APSE Winter Meeting (virtual, Monday, March 1)

President Lisa Wilson calls the meeting to order at 3 p.m. ET and introduces first vice president Gary Potosky, second vice president Jorge Rojas, third vice president Steve Hemphill, executive director Bill Eichenbeger and conference coordinator Glen Crevier.

Past presidents

Bill Eichenberger, now Las Vegas Review-Journal then Newsday (2003)

Glen Crevier, then The Star Tribune of Minneapolis (2005)

Phil Kaplan, The News Sentinel of Knoxville (2010)

Mike Sherman, Oklahoma Watch (2015)

Tommy Deas, now The Tennessean then Tuscaloosa News (2017)

Jeff Rosen, The Kansas City Star (2018)

John Bednarowski, Marietta Daily Journal (2019)

Region representatives

Shared the states that belong to each region after the alignment to absorb the Mid-Atlantic Conference:

Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, Pennsylvania (Tyler Batiste).

Atlantic Coast: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, West Virginia (Matt Stephens)

Southeast: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virgin Islands (Erik Hall).

Great Lakes: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin (Glen Crevier).

Great Plains: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma (Jeff Patterson).

Southwest: New Mexico, Texas (Reid Lamaynce)

Northwest: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming (Paul Barrett)

West: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah (Chris Boan)

Representing the Associated Press: (Barry Bedlan)

———–

Committee reports

Finances and budget update (Bill Eichenberger): We have $80,000 in total funds, with $27,000 in our new business budget and $52,200 in reserves. We thought we might have to dip into the reserves because of the pandemic but we never really got there. We’re in decent shape.

Conference update (Glen Crevier): We talked about whether we should have a conference. Nobody wanted to go without one, but we all felt uncomfortable about having one in June. We are planning to move this year’s convention back to mid-August (we’re close but it’s still tentative), when hopefully things will be a lot safer. As a tradeoff (with the Flamingo), we would have a conference in Las Vegas 2021 and 2023. Room rates will be $62/night for both conventions. Dates are Aug. 15-18 (tentatively) in 2021 and July 9-12 in 2023. We re-signed with Indianapolis for the summer conference in 2022. As for the winter conference, for the next three Februaries, we’ll be going to the DoubleTree in Orlando (including Feb. 20-24 in 2022). Lisa Wilson leads a round of applause for Glen Crevier for maneuvering APSE out of three conventions without any penalties. 

Commissioners (Jeff Rosen): We are still planning to have them virtually. We’re looking at later than April at this point to get people on the same page, probably May. No date yet but since summer conference is being pushed back, we think a May Zoom event won’t mess with people’s schedules. We hope to have the information in the next week or so.

Diversity (vacant): Larry Graham has stepped down for family reasons. APSE is still taking the diversity pledge (through Lisa Wilson). Lisa Wilson acknowledges this year’s Diversity Fellows: Mauro Diaz of ESPN); JT Keith of the Roswell (N.M.) Daily Herald, Sarah Kelly of Sports Illustrated, Maria McIlwain of the Houston Chronicle, and Em Poertner of Gannett. Welcome to the Fellows. They’ll continue for another year to get the full experience.

Futures (Mike Sherman) Lisa Wilson: A lot of good things have come out of this committee. Mike Sherman and Chris Fickett have been really involved. A better welcome, guide, benefits, region chair. Another fantastic thing that has come out is the APSE newsletter, which I’m going to let Jake Adams talk about. Jake Adams: The newsletter is waiting for the go-ahead but should be out soon, maybe later today. The purpose is to have another connection point. We’d like to see it last beyond the pandemic period. It will inform, be there for everyone to find information and learn, not just for national members but also for college students etc. It will cover different topics, such as Olympics, Super Bowls, a place you can find jobs, internships, a schedule of events, something for everyone. Please send feedback. It will also feature our best work.

