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.