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New Multi-Year Deal Keeps Pulitzer Winner Don Van Natta Jr. with ESPN


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Strengthening its commitment to investigative and longform journalism, ESPN has re-signed Pulitzer-winning journalist Don Van Natta Jr. to a new, multi-year deal to remain with the company.

Van Natta, who joined ESPN in January of 2012, will continue as a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and as well as a contributor to ESPN’s award-winning Outside the Lines program.

“Don represents a small group of extraordinarily talented, investigative reporters who are able to uncover important stories and then bring them to life with their writing,” said Craig Bengtson, ESPN vice president & managing editor, News & Reporting. “The list of award-winning stories Don has told, on a wide range of serious topics, is long. We are thrilled to have him on our side.”

Since joining ESPN, Van Natta has done cross-platform, investigative stories about scandals embroiling the National Football League, Penn State University, Rutgers University, the daily fantasy sports industry and others. Among his works:

Sin City or Bust” (co-written with Seth Wickersham), which detailed how Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis outflanked power brokers to put the Raiders in Las Vegas; “Welcome to the Big Time,” an investigation into the fast fall of daily fantasy sports leaders DraftKings and FanDuel; “Jerry Football,” a long profile of Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones; and “His Game, His Rules,” how Commissioner Roger Goodell made the NFL bigger, richer, more powerful — and now more divided — than ever before.

“Don has a proven ability to dig deep for compelling narratives that reveal truths about the highest-profile issues and personalities in sports,” said Chad Millman, vice president, editorial director, Domestic Digital Content. “He’s helped raise the bar for storytelling at ESPN and it’s fantastic he’ll keep doing it for years to come.”

In each of the last three years, his long-form articles were anthologized in The Best American Sports Writing series and in 2016, the Society of Professional Journalists named Van Natta a “Fellow of the Society,” the organization’s highest professional honor awarded for “extraordinary contribution” to the journalism profession.”

Prior to joining ESPN, Van Natta worked for 16 years as an investigative correspondent for the New York Times, where he was a member of two Pulitzer Prize winning teams: for National Reporting in 1999 and for Explanatory Reporting in 2002. His journalism career began at the Miami Herald, where he worked for eight years and was a member of the staff that won the 1993 Pulitzer Medal for Public Service for its coverage of Hurricane Andrew.

A graduate of Boston University, Van Natta also is the author of three books, two of which were bestsellers.

“I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to continue to report and write longform stories for ESPN,” said Van Natta. “It’s a great privilege to work for a company that not only values serious, in-depth investigative and enterprise stories, but invests the time and resources to pursue them and produce them for multiple platforms. This job truly is a dream gig.”


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