Grassroots/Outreach (Chris Fickett and Steve Hemphill) The plan we’re putting together is to follow up on what came out of Mike Sherman’s Futures meeting. We’ll start taking names from the newsletters/job changes report and immediately start selling them on the benefits of joining. (Starting with the conference and contest and then building on the possible addition of webinars, etc. ) … So as some of the Futures projects develop, we’ll work on making sure members/potential members know what’s available. Mike Sherman: The hope is to build out ideas to invite, recruit and retain new members and returning members, and to make it more systematic.

Legal affairs and ethics (Gerry Ahern and John Cherwa): APSE (Gerry Ahern, John Cherwa), the USBWA (Malcolm Moran), CoSida (Shelly Poe) and the NCAA (Erik Christianson, Dave Worlock) met Feb. 17 and Worlock went over policies and procedures for the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Indianapolis.The entire tournament is being held at venues in Indiana.

Question from Matt Stephens: Do you have a sense of credential availability for the NCAA tournament? 

Please read the information below carefully and note deadlines (TODAY FOR NATIONAL ENTITIES) and access guidelines. Note these policies are for coverage on-site in Indianapolis:

Due to health and safety protocols and the lack of direct access with coaches and student-athletes, a limited number of national media credentials will be issued for the 2021 Division I men’s basketball championship. Approval will be granted to the Associated Press, The Athletic, CBSSports.com, ESPN.com, Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, USA Today and Yahoo. Other requests may be directed to David Worlock (dworlock@ncaa.org) of the NCAA. No more than two individuals from one entity may attend a tournament game. All national credential requests must be received by March 1.

Approved Indianapolis-based media members include The Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis Recorder and local television affiliates WTTV, WRTV, WISH, WTHR and WXIN. The five television stations may be represented by a maximum of one crew at each venue. For purposes of these criteria, a crew consists of a maximum of four individuals: one talent, one camera operator, one audio technician or producer and one for a technician who is responsible for maintenance of a satellite truck that may be parked at the arena (television-compound credential). All Indianapolis-based credential requests must be received by March 1.

Each participating team’s SID may approve up to five writers who will be credentialed to cover their team’s game on-site only. Team media lists will be compiled after Selection Sunday (March 14) and are due by 5 p.m. Monday, March 15. SIDs will have the opportunity to edit their approved list between the second round and Sweet 16, and between the Elite 8 and Final Four.

For questions and information on access/approval to cover games remotely, contact Worlock at dworlock@ncaa.org

Except for television camera operators or photo messengers, a credential may be issued only to an authorized full-time, salaried representative of, or a representative who regularly and customarily performs services for, the agency submitting the request. Credentials are not transferable.

Eligible Agencies.

Subject to space limitations, credentials at all sites shall be assigned in accordance with the following priorities:

Television.

• Credentials may be assigned to an individual or one crew designated by a national television network or cable entity that originates a daily sports news program. Approved agencies include: CBS Newspath, CBS News, CBS College Sports Network, NBC News, NBC Sports Regional Networks, ABC World News, ABC NewsOne, CNN, ESPN, Fox News Channel, Fox Sports One, FSN Regional Networks, ACC Network, Big Ten Network, Pac- 12 Network, SEC Network and ESPN International. Because there are not media workrooms with the venues, these stations may not be granted access during games. Access will be available prior to games and on non-game days.

Radio.

• Purchasing live broadcasting rights is limited to one station per school. These stations may receive a maximum of four credentials.

Print Photographers.

  • The only entities that may receive a photo credential are NCAA Photos, Getty, the Associated Press, the Indianapolis Star and USA Today. Only NCAA Photos and Getty will receive floor spots.
  • The Associated Press, USA Today and the Indianapolis Star may receive a maximum of two upper-level credentials in each venue.
  • If participating institutions elect to have a team photographer in Tier 1, they will be assigned a spot near their team bench. Otherwise, the team photographer will be assigned to an upper-level location. NOTE: The same policy applies to team videographers.
  • Except with the prior written approval of the NCAA, no photographer, news entity, media agency or other individual or entity receiving a credential hereunder may sell photos of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
    If you have any questions, contact Worlock at dworlock@ncaa.org

Olympics (Roxanna Scott): There’s not much work to be done. Let Roxanna Scott know if you requested a credential and did not receive an email.

