Former ESPN ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber died Friday at 73.
The pioneer journalist became the first female sports editor at a major American daily newspaper for The New York Times in 1978, and she remains the only woman in the paper’s history to hold that title.
Schreiber spent two years as ombudsman at ESPN, beginning in 2007. She offered critique and analysis of the sports network’s programming and news coverage — in television and other mediums.
In her memoir, “Midstream,” she called her two-year Times tenure “excruciating.”
“If The New York Times was ready to appoint a female head of a hugely male department for the first time in its history, I had no right to refuse the position,” she wrote. “I was, depending on one’s view, the (expletive), the saint, the amazon, the token, the recipient of awards and death threats and, ultimately, the ingrate.”
Prior to those endeavors with the New York Times and ESPN, Schreiber served as the editor-in-chief of womenSports magazine and covered foreign affairs and the 1976 Montreal Olympics for Time magazine. Later in her career, she went on to win a National Magazine Award for public interest journalism for a 1991 series about the violence and intimidation faced by doctors who perform abortions.