Sports Journalism Institute leaders honored for two decades of service; more than 250 young journalists have been trained by the group

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced that Leon Carter and Sandy Rosenbush of the Sports Journalism Institute will receive the organization’s annual Legacy Award given out at its Salute to Excellence Gala on Aug. 8, in Tampa.

"Leon and Sandy sacrificed their personal time, vacation time and they put the careers of others ahead of their own because they saw a need," said NABJ President Barbara Ciara. "No one asked them to do this, but they put their money where their mouths are to protect the integrity of newsrooms and bring up a new generation of sports journalists."

The Sports Journalism Institute is a 9-week training and internship program for college students interested in sports journalism careers. The Institute attracts talented minority students to print journalism and works in conjunction with the Poynter Institute to provide a training week. Paid eight-week internships at newspapers around the country follow the training week.

Leon Carter is the sports editor at the New York Daily News, and Sandy Rosenbush of ESPN is a former editor for Sports Illustrated and the New York Times. The two conceived of SJI at the 1992 NABJ Convention in Detroit when together they decided they wanted to change the way sports departments looked.

"These two individuals are visionary people that took an issue-lack of diversity in sports departments – and took it upon themselves to make a difference," said NABJ Treasurer Gregory Lee, a graduate of the Institute’s second class. "I’ve known a lot of journalism programs, but never seen any journalism program on the backs of two individuals."

ESPN, the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and several other newspapers have worked with the Institute in the past to provide unique internship opportunities to students. The Sports Journalism Institute works with NABJ, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and is funded by the Tribune Foundation, Hearst Newspapers/Houston Chronicle, Associated Press Sports Editors and the New York Daily News.

The Sports Journalism Institute began in 1993 and has trained more than 250 minority student-journalists.

Honorees will be recognized at the 2009 NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair in Tampa, Fla. Aug. 5-9. The NABJ Convention is the largest gathering of minority journalists in the country. For more information, go to

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation, with more than 4,100 members, and provides educational, career development and support to black journalists worldwide.