Red Smith (Jack Berninger and Rachel Crader) Lisa Wilson: We’re sad Jack is stepping down but also happy Rachel is taking over. Rachel: I hope to work to make sure this very important APSE function gets the attention it deserves.

One thing to address — today or before next year’s voting —  is how to get more people to vote. Voting was expanded several years ago, and members applauded the move.

This year so far — 63 have voted. 132 are eligible. Last year it was only 76 out of about 165. That’s been the result every year. 

Here’s the criteria for voting: 

The nomination process and voting is open to Red Smith Award winners, APSE past presidents, APSE national officers, 10-year APSE members and alumni members who belonged to APSE for at least 15 years. 

Regions (Mike Kates): Four new vice chairs needed. We are targeting April for region meetings. They will be virtual and we’ll have elections.

Revenue (Tommy Deas): I’m excited about staying in Las Vegas and moving the summer conference back. There’s a lot of opportunity there. There’s no revenue yet, but I think while we’ll be shorter than normal, our expenses will be less. I plan to make a motion for a permanent move to Las Vegas for the convention … lots of opportunities. And I’ll throw out, could there be advertising in the newsletter? We could probably find a sponsor for it.

Scholarship (Phil Kaplan): The deadline is June 1 for APSE scholarships. We’ll be in touch with committee members to discuss the process for determining our winners. 

Lisa Wilson: APSE will be naming a scholarship after Garry D. Howard, the first Black APSE president. The scholarship will go to an HBCU student.

Student liaison/contest (Nicole Saavedra, Jenni Carlson and Erik Hall): For the student committee, we are looking for people to help with our three groups: newsletters/social, chapter liaison and programming. If anyone is interested, they can reach out to Nicole for more info.

Jake Adams or Lindsey Smith should hopefully be able to update on the newsletter.

Erik Hall: The rules for the student contest are on the website. The big change this year was to eliminate multimedia from the entries.

Website (Jorge Rojas): We are looking forward to publishing some contest results in the next few days. … Pushing back the summer conference gives us more time to produce stories on the Fellowship classes for our 10th anniversary. … We hope to have a Website meeting soon to discuss ways to spruce up and add more utility to the APSE site. Social volunteers — Lisa Wilson: We are hoping to establish a website subcommittee for social media. Anyone interested should contact me, Gary or Jorge.

Writers/mentorship (Joey Chandler and Mike Harris): Joey Chandler: We would like to meet regularly and promote “What can I get out of it? Why should I join?” We are combining mentorship/writers, and maybe have a meeting once a month. We hope to offer people a landing page: Here are resources when traveling to this city, or here’s someone to contact if you’ve been laid off, perhaps mental health communications, and generally make everybody feel welcome.

From Mike Harris: Six mentorship pairings have been set for the year, though the hope is they turn into a lifetime relationship that benefits each side.

The program is overseen by committee chair Mike Harris, a senior managing editor at The Athletic, and APSE president Lisa Wilson, an editorial director at The Athletic.

Mentors and their mentees are expected to communicate regularly via email, Zoom and phone. And, if conditions improve enough to allow it, perhaps some face-to-face meetings can be held as well.

Anyone interested in being a mentor or mentee in future years can get in touch with Mike and Lisa and can also request to join the APSE Mentorship Program page on Facebook.

The pairings for this year:

*Ian Kreider, a correspondent at the Star Beach in Ashtabula, Ohio, and mentor Jim Pignatiello, the sports director at Mass Live.

*Ben Portnoy, the Mississippi State reporter for the Commercial Dispatch in Columbus, Miss., and Naila Meyers, a senior assistant sports editor at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.

*Jane Allison Havsy, a multimedia reporter at the Daily Record in northwest New Jersey, and mentor Hank Winnicki, the assistant managing editor/sports at Newsday.

*Coty Davis, a Texans and Rockets correspondent in Houston, Texas, and Tyler Batiste, the NBA managing editor at The Athletic.

