Sammamish man wins two Emmys
October 7, 2008
By Christopher Huber
Kevin Jackson, Sammamish resident and vice-president of ESPN.com, manages teams of the best writers and photographers in the business. He works on the cutting edge of sports journalism and multi-media production.
He knows more about sports than almost anybody, say family members and co-workers, and he is a true Seattle sports fan, win or lose.
Most of the stories he works on are about superstars and high-profile sporting events.
But it’s the stories about the little guy he wins awards for.
“He’s one of few [editors] that make you want to write a story, because he’s always very upbeat,” said ESPN writer Jim Caple, who has worked with Jackson since 2000. “He really connects with the fans, he knows how to pick a story that they’re going to want to read.”
Jackson just got two Emmy awards in the mail last month.
He waited more than four months to actually hold them after winning them in April in New York at the Sports Emmy awards show.
“The day it comes is the Christmas moment when I can finally get my hands on this thing,” Jackson said.
Jackson won the Emmys for his editing role in feature stories published in 2007: “Ray of Hope” and “Death Race 2007.” They were his second and third Emmy awards since the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences began awarding for “online and broadband” entries in 2006. Both awards came in the “new approaches” category for long form and general interest sports journalism, according to an ESPN.com press release.
His first Emmy came in 2007 for “The Real Frozen Tundra,” a story about the Barrow (Alaska) High School football team.
Jackson got into the journalism profession as a boy growing up in Sequim. His father was an ad salesman at the local paper, so Jackson spent long periods of time reading sports and such.
“He would turn me loose in some back part of the paper and since then I always knew I wanted to be in newspapers,” Jackson said.
He worked at various newspapers from the peninsula to Bellingham and studied journalism at Western Washington University. In 1995, Jackson began his career at ESPN.com. He and his wife, Melanie Jackson, moved to Bristol, Conn., where he worked through the ranks to become vice-president.
What keeps Kevin Jackson going?
“It seems like every week we’re uncovering a new story that’s exciting and hasn’t been told before,” he said about getting to send people all over the world to tell the most dynamic stories around. “I’ve sent reporters to Zambia and all over Europe,” he said. “The great thing to me is we’re able to put more resources into storytelling than just about anyone else is doing.
Being able to do that level of work and expose it to so many people — and seeing so many people react to a story — that’s rewarding.”
Ray of Hope
In 2007 Jackson and his team produced a story about Jason Ray, who played the mascot for the University of North Carolina and was killed by a car. Ray was an organ donor and the ESPN team of writers and photographers told the stories of the half-dozen people who benefited from Ray’s healthy organs through a transplant.
In response to the story, Jackson said, approximately 50,000 people across the country signed up to be organ donors.
“For all of us who worked on that knowing all the people who signed up to be organ donors … you can’t help but be inspired by his story,” Jackson said.
Death Race 2007
Jackson also edited the story about Caple’s account of the annual “Tough Guy” obstacle course in Wolverhampton, England.
Caple, who wrote and personally ran the “Tough Guy” race, said Jackson deserves the Emmys.
“He allows you to pursue a story and he knows what a good idea is and then he pushes it along and makes it better,” Caple said. “He makes the whole presentation that much better. He doesn’t shy away from a good story.”
Reporter Christopher Huber can be reached at 392-6434, Ext. 242, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.