The Red Smith Award is the crown jewel of APSE.
Given annually to a person who has made major contributions to sports journalism, the award is traditionally announced in April and presented at APSE’s June conference. All you need to know about the standard for inclusion is that Red Smith himself was the inaugural winner. And the 30 who have followed are a who’s who of the very best of our profession.
Earlier this year the executive committee decided to take a closer look at the selection process to see if it was in need of updating.
Nothing prompted this review, other than a greater desire to ensure that everything APSE does evolves along with the industry itself.
Bob Yates, an APSE Past President, has chaired the Red Smith Award committee for years and allow me to immediately thank him publicly now. Bob has done a fine job and graciously agreed to continue to chair the committee as we institute changes described below.
Previously, Past Presidents and previous Red Smith winners nominated and voted on Red Smith candidates. The selection process typically began early in the year and concluded with the announcement in April.
As an organization of journalists, APSE has determined to make the selection process more transparent. Therefore, APSE will post a story announcing when the selection process begins each December and explain how it works.
In addition, each April when we do our traditional feature story about the winner, we also will announce who the second five vote-getters were. Nominations for those five automatically will carry over for the next year.
We’re beginning that process with this year’s award, so the five journalists who carry over for next year’s award are, in alphabetical order, Peter Finney, Henry Freeman, Dan Jenkins, Leigh Montville and George Vecsey. They’ll be joined by additional nominations made beginning in December.
APSE also is expanding the list of eligible voters. Joining Past Presidents and previous Red Smith winners will be National Officers, Active Members who have belonged to APSE for at least 10 years, and Alumni Members who belonged to APSE for at least 15 years.
As is done now with voting for national office, each news organization will be limited to a single vote. Presumably, if there are several members eligible at a given organization, the senior editor will vote, just as he or she does now for national office. And of course, Past Presidents and Red Smith winners retain their vote and are not included in the limit of one per organization.
Nominations may be made by any member eligible to vote for the award as well as Region Chairs. Members not eligible to vote may, as they always have been able to do, suggest names to be put forth by voting members.
It is our hope that in addition to greater transparency, increasing the number of voters will help increase regional, ethnic and gender diversity among the candidates as well as recognizing that our longtime members have much more to offer.
One thing that won’t change: the Red Smith winner still will represent the very best of our profession.