By John Bednarowski

APSE President

The APSE Diversity Fellowship has become a source of pride of the organization since its inception in 2012.

Nearly every person who has entered the program has earned at least one promotion. Many have gone on to accept positions at larger publications.

Odds are this year’s class of five fellows will follow in their predecessor’s footsteps.

The Class of 2018-19 consists of Jenni Carlson, columnist at The Oklahoman; Norma Catalina Gonzalez, copy editor and reporter for the Arizona Daily Star; Eric Jackson, reporter and editor for the Lake City (Fla.) Reporter; Nicole Saavedra, sports planner for USA Today Network-Tennessee, and James Williams, digital content producer for the Southern California News Group.

This group will take part in the APSE Diversity Weekend in Nashville, participate in judging at the winter convention in Orlando and then graduate at the summer convention in Atlanta.

APSE diversity chair Larry Graham is putting the final touches on what will be a challenging and rewarding diversity weekend schedule, and an additional shout-out goes to past APSE president Michael Anastasi, who will be serving as host again this year.

While the diversity fellows program is a good example of what can be done when we concentrate on opening doors, there is a lot more we can do. Larry has had open dialogue with members of NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA and others to see how our organizations can work together to get more minority candidates in front of decision-makers as they look to create their newsrooms.  We are hoping that effort bears fruit in the near future.

Other things fast approaching are the deadline for paying APSE dues and the annual contest.

Dues are due at the end of the month. While we will continue to take payments for next year nearly up to the contest entry deadline, we are using the original cutoff date of Oct. 31 to determine which of the four contest divisions your publication will compete.

Organizations not paying by the due date will be placed into the contest division based on its 2017-18 daily circulation numbers. Four divisions with an equal number of publications will be created.

Along with the new contest divisions, we will have a new category – photo – and a new way of preparing contest entries.

First Vice President Todd Adams has created an easy entry sheet for preparing your contest entries. We will be looking for links only this year and no redactions are necessary.

The new rules for entering the contest, along with the forms and the circulation divisions, will be made available later next month for those early birds who want to get a jump on getting your contest entries completed.

In other news, past president John Cherwa created a proposal in response to USA Wrestling’s demand that all journalists covering its events go through a training course and background check.

Neither of these ideas are acceptable to APSE.

In the proposal, we offer the following;

  • Any journalist who has been credentialed to attend the Olympics or who has attended a USOC Sports Summit in the last 10 years be granted an exemption from the training course and background checks.
  • Any journalist who is a staff writer or editor for an APSE member organization will have gone through a background check and would be exempt.
  • APSE would agree to a press officer or designated person being present at any interview with an athlete under age 18.
  • APSE offers to help USA Wrestling conduct media training sessions. The exact form, be it a video or in-person seminars, can be determined later.

As soon as USA Wrestling responds to the proposal, we will further update the membership.

Finally, the summer convention in Atlanta is starting to take shape. We hope to have program information soon, but I can say we will be offering things that you can take back to your organization and put into use immediately. It’s going to be informative, educational, and we’ll likely find a few ways to have some fun, too.

The first three-plus months as president have been an education in itself, and I’ve learned a lot. We’ve been busy, and there is a lot ahead of us. It’s going by fast.

If anyone has questions, comments or concerns, please reach out to me or another member of the executive committee.



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