Bios for the new judges that will be attending the 2009 APSE Judging Contest:
Valley Freedom (Texas) Newspapers
Wade, 31, began working at The Monitor in McAllen, Texas, during 2002 as a sports reporter. He has served as Executive Sports Editor for Valley Freedom newspapers – which includes The Monitor, Valley Morning Star and The Herald – since August 2008. Wade is based out of The Monitor, a 55,000 circulation daily that is a member of Freedom Communications. McAllen, in the rapidly growing Rio Grande Valley, is located eight miles from Mexico across from the border city of Reynosa. Wade began his career as a sports reporter for the Morning News in Florence, S.C. during his sophomore year of college at Francis Marion University. He graduated from Francis Marion in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. He is a native of Lake City, S.C., and resides in McAllen.
Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal
John, 39, has been sports editor of The Daily Journal since 2006. After honing his people skills as a bartender for a decade, he decided to go to college full time and complete his degree in history and political science to become a teacher. A funny thing happened on his way to the classroom. He realized if he had to sit through one more political science class he was going to kill someone. That was when he decided to look to communications and take some news writing classes. Five years later, after graduating from the University of Alabama-Birmingham, he became sports editor in Marietta. He has been married (Andrea) since 2000 and has three dogs – Sam, Sandy and Butters – and a cat named Nitschke.
Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times
Bob is in his 11th year as a sports editor after more than 20 years as a reporter with the Milwaukee Journal and later Milwaukee Journal Sentinel where his beats included the Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers and Marquette University basketball. He was voted Wisconsin’s Sportswriter of the Year in 1991 by state members of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters for his coverage of the Brewers. He was sports editor at the Green Bay Press-Gazette from late 1998 to 2003 and has been in a similar position with the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times since July of 2003. His columns have been honored by the Milwaukee Press Club and Wisconsin Newspaper Association. He was part of Gannett News Service’s coverage team for the Beijing Olympics.
Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News
Jim is assistant sports editor at The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa. He has been at The Patriot-News for 20 years after an eight-year stint as assistant sports editor and then sports editor at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa, where he was the main beat reporter for Penn State football. He graduated from Clarion State College in 1978 with a teaching degree in English but never enter a school building other than to cover an athletic event. Five days after graduating he started his first journalism job at The Progress in Clearfield, Pa., an 18,000 grass-roots daily. He moved to State College in 1981 and Harrisburg in 1988. He resides in Hershey, smelling chocolate daily, with a wife and three children, two of whom are students at Penn State with the other on the way there later this year.
Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier
The Bristol Herald Courier is Jim Cnockaert’s seventh stop in a journalism career that has spanned parts of four decades. Cnockaert (pronounced knock-art) joined the Herald Courier in August, 2008 after stops as sports editor for the Bozeman (Mont.) Daily Chronicle and King County (Wash.) Journal. Before that, he worked for the Ann Arbor News for 18 years, including 12 covering the University of Michigan football team. He has won numerous national and state writing awards and was a member of an Ann Arbor News team that earned a national Associated Press Sports Editors’ enterprise reporting award for a series of stories on the impact of the NCAA’s changing academic requirements. He was honored last year as the top sports columnist among small newspapers in the Pacific Northwest. A native of Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., Cnockaert earned journalism and American history degrees from Detroit’s Wayne State University. He is married to fellow journalist Christine Uthoff and is the father of three daughters.
Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald
Jennifer is the prep sports editor and University of Georgia gymnastics beat writer for the Athens Banner-Herald, where she has covered the NCAA gymnastics championship, the NCAA basketball tournament, the College World Series and the Masters. She previously worked as the sports editor at the Times-Georgian in Carrollton, Ga., and the sports editor of the Mount Vernon Democrat in Mount Vernon, Ind. She graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2003 with a degree in journalism.
Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Patriot
Chris has been sports editor of the Jackson Citizen Patriot since 2002. A 1993 graduate of Northern Michigan University, he worked previously for eight years for The Daily Telegram (Adrian, Mich.), including two years as sports editor and two years as managing editor. In addition to an occasional appearance on the APSE awards list, Iott has won more than a dozen Michigan Press Association and Michigan Associated Press awards. He lives in Jackson with his wife, Amanda, and three children, Mara, 7, Nathan, 5, and Leah, 2 months.
Santa Cruz (Calif.) Sentinel
Julie went from writing about cream puffs and hot dogs to, well, cream puffs and hotdoggers. A food columnist for the Colorado Daily in Boulder, Jag’s lot in the journalism world turned like a green banana when her editor – who was also the paper’s sports editor at the time – found out she had been a three-sport athlete in high school. In a pinch, he sent her to cover a collegiate volleyball game. There, where the fare was simply popcorn and all-you-can-drink soda – Jag found sports writing tickled her palate. Since then, Jag has found plenty of spice in the sports departments at the Durango Herald (1999-2002), where she developed a special fondness for outdoors and extreme sports, and the Santa Cruz Sentinel (2002-present). Jag has served as the sports editor for both papers, most recently being named the head of the Sentinel’s sports section in May of 2008.
The Wenatachee (Wash.) World
Stephen has been sports editor at The Wenatchee World since 2005. Before that, he was the newspaper’s assistant city editor and business editor. He also worked as a Metro reporter for 10 years. A native of Portland, Ore., he attended the University of Oregon and Carroll College (Helena, Mont.). He is an avid marathoner, hiker, skier and snowshoer.
News & Advance (Lynchburg, Va.)
Chris, sports editor of The News & Advance since August, 2007, has been in newspapers for 23 years. A graduate of Marshall University’s W. Page Pitt School of Journalism, he has worked at daily papers in West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia. He’s covered everything from the Kentucky Derby and Heisman Trophy ceremony to Little League tournaments and dog Frisbee contests. He and his wife, Tonya, an executive with the Kroger Company, have a 16-year-old son.
Lee has been sports editor at Florida Today for about two years. Starting out at a newspaper in Key West, she won state awards for her sports writing and investigative reporting before becoming assistant news editor. She joined Florida Today as a news copy editor, then became a multimedia producer for four years, specializing in interactive Web graphics and video shooting and editing before moving to sports.
She has been a competitive swimmer for more than 25 years and attended the University of Miami on a swimming scholarship. She graduated with a degree in journalism and religion with a minor in multiple languages (Spanish and Russian). Lee also is a member of the Space Coast triathlon community and blogs about CrossFit, an elite fitness program. She hopes to inspire more people to make healthier lifestyle decisions with her columns, which often touch on fitness. When not working or working out, she’s riding her Yamaha R6 or customizing her car.
Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune
Jack, a 1993 University of Wyoming graduate, has been sports editor of the Casper Star-Tribune since December, 2007. Previously, he was sports editor of the Wyoming State Journal and sports writer for the Laramie Daily Boomerang and the Star-Tribune. He also as an assistant sports editor for the Spartan Magazine (Michigan Sate) for six years. He has a 12-year-old daughter named Madison.
Charlotte (Fla.) Sun
Patrick took over as sports editor at the Charlotte Sun (circ. 38,000) in late August, 2008. For six years before joining to the Sun, hr was a general assignment and enterprise reporter for The State in Columbia, S.C. This is Patrick’s third stint with the Sun. In those prior incarnations, he was the design editor and assistant sports editor. Other stops along the way include The Spectrum (St. George, Utah) and the Hutchinson (Kan.) News. Patrick, 37, is married to Stephanie and has a 3-year-old son, Braeden.
Boulder (Colo.) Camera
Jennifer is co-sports editor of the Daily Camera. While attending the Metropolitan State College of Denver, she spent almost three years working in the prep department of the Rocky Mountain News. There, she discovered a love for being a part of the deadline rush in a newsroom. Before graduating in 2002, she had to apply to a paper that she thought she had a legitimate shot to work at as part of one of my classes. She chose the Camera. She interviewed that summer and began her time there shortly thereafter. At the Camera, she began by splitting time writing and working the desk, but progressed to desk-only over the years. In December, 2006, she was named the Co-Sports Editor. Everyday, she enjoys the challenges of the job and watching her paper continue to improve.
The Advocate (Stamford, Conn.)
Tom Renner has been sports editor of The Advocate since November, 2007. He had been the Assistant Sports Editor at Stamford since 1999 and joined the newspaper in 1987. Tom previously worked at the Poughkeepsie Journal and the Norristown (Pa.) Times-Herald. He is a graduate of Temple University. Tom’s hobbies include distance running – he’s a two-time participant in the Boston Marathon – and has run eight marathons. Tom also enjoys coaching his daughter’s youth teams in basketball and softball.
Mail Tribune, Medford, Ore.
Tim grew up in Corvallis, Ore., and attended Oregon State. He was sports editor of the student paper during its finest basketball hour, when the Ralph Miller-coached Beavers shared the cover of Sports Illustrated with Ralph Sampson and Virginia under the heading, Nos. 1 and 1A. Worked in nearby Albany for 10 years, then moved to southern Oregon, where he’s been since 1990, the last 11 years as sports editor. The Mail Tribune is a 27,000-circulation daily that has done reasonably well competing against the state’s larger papers in annual contests. We have four full-timers (including myself) and two part-timers. He has been a member of APSE for 10 years and attended a national convention in Seattle and regional meetings whenever possible. He also spent a week at an API sports editors’ conference. He is a former league bowler (hometown of Marshall Holman) and avid golfer. He’s been married 22 years to his wife, Cathy, and has no kids.