The Associated Press Sports Editors teamed with the Scripps Howard Foundation
|Click on the image above to view a slideshow of the event.|
on Nov. 12 to give more than 80 Hampton University and Hampton Roads (Va.) area high school students the opportunity to learn more about sports writing, newspapers, Internet and the media.
Editors and writers gathered at Hampton University’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications for "A new day for journalism and continued hope for diversity" with the intention of recruiting young minority talent and urging them to become the future of the media business.
A recent study of 341 newspapers conducted by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida gave newspapers a failing grade for gender diversity in their sports departments and a C for racial diversity. The seminar was an important step by APSE and the Scripps Howard Foundation toward trying to rectify the issues.
APSE president Lynn Hoppes served as moderator for the first panel. Before the discussion began, he implored students to listen and, more importantly, ask questions. There was a lot to gain from the sessions even if students were not interested in sports.
"This isn’t just about sports. We happen to be journalists who write about sports," he said. "This is about writing, about reporting, how to write a better resume and cover letters, finding mentors. This is a great opportunity."
The five-hour event included two panels, mock interviews and an opportunity for students to learn more about the business while having lunch with panel members.
The first panel featured Miami Herald sports writer Michelle Kaufman, Newport Daily News Metro Editor Fred Gaskins, Richmond Times-Dispatch sports writer Ralph Paulk, ESPN.com Associate Editor for the NFL Jamar Hudson and Virginian-Pilot high school sports reporter Larry Rubama.
Panelists discussed how to get a job in today’s media, the jobs of the future in light of today’s economic issues and the different platforms available in the media, including writing and multimedia for newspaper, radio, television and the Internet.
Kaufman spoke to students about separating themselves from the competition by being creative and offering their services to local newspapers, even if it means little or no pay. Kaufman explained how she helped make a name for herself by scanning the University of Miami football team roster and contacting players’ hometown newspapers.
"I made contacts," Kaufman said. "More importantly, sports editors who I had never met face to face knew my name. All it takes is one sports editor to like your stories."
At lunch, panelists sat at their own tables and were joined by students, who spent over an hour quizzing journalists and editors on their professional experiences and journalism in general. Business cards and resumes were exchanged as APSE members and students tried to make connections.
"I felt that the kids were encouraged despite all of the bad news they were hearing about the newspaper business," Paulk said. "It hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm for writing. Their passion was obvious in our discussions."
The second panel convened after lunch to show work from their newspapers and discuss how they did it, ethical concerns, intended audience and obstacles to coverage.
Newport News Managing Editor Robin McCormick served as moderator for the panel, which included Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor/Sports Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, USA Today Deputy Managing Editor/Sports Robert Robinson, Vice-President/Editor-in-Chief for ESPN.com Rob King and Virginian-Pilot sports editor Colleen McDaniel.
Two Hampton students will receive $3,000 stipends for an internship at APSE members’ sites.