ESPN Media Workshop

ESPN Media Workshop Wrap

This will be my final post regarding last week’s ESPN Media Workshop in Bristol.

First and foremost, I doubt anyone who attended the workshop looked at it as anything else but what it was,  a P.R. move by ESPN to showcase the multi-platforms of its brand.   It was a chance for the network to pinpoint items of interest about its operation with the hopes it would be picked-up by the sports media press.

With that said I thought the workshop was a great opportunity to not only report on what ESPN was working on, but to pry deeper into the layers of the self-proclaimed “World Wide Leader in Sports”.

I thank the ESPN Communications Department for including bloggers in the discussion.  It shows that some in Bristol view what we do as important, at least when it comes to expanding the level of dialogue on how ESPN serves its audience.  Throughout the two days we were treated as equals along with those from the mainstream media and industry trade publications.

The only major news broken during the workshop came late Thursday when it was announced that the next local ESPN website will debut in Boston ( on September 14th.

Much was made of the virtual reality technology unveiled during the 30th Anniversary panel with Chris Berman and Bob Ley.  I had already seen the innovation used last year during CNN’s coverage on Election Night.

Other smaller news items were announced, including expanded college football coverage on ESPNU and a new ESPN Radio program featuring Jeremy Schapp called The Sporting Life, based on a series with the same name made popular by Jeremy’s late father Dick.

The 30th Anniversary panel with Berman, Ley, and Executive VP of Technology Chuck Pagano was a walk down memory lane for those who have been with the network since its inception.  I, for one, have always been interested in how media companies got their start and how they’ve grown.

Tours of the Brsitol campus gave us all a better understanding of just how large, both physically and organizationally,  ESPN is.

Gaining access to behind-the-scenes looks at the work of production assistants or how the studio is run for Mike & Mike in the Morning or SportsCenter allowed those not in television the chance to see the details to what goes in to making successful television.

Being a student of history I was especially excited to get a sneak preview of four of the “30 for 30” documentaries in development by the ESPN Films division.  The series begins this fall and has the potential for greatness.

I welcomed the chance to chat with ESPN talent and staff to get a better feel about the work they do, something that in my role as a blogger I might not have had the opportunity to do if I had not attended the workshop.

The most important part of the ESPN Media Workshop for me were the contacts made inside and outside the network which, I hope, will make what we do here at Sports Media Journal more worthwhile to you, our readers.

SMJ Video- ESPN Production Assistant

One of the opportunities the Communications staff at ESPN afforded reporters during last week’s media workshop was the ability to shadow a production assistant.

There are dozens of production assistants working on various segments for either SportsCenter or other studio programs.

I had the opportunity to shadow David Dreyfuss.  David has worked at ESPN as a P.A. for over six years.  This night he was working on a segment for Baseball Tonight. Our conversation took place at approximately 9:35pm and he was working on deadline for the 10:00pm edition of the show.

SMJ Live Event- ESPN Media Workshop

ESPN workshopI am pleased to announce that this Thursday and Friday (August 27th & 28th) I will be joining other sports media columnists in Bristol, for the 2-day media workshop at ESPN.

The event is a look behind-the-scenes at the WWL in conjunction with the celebration of it’s 30th Anniversary on September 7th.

Here is a look at the workshop schedule:

Thursday, Aug. 27
Time (ET) Topics
9:15 a.m. Digital Media
10:55 a.m. ESPN’s 30th Anniversary
12:30 p.m. Lunch with ESPN President George Bodenheimer
2 p.m. Event Production (U.S. Open tennis, NASCAR,
2010 FIFA World Cup, etc.)
3:30 p.m. Campus Tour
4:45 p.m. ESPN International / Writing Time / One-on-One’s
6 p.m. ESPN Films “30 for 30”

Friday, Aug. 28
8:30 a.m. Monday Night Football / NFL studio shows
10 a.m. ESPN Research
11:15 p.m. College Football / ESPNU
12:15 p.m. SportsCenter / Journalism

I have been assured that I will be able to live blog and videotape some of the workshops.

I will not be live blogging the entire event as I am a one man show and I also want to videotape and interview as many participants as possible.

Tentatively I will begin blogging shortly after 9am Thursday morning.   Check back here for updates on the live blogging schedule.

I will also rely on Twitter to provide updates on when to check-in with the live blog.   Make sure you follow us for any updates.  For those of you who want to chime in through Twitter, or for those who will also want to be at the event and are sharing your thoughts through Twitter, I propose we all use #espnworkshop as a hashtag for the event.  Those at the workshop who are tweeting using that hashtag may have their content cross posted on our live blog.

Possible road blocks to our plans…

  1. The ESPN Wi-Fi is not reliable.
  2. If I am suddenly asked not to live blog by ESPN staff.  I will respect their request and will tell you when I’ll  return.
  3. I run into issues of laptop power drain…
  4. Any other factors I may run into.

Along with live blogging and video production I hope to provide periodic blog posts relating my experiences at the event.

I look forward to sharing with you what I learn about the ESPN operation. If you can join me for the live blog, please do so and chime in with your comments and questions.

Talk to you from Bristol tomorrow!