By Erik Hall
This is the fifth in a series of 10 stories celebrating the 10th anniversary of the APSE Diversity Fellowship.
Members of the 2015-16 Diversity Fellowship Class included Joey Chandler, Jenny Dial Creech, Erik Hall, Katie McInerney, Graham Watson-Ringo, and Lynn Worthy.
Here is what they’ve been up to the past five years.
Joey Chandler, NJ Advance Media (NJ.com)
My life could not be any more different than it was during the year of my APSE Diversity Fellowship.
The experience shaped me into a stronger person, both personally and professionally. When I look back on that time, I am so grateful for how far I have come. Getting to know the other fellows was a great experience and their support meant more to me than they ever knew.
I was in the middle of a divorce during the Charlotte Convention that summer, and I will be forever thankful to Jenny Dial Creech, who treated me and Katie McInerney to blowouts the day of the APSE banquet. At the time, I was struggling to make ends meet, and her generosity helped me, even if only for a short time, to relax and forget about my troubles.
Her kindness was reflected in so many others. It’s one of the reasons I have remained involved with APSE. The organization is a family, and everyone you meet is more than willing to extend a helping hand.
In late April, I began the newest chapter of my career covering the New York Jets for NJ.com. After five years of covering prep sports at The Tuscaloosa News, where I was during my fellowship, I took a job with the Wilmington StarNews covering college athletics and K-12 education before landing in New Jersey.
My journey through the program had its ups and downs, but even during the toughest circumstances of the process, I learned something. I didn’t realize it in the moment, but my fellowship came during a crossroad in my life. I could have given up on so many occasions — and trust me when I say I was on the edge of doing so — but I kept pushing.
I am now a better reporter. I am more confident. I am achieving things at one point I never dreamed were possible.
There may have been some hardships that were part of this experience, but I now understand they were part of a bigger lesson: I can make it through Hell and back. I have. And I’ll do it as many times as it takes to keep pursuing my dreams and share the important stories that matter.
That’s my hope for all the APSE Diversity Fellows out there: past, present and the future. Thank you to everyone involved in allowing me to take part in such a special program. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Dial Creech, The Athletic
Since the fellowship, I worked as a columnist at the Houston Chronicle for a few years and gave birth to my first son, Benjamin.
Learning how to juggle being a mom and working the crazy hours that sports journalists do has been one of the toughest challenges of my career. But figuring out how to balance it all has been truly rewarding as well.
In 2020, I decided to go back to editing and took a job with The Athletic, where I worked for a year as the Houston managing editor. In February, I moved into the editorial leadership team for the NBA. I’ve been a deputy managing editor the past several months and am now on maternity leave after having my second son, Jonah. email@example.com
Erik Hall, USA Today Network
At the time I was selected for the APSE Diversity Fellowship, I was the assistant sports editor at the Roanoke Times in Roanoke, Virginia. I held that editor role until April 2017, when I was one of about 300 hundred layoffs by Berkshire Hathaway.
It’d be almost a year until I landed another full-time job. In that time, I wrote extensively as a freelancer for OutSports, a website that covers LGBTQ people in sports. That September, I earned the 2017 LGBTQ Journalist of the Year from NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists.
I returned to full-time journalism in March 2018 with the USA Today Network as a digital producer based in Nashville. The role morphed in that first year from working on all news to focusing on sports to obtaining the title: lead producer for sports.
In 2019, I was elected to a two-year term on the national board for NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. That same year, I became APSE Southeast Region vice chair. firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie McInerney, The Boston Globe
When I began my fellowship, I was a sports designer at the Tulsa World. My manager, Michael Peters, encouraged me to apply for the program. I’m so grateful he did because shortly after I finished the program, I was hired to join the staff of the Houston Chronicle (and work with fellowship classmate Jenny Dial Creech) as a sports and special projects designer. I spent a year working on a new print product, which was cut — just in time for the Astros’ World Series run. I had an opportunity to design A1, sports, and special section pages for that championship.
In April 2018, I made the jump from the desk to digital when I joined the staff of the Philadelphia Inquirer as a sports producer under Gary Potosky. A year into my tenure, I was promoted into a leadership role, becoming a senior producer and then a sports coverage editor.
And then, in summer 2019, another APSE connection paid off. I was recruited by Matt Pepin to join the Boston Globe as assistant sports editor. The Globe is my hometown paper, and it was incredible timing — being close to family during the COVID-19 pandemic was a blessing in disguise, and it’s nice to know my work is being read by folks at home. At the Globe, I’m responsible for the digital side of the operation: managing Globe.com/Sports, organizing breaking news and live event strategy, doing audience engagement and growth efforts, and lots more. email@example.com
Graham Watson-Ringo, News Revenue Hub
I am working now as a senior director with the News Revenue Hub, where I help local news outlets create strategies to become sustainable. I’ve spent the bulk of my 20-year journalism career working in sports journalism with major metros such as the Dallas Morning News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch before moving into digital journalism with ESPN and Yahoo.
Since the fellowship, I left sports journalism to pursue digital strategy at the San Antonio Express-News before eventually fostering a love of nonprofit journalism at the San Antonio Report, where I served three years as managing editor.
I recently graduated from the inaugural Executive Leadership Program at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY. I’m currently the treasurer of the APSE Foundation. I reside in San Antonio, Texas, with my husband and three kids. firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynn Worthy, The Kansas City Star
I began the program as a member of the sports staff at the Press & Sun-Bulletin newspaper in Binghamton, New York. I completed that year working for The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania. After covering a mixture of local preps and colleges as well as minor-league sports in Allentown in 2016, I joined the sports staff at The Salt Lake Tribune in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Several months into my employment at The Tribune, I moved up to the primary beat writer covering University of Utah sports in the Pac-12. I remained on that beat until May 2018 when more than 1/3 of newsroom employees, myself included, lost jobs in a large round of layoffs.
Fortunately, my unemployment was relatively brief. In July 2018, I joined the sports staff at The Kansas City Star as one of two beat writers hired to cover the Kansas City Chiefs. Following the 2018 season and an appearance in the AFC championship game by the Chiefs, I moved over to the vacant Kansas City Royals beat at The Star and began covering Major League Baseball on a daily basis.
I’m currently in my third season covering the Royals for The Star. email@example.com