Matt Lauer talks with Janay Rice: Hill defends ESPN’s as-told-to interview

Ray and Janay Rice continue to dominate the news. Here is Matt Lauer’s interview with Janay Rice on “Today”  this morning.

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Meanwhile, Richard Deitsch at did an email interview with Jemele Hill about her as-told-to interview with Janay Rice that ran on Friday on

How comfortable were you writing the piece in Janay’s voice, as opposed to incorporating her answers into a third-person narrative into which you could have infused additional reporting?

The partnership was unusual for me because I’d never done it before, but it’s not really unusual in these times. Sports Illustrated has published as-told-to pieces with Jason Collins and LeBron James, for example. In my case, it was truly a collaboration. It was not a dictatorship. The piece that was published is very close to the original draft that she received. The piece was edited by our editors and any changes she suggested either involved accuracy, her giving more information or offering a more concise explanation.

I know people are skeptical because Janay had approval over the final product. But I take a lot of pride in being a journalist. I would never have been comfortable with leaving out anything that compromised my journalistic integrity. As a network, we wouldn’t have stood for that. Throughout this process, everyone at ESPN had the unofficial pact that we would walk away from this if we felt it jeopardized our credibility. And for her perspective, it would have not have done her any good to undermine the process. At some point, she was going to have to face these questions. She wanted the same thing I wanted — to tell the most complete story.


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