APSE Summer Conference Opening Meeting (Flamingo Las Vegas, El Dorado, Sunday, Aug. 15)

President Lisa Wilson calls the meeting to order at 4 p.m. and introduces first vice president Gary Potosky, second vice president Jorge Rojas, third vice president Ed Reed, executive director Bill Eichenberger and conference coordinator Glen Crevier.

Past presidents

Bill Eichenberger, now Las Vegas Review-Journal then Newsday (2003-04)

Glen Crevier, then The Star Tribune of Minneapolis (2005-06)

Phil Kaplan, then Knoxville News-Sentinel, now South Region Assistant Sports Editor of USA TODAY (2010-11)

Michael Anastasi, then Salt Lake Tribune, now Region Editor of USA TODAY network South (2011-12)

Gerry Ahern, then USA TODAY Sports Media Group, now the Detroit News (2012-13)

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

John Bednarowski, Marietta Daily Journal (2019)

Region representatives

Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, Pennsylvania. (Jane Allison Havsy)

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

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. (Gerry Ahern/Rachel Crader)

Great Plains: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma. (Michelle Martinelli)

Southwest: New Mexico, Texas. (Maria McIlwain)

Northwest: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming. (not present)

West: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah. (Chris Boan/Bill Bradley)

Representing the Associated Press: Barry Bedlan, Oscar Dixon, Michael Giarrusso

———–

Committee reports

Finances and budget update (Bill Eichenberger)

Lisa has been amazing in what was a difficult year for APSE and every other organization in the country. We came in under $4,000 under budget. We also came in $10,000 under budget in expenses. We have $21,500 in our checking account and $42,000 in our mutual fund. While it all sounds great, the truth is the pie is shrinking. Total membership has decreased from 335 in 2020 to 299 in 2021. We raised $33,000 in sponsorships in a tough environment. 

I just want to say I’m so happy to see everybody here. Please be safe while you are here. This is an amazingly resilient organization and we’ve weathered stuff before and I’m sure we will again.

Conference update (Glen Crevier)

We have 75 people paid and registered. We are down 50 percent from where we were last year. I want to recognize Barry Bedlan, Bill Bradley and Bill Eichenberger, Iliana Limon Romero and Chris Stone for really stepping up. Gives meeting room particulars. 

Lisa salutes Glen and thanks her for his great work in maneuvering through many conference scheduling and contractual difficulties.

Alumni (Jim Jenks)

$800 in alumni fund, not much to report, pandemic slowed things. Committee will be involved in new member onboarding, which we’ll discuss in the outreach/grassroots report.

Contest (Gary Potosky)

Certificates for 2nd through 10th place will be emailed within a week or two. I want to thank all the judges, Oskar Garcia and Iliana Limon Romero. There were 99 judges for the writing contest and another 30 or so for the sections contest. We were able to lay the groundwork for entering the contest in the future. It lasted a long time but we got it done. I’m handing off the contest to Jorge Rojas. We hopefully will be able to return to having some time in person. That was an underlying issue, the judging taking time away from doing our daily work. But all in all, we’re happy with how everything went.

Commissioners (Jeff Rosen)

The pandemic has slowed the meetings, not just with scheduling but with sports leagues running at different times than usual. Canceled in 2020, and attempts to schedule virtual sessions have met dead end after dead end. Will get back at it now the NFL is back in its offices after summer break, and the NHL and NBA finals are complete.

Diversity (A. Sherrod Blakely)

Thank you to all who filled out the diversity surveys for our APSE Report Card on Racial and Gender Hiring, put together by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. In 2018, about 75 organizations filled it out. This year, we’ll have about 105 for the report that will be released in the coming weeks.

Congratulations to the 2019-2020 Diversity Fellows who will graduate at the awards luncheon: Marquel Slaughter, Rachel Lenzi, Michelle Martinelli and Thomas Scott. And welcome to the 2020-21 Diversity Fellows who also are here this week: Mauro Diaz, Sarah Kelly, Maria McIlwain and Em Poertner.

The Fellowship, in its 10th year, is an in-depth course of study for working, mid-career professionals interested in pursuing a path as a manager (typically a sports editor, assistant sports editor or sports reporter) in sports journalism.

Michael Anastasi: Good afternoon, we created the Fellowship 10 years ago and we have graduated 43 Fellows. I want to thank all of you for your continued support. We launched the 501c3 non-profit APSE Foundation, which opened up a new fund-raising universe. We’ve been working hard, we’re already looking at around $40,000 and expecting more. Our goal is to double the number of Fellows. One of the most supportive is Sean Henry, the CEO for the Nashville Predators, who have been hosting the Fellows each year. Sean and his executives have met with the Fellows annually, and it’s been a great relationship. We met a few weeks ago, and he is coming out this week. He is trying to get a diversity fellowship started with the NHL. He will be here tonight. The APSE Foundation of myself, executive director Don Shelton, Graham Watson-Ringo, Jenni Carlson, Jeff Rosen. Larry Graham is helping with the website. 

Lisa Wilson thanks Larry Graham for his work as diversity chair and introduces A. Sherrod Blakely as the new diversity chair.

