Jim Brady, a former sports and executive editor at WashingtonPost.com and currently the CEO of Spirited Media, is the new public editor at ESPN.
Brady will start on Nov. 15 and serve for 18 months in the role, which was formerly called the ombudsman. Brady will be charged with providing “independent examination, critique and analysis of ESPN’s programming and news coverage on television, digital, print, audio and other media,” ESPN said in a statement.
He will write columns, produce podcasts and use social media as part of his role.
“We are proud of our commitment to the ombudsman role over the past decade, and believe those who have occupied that chair have mutually benefited fans and ESPN,” said Patrick Stiegman, vice president and editorial director for ESPN Digital & Print Media and chairman of ESPN’s editorial board.
“We are updating the title to ‘public editor’ to better reflect the goal of transparency and advocacy for fans, especially in this increasingly multimedia world. And given the multitude of touch points we have with our audience, it’s imperative that the public editor have the breadth of experience and journalistic credibility to serve as an advocate and explainer for fans across all media.”
Brady has more than 20 years of experience in digital and print news at AOL, the Washington Post, Digital First Media (where he served as editor-in-chief) and currently at Spirited Media, which runs the mobile news platform Billy Penn in Philadelphia.
“To me, ESPN has always been one of the most fascinating media companies on the planet,” Brady said. “Whether it’s managing extremely complicated relationships with professional leagues, trying to stay ahead of its ever-growing list of competitors or adapting its business in an ever-changing media landscape, ESPN faces fascinating challenges. This made serving as public editor too good an opportunity to pass up. I look forward to getting started.”
Brady succeeds Robert Lipsyte, who was ESPN’s ombudsman from 2013 to 2014.
“This role is not about playing critic, per se, but instead helping demystify ESPN for fans, explaining our culture and standards, and commenting on journalism, coverage and programming decisions,” Stiegman said. “Jim’s experience across multiple platforms and major media companies are ideally suited for both the public editor role and our desire for accountability, transparency and improvement related to all aspects of ESPN coverage.”
Previous ombudsmen include George Solomon, Le Anne Schreiber, Don Ohlmeyer and The Poynter Institute.