By Jorge Rojas


In keeping with tradition, this year’s APSE Diversity Fellows won’t escape the cold weather during the three-day Diversity Weekend in Nashville — although temps in the 30s are considered balmy these days.

The group will, however, enjoy something different: a Super Bowl party.

After Reina Kempt, Kwani Lunis, Adam Coleman and Erik Bacharach take part in a busy weekend of bonding, enrichment, exploration – and yes, the dreaded 15-minute speech – the party will move to past APSE president Michael Anastasi’s place.

(Note: Could this be a precursor to the upcoming APSE summer convention?)

We know what you are thinking. The consummate professional Anastasi is not necessarily known for his crazy partying style. But he is being gracious here and deserves thanks. After all, he hosted a pretty festive APSE Convention in Salt Lake City a few years back.

Visions of Southern Living and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous abound as we picture the Anastasi residence. The trophy room. The workout room. The Framed Pulitzer! …. But enough envy. It should be a rockin’ good time; let’s just hope the game doesn’t disappoint.

Also enjoyable, though maybe not as splendiferous, will be the rest of the weekend’s schedule. Check it out:




5 to 7:30 p.m.

Social gathering at Gray’s on Main in historic Franklin, Tennessee. In this introductory dinner. Anastasi will talk content strategy and tactics from the perspective of a journalism executive. Open discussion, with career Q&As.




8:30 to 9:45 a.m.

Everything you need to know about metrics and analytics (Jaime Cardenas, digital strategist, The Tennessean): A guide through the most important currency in today’s journalism world.


9:45 to 11 a.m.

Social Media, A to Z, in 2018. (Kyleah Starling, Digital Content Specialist, USA TODAY NETWORK–Tennessee): The latest in strategy and trends for news/sports content.


11:30 to 1 p.m.

Discover the Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library.


1:30 to 2:45 p.m.

Reinvention (Mark Russell, News Director, the Commercial Appeal of Memphis): Today’s newsroom leaders must aggressively embrace change and be prepared to wear several different hats. Apart from journalism-specific skills, they must be fluent in marketing and digital metrics and have the ability to work effectively with departments outside the newsroom. Using his own experience – having been an AME/local, business editor, managing editor, print platform editor, executive editor and news director – Mark will describe how he’s sought to constantly grow and learn. He’ll share the challenges as well as the successes.


3:30 to 5 p.m.

On the other side of the notebook (Sean Henry, CEO and president, Nashville Predators and Michelle Kennedy, COO): In a two-part casual conversation, these professional sports execs will engage the Fellows in the business side of professional sports and what it takes to succeed financially, but also as an integral part of a community’s heart through service and commitment. Henry will talk about his perspectives, good and bad, of the sports press from the point of view of someone who has long been on the receiving end of coverage. At Bridgestone Arena.


5 to 9:30 p.m.

New York Rangers at Nashville Predators. Following an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final, the Preds are having another strong season. At Bridgestone Arena. Dinner, followed by the game.


9:30 to 11:30 p.m.

Exploration of Lower Broad, Nashville




All programming at The Tennessean


9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Students’ 15-minute presentations and discussion.


11:45  to 1 p.m.

Women as Newsroom Leaders (Jessica Davis, digital strategist, The Tennessean): Jessica will engage the Fellows in an interactive session as she guides them through conversation about leading and listening in a newsroom in today’s multi-level environment.


1 to 1:30 p.m.

Lunch is served


1:45  to 3 p.m.

Live Digital Sports Coverage (Dave Ammenheuser, USA TODAY NETWORK–Tennessee): How to execute with a world-domination mindset. Another interactive session as the Fellows contribute to the conversation with their own tips, experiences and best practices.


3:15 to 4:30 p.m.

Sports planning. (Dana Sulonen, USA TODAY Network Tennessee, and APSE Diversity Fellows graduate). Dana shares expertise in multi-pronged planning (for multiple publications) in her swan song before leaving to become deputy sports editor at the Detroit Free Press.


5 to 9:30 p.m.

Super Bowl LII party, Anastasi home in Franklin. … Unemployed Jorge Rojas will be swinging shirtless from the chandeliers. Re-employed Dana Sulonen should be in good spirits. Michael Anastasi will be vigilantly guarding against damage to his home. … No word on whether Dave Ammenheuser will be playing poker in the corner, or whether Phil Kaplan will make the trip and regale everyone with tales of his latest adventures.



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