Clarissa Ward Wins Peabody Award Award

CNN senior international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, is already a multi-award winning journalist and has now added another award to that list. Venturing where few Western journalist have ever gone before, her brave coverage going undercover in rebel-held Syria was honored as a Peabody Award winner in the News category.

The awards seek to recognize stories that represent true excellence in broadcasting across a wide range of electronic media. CNN, one of the 11 winners, won in multiple areas for their exceptional coverage of the raging conflict in the Middle East.

See the entire "Undercover in Syria" series and watch Clarissa's exclusive coverage from behind rebel lines by clicking here


Q&A: Jane McManus on Roller Derby

Starting April 21st, WFTDA kicks off the Roller Derby World Summit and IF Client, Jane McManus, will be a keynote speaker. Held in Manchester, UK, this public and international event will "curate sessions focused on business resources for leagues, organize panels discussing important topics, and provide networking opportunities for those involved in roller derby." Before heading off to the event, we got the chance to catch up with Jane to discuss roller derby and women in sports media! 

Q: First off, can you provide a little bit of context on what the Roller Derby is? 

A: Roller Derby is kind of an old time sport that a lot of people might remember from the 50's and 60's played on a big track. But in the 2000's in Texas, it was reborn as a women's contact sport. I played for 7 years for a team in Yonkers, New York called Suburbia Roller Derby, and I played under the name Lesley E. Visserate. You have a special roller derby name. So mine is an homage to the sportscaster Lesley Visser, who was a pioneer in our industry. I played for 7 years and I loved it, and I miss it but I got a little busy. So I keep in touch with the great friends I made when I was playing and this was an opportunity for me to go and speak on women's sports and on roller derby, which is something I'm obviously super familiar with and very passionate about so it seemed like a natural fit. 

Q: So how did you get into roller derby yourself?

A: Well, I did a story on it when I was a reporter at a newspaper in Westchester County called the Journal News. At that time, there was a league in Connecticut and two local women playing in it so I thought, 'well this sounds like an interesting sport, I can pin this story to the two local women we have.' And I'd been a basketball player and played sports growing up. I walked in the door and saw them practicing and hitting each other and the contact and the fun that they were having, and I just knew this was my next sport and that it was for me. It felt completely at home. So I did the story, and I said to the two women, 'look if you ever start a league in Westchester, let me know and I'd love to play.' So sure enough, they started a league in Yonkers and they gave me a call, so I got a pair of skates and went down and tried out for the team...At the time and about a year in to playing roller derby, I was assigned to the NFL Jets beat, so I was kind of playing a contact sport while I was also covering this other contact sport. So it ended up being really good experience for me because I learned a lot from a first person view point. 

Q: In terms of you being a keynote speaker this weekend at the World Summit, can you provide a little insight about what you are going to be speaking about as it relates to women and sports media?

A: I work for espnW, which is a part of ESPN that focuses on women and sports, and we look a lot at women as athletes, and women as fans and how sports plays a role in our lives. So for me when I think about the women I know that play roller derby, we all consider ourselves athletes. And at the same time, there is a power that comes from that. I want to talk about how playing sports changes us and changes our lives. I've seen that first hand so much, not only in the professional athletes I cover but also the amateur athletes that I know. 

Q: Looking at the bigger picture, what do you think some of the progress is that has been made with women in sports media in general? 

A: Well, there's been a ton of progress. Part of that is you have a place like espnW where it can be talked about and these issues are discussed. We care about them. You also have something like the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, where the games are on television and they can be seen. You are allowing that fan base to develop because you are providing coverage of that sport. So to me, part of it is just visibility and that is something that has changed. For example, women's tennis and women's basketball. These are sports that people care about and watch because they are available to them. I think more and more we see coverage of individual women as athletes really elevated. There are a lot of different women that come into public consciousness because there is more coverage of women's sports. With my network, we really care about hiring women and covering women, and I think that makes a difference in how women's sports are covered. 

To read more about the World Summit, click here. Be sure to keep up with Jane and follow her upcoming activity. She has multiple in-depth features that will be coming up before the draft as she takes part in some of the draft coverage at ESPN. Also catch her every Saturday on her radio show, "The Trifecta."

Anthony Becht Nominated Admirable Award

As a former NFL 1st round pick and tight end for the Jets, Bucs, Chiefs, Cardinals and the Rams, Anthony Becht, has continued to have an impact both on and off the field. Never straying too far from his love of the game, Becht is now an ESPN college football analysts and host on HSN.

Making the transition from star athlete to a valued analyst, Anthony has continued down the road of success, staying humble all the while. To honor the difference he makes in the community, he is this year's candidate for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Man of the Year. To read more on the award and it's benefits, click here .

Clarissa Ward Nominated for Peabody Award

Clarissa Ward's work with her compelling documentary, "Undercover in Syria" has gained national attention and has been named one of sixty Peabody Award Finalists. The documentary explores the impact of Russia's involvement with the Syrian civil war as reporters go deep undercover.

The sixty finalists were pulled from 1,200 entries that acknowledge stories that matter. These stories are ones "that represent the most compelling and empowering stories released in electronic media during 2016".

Congratulations Clarissa!

Read about the Peabody Awards and the other finalists by clicking here