By Jorge Rojas
Congratulations to the 2015-16 APSE Diversity Fellows. This year, there are six names to announce instead of the usual four. They are:
— Joey Chandler, sportswriter at the Tuscaloosa News
— Jenny Dial Creech, assistant sports editor at the Houston Chronicle
— Erik Hall, assistant sports editor at the Roanoke Times
— Katie McInerney, sports designer at the Tulsa World
— Graham Watson, college football blog editor at Yahoo Sports
— Lynn Worthy, sportswriter at the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
For financial reasons, it wasn’t an easy decision to add two Fellows. But because of a strong group of applicants and good start to this year’s fundraising — including nearly $800 from former APSE presidents and San Diego awards ceremony attendees — APSE president Mary Byrne approved the selection committee’s request, citing our organization’s “commitment to diversity” as the overriding priority.
Great call by Mary (applause here), but that now means we have our work cut out to reach a goal of $10,000 to help fund the Fellows’ participation at APSE events such as Diversity Weekend (coming up Oct. 3-6 in Indianapolis), contest judging, regional meetings, and the annual conference. We presently have $2,460 in donations. All ideas are welcome. Diversity committee member Larry Graham of the San Diego Union-Tribune and APSE secretary-treasurer Bill Eichenberger are the point men.
“This organization has been led by many truly inspirational women and men, and I am so proud they stepped up to support these future leaders,” said Michael Anastasi, Diversity Fellowship Program founder and a past APSE president. “Because of their commitment, as well as that of those sports editors who donated in San Diego, we were able to add two additional Fellows. I know this year’s class will not let them down.”
This is the fifth year of the Diversity Fellowship Program. APSE is the major sponsor, with support from Indiana University, which hosts a weekend of academic training. This year’s Fellows will soon meet in Indianapolis for a weekend of training and enrichment. They will take part in the web judging contest, and help judge at the winter meetings (Feb. 27-March 2) in St. Petersburg. The program also includes a mentorship component, working with the Sports Journalism Institute, the professional development day at each Fellow’s region, and will conclude at the summer conference in Charlotte (June 22-25),
The training will prepare them to take a substantive leap forward in their careers as part of an overall push toward improving diversity by APSE.
There have been many generous sponsors of the Fellowship, with the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM), the Los Angeles News Group and USA Today Sports Media Group among the leaders. APSE would like to attract a major sponsor but also has implemented a tier structure whereby members can contribute as much or as little as they can afford.
The tier levels are:
Platinum — $1,500
Diamond — $1,000
Gold — $750
Silver — $500
Bronze — $250
Friend of the