Let’s see. The first person I know of who swam through these waters and then wound up at ESPN The Magazine was Paul “Tall Paul” Kix (like the cereal, he always says). Paul was a senior editor (or something) at D Magazine. He left us for Boston Magazine but eventually found his way to Bristol, Connecticut, or wherever it is that ESPN people live. Then there was Cristina Daglas, who was the editor of D Magazine for a time. She left us and took a job at ESPN. And now Mike Drago is joining the Dallas contingent up north. Mike works at the Dallas Morning News and happens to be Nancy Nichols’ brother-in-law. Below you’ll find Tom Huang’s note to the staff about Mike’s departure.
I’ve started laying odds on the next Dallas media member to take a gig at ESPN. Eric Celeste, obviously, sits at the top of the board with the shortest odds. Right beneath him: Krys Boyd. Controversial, I know. But I have my reasons.
I hate to say it, but we’re losing Mike Drago. Again!
He’s got a great opportunity to be a senior editor at ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. He’ll work with the magazine’s writers and pitch the results across ESPN’s platforms, from print to web, TV and social media.
It’s a huge loss for us. Not only is Mike an imaginative and creative editor (he dreams big things, he gets stuff done, he cuts through the b.s.), but he’s also a great guy, with a steady, realistic, can-do spirit and an unabashed (unadulterated?) love for music, hockey and family.
He’s had a huge impact on DMN, ever since he started here in 1999. In his first tour of duty, he worked as criminal justice editor, education editor, Texas & Southwest editor, assistant managing editor for local news, breaking news editor and city editor. (Lots of different kinds of “editor” in that sentence, but that’s who Mike is, someone who goes in and creates and builds things.)
Just a few of the things he did in those years: He edited a series of investigative reports on school superintendents who moonlighted in lucrative consulting jobs for school district vendors. He led reporters in an investigation into multimillion-dollar technology contracts in the Dallas school district. He oversaw news coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. He managed staffs with as many as 70 journalists and lived to tell the tale.
He took a two-year break to be a vice president at a marketing and public relations firm. That’s when he realized that his life and identity are all about being a journalist. So he came back as Viewpoints and Points editor and editorial board member. Most recently, he has been developing the DMN Contributors Network, which includes subject-matter experts who provide smart, in-the-know insights and perspectives for readers.
One thing Mike told me a while back is that he’s always been willing to step out of his comfort zone, take on new, daunting challenges and tackle stuff he wasn’t sure he could really do. I think that’s why he’s been so successful. His last day at DMN is April 29. Please join me in wishing Mike and his family all the best.