Monday, February 22, 2016

The Undefeated: ESPN's New Website, Part 1

Brief History of ESPN
On September 7, 1979, the ESPN, was launched. The American sports media network, was founded the year before, by Bill Rasmussen, Ed Eagan, Scott Rasmussen, at a time when such network operating 24/7 was unheard of. Yet, soon after it was launched, there was no stopping ESPN's phenomenal journey to success.

Entrepreneurial daring, irrepressible enthusiasm and a dash of good luck gave America its first 24-hour sports network in 1979. Once unleashed upon sports fans, ESPN’s impact forever changed the way we watch television. See here:

The concept of a 24-hour all-sports network defied imagination, with many at the time predicting its early demise, including the biggest 3 networks:  ABC, CBS and NBC.

Now ESPN has become the world standard for sports television.

Since it was launched, the new sports channel has grown unabated, and its history filled with stories of innovation, expansion and changing of guards.

Fast forward to 2016, and ESPN, a pioneer in round-the-clock- sports broadcasting, has stepped onto unchartered course once again with its 'The Undefeated,' a website it put up solely to be fully run by Black Americans a move towards enriching the diversity in sports media, and promoting the value of inclusion.

The Undefeated, ESPN's Newest Website on Sports, Race and Culture
"The Undefeated" is ESPN' new website on sports, race, and culture which has taken a long time to air since its conceptualization.

Last year, the New York Times reported the site exists in digital limbo. However, reports earlier this year said the new website would go live later this year. After a series of setbacks that included the ousting of founding editor Jason Whitlock, ESPN's site focusing on the intersection of race and sports is primed for a launch in 2016, according to this article.

In a statement, ESPN announced that it had collectively decided to make some structural adjustments that will maximize the skill sets and strengths of our team, leading to the best possible output for the site and for all of ESPN. To that end, Jason Whitlock will now be entirely focused on what he does best: creating distinctive and compelling content, which will live across various ESPN platforms. Jason’s thought-provoking perspective has always been a hallmark of his work and this will allow him to completely devote his time and energy to that.” 

A replacement for Jason Whitlock was announced late last year. The USA Today said in a report Kevin Merida left his prestigious job as the managing editor of The Washington Post in November to lead ESPN’s The Undefeated, a job he says he sees as “an adventure.”

What "The Undefeated" Is About
Here is an excerpt from ESPN's press release announcing Merida as the new chief editor of The Undefeated, which also mentions the direction the new website will take:
Kevin Merida, managing editor at The Washington Post, has been named editor-in-chief for “The Undefeated, ESPN’s upcoming site that will provide in-depth reporting, commentary and insight on race and culture through the lens of sports. Merida will be a senior vice president and responsible for the editorial direction, tone and policies of the site, and provide oversight for key initiatives undertaken by“The Undefeated.” [...]
“I’m excited to join ESPN and to help establish “The Undefeated” as a destination for the most vibrant, provocative, thoughtful work on sports, race and culture in the country,” Merida said. “It will become a home for innovative storytelling, new voices and the exploration of athletes and ideas by writers you’ll want to read.”


The 2nd of this 3-part article will present the main thrust of and ideas behind “The Undefeated.”

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