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Subject: Groundbreaking sports journalist Le Anne Schreiber dies at 73

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Date Posted: Wednesday, June 05, 04:02:30am

Le Anne Schreiber, who broke ground when she was named sports editor of The New York Times in 1978, died Friday in Poughkeepsie, New York. She was 73.

She is the only woman to have held that position at the Times, and the first woman to hold the title at a major American daily newspaper.

Schreiber also served as ombudsman at ESPN beginning in 2007, a role in which she offered independent examination, critique and analysis of ESPN's programming and news coverage, both on television and in other media.

Schreiber served as ESPN's ombudsman for a fixed two-year term.

When she was offered the sports editor's job at the Times, she said she would take the position only if she could leave after two years.

"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 in a memoir, "Midstream." "I was, depending on one's view, the b----, the saint, the amazon, the token, the recipient of awards and death threats and, ultimately, the ingrate, for insisting upon my pre-agreed release after two excruciating years."

The role at ESPN came after she had been out of sports for more than a decade.

"She enjoyed it because by the time she had left The Times, she had become sports-phobic," Milena Herring, her former partner, told The New York Times. "She didn't want to watch the U.S. Open on TV or in person. But at ESPN, it wasn't about sports at all, but about looking at the coverage of sports as a journalist with a critical eye."

Schreiber covered foreign affairs and the 1976 Montreal Olympics for Time magazine; she later was editor in chief of womenSports magazine; and after leaving the sports editor position, served as deputy editor of The New York Times Book Review.

Schreiber is the author of memoirs and won a National Magazine Award for public interest journalism for a 1991 magazine series about the violence and intimidation faced by doctors who perform abortions. Schreiber also taught at Columbia University's graduate writing program, among other schools.


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