First vice president Gary Potosky welcomes everyone and introduces outgoing president Todd Adams of the Raleigh News & Observer.

Todd welcomes everyone to the 2020 convention, obviously under unusual circumstances.

The agenda for today is:

  • A regular APSE summer conference meeting, which will include an introduction of our graduating diversity fellowship class and committee reports. Please keep in mind that this meeting is serving as both the opening and closing meeting of the convention.
  • A Q&A with the APSE officers.
  • Todd’s outgoing president’s speech.
  • Lisa Wilson’s incoming president’s speech. 
  • A panel, hosted by Gary Potosky, on what’s next for our industry as we and the leagues and sports we cover dig ourselves out of all this.
  • Any final questions for the new officers.
  • Closing remarks by President Lisa Wilson.

Todd: So, let’s get started. I officially call the 2020 APSE summer meeting to order.

Introduces rising president Lisa Wilson of The Athletic;

Rising first vice president Gary Potosky of The Philadelphia Inquirer;

Incoming second vice president Jorge Rojas of The Athletic;

Outgoing Third vice president Dan Spears of the Wilmington Star News;

Incoming Third vice president Steve Hemphill of the Roanoke Times;

Executive Director Bill Eichenberger of The Las Vegas Review-Journal;

Conference Coordinator Glen Crevier, formerly of the Minneapolis Star Tribune;

Past presidents present

Bill Eichenberger, now Las Vegas Review-Journal then Newsday (2003)

Glen Crevier, The Star Tribune of Minneapolis (2005)

Jim Jenks (2007), now then Philadelphia Inquirer

Phil Kaplan, The News Sentinel of Knoxville (2010)

Mike Sherman, then The Oklahoman (2015)

Tommy Deas, Then Tuscaloosa News now The Tennessean (2017)

Jeff Rosen, The Kansas City Star (2018)

John Bednarowski, Marietta Daily Journal (2019)

Gerry Ahern, then Yahoo now (2012)

Vince Doria, then Boston Globe (1983)


Roll call of region representatives

Atlantic Coast: (Ethan Joyce)

Great Lakes: (Rachel Crader)

Great Plains: (Jeff Patterson)

Mid-Atlantic: (Tyler Batiste)

Northeast: (Justin Pelletier)

Northwest: (Paul Barrett)

Southeast: (Hugh Kellenberger/Erik Hall)

Southwest: (Maria McIlwain)

West: (Bill Bradley)

Representing the Associated Press: (Barry Bedlan)

*****Before we proceed, I’d like to take a second to recognize outgoing third vice president Dan Spears. The 3rd VP role is one that often includes a lot of hard work with very little thanks or recognition and Dan did it fabulously bringing a lot of new ideas to the role. He really had an amazing two years. How about a quick round of applause for Dan? (Big applause.)

Finances and budget update (Bill Eichenberger)

Shout-out to the officers, who have done a fantastic job. The organization is in good hands. Glen Crevier was tremendous in resolving APSE’s hotel issues in Indianapolis. Don Shelton will head the APSE Foundation. I look forward to working with him. APSE is down nine members and 43 secondary members. Total membership down to 324 from 376. Finances are down because of it. We might have to dip into our rainy-day fund in the next year, but that’s what it is there for. Thank goodness for the great work of the officers or we might be down more. It’s mostly because of less dues income. Job postings were down because of the Diversity Pledge. We also were down income for the Fellowship because the Knight Foundation grant expired. The APSE Foundation is going to take on funding for the Fellowship, but we were about $10,000 over budget because the Knight Foundation money expired during the bridge between the Knight Foundation and APSE Foundation.

Todd: So what’s the bottom line? The rainy-day fund has $62,000, so we have like $85,000 total.

Conference update (Glen Crevier)

Before I turn it over to Glen, I need to take a second to recognize him for going above and beyond in dealing with the Indianapolis hotel and all the conflicts brought on by the coronavirus. He’ll tell you about all that right now, but it was really a ton of extra work and he got us out of it all with flying colors. Well done, Glen. And I will turn it over to him. Glen.

Glen: It was a process initially. The hotel did not want to let us out of our contract and the financial liabilities were about $78000. It became obvious we weren’t going to have a convention, and they wanted us to return for two more years, which is something we were not willing to do. We were able to negotiate no financial penalties and a tradeoff to go back to Indianapolis in June of 2022. Looking ahead, our next conference in Orlando beginning Sunday, Feb 14-18. Plaques will be mailed to newspapers or to sports editors at home (if that’s the address they used).

Lisa Wilson said she has certificates for everyone that we’ll also be mailing.

Is there is a plan if the Super Bowl gets pushed back? No.

Diversity Fellows

Larry Graham thanks APSE for funding the Diversity Fellowship. We couldn’t have done it without our entire membership. We are extending the program and will pay expenses to Vegas convention next year so that the Fellows to get the full experience. Larry introduces the Fellows:

Rachel Lenzi

Michelle Martinelli

Thomas Scott 

Marquel Slaughter 

Thomas, Rachel, Marquel say thanks to everyone. Were excited to work with the whole group. See you in Vegas!

Larry: Even though the APSE Foundation plans to fund the Fellowship, we would like APSE to stay involved with the Diversity Fellowship, both in terms of commitment and finances. Thanks.

Committee reports:

*****NOTE FROM TODD: We usually have committee sign-up sheets available at the convention. Obviously, we’ll need to do that differently this year. So if you are interested in signing up for one or more committees, please contact Lisa.

Alumni relations (Jim Jenks)

I have reached out to past presidents and other alumni and have gotten a real good response. We have moved a little slowly because of COVID-19, I believe we have $800 in donations. We will continue to reach out to get more involvement, and if you know of a former member we should be contacting, please let me know.

Commissioners (Jeff Rosen)

Obviously, we did not go to New York. An issue we encountered was getting the NFL solidified, but we’re chalking that up to the pandemic and will move on. We’ll try again to organize the meetings for next year starting around Christmas. It was unavoidable, but we feel it’s important to have the meetings and would like to communicate with them next spring. We’ll be more active in planning our approach for this next edition and probably will call on more committee members.

Las Vegas Conference (Todd Adams/Lisa Wilson)

Todd: Glen gave you some details. I’m looking forward to Las Vegas next year. Lisa, anything you want to add?

Lisa: Not really, not at the moment. We hope to reconvene when everyone is able.

Contest (Lisa Wilson/Gary Potosky) 

Todd: We’ll hold off on this until later in the meeting because it might take some time.

Diversity (Larry Graham)

We’ve had a really good year and got off to a good start. We kicked off the Diversity Pledge. We increased the pool of diversity candidates, and it led to hires. Even now, considering the climate, we have been able to get the Pledge going again. We are growing the database, having discussions with newsroom leaders, not just sports editors. That has been fantastic. The Sports Task Force for team-up, working with NABJ, NAHJ AAJA, has been going well. We had the Sports Journalists Survival Guide, how to attack a beat. I can’t say enough about everyone who participated. I will say that we need to change our priorities. We will spend a good hour going over the contest rule changes. I’m trying to keep it to six minutes. It’s a shame. It’s disappointing. We’re proud and want to say thanks, but I’m disappointed that I see only five black men on this call. We gotta do better.

Futures (Steve Hemphill)

Todd: Before I let Steve give his report, let me say that because Steve has been elected the new third vice president, this position was vacant, and Lisa Wilson has asked Past APSE President Mike Sherman to take it over for the upcoming year. Steve?

Steve: I don’t have a lot to add. I think Mike will do a good job. Some of the issues I will also take on as third vice president.

Mike: I just want to say that what Larry has articulated is correct and Diversity is our future. We need to make this a more diverse and inclusive organization, and the Futures Committee will be an important part of it.

Grassroots (Dan Spears/Steve Hemphill)

Dan: This committee is going to fold in with the Outreach Committee. They have a lot of things in common. Steve and Chris will continue work toward making sure the small papers are looked after.

Todd: Thanks, Dan. And thanks for everything you’ve done.

Legal affairs and ethics (Gerry Ahern and John Cherwa)

Gerry: Things are developing by the day. Those meetings continue.

In early March, Todd and I met with all the leagues to protect access that we’ve battled for for decades. We published a joint statement. We tried to work collaboratively with these groups. It’s vitally important that APSE understands we need to be proactive and work with the writers’ organizations. We also met recently with NASCAR and Matt Humphrey. We asked Matt very pointedly whether we could expect access to return to the level it was before COVID-19. He said they are committed to restoring our previous access. Last Thursday, Malcolm Moran and I met with the NCAA media advisory group. The group has done a pretty good job. We talked about ongoing concerns regarding access – specifically North Carolina, which does not intend to release COVID figures, which has ramifications from a public standpoint, and that’s something that is our job to cover. We’ve drafted a letter. Shelly Poe also provided an update on measures. There is a panel this afternoon. The last meeting I’ll mention is Todd, Lisa and I met with Tim Frank and Mike Bass about NBA media restart policies. Group 1 will be tested daily and allowed in the bubble at a rate of $500 a day, so it’s pretty steep. There will be the opportunity to switch out Tier 1 reporters for $4500. The Group 2 numbers unknown, but they will be able to sit in arenas 12 feet of space. If you are credentialed, you will be able to cover in all three arenas. will be part of the group that gets Tier 1 access but we’re told those people will not be reporters. We asked if we can we expect things to go back to normal access-wise. Tim made it clear that that was their intent as well. I just have to emphasize again that it’s vitally important that APSE be proactive in working with the writers’ groups to combat these issues. We will need ASPE to have people on point with all the leagues.

Todd: Gerry does a whole heck of a lot for us and put in an incredible amount of hours on this. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do.

Mentorship Program (Mike Harris)

Like just about everything else in 2020, the APSE Mentorship Program will need an asterisk. Its grade would be an incomplete, but trending toward an A.

Four mentors and four mentees got started on the program in January and who had any idea then what the COVID-19 pandemic would do to our world? Duties shifted. People had to work around furloughs and find ways to help their publications outside the sports realm. Planned visits between mentors and mentees had to be scrapped.

But people adjusted.

From Scott Monserud, who mentors J.T. Keith: “I’ve encouraged him to help out in every way possible with news side and he appears to be doing that.”

And from J.T.: “I have done features for the last three months. I was asked to help out on two tabs: a church tab and a COVID-19 tab. Last week I completed a 20-page sports tab. We had 11 advertisers for it. It was the first time that has been done for sports section or the paper.”

J.T. also noted “we need more programs like this.”

Mike Szvetitz, now the managing editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, has been mentoring Jake Adams. Even with all that is going on in Richmond now, he’s taken time to stay in touch with Jake and is enjoying his role.

“This is a great idea to have young sports editors mentor up,” Mike said. “I think it’s helped me more than it may be helping him. It gives me a chance to coach and to hear a different perspective in a different place. It’s been giving me energy AND ideas that we can use here.”

One proposal I’d like to make: Even as the faces of the program change next year, I’d like this year’s mentees to still be able to make their in-person visit even if it is in 2021. It is a key part of the program.

Jake Adams: “I was really excited to work with Mike more closely. I felt like driving down to Virginia to spend a day with him would be great. What time we get, he has been awesome. I really would appreciate the chance to go down and meet with him.”

Paul Barrett: “We (he and Sierra Webster) got off to a great start, but never go to visit. I plan to keep doing it. I thought it was productive.”

Jeff Rosen: “I’ve been in contact with Ryan, my mentee, but we haven’t been able to get together yet. But I like this program, think it is valuable, and look forward to keep doing it and working with Mike to keep in touch with folks.”

Olympics (Dave Ammenheuser)

Todd: Dave Ammenheuser is the new Olympics Committee chair. He couldn’t be here today but left me the following report:

With the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games to 2021, everything is quite fluid with the Olympics Committee.

And let’s be serious. With COVID-19, it’s anyone’s guess whether there will be an Olympics in Tokyo next summer.

Because of the virus’ global impact, there is no way to know right now how it will impact the already approved credentials for the 2021 Summer Games in Japan or the 2022 Winter Games in China.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee has undergone substantial staffing changes over the last few months. There have been numerous buyouts of long-time employees as well as staff cuts.

Later this summer, we will provide all APSE members a greater detailed Olympics update as we get more details.

If anyone has a question, please reach out to Dave.

Outreach (Chris Fickett)

Thanks to everyone who volunteered on the committee. We held another membership drive and all the calls and emails helped our numbers. I’m looking forward to working with this group and Lisa this year.

Red Smith Award (Jack Berninger)

From Jack: Christine Brennan is our winner, Lisa and the other officers will figure out how to best recognize Christine.

Regions (Mike Kates)

Region meetings have been put on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic and its impact both on travel, budgets and newsrooms. Atlantic Coast was scheduled for a May meeting at the ACC headquarters but the conference nixed it. We do have some region positions coming open, in particular in the Mid-Atlantic, which brings me to a question for the membership (that would require a change in the by-laws if enacted):

Do we want to rethink how the regions are constructed to boost participation in region meetings and create a larger pool of sports editors to serve as region chairs and co-chairs?

Given the constraints on travel from both a financial and health standpoint and the likelihood that those issues will not fade, region meetings could try being “virtual,” which would make distance no longer an issue. It’s getting harder and harder for many editors to justify multiple trips a year, and if this is one that can be done virtually, perhaps that could boost attendance at the national conferences.

An example of how we could look to consolidate regions could be splitting the Mid-Atlantic between Northeast and Atlantic Coast, having New Jersey and Pennsylvania go to the Northeast and Maryland, DC, Delaware and West Virginia go to the Atlantic.

There are other possibilities we can look at as well. Just a thought.

West will try to do a virtual conference out of Las Vegas later this year and does not see an in-person conference until next year at earliest.

Dana Sulonen(!!): I have maps I can share with you!

Revenue (Tommy Deas)

We raised pledges for $39,000 (and collected $0) before everything shut down. Going forward, I think Vegas offers a lot of opportunity, but everyone is facing their own challenges.

Scholarship (Phil Kaplan)

The pandemic and shift to online teaching creating additional stress, moved the deadline for students to apply for the APSE scholarships from May 1 to June 1.

I had moved up the deadline to have the results in time for the summer conference and invite the winning students to the awards dinner.

The extension did allow for 36 students to be considered, an increase from a year ago. 

I want to thank the judges, Paul Barrett, Julie Jag, Naila Myers, Reina Kempt, Thomas Scott, Dave Rivera,  Erich Kolenich, and A. Sherrod Blakely for their work in June to meet all of our deadlines and determine the winners. 

The four scholarship winners are Aria Gerson who will be a senior at Michigan, Matt Cohen who will be a junior at Indiana, Christina Long who will be a senior at Missouri and Ryan McFadden who is a graduate student at Maryland.

The four receive $1,500 from APSE and a free student membership for 2020.

I have talked to incoming APSE president Lisa Wilson to make changes so we can reach a more diverse group of students and identify students who have a greater need for the scholarship money we offer. 

I will be working with Lisa and committee members as well other APSE members on how best we can distribute the four scholarships in 2021.

Student contest (Erik Hall)

— This year changed the entry elements to have students enter 2 stories and one multimedia piece. Had deadline of April 11 with the intention for winner to attend the summer conference. 

— There were 29 students to enter the 2020 APSE Student Contest. 

— Thank you to this year’s judges: 

  • Jenni Carlson, The Oklahoman sports columnist
  • Mikkel Christensen, Georgia College journalism professor
  • Nick Feely, The Villages Daily Sun sports editor
  • Joe Gisondi, Eastern Illinois University journalism professor
  • Erik Hall, USA Today Network digital producer for sports
  • Rachel Lenzi, Buffalo News sports reporter
  • Iliana Limón Romero, Orlando Sentinel sports editor
  • Lynn Worthy, Kansas City Star sports reporter

— George Stoia from the University of Oklahoma won for the 2nd straight year (Received four first-place votes).  

— Let me know if anyone has interest in judging next year. 

— Discussion with some judges and Todd Adams about splitting the student contest into 2 categories for next year — a writing contest and a multimedia contest 

Student Liaison (Nicole Saavedra and Jenni Carlson)

Nicole: We reached out to eight chapters. The Alabama, Maryland, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas and Penn State chapters are still active. The Oklahoma chapter is no longer active. The status of the Ohio chapter is unknown — it lists a president and two advisers, but attempts to reach them were unsuccessful.

We’ve provided a list of ideas for additional benefits/outreach for members to explore in the future, including job and internship help, a list of potential speakers and mentors for chapters. Also recommending pursuing chapter expansion and implementing regular benchmarks for surveying chapters throughout the year.

Website (Gary Potosky/Jorge Rojas)

Gary: I thought we had a lot of good content this year.

Jorge: I just want to learn, help wherever I can and unlock my computer.

Writers (Joey Chandler)

Joey: We discussed more ways to get writers involved. Building a freelance database and also a directory to help writers reach out to one another, along with mentor opportunities and holding some writer Zoom meetings.

Discussion on mentorship program led by Dana Sulonen, Jake Adams, Christopher Boan, Dianna Nearhos and Rachel Lenzi. We need more! And it might be a good avenue to attract more membership and continue to bring in young journalists into our organization. SJI, AWSM, AAJA are good pools we can align with.

Contest (Gary Potosky)

Contest changes:

Digital contest changes:

Jim Jenks. Is there a way editors can go to their editors and get the E-
Editions to work right?

Paul Barrett: It’s because of our vendor. We would have to make PDFs, which is more of a hassle than to send old sections.

Gary: PDFs can get blurry when they are enlarged. Printed PDFs would work, but if you send a PDF where the type is too small, you are almost fighting a bias against judges having to squint. 

Gary: For anyone who hasn’t seen it, a link to the contest page is in the Zoom chat.

Matt Pepin: What was the impetus for folding multi-media into the digital contest?

Gary: To put all digital together. My main goal was to get away from mandatory judging periods. What we had ended up with was people (judges) jumping on at different times, which didn’t make it fair — or not fair enough anyway. The final component is that judges would be assigned at the conference in Orlando to judge sites over two days. It would count for 15 percent or so. But you would get to submit more great work, your best work, along with that.

And it would better reflect the quality of your site.

Old business:

Any old business? No old business.

New business:

Any new business? No new business.

Move to adjourn:

Kevin Winters Morriss moved.

John Bednarowski seconded.

Stay safe out there!

Attendees: Todd Adams, Lisa Wilson, Gary Potosky, Dan Spears, Jorge Rojas, Steve Hemphill, Bill Eichenberger, Glen Crevier, Jim Jenks, Phil Kaplan, Mike Sherman, Tommy Deas, Jeff Rosen, John Bednarowski, Gerry Ahern, Vince Doria, Leon Carter, Ed Storin, Jim Jenks, Justin Pelletier, Nick Kelly, Marcus Vanderberg, Jeff Patterson, Donn Walden, Larry Graham, Emily Horos, Christopher Boan, Naila Meyers, Diana C. Nearhos, Paul Barrett, Malcom Moran, McClain Baxley, Jim Pignatiello, Jake Adams, Oskar Garcia, Ben Portnoy, Joe Shiefelbein, Matt Pepin, Christian Stone, Brandon Marcello, Barry Bedlan, Adam Wodon, Chris Fickett, Chris Kwiecinski, Christopher Walsh, Parth Upadhyaya, Greg Brownell, Kevin Spain, Roxanna Scott, Joe Battaglia, Rachel Crader, Matt Stephens, Eric Kolenich, Rachel Lenzi, Thomas Scott, Marquel Slaughter, Jane Allison Havsy, Steve Wiseman, Shemar Woods, Ben Pfeifer, Ian Kreider, Monica Holland, Sarah Kelly, James Williams, Luis Torres, Josh Schafer, Nick Kelly, Eil Hoff, Coty Davis, Nicole Saavedra, Matt Wiley, Erik Hall, Dana Sulonen, Ethan Joyce, Scott Thurston, Dwayne McLemore, Monique Jones, Matt Vida, Mitchell Gladstone, Kevin Winters Morriss, Iliana Limon Romero, bosborne, Josh Barnett, Maria McIlwain, Jeff Perkins, Joey Chandler, Pat McLoone, Tyler Batiste, Bill Bradley, Joe Baird, Chris Imperiale, Bill Speros.