By Gerry Ahern
APSE President

Sports journalism is at a critical juncture.

As our industry continues to shift to a digital focus, the Associated Press Sports Editors face key issues for 2013 and beyond.

Our winter conference and contest judging, scheduled Feb. 9-13 at the Doubletree Suites in Orlando, Fla., will be one of the most important in the group’s history. I urge you to attend and to make sure your voice is heard as we shape policy for our organization.

There will be several items on our agenda that could have significant impact on our member newspapers, websites and the industry at large:

— An anticipated meeting with the NCAA regarding issues of access, credentialing, policy regarding the reporting of injuries, tweeting off live events and press seating for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

— A proposal from the Associated Press to be made eligible to serve and have a vote on our executive committee.

— Membership classification and contest questions as they pertain to newspapers that have gone to three days a week of print publication.

— Our efforts to reshape the writers group liaison committee.

— Planning for the 2013 Summer Conference in Detroit.

We will also, of course, tackle judging the 2012 contest in Orlando. APSE’s writing and section competitions have long set the standard for journalism awards across the country. We can’t do it without the dedication, support and attendance of our editors.

Thanks to some great scouting and negotiating by executive director Jack Berninger, we have some nice new digs to pore over all those entries. All rooms at the Doubletree are suites. Cost is $135 a night. Deadline to reserve a room is Jan. 16.

To make your reservation, go to the following link:

To sign up to judge, contact APSE first vice president Tim Stephens at

This winter conference promises to be pivotal. I want to ensure all our stakeholders are heard as we make these important decisions for APSE. Get to Orlando in February and make your opinions known.

Sign up the students!

We have made great strides in the recruitment of student members to APSE. Forty-one students have signed up, most sponsored by sport editors around the country, who picked up the tab for these young, aspiring journalists. Membership fee is $25 and you can sign your student up at I’ve asked every APSE sports editor to sponsor at least one student. The student can be from your alma mater or your coverage area. If you haven’t already done so, please answer the call. This is about finding our future leaders and grooming them to take APSE into the decades ahead.

Hope everyone enjoys a safe and happy holiday season.