify ESPN for fans, explaining our culture and standards, and commenting on journalism, coverage and programming decisions. Jim’s experience across multiple platforms and major media companies are ideally suited for both the public editor role and our desire for accountability, transparency and improvement related to all aspects of ESPN coverage.”

Brady has been a board member of the Online News Association since 2005 and a past president. In addition, he is on the boards of the American Society of News Editors and the National Press Foundation, on the National Advisory Board of the Poynter Institute and on the advisory boards of GlobalPost, Kaiser Health News, The American University School of Communication and the Fiscal Times.

“To me, ESPN has always been one of the most fascinating media companies on the planet,” said Brady. “Whether it’s managing extremely complicated relationships with professional leagues, trying to stay ahead of its ever-growing list of competitors or adapting its business in an ever-changing media landscape, ESPN faces fascinating challenges. This made serving as public editor too good an opportunity to pass up. I look forward to getting started.”

Previous ESPN ombudsmen included George Solomon (2005-07), Le Anne Schreiber (2007-2008), Don Ohlmeyer (2009-2010), The Poynter Institute (2011-2012) and Robert Lipsyte (2013-2014).

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Lauren Shehadi: Ernie Johnson Is The Model For Studio Hosts

“To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness.”

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In addition to her job at MLB Network being a host on MLB Central, Lauren Shehadi is hosting TBS’s Tuesday night baseball coverage each week with Jimmy Rollins, Curtis Granderson, and Pedro Martinez. The Tuesday night games are new for Turner Sports this year after doing only Sunday games during the regular season in addition to the network’s postseason coverage. 

Shehadi was a guest on The Kyle Koster Show this week and she was asked what the goal was for her with the MLB on TBS Tuesday broadcasts. She takes a lot of inspiration from what she sees on Inside The NBA on TNT.

“I always think about Ernie Johnson in the same building. To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness. He gets the most out of Shaq and Kenny [Smith] and Charles [Barkley]. If there’s no ego involved, it’s all about how the show can be so great.

“You look at him and you think how can I be like that? You want to be authentic and be yourself, but in the sense of getting the best out of your guys and girls that you talk to every day. That was my goal going in, Be authentic.”

Shehadi said she gets to spend a lot of time with Johnson and the rest of the Turner Sports crew. Tuesday nights tend to be something of a corporate family reunion. 

“On Tuesday nights, we all sit in a room and we all watch NBA, MLB, and NHL when it’s on. We get Shaq’s reaction to Sandy Alcantara’s slider in real-time. What we see from Inside The NBA is when they do demos. When they get up and walk and they are casual and they do little bits, that’s what we try to take to our show, but we want it to feel authentic.” 

When Shehadi isn’t hosting Turner Sports’ baseball coverage, she is a part of MLB Central every weekday on MLB Network with Robert Flores and Mark DeRosa. On that show, the goal for her is how to make baseball relatable to everyone: 

“That’s the sweet spot of MLB Central. No question is silly. Nobody is smarter than the other. We laugh at ourselves. We laugh at each other. It is just a fun 4 hours, grab your coffee, let’s talk the game, let’s laugh because life is short and baseball is fun.” 

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AT&T Sportsnet’s Kelsey Wingert Shows Off Stitches After Being Drilled Line Drive

“The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.”

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Baseball reporters at the regional level have some of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Not only do they cover each for all 162 games, but there’s always the potential for getting drilled by a foul ball.

While all MLB ball clubs have expanded their netting this season to protect fans sitting close to the field, Rockies sideline reporter Kelsey Wingert suffered a nasty injury via a foul ball earlier this week.

A scary incident took place on Monday’s outing against the Rockies and San Francisco Giants at Coors Field in Denver. In the ninth inning, Giants outfielder Austin Slater hit a foul ball off Daniel Bard, with the ball heading straight to the dugout, right where Wingert was standing while reporting for AT&T Sportsnet.

After getting attended to by the Rockies medical staff and walking it off, giving fans a “thumbs up,” Wingert ended up having to go to the hospital where she received multiple stitches to her forehead.

The 29-year-old reporter took to Twitter on Wednesday to express her gratitude towards the Rockies organization and AT&T Sportsnet general manager David Woodman, who along with his wife Paula, stayed by her side at the hospital.

“I had a CT scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding or fractures and all came back clear. Thank God,” Wingert said on Twitter Wednesday. “The stitches will have to come out in a week. I’m very lucky it wasn’t worse. It was just really scary and bummed me out given the circumstances.”

You would think this was the first time Wingert got hit by a ball but back in 2018 while working for Fox Sports and the Atlanta Braves she was struck by a foul ball while standing near a camera past the Braves dugout, resulting in a fractured eye socket. 

Wingert retweeted a photo taken of her black eye after returning home where she made light of what could’ve been an awful occurrence.

While recovering from her wound, Wingert will be taking a few games off. The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.

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Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

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The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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