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ESPN Hires Jim Brady For New Ombudsman Role

Jason Barrett

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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).

Sports TV News

Shaquille O’Neal: ‘Would’ve Supported’ Charles Barkley Leaving TNT For LIV Golf

“If he had accepted it, I wouldn’t be mad. And if Charles had left? You’d still have me.”

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After flirting with LIV Golf, Inside the NBA‘s Charles Barkley reaffirmed his commitment to the show and TNT, but a colleague would have supported him if he left.

Shaquille O’Neal told USA Today, during an interview about his upcoming show Secret Celebrity Renovation on CBS, that he would have been in Barkley’s corner had he decided to join the LIV Golf broadcast crew.

“I would’ve supported him every which way,” O’Neal said. “Charles is one of those legends, like Bill Russell, who didn’t make a lot of money playing. So if a chance comes up like this at this age that’s legal – controversial but legal – you’ve got to look at it. If he had accepted it, I wouldn’t be mad. And if Charles had left? You’d still have me.”

While Inside the NBA would still have O’Neal, it was Barkley, Ernie Johnson, and Kenny Smith that took the show to new heights for a decade before O’Neal joined the show after his playing career ended in 2011.

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Sports TV News

WWE Reveals Vince McMahon Made More Hush Money Payments Than Previously Reported

Days after McMahon announced he was retiring from the company, WWE discovered McMahon had made two other payments totaling $5 million in previously unknown cases from 2007 and 2009, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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After announcing last month that WWE would go back to 2019 and account for $14.6 million of payments chairman Vince McMahon is alleged to have paid to silence sexual misconduct allegations, the company has announced the amount is larger than original estimated, according to a report from Variety.

Days after McMahon announced he was retiring from the company, WWE discovered he had made two other payments totaling $5 million in previously unknown cases from 2007 and 2009, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company admits those payments should have been recorded in their statements for those fiscal years. They had previously hoped to have their revised statements available by Monday, August 9th, but the unearthing of additional payments made that goal unrealistic.

McMahon remains a shareholder of WWE with controlling interest. His daughter, Stephanie, was named co-CEO along with former television department head of CAA Nick Khan.

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Sports TV News

Report: Amazon Prime Video Adding NFL Black Friday Game in 2023

Amazon, the largest retailer in the world, is expected to pay in the neighborhood of $100 million for this single game on Black Friday, one of the largest retail days on the calendar.

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Thanksgiving weekend is getting another NFL game.

Per a report from John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, Amazon’s Prime Video will add an exclusive game on Black Friday to their NFL package, beginning with the 2023 season.

Amazon, the largest retailer in the world, is expected to pay in the neighborhood of $100 million for this single game on Black Friday, one of the largest retail days on the calendar.

The NFL’s antitrust exemption prohibits the league from broadcasting games in primetime on Fridays during November, so, in all likelihood, it will be an afternoon game.

It has long been speculated this was on the table for Prime Video. Football Morning in America’s Peter King deduced the possibility was more probable than not when Prime Video became a player for NFL rights.

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