The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Sports Task Force has named Jackson Safon the inaugural winner of its ESPN internship.

Safon is graduating with a degree from the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. 

“The process to find one that was most worthy of this ESPN/AAJA Sports Task Force internship wasn’t easy, with so many strong candidates,” said Howard Chen, STF’s chairman. “Special thanks to our judging panel for going through all the entries and selecting USC’s Jackson Safon, our inaugural winner of this incredible opportunity. Think about it: this is a paid internship with furnished housing covered! Thank you to ESPN and Disney for continuing to champion diversity with this internship.”

There were over 43 applicants for the ESPN/ AAJA Sports Task Force internship, but Jackson distinguished himself with his grades and his extensive work as in digital and broadcast media.

Reggie Ho humbly shares his inspiring story with Sports Task Force

By Alysha Tsuji

Reggie Ho inconspicuously walked into the tail-end of an AAJA Sports Task Force meeting to say a few words prior to a screening of an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary based off of his time as kicker for Notre Dame football.

I had watched the short film prior to the screening, so I knew what to expect from it: a riveting story about a man who fought his way onto a competitive football team while also studying to be a doctor — and who then succeeded at both.

Ho could have said a lot of things to us as he stood up. He could have harped on his personal accomplishments, or he could have given us a light preview of his documentary. Instead, he simply thanked the Sports Task Force for having him and sat down. The brevity surprised me, especially since it was revealed that he had cut his family’s Hawaiian vacation time short to be at the AAJA convention with us.

But after the screening, as ESPN anchor Kevin Negandhi conducted a Q&A with Ho, I understood.

Every question Negandhi asked, Ho answered respectfully, with pure class and humility. Negandhi even joked about how, at one point, Ho provided a room full of journalists with the classic canned “It wasn’t me, it was the team” answer.

It quickly became evident that it wasn’t a canned answer. It was just Reggie Ho being Reggie Ho.

The hard work, the discipline, the humility — it propelled Ho to success. He’s now a cardiologist who will forever have his fond memories of kicking for Notre Dame football and winning a title in 1988.

A key moment that resonated with me was when Ho recalled how Coach Lou Holtz addressed the team after the championship win. Holtz told them — in the midst of a national championship victory — to remember there was more to life than football. Ho said he was touched that Holtz took a moment to acknowledge that football was just a sport, and that family, God and friends mattered more.

That perspective can speak to people in all walks of life, and it was inspiring to hear from Dr. Ho himself. Here are some social media highlights of the “Student/Athlete” screening and post-film interview:

With legendary Notre Dame kicker Dr. Reggie Ho and morning ESPN SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi #AAJA15 #SportsTaskForce

A photo posted by Josh Canlas Tolentino (@jctsports) on