*Ben Arthur, a sports reporter primarily covering the Seahawks at PI.com in Seattle, and mentor Marcus Vanderberg, a senior NBA editor at Yahoo.

*Sharon Brown, the Grizzlies beat writer at The Memphis Flyer, and Roxanna Scott, the Managing Editor/Sports at USA Today.

Contest (Gary Potosky) — Lisa Wilson: Round of applause for Gary, who has run this year’s contest with great skill and It has gone smoothly so far. Gary Potosky: We will be publishing soon all the top 10s in the writing and digital contests. Photo results will come next week. The section contest deadline moved back to March 29. You will have instructions on how to submit section PDFs. We want to make sure people have time to submit sections and entry keys properly. Thank you everyone for judging, asking questions and being patient. We had 99 judges. We’re looking for 30 judges for the sections contest. We are at about 19 so far. If you are interested, please contact me. We had 530-something emails (and counting). Login issues were resolved. I appreciate all the great communication. The biggest changes this year: 1) Divide features into long and short. Really happy with that. It feels like an unqualified success. I would like some feedback on the story lengths. 2) Digital contest. It cut our entries by two-thirds. This year, we got more specific. Some of the stuff entered was really outstanding. I’m happy people took it seriously. We can do better on the participation, but it’s safe to say most of the best websites were entered in the digital contests. There were 22 in Category A, for example. And despite the relatively low entries, which we hope will increase with time, we did a top 10 and honorable mention because there were a lot of deserving entries. Final rankings will take a while, maybe about three weeks.

Questions

Tommy Deas: I wrote a lot of cover letters that weren’t necessary to write. Not sure they should be mandatory.

Chris imperiale: I read all the cover letters. Don’t think I’ve ever read one that influenced my decision. Christopher Boan: Agrees.

Naila Meyers: Clearly, some people didn’t read the instructions. Some letters need to explain things, and when they don’t, it can affect judging.

Lisa Wilson: Other than the double byline on Beat Writing, what would you like to see?

Naila Meyers: Be clear on what the beat is. Sometimes the entry requires specific detail on the beat, such as with colleges content.

Josh Barnett: Cover letters were significant in Breaking News to explain timing, the sequence of events. Who broke it? What was the process and timeline? 

Maria McIlwain: Cover letters helped in explanatory.

Perryn Keys: Favors them for breaking news. Investigative, too.

Dan Spears: Best cover letters I read explained why a story was “breaking,” specific sourcing that no one else had on an enterprise piece, if something happened because of this reporting, etc. The quality of the writing is so comparable.

Barry Bedlan: I agree with Dan. Providing valuable background on how the exclusive came about.

Jane McManus: Cover letter was helpful for projects given the restrictions of Covid. By that I mean, a lot of ideas were generated by the restraints of social distancing and schedule cancellations.

Oskar Garcia: I would suggest that just like the Writing Contest Entry Key Template, we include a small template for the cover letters in the Google docs folders.

Matt Stephens: Regional groups are affected by judging/cover letters. How are we handling regional groups? More and more of an issue.

Gary Potosky: It came up a lot. A lot of great pieces that made it difficult to figure out what to do with them. This is something that we have to tackle going forward. The worst part is that it’s some of the best stuff we do. A key question is what’s the fair way to do it? Require that the largest paper involved needs to enter the content. If anyone has a solution or suggestion to mitigate this, it would be great to have before next year’s contest. We have to find a way to get media “group” stories in.

Jane Havsy: Would all the entering outlets need to be APSE members? Does the big paper get all the entries involving all the little papers. Gary Potosky: Being a paid member is a fundamental part of our contest. A couple of papers joined late in the process in order to get stories entered.

Matt Stephens: There probably needs to be some discretion involved. 

Gary Potosky: There’s no easy solution. Steve Wiseman, exhibit A, has been in Durham forever, but now that the company is merging and doing it differently, and he has more resources at his disposal. Two main issues are making it fair and getting stories entered in the contest.

Phil Kaplan: We decided to pay the memberships for two small papers in the chain to get their entries in.

Jane Havsy: Who can enter themselves? Sports editors? Writers? 

