Freddy Rolon

Rolon’s role was elevated in July, now adding oversight to content strategy and scheduling for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS. He’s responsible for the content strategy of ESPN’s nine domestic networks while leading US Hispanic initiatives. And it’s thanks to Rolon that ESPN landed the Spanish-language rights to the 2019 Super Bowl. This year, he managed the Spanish-language coverage of the 2020 NFL Draft, which doubled as a three-day virtual fundraiser benefiting charities fighting COVID-19 and providing relief. He cites “Hamilton” as an excellent example of diversity in modern media. “[It’s] is my favorite example of impactful content that reaches broad audiences while unabashedly embracing diversity both on stage and behind the scenes,” he says.

The conversation about racial injustice in 2020 has been… necessary. While many of these conversations have been difficult, progress will only come through having them and doing meaningful work to bring about change. 

In what ways can companies best show a sincere commitment to diversity and inclusion?
Be vocal about why it matters to the business, be consistent and transparent about your efforts and progress.

What initiatives in our industry best embrace diversity?
A program within The Walt Disney Company that embraces diversity is the ESPN NEXT program, a development program for production assistants focused on building leadership skills and business acumen, while providing opportunities for career exploration. Through this program, we are able to tap into young, diverse talent from colleges and universities and work with them to expand their leadership skills and business acumen.

Which current shows (on linear and streaming) best embrace diversity?
“Hamilton” on Disney + is my favorite example of impactful content that reaches broad audiences while unabashedly embracing diversity both on stage and behind the scenes. “Brooklyn 99” is another great example of a diverse cast in a compelling funny show, that has found a broad audience for 7 seasons.

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