Sherrod: I’m going to be brief. There are four things I want to talk about really quickly. 1) Increasing diversity footprint for women of color. 2) Increasing membership through tapping into young people and bringing them into the organization through engagement. 3) Pursuing partnerships that amplify diversity and what we are doing. 4) Increasing the diverse people who actually attend this conference. When I attend this conference, I’m going to be honest, I hate the numbers I see here. It has to change. We can strengthen the Diversity Pledge. Are you increasing applicants or are you actually hiring them? The next step is … how can that competition increase and turn into hiring diverse candidates? Any questions, just ask.

Futures (Mike Sherman)

New member onboarding, region resets and guides for region chairs, newsletter. The newsletter that Jake Adams and Lindsey Smith put together has been great. We’ve been putting things in Slack. Join the Futures committee. That’s where a lot of the positive change in APSE is coming. It was Mike’s first year and he did an excellent job.

Highlights from Mike:

*Annual region surveys to determine the needs of the membership.
*Reset of APSE regions goals and expectations to ensure that every member is given a role in their region, every new region chair is equipped with a kit on how to fulfill the role in the new APSE. (Example: How to organize, plan, publicize, put on a region meeting)
*A new member process that onboards them, assigns them a buddy, follows up with them, invites them to a committee role, seeks their feedback, helps them widen their network, makes sure they get everything they want and more value from their membership.
*Professional development Zooms.
*An APSE that continually asks itself, what problems should we be solving for members, their staff, publications and readers.

Grassroots/Outreach (Chris Fickett and Ed Reed)

In addition to our annual membership drive in the winter, we are planning to do more onboarding new members so they have access to all of our resources and contacts.

Ed Reed is trying to bring in more members, increase participation in entire states, such as Florida.

Legal affairs and ethics (Gerry Ahern and John Cherwa)

It’s been a challenging past year. There have been issues with many entities. So much access has been remote by Zoom. Nobody really got what they wanted this year. The X-factor is the Delta variant. Appreciate everyone who has reached out to the committee with individual access issues. We expect things to improve, but don’t hold me to it. There will be some difficulties, though. It’s important for us to redouble our efforts with writers groups. 

It’s not looking great for returning to locker rooms for the next year. Will be more podium access, six feet away. We have seen good progress with MLB. Don’t have locker room access but do have field access. 

Moving target for sure, but being optimistic, I’m hoping we make some progress.

Olympics (Roxanna Scott)

Beijing Olympics report: Editors should have heard from the USOPC if they’ve been approved for credentials for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Due to the pandemic and the delayed Tokyo Games, we didn’t have a committee meeting to allocate credentials as we normally would. The credentials were distributed by the USOPC in 2020. For outlets that received credentials, names and headshots are due by Aug. 27. The USOPC expects the Beijing Organizing Committee to release a playbook on COVID-19 protocols early this fall.

Should you and your organization choose to not utilize your full allotment of credentials and return them to the USOPC by the Aug. 27 deadline, please know it will not impact your future Games accreditation allocations, according to the USOPC. For questions regarding credentials, please reach out to Accreditation@usopc.org.

Red Smith (Rachel Crader)

Rachel is happy to take over for the retiring Jack Berninger. One thing to address 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 73 out of 132 eligible voters voted. Last year it was only 76 out of about 165. That’s been the result every year. I know a few folks reached out thinking they were eligible to vote and didn’t receive the email, so to review 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.

If you believe you are eligible to vote for the Red Smith, please reach out to Rachel or to me before next year’s vote and we’ll make sure you receive a ballot.

Regions (Mike Kates)

We’ve done a really good job filling all the region chair and vice-chair roles. Great job doing check-ins. All but one had a check-in before this meeting. Not sure we’re going to be able to meet in person.

Revenue (Tommy Deas)

We were able to raise $33,500 through sponsorships, and I’d like to echo those who mentioned MLB, MLS Las Vegas Review-Journal, Los Angeles Times and others who stepped up. A tough year with new relationships. A lot of sponsorship stemmed from the commissioner meetings in New York, but we haven’t been able to get that facetime as much. We are going to have to rebuild a little. Glen did a fantastic job of outreach, so thanks for all you did.

Scholarship (Phil Kaplan)

One thing on the Diversity Pledge is we will post it, social, get your job opening out there. All you have to do is send an email and commit. We ended up giving six scholarships, including the Garry D. Howard Scholarship, and we found TWO worthy Garry D. winners when we got a donation. Garry got a little teary upon hearing the news. 

Student liaison/contest (Nicole Saavedra, Jenni Carlson and Erik Hall)

Lisa praises the liaison committee. We are looking for mentors for all student members. We have a meeting planned about a week from now. In the fall, there will be a meeting on how to apply for internships.

NCA&T is on the verge of becoming our first HBCU chapter member.

Erik Hall, can you talk about the student contest and introduce Lila. Erik introduces Lila and says there has been a light uptick in entrants this year. 

Website/social (Jorge Rojas)

You may have noticed we are making updates and hopefully some improvements to the site, but it’s a work in progress. Erin Brown has been serving as webmaster, replacing Larry Graham, and has done a great job at identifying some areas to improve, including the main navigation bar. But there is a lot of work still to be done.

Still looking for volunteers to help with the website and social media committees. There are eight members on Slack and three of them are named Lisa, Gary and Jorge.

Writers/mentorship (Joey Chandler and Mike Harris)

Jane Havsy gives the report. The writers committee plans more Zoom calls and more in-person events. Working toward a mission statement on why writers should be APSE members and what’s in it for them, such as the contest. Mental health initiative. Looking for more volunteers, including vice-chair candidates.

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

Old business: None

New business:

Programming committee, setting up monthly speakers and workshops for APSE members. Lisa Wilson to run as she steps away from her presidency. Development workshops, panels with award winners, connect more. Recruiting members to help.

Proposed bylaw changes. To 2. Membership, Section B, 2. Amend to Former members of APSE who were members under 2 (A) but are no longer working in a sports-related job. This includes retired journalists who shall be considered alumni members. 

To 4. Duties Amend to The first vice president is responsible for making and amending rules for the APSE contest. The first vice president may offer different contests for different categories of membership, and may offer no contest for some categories of membership. The Executive Committee has the authority to determine whether and how newspapers and websites, as members under 2(A), may enter various portions of the contest.

The first vice president will arrange for the dissemination of information about the contest to the judges and to the general membership. Such information includes the contest rules and changes thereto, which are made by the first vice president, and the contest judging guidelines, which are the responsibility of the first vice president and such persons and committees as are appointed for assistance. The first vice president will also administer the digital portion of the contest.

The president will administer off-site judging for the contest. The second vice president will assist the first vice president and the president in administering the contest, as needed.

The student contest committee chairman will administer any portion of the contest offered to student members.

The proposed changes will be posted on the APSE website for 10 days before going to the executive committee for approval.

APSE Slack, have you joined? See Lisa this week for an invite.

The Jack Berninger Award is selected each year by the Associated Press Sports Editors officers to recognize an individual who has given exemplary service to APSE. First awarded in 2017, the honor is named after long-time APSE Executive Director Jack Berninger. Past winners include Jack Berninger, Colleen Berninger and Ed Storin. Executive Director Bill Eichenberger will announce our Berninger winners for 2020 and 2021.

For service to APSE above and beyond the call of duty. Joe Sullivan, longtime Boston Globe sports editor, and Herb Stutz, longtime sports editor, former APSE president and longtime conference coordinator, are announced. Sullivan wins the 2020 Berninger Award and Stutz is named the 2021 winner.

Bill Eichenberger introduces Adam Hill, Mr. Vegas After Dark.

Greg Lee 30th anniversary of SJI. If anyone is interested in hosting an SJI grad or has someone who wants to apply, please contact me.

Tommy Deas: Wear your nametags.

Iliana Romero Limon: Working AWSM and co-chair of NAHJ Sports Task Force welcome questions, ideas, support. We are interested in collaborating. Invest in you communities, colleges, high school students, doing a little extra, consider that as you go forward.

Chris Boan: Conference Slack channel.

Any other news business?

Motion to adjourn:  John Bednarowski. Second: Tommy Deas.

The meeting ends at 5:18

Attendance:

Lisa Wilson, APSE president

Gary Potosky, APSE first vice president

Jorge Rojas, APSE second vice president

Ed Reed, APSE third vice president

Bill Eichenberger, APSE executive director

Bill Bradley, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Glen Crevier, APSE conference coordinator

Gerry Ahern, Detroit News

Michael Kates, Gambling.com

Iliana Limon Romero, Los Angeles Times

Steve Trosky, Buffalo News

Gregory Lee, Boston Globe

Monique Jones, The Undefeated

Matt Stephens, Charlotte Observer

Marcus Vanderberg, ESPN

Emily Horos, Arizona Republic

A. Sherrod Blakely, Burton University/Bleacher Report

Tommy Deas, The Tennessean

Justin Pelletier, Raleigh News & Observer

Malcolm Moran, Sports Capital Journalism Program, IUPUI

Em Poertner, Gannett / Diversity Fellow

Maria McIlwain, Houston Chronicle / Diversity Fellow

Jeffrey Perkins, Patch.com

Elaine Sung, Daily Memphian

John Bednarowki, Marieta Daily Journal

Mauro Diaz, ESPN.com / Diversity Fellow

Michelle Martinelli, USA Today / For The Win / Diversity Fellow

Julie Jag, Salt Lake Tribune

Shemar Woods, Sports Illustrated

Lila Bromberg, Sports Illustrated

Oskar Garcia, New York Times

Greg Brownell, Post-Star

John Affleck, Penn State

Michael Giarrusso, Associated Press

Oscar Dixon, Associated Press

Phil Kaplan, USA Today Network South Region

Michael Phillips, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Naila Jean-Meyers, Star Tribune

Erik Hall, USA Today Network

Rachel Crader, Lee Enterprises

Chris Kwiecinski, Spectrum & Daily News

Christopher Boan, Gambling.com

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

Michael Anastasi, Tennessean / USA Today Network

Berry Bedlan / Associated Press

Kelley Evans / The Undefeated

Photo: Chip Murdock / For APSE

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