Gary Potosky: That’s a good question. We don’t have a situation where writers can enter their own work. 

Matt Stephens: If there aren’t enough entry spots at their publication, can a writer enter their own work?

The answer: Not at the moment.

Tommy Deas: This has come up before. Judging time comes into it. Plus, large organizations could pay more to enter more stories. Dues structure also comes into it.

Matt Schuckman: Our newspaper killed our APSE membership payment four years ago. I pay my own membership because of the value being part of this organization brings.

Oskar Garcia: As a NYTer, would like to +1 what Tommy is saying here. We need to each be discerning.

Iliana Limon Romero: The price point to enter is much higher as an editor. I think allowing writers to enter on their own would hurt funding

Jane Havsy: @Shuckman, I have written my own check for APSE and AWSM membership for years, and to go to conventions, etc. There aren’t as many people with “sports editor” as a title as there used to be… and it makes it difficult to figure out who can be a full APSE member with the ability to enter the contest.

Christopher Boan: I’ve been a writer member for years because I’ve footed the bill since I started and honestly, it’d be very tough to afford to pay the full bill given the size of the shops I’ve worked at.

Christopher Walsh: I have a much smaller issue. We’re in category D and had 3-4 stories that might have been really good for short features, but were just over 1,000 words. Larger publications can enter stories up to 1,500 words. It was like we were being punished (bad choice of words) for being smaller.

Phil Kaplan: I know there’s a lot of new APSE members here.  If you’re part of the private Facebook page, you can request to join.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/47675288250

Justin Pelletier: Not to pile onto the minutiae too much, but if you were to assign stories to the “highest circulation category” does that mean the highest circulated paper, or the largest-reaching web site? And that matters for a lot of the different “chain” organizations

Nick Feely:  I think a lot of expanding the entries depends on how much virtual or “off-site” judging continues even when we can meet again. As Gary said, when it’s done virtually, we control and extend the judging windows. Now obviously, we don’t want it to get out of hand, but if we aren’t feeling like we have to squeeze all the judging into two or three days, it would open up the opportunity to have more entries. And we may draw more judges if we know more virtual judging is an option.

Matt Schuckman: @Jane! My job title changed five years ago but the work didn’t change. At small papers, the titles don’t matter as much, but the work is the same. We’re all in the same boat.

Tommy Deas: I wonder if we’ll have more entries next year. Consider that a large number of sports journalists were on news duty for a big chunk of the year … not to mention furloughs and such.

Perryn Keys: A Beat Writing is a beast!!!

Sharon Brown: What about freelance writers who may happen to write stories for major outlets?

Maria McIlwain: Could the newsletter sometimes be a way to recognize excellent women’s/girls sports coverage?

Gary Potosky: We would love all suggestions. There is a lot that will need to be worked through. Digital could use some tinkering, maybe the three best elements? … Overall, we were able to handle the number of contest entries this year. Did anyone think we should enter more stories? 

Elaine Sung: I was thinking three is a good option. 

Gary Potosky: We could eliminate video and fold it into digital, giving us more judging power in categories such as three long/short features, three explanatory etc. There are fewer member organizations paid and fewer entering, so (with enough judges) more entries — while still a lot — could spark participation.

Lisa Wilson: It’s doable if people want it. 

Gary Potosky: Judging was for the most part manageable, maybe not the beat writing with four judges. 

Chris Imperiale: It was challenging.

Gary Potosky: If we needed more judges this year, we could have gotten more. For the most part, it worked out fine. 

Amie Just: It seemed like there was a low number of women’s bylines entered?

Gary Potosky: I’m going to audit everything in the contest, and I’m going to try to break things down by gender, by sport etc. 

Iliana Limon Romero: I encourage everyone to join the Diversity Committee to examine these types of issues in every phase, not just with the contest. 

Christopher Boan: Writer membership is an important way to get members in the door. It’s more affordable — not as much as a full outlet membership but it’s better than nothing. And it helps a lot to keep young writers and new members involved. 

Joey Chandler: Be sure to go past the name and check gender!

Jane McManus: Is a male-centric content a trend that can be addressed through the Diversity Committee, if not contest?

Tommy Deas: That sounds like a great Vegas panel discussion.

Lisa Wilson: I’ll be soliciting more ideas, but another thing we can do: Take a look at your entry keys to make sure entries are representative of your staffs.

Old business: No old business.

New business: Second VP nominations open until March 15

Outgoing chairs

Atlantic Coast: Ethan Joyce; Southeast: Hugh Kellenberger; Southwest: Reid Laymance; West: Bill Bradley.

Erik Hall nominates Dan Spears —  Thinking it over

Gary Potosky nominates Justin Pelletier — Thinking it over

Tommy Deas nominates Naila Jean Meyers — Thinking it over

Motion to adjourn:  Chris Imperiale. Second: Matt Stephens.

Meeting ends at 4:45

Attendance: 

Lisa Wilson, The Athletic

Gary Potosky, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Jorge Rojas, The Athletic

Aaron Ferguson, Times of Northwest Indiana

Alex Mena, Miami Herald

Amie Just, The Times-Picayune-New Orleans Advocate

Ben Portnoy,  Columbus Commercial Dispatch

Bill Eichenberger, APSE Executive

Brett Vito, Denton Record-Chronicle

Chris Fickett, Kansas City Star

Chris Imperiale, Scranton Times-Tribune

Christopher Boan, ArizonaSports.com

Christopher Walsh, Bama Central

Dan Spears, Wilmington StarNews

Donn Walden, The Lewsiton (Idaho) Tribune

Emily Horos, Arizona Republic

Erik Hall, USA Today Network

Gary Dzen, Boston.com

Glen Crevier, APSE Executive

Greg Brownell, The Post-Star

Hank Winnicki, Newsday

Iliana Limon Romero, Los Angeles Times

Jake Adams, The (Carlisle, Pa.) Sentinel

Jane McManus, Dir. Center for Sports Communication, Marist College

Jane Allison Havsy, Daily Record (Rockaway, N.J.)

Jason Murray, Washington Post

Jay Posner, San Diego Union-Tribune

Jeff Patterson, The Oklahoman

Jim Pignatiello, MassLive | The Republican

Jim Seimas, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Joe Battaglia, FloSports

Katie McInerney, Boston Globe

Leon Carter, The Athletic

Maria McIlwain, Houston Chronicle

Jeff Perkins, free agent

Mark Smoyer, Bleacher Report

Matt Pepin, Boston Globe

Matt Stephens, Charlotte Observer

Matt Vita, Washington Post

Matt Wiley, The Gazette (Colorado Springs)

Michael Phillips, Richmond Times-Dispatch\

Michael Kates, Gambling.com

Mike Sherman, Oklahoma Watch

Monica Holland, Fayetteville Observer

Naila Meyers, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Nick Feely, The Villages Daily Sun

Nick Kelly, free agent

Oskar Garcia, New York Times

Paul Barrett, Seattle Times

Phil Kaplan, USA Today Network South Region

Perryn Keys, The Times-Picayune-New Orleans Advocate

Reid Laymance, Houston Chronicle

Robert Zizzo, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Ryan Black, Manhattan (KS) Mercury

Matt Schuckman, Quincy (Ill.) Herald-Whig

Scott Thurston, Boston Globe

Sharon Brown, Memphis Flyer

Shemar Woods, Philadelphia Inquirer

Tommy Deas, USA Today Network South Region

Elaine Sung, Daily Memphian

Julie Jag, Salt Lake Tribune

Kevin Morriss, Salt Lake Tribune

Steve Hemphill, free agent

JT Keith, Roswell (NM) Daily Rocord

Rachel Crader, Lee Enterprises

Joey Chandler, Wilmington StarNews

Josh Barnett, Buffalo News

John Bednarowski, Marietta Daily Journal

Bill Bradley, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Jeff Rosen, Kansas City Star

Barry Bedlan, Associated Press

Justin Pelletier, Raleigh News & Observer

McClain Baxley, student/Savannah Morning News

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