Class XI of the Diversity Fellows with Claire Smith at the Red Smith Award ceremony in July 2023.

By Lisa Wilson

The APSE Foundation is accepting applications for Class XII of the Diversity Fellowship program.

The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.

The Fellowship, in its 12th year, is an in-depth, nine-month course of study for working professionals interested in pursuing a path as a leader (typically a sports editor, assistant sports editor, or sports reporter) in sports journalism. This training program, which prepares Fellows to be candidates for such positions, is underwritten by the APSE Foundation, APSE and their partners. There is no cost to the Fellows.

The program, for employees of APSE member organizations, begins in the fall of 2023 and concludes with APSE’s annual summer conference, which is scheduled for June 20-22, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C. Women and minority journalists with at least three years of professional experience (exceptions may be considered) are eligible to apply.

Applicants should have the support of their employer, as attendance at several events is required. Travel expenses are paid by the program.

APSE realizes the Fellows are working professionals whose first responsibility is to their news organizations. APSE will work with supervising editors to ensure the Fellows meet all work responsibilities and will customize the Fellowship experience to focus on skills most important to the employer. The goal for APSE is that employers value Diversity Fellowship Program graduates and consider this training invaluable to their newsrooms and, more broadly, their companies.

Indicate your intention to apply as soon as possible to the Selection Committee members — Jorge Rojas of The Athletic (, Jane Havsy of the Daily Record (, APSE Foundation executive director Lisa Wilson of The Athletic ( and Fellowship founder Michael Anastasi of The Tennessean ( — and provide a cover letter, resume and essay of no more than 1,000 words that describes your vision for a sports department under your leadership. (With approval, the selection committee is open to considering other essay topics).

E-mail your application packet by Sept. 30 to Rojas and Anastasi. They also are your contacts for questions.

The APSE Diversity Fellowship Program Course of Study consists of several components:

The APSE mentorship program. Each Fellow is a student in this APSE program. The Fellow is paired with an experienced editor from a news organization who serves as a mentor. Through the process, the Fellow learns such skills as how to critique and analyze content for a sports section or site, how to plan for and deploy resources to cover an important sports event in their community, how to be a member of the overall newsroom leadership team, how to plan for and execute high-quality summer sports coverage, how to plan for and execute event coverage during various times of the year. (There is no travel for this component.)

Diversity Weekend. At program expense, each Fellow attends a three-day, long-weekend academic experience (usually in December). The experience might include seminars in sports journalism law, the business of sports media, digital sports journalism, managing and motivating staff, the editor as an entrepreneur, and the fundamentals of managing money and a budget.

Sports Coverage and Sports Writing. Each Fellow works as a member of a team judging APSE’s annual website, sports section and writing contest. This is a four-day commitment at the winter conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Feb. 25-29, 2024. Under the supervision of experienced editors from across the country, each Fellow will typically judge at least three types of sports journalism, such as daily and Sunday sections, or investigative, project, news, or enterprise reporting. Fellows also will work with a group in judging APSE’s annual student contest later that spring. (All travel expenses for the winter conference are covered by the program).

Region APSE meeting. The Fellows take part in their region’s annual professional development day. These sessions — the dates vary depending on the area of the country — consist of seminars and panel discussions on various topics conducted by editors from within that region. Region meetings can be held via Zoom or in person. Any travel expenses for this component are covered by the program.

Sports Journalism Institute. Each Fellow, under the direction of leaders of the Sports Journalism Institute, the nation’s premier diversity sports program, may be asked to work as an offsite assignment editor with the Institute’s incoming class. One Fellow might be asked to work onsite in Phoenix at the Cronkite School.

APSE’s summer conference. This capstone experience has each Fellow attending the various sessions and workshops of the APSE Conference. At the conclusion of the conference, the Fellows receive their certificates of completion.

Finally, an additional practicum, such as shadowing an experienced sports editor for two days, may be considered.