“It is time to move on, and time for a new set of eyes and ears to keep tabs on ESPN.”  So states departing ESPN ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber, who granted The Big Lead an illuminating chat regarding her one year tenure as the Worldwide Leader’s in-house watchdog (h/t  : Jason Cohen).

I discovered sports media blogs in those first weeks when I was deciding whether to take on the job. One of my concerns was that I was too far removed in sensibility from ESPN™s core demographic to represent them. How could a gray-headed ombudsmarm speak for all those sports-obsessed young men? But when I started my intensive ESPN-watching and noticed someone or something that seemed off-base to me, I would plug a few key words into Google and up came the sports blogs. The way bloggers expressed themselves was worlds apart from me, but I was often in sync with the gist of what they were saying (minus the cheap shots and personal attacks, and yes that™s a cheap shot at sports media blogs from the ombudsmarm).I didn™t yet have access to the ombuds mailbag, so blogs were my first clue that I had more in common with young male sports fans than I imagined. Or maybe I should say that was my first clue that age or gender didn™t matter much among people who really cared about how something was covered. When I started posting columns, the mailbag reinforced that, so I stopped worrying about being the old gray lady of sports.

Q: In your first column, you wrote, œWho are these people and why are they shouting at me? Do you feel ESPN has done anything to tone down the volume on its army of shouters?

I think that column made ESPN more self-conscious about the shouting, but it™s hard for me to say if the volume has been toned down, because over-exposure to the noise induced a degree of immunity in me and perhaps hearing loss.