Le Anne Schreiber on leaving ESPN

If, like me, you're a fan of the work Le Ann Schrieber has done as ESPN ombudsman, be sure to check out her interview with The Big Lead. There's a lot of interesting stuff therein, but I was especially struck by Schreiber's professed affinity with the same sports bloggers that many traditional sports journalists love to hate:

I discovered sports media blogs in those first weeks when I was deciding whether to take on the job. One of my concerns was that I was too far removed in sensibility from ESPN’s core demographic to represent them. How could a gray-headed ombudsmarm speak for all those sports-obsessed young men? But when I started my intensive ESPN-watching and noticed someone or something that seemed off-base to me, I would plug a few key words into Google and up came the sports blogs. The way bloggers expressed themselves was worlds apart from me, but I was often in sync with the gist of what they were saying (minus the cheap shots and personal attacks, and yes that’s a cheap shot at sports media blogs from the ombudsmarm). I didn’t yet have access to the ombuds mailbag, so blogs were my first clue that I had more in common with young male sports fans than I imagined. Or maybe I should say that was my first clue that age or gender didn’t matter much among people who really cared about how something was covered. When I started posting columns, the mailbag reinforced that , so I stopped worrying about being the old gray lady of sports.

Best of luck to Schreiber--and to ESPN as it searches for her replacement. Given Schreiber's fine writing, sharp mind, and apparent fearlessness, she'll be a tough act to follow. 

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