Jeremy Schaap Stresses the Importance of Being Fair

Like father, like son

Headshot of Richard Horgan

The Twitter description for website Sports on Earth mentions “hot takes” as a main ingredient. Which is ironic given one of the answers provided to the outlet by Jeremy Schaap, the son of famed sports reporter Dick Schaap and co-host of ESPN’s investigative program E:60.

Jeremy, Dick Schaap
Photo by: Steve Penn/ESPN

Asked at the end of the Q&A to relay a piece of advice for those interested in investigative journalism, young Schaap detours to several bits of guidance given by his dad. The first involves the willingness to work hard; the second, those aforementioned hot takes:

“About journalism, what my dad used to say was that it comes down to one thing: being fair. Be fair to your audience, be fair to your readers, be fair to your listeners, be fair to your viewers and be fair to your subject. My father was the furthest thing in the world from a cheap-shot artist, but when someone had it coming, that fairness meant being tough at times too. Fairness means stepping back and thinking about all of that.”

“Sadly, I think in this day and age you’re expected to immediately have a reaction to everything, and you know what, that’s not easy. You gotta look at the evidence, you gotta call people and read stuff. I think a lot of the immediacy of what we have today works against that. So: Hard work is important if you want to get a chance. And once you get a chance, be fair. That’s the most important thing.”

Did you notice how Schaap mentions calling people? You can bet only those salaried on a full-time journalism basis endeavor to do so. Ergo, the great majority of today’s hot takes are written without the benefit or consideration of this once-upon-a-time staple.

In the Q&A, Schaap also explains why he is still haunted by a piece he did about the laborers hired to build facilities for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. That report earned Schaap and ESPN a 2015 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.