By Erik Hall 

The Associated Press Sports Editors celebrates its 50th year in 2023. A series of interviews with the organization’s presidents will be unveiled throughout the year to mark this milestone. 

Paul Bowker was the APSE president in 1996-97 while sports editor at The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Florida, and The Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette. He is interviewed by St. Louis Post-Dispatch digital sports editor Erik Hall. 

Bowker says he was the first person to rise to the role of APSE president after serving as fourth vice president, which represented small newspapers. At the time Bowker served as APSE president, the Cedar Rapids Gazette represented the newspaper from the smallest market to have its sports editor serve as APSE president. 

His biggest point of pride in serving as APSE president was representing small and medium-sized newspapers well, and making it possible for editors from outside the metropolitan papers to have the opportunity to hold APSE leadership positions in the future. 

A specially made Louisville bat was given to APSE President Paul Bowker during his farewell convention.

Challenges Bowker faced during his APSE presidency included a battle with the NCAA over newspapers publishing gambling information. He tells the story of a memorable meeting at NCAA headquarters in Kansas City with APSE founder Dave Smith and APSE first vice president Tim Ellerbee. 

His year as APSE president was busy. He oversaw coverage of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics just a month into his presidency. A couple of months after that he moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to take the sports editor role at the Gazette. Also, his first and only daughter was born in the fall of 1996. 

During Bowker’s five years as a member of APSE leadership from 1992-97, expanding APSE membership to websites began to become a topic, and he shared his insights on how the topic was handled during his tenure. 

He talks about how much the support from APSE friends meant when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2021. Bowker also shares stories from his first APSE Summer Conference, which was the 1983 conference in Santa Monica, California, with actress Danielle Brisebois and LA Dodgers infielder Wes Parker. He also talks about his strategy for organizing the 1996 APSE Summer Conference in Cleveland.  

Bowker was a sports editor at The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1995-96 and at The Cedar Rapids Gazette from 1996-98. He’s also had sports editor roles at The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware (1993-95); Kalamazoo (Michigan) Gazette (2000-05); Cape Cod Times in Hyannis, Massachusetts (2014-19); The Columbus (Mississippi) Dispatch (2019-20); and The News in Kalona, Iowa (2020-present). Since 2010 he’s written for 

He attended Cape Cod Community College and the University of Kansas. Bowker began his journalism career as a copy editor and reporter at the Kansas City Star. He has several published books for elementary-school children, and those include “Giannis Antetokounmpo: Basketball Star.” 

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If you are a former APSE president and have yet to conduct or schedule an interview, contact Erik Hall at