Film Series Creates Diverse Tapestry of Sports in America over the Past 30 Years
Washington, D.C. (July 13, 2011)-The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announces that ESPN's 30 for 30 series will receive the organization's Best Practices Award. The honor will be presented at the association's 36th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Philadelphia, PA, the nation's largest annual gathering of minority journalists.
30 for 30 is a series of documentaries airing on ESPN and its sister networks. The series, which premiered in October 2009 and concluded in December 2010, chronicles 30 stories from the "ESPN era," each of which detail the issues, trends, people, teams, or events that transformed the sports landscape since the sports network was founded in 1979.
"30 for 30 is indicative of the excellent contributions made by a brilliant and diverse team working behind the scenes. The NABJ board congratulates executive producers John Dahl, Connor Schell, NABJ member Keith Clinkscales and the ESPN team for including talented black filmmakers who hit an amazing home run," said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times.
The films in totality represent something never seen on TV before through a team of diverse storytellers. The series includes the saga of how the Allen Iverson trial impacted the Hampton Roads, Virginia, community to the personal family story of running back Ricky Williams in "Run Ricky Run" and "One Night in Vegas" on the night of a Mike Tyson fight and how Tupac Shakur never made it to the after party. African-American directors John Singleton and Reggie Rock Bythewood had the opportunities to lead some of these stories. Additional contributors to the series include Ice Cube, Spike Lee, Morgan Freeman, and Kirk Fraser among others.
"ESPN's collection of documentaries on these 30 riveting stories from over the past 30 years provides quality in-depth reporting to give viewers the complete versions of these events that often went untold. The series offers a different perspective of these stories that previous news accounts could not provide," said NABJ Treasurer and Sports Task Force Chair, Greg Lee. "The series also has the power of time on its side, allowing us the ability to reflect on these stories years later. It is truly an amazing body of work worthy of our Best Practices honor."
The idea for the series began with ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons, who wanted feature filmmakers to recount the sports stories, people, and events from the past three decades, which they took a personal interest or involvement in, however great or small, and felt hadn't been fully explored. Simmons and his team took special interest in "stories that resonated at the time but were eventually forgotten for whatever reason."
Directors had creative control over their 30 for 30 episodes. They appear in interstitial comments during the broadcast to discuss their film and its subject matter, usually appearing before the beginning of the film and before the last commercial break.
NABJ's National Awards recognize top media organizations and professionals for their print, broadcast, and online journalism work in 2010. Awards will be bestowed to top writers, columnists, producers, reporters, photojournalists and editors.
ESPN will be joined by other top honorees including the Miami Herald's Jacqueline Charles for Journalist of the Year, and NABJ Founder Acel Moore for Lifetime Achievement, as well as ESPN's Claire Smith for the organization's Legacy Award. NABJ's 36th Annual Convention and Career Fair will take place Aug. 3-7 in Philadelphia, PA. For additional information, ticket sales and registration, please visit us at www.nabj.org