ESPN Ombudsmen

I've always tried to read and communicate with the ESPN Ombudsman. Apparently Le Anne Schreiber moved on and it is now Don Ohlmeyer. Ohlmeyer wrote his initial piece and it includes a conversation with Vince Doria, ESPN's senior VP and director of news, about what ESPN chooses to report regarding criminal and civil news stories that may or may not be related to sports. It's actually very refreshing.


  1. "Vince Doria, ESPN's senior VP and director of news.

    Q: What went in to making the decision not to cover the civil suit?

    Doria: We've always been cautious in reporting civil suits alleging sexual misconduct. The allegations are among the most damaging you can make to someone's reputation, and, once made, they are difficult to disprove. Based on our criteria, it was an easy decision to make. If the story does not meet at least one of our standards, we're likely not to report it initially.

    Q: Just what are your criteria?

    Doria: First, is there a legal component? Are there criminal charges, an investigation, an arrest? In this case, there was never a criminal complaint. Second, is there a past pattern of behavior? In this case, as far as we could determine, there was not. Third, at the time the suit was filed, can we reasonably believe it might have some on-the-field impact? As the suit was filed before teams opened training camp, we didn't feel we could make that case at this point.

    And finally, is the principal speaking publicly about the allegation on his own initiative? At the outset, he was not. Then Roethlisberger called a press conference two and a half days later. At that point, our concern for fairness is moot, and we moved ahead with our reporting. It was never our intent to be out front on this story."

  2. I loved Schreiber's articles the past couple of years (her visit to the BS Report as also very good), and was upset when I found out that her 2 year stint as ESPN's ombudsman had ended.

    I'm excited ESPN has finally found someone to take her place, and look forward to reading his work. Do you know his background, and/or has he listed any goals for his column?

  3. So, after reading his first column, I am excited to be reading thoughts from a former producer. While speaking about over/under-represented stories, this quote really illuminated how difficult it is for ESPN:

    "And that's part of the conundrum: programming and commentating for a national audience made up mostly of local interests is a treacherous balancing act."

    I never stood back to think of why the Yankees are shown so much, or Brett Favre gets all the attention; but, now that I think of all those that don't visit ESPN 5 times a day, it suddenly doesn't feel sickening to have so many Favre stories.

    I also appreciated this comment from Ohlmeyer as insight into how difficult it is to produce a national program:

    "When you watch "SportsCenter," you've opted to allow a group of producers, editors and talent to mull over the hundreds of stories and hours of tape that represent the day in sports, and then select from reams of information what they think you as a sports fan need to know -- and how and when you will know it. If you feel they do a good job over time, you hang with them. If they don't, you go elsewhere. That's the pact. "

  4. Scott, I thought that last quote you put up was the most interesting to me. That's a pretty succinct description of network-viewer relationship.

    I love that ESPN hires and Obudsman, puts him out front on the main page, and gives him access to decision makers in order to get questions answered. Maybe we are a small subset of their viewership, but to me it says that ESPN is trying hard to get it right. I appreciate that.