- Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears – senior writer, NBA
- National Geographic’s Jill Hudson – senior writer, athletes’ style and fashion
- Winston Salem Journal managing editor John X. Miller – senior editor, news and commentary
- Bleacher Report’s Vincent Thomas – senior editor, sports
Ten journalists with wide-ranging experiences have joined the editorial staff of The Undefeated, ESPN’s upcoming content initiative for exploring the intersections of race, sports and culture. The additions include two acclaimed writers, Marc Spears (Yahoo! Sports) and Jill Hudson (National Geographic); and two senior editors – Winston-Salem Journal Managing Editor John X. Miller and Bleacher Report’s special projects editor, Vincent Thomas.
Other additions to the editorial team include hibu’s Karin Berry, former Washington Post sports intern Aaron Dodson, ESPN.com’s Kelley Evans, ESPN’s Maya Jones, ESPN The Magazine’s Ashley Melfi, and recent University of Maryland journalism graduate Rhiannon Walker.
“It’s exciting to be surrounded by such talented journalists, who are bringing their fire and intellect to The Undefeated,” said Editor-in-Chief Kevin Merida. “We keep getting better and better with each new hire.”
Spears joined The Undefeated after 21 years as a highly regarded sports writer, highlighted by 17 seasons covering the NBA. He most recently and notably worked for Yahoo! Sports (2009-16) as an NBA reporter – writing stories and doing video analysis and interviews on all 30 teams and its players, broke numerous stories and also covered USA Basketball, the NBA Draft, the NBA Finals and the NBA’s top college and international prospects. Spears garnered national acclaim for his work as The Boston Globe’s Celtics beat writer and NBA columnist from 2007-09. Spears chronicled the Celtics’ 2008 NBA Championship season. From 1999-2007, he covered the Denver Nuggets as a Denver Post writer and columnist, including reporting on Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson. Beyond his NBA role, Spears has written about Major League Baseball and covered the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He wrote about Muhammad Ali in 2009 when the champ was Kentucky’s Athlete of the Century, and about basketball and football in the Southeastern Conference. Spears is in his fifth year as chair of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Sports Task Force, which mentors and supports African-American sports journalists who are NABJ members. He has won several writing honors, including the 2015 Professional Basketball Writers’ Association award for “Best Feature Story.”
Hudson comes to The Undefeated from NationalGeographic.com, where she was director of cross-platform content initiatives. A longtime style journalist who has written extensively on international fashion, design and pop culture trends, Hudson worked from 2001-‘08 as the design and fashion editor at The Washington Post Magazine,, where she also penned a popular dating column. She spent four years with the Baltimore Sun as a general assignment reporter covering crime, welfare reform, immigration, arts and entertainment, and more. She also worked as a features writer for The Washington Post’s Style section, and as editor-in-chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom Magazine.
Miller has served as managing editor of the Winston-Salem Journal newspaper since August 2013. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Hickory (N.C.) Daily Record for three years. From 1999 to 2008, he was at the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit Media Partnership, first as the Free Press Public Editor, then as the DMP’s Director of Community Affairs. As public editor for the Detroit Media Partnership, he wrote corrections, delved into issues relating to accuracy in reporting, credibility, readership and ethical issues for the newspaper, as well as penning a column in an ombudsman role. Prior to joining the Free Press, Miller was managing editor of The Sun News newspaper in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and editor of The Reporter newspaper in Lansdale, Pa. He is an original member of the USA Today staff, having joined the paper in August 1982.
Thomas arrives from Bleacher Report, where he has served as the site’s special projects editor since October 2014. Before Bleacher Report, Thomas was editor-in-chief for theshadowleague.com, a sports site with a cultural perspective, from 2012-‘14. Previously, he spent five years (2007-‘12) as a contributing columnist whose work frequently appeared in SLAM, ESPN.com, Fox Sports, NBA.com and various newspapers. In addition, Thomas spent two years as editor-in-chief of ThisIsRealMusic.com and also had career stops at the Tampa Bay Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Orlando Sentinel and The Washington Post.
Other editorial staff members joining The Undefeated include:
- Karin Berry (General Editor) was previously the national copy editing manager for hibu’s 670-plus community magazines. Berry’s career includes editorial production for the Macon Telegraph, The Baltimore Sun and the Philadelphia Daily News. Her work has been published by Essence, Black Enterprise, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Family Tree Magazine, TheRoot, and Ancestry.com.
- Aaron Dodson (Assistant Editor)is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he spent four years working at The Daily Tar Heel as a sports reporter and copy editor. He has previously worked in the sports departments at The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.
- Kelley Evans (General Editor), who is moving from ESPN.com, is a sports columnist and editor who established herself as a savvy NBA reporter at the historic Tri-State Defender in Memphis, where she covered the NBA’s Grizzlies for more than 10 years. She began her journalism career as a features healthcare writer and editor for a major medical university, reporting on the relevance of health disparities in minority communities. Evans has a diverse background that includes print and digital journalism.
- Maya Jones (Associate Editor) is a former senior researcher at ESPN The Magazine. In August 2015, for the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Jones penned a first-person account on ESPN.com describing the experience of living in New Orleans, fleeing from Katrina, and her return 10 years later. She began her journalism career while in college freelancing for The Times-Picayune.
- Ashley Melfi (Associate Editor) graduated from Hofstra University in 2013. As a student, she interned for Golf Digest, Newsday sports and Lucky Magazine. Melfi was recently with ESPN The Magazine as a senior researcher and was The Mag’s digital producer of “The Body Issue” for the past three years.
- Rhiannon Walker (Associate Editor) interned at the Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune, WUSA9, The Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, USA TODAY Sports, The Oklahoman, and Baltimore Sun. She also was member of the Sports Journalism Institute, worked as a news aide for the Washington Post’s AllMetSports section and for Lacrosse Magazine. In May 2015, Walker graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in broadcast journalism. She received the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism’s inaugural Bryan Burwell-Stuart Scott All-Star Student Award.
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