prssa conference
The Fellows of APSE’s Diversity Fellowship Program gather before portraits of members of the Red Smith Award Hall of Fame at the National Sports Journalism Center on Saturday, Nov. 5 in Indianapolis. From left, Carrie Cousins, Night Sports Editor of the Roanoke (Va.) Times; Dennis Freeman, Sports Editor of the Beverely Hills (Calif.) Times; Adena Andrews, a writer for ESPN-W; APSE President Michael Anastasi; and Ed Guzman, Sports Copy Chief of the Washington Post.

Every day every leader makes a choice how he or she is going to show up.


Leadership development takes deliberate practice.


Leaders make a difference.


Future sports journalism leaders — the mid-career Fellows of APSE’s Diversity Fellowship Program — met in Indianapolis this past weekend. There, with our academic partners at Indiana University, they explored principles of leadership such as these, learned about each other, gained practical experience, talked shop in big and small ways, and developed new friendships and mentors over the 2-1/2 intense days.


“I’ve grown in leaps and bounds,” wrote Dennis Freeman, one of the four mid-career professionals chosen for the inaugural class.


And that’s not the only professional growth being fostered by APSE. This week, the organization is hosting its annual Diversity Day at Hampton University.


Under the leadership of former APSE President Phil Kaplan, Hampton students will be spending a day working with experienced pros such as Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, Jemele Hill and Mike Harris, as well as a who’s who of Virginia journalists.


Four years ago Kaplan launched the program, working in conjunction with the Scripps Howard Foundation. In addition to the day experience, two students are eventually selected to serve internships at APSE-member news organizations.


In its short history, Diversity Day has had an impact. Opportunities arose that wouldn’t have otherwise existed.


Kaplan cites Shemar Woods as one example. Now at the New York Daily News, Woods attended Diversity Day, won an internship and spent a summer at the Riverside (Calif.) Press Enterprise. That led him to the Sports Journalism Institute, to internships at the Denver Post and Washington Post and, finally, to New York.


“I will always cherish the Day of Diversity experience as a key part in my successes over the last four years,” he recently wrote Kaplan. “You have helped me so much.”


No one directed Phil to start the program. He just did it, indeed showing the difference that leadership can make.


“Shemar Woods is one reason why I continue to do this,” he says.


Meanwhile, I am confident that the Fellows, whose nine months of training continue through the summer conference in Chicago, are also on a path toward success. Their commitment — and the commitment of APSE members like Jorge Rojas, who supervised production of the Miami Herald sports section late Saturday night before hopping on an early-morning flight to Indianapolis so that he could participate — will guarantee it.


Leadership is a choice.