The Undefeated added David Dennis Jr. as senior editor
Many verticals associated with ESPN have received less attention in recent years, with the closure of Grantland and the eventual transfer of FiveThirtyEight to ABC News. however, The Undefeated, which had the most difficult start of any of these verticals, has become a key part of the ESPN portfolio. He added many notable writers, rose to prominence within the company, and released multimedia documentaries. and specials. And while part of that has been attributed to the rise of Undefeated Editor-in-Chief Kevin Merida within ESPN, it’s certainly remarkable to see the company still put emphasis on The Undefeated after the departure of Merida for The Los Angeles Times last month (and was replaced by Raina Kelley, who was previously editor-in-chief of The Undefeated). The last example is their Monday announcement they brought David Dennis Jr., who had previously worked freelance for the vertical sector, as a senior writer covering music:
David Dennis Jr., a freelance journalist, educator and commentator based in Atlanta, Ga., Joined The Undefeated full-time as a senior writer covering music for the vertical culture of the ESPN sports media content initiative, the race and culture. A frequent contributor to The Undefeated, Dennis will also be writing long and short articles on other topics at the intersection of race, culture and sport.
Dennis will begin his new role with The Undefeated on Monday, June 21.
“With David officially joining the team, we are accelerating the continued expansion of our Culture vertical,” said Raina Kelley, vice president and editor of The Undefeated. “David is at home with The Undefeated brand and will continue to deliver the brilliant and inspiring stories he is well known for. That it starts during Black Music Appreciation Month is an absolute bonus.
Dennis joins The Undefeated after ten years as a critically acclaimed and award-winning writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Atlanta Magazine, HuffPost, Medium, and more. His articles for The Undefeated varied widely, ranging from a long history of black community involvement in social media to an assessment of the rapper Kanye westthe career of and a look at the actress Halle berryThe filmography of after the Catwoman debacle.
This release goes on to state that Dennis received the 2021 American Mosaic Journalism Award for his work, including Atlanta room “Ahmaud Arbery will not be erased. “So he certainly has an impressive background, which also includes the position of Visiting Professor of Journalism and Social Justice at Morehouse College. It is also remarkable to see ESPN bring in someone who had previously worked for them as a member. staff; this can be a great way to see if someone is suitable for a post, but not all companies embrace this path, so it’s cool to see ESPN do that. And it’s also interesting to see ESPN hire specifically with reference to cover music; under President Jimmy Pitaro, they seem to have moved away from a lot of non-sporting cultural content elsewhere, so it’s remarkable to see this continue in The Undefeated.
Beyond that, the announcement of the hiring of a senior screenwriter at The Undefeated is significant as a continued demonstration of ESPN’s commitment to this vertical, even after Merida leaves. And this is not to be taken lightly. Yes, The Undefeated seems to be doing well for them, but ESPN walked away from a lot of things that were apparently working in large part because their internal champions were gone (again, see Grantland). It’s possible to imagine a world where The Undefeated attracted less and less corporate support after the release of Merida, and was ultimately shut down or sold. And yes, hiring a senior screenwriter isn’t necessarily proof that it won’t happen, but it does seem to indicate that ESPN isn’t moving away from supporting The Undefeated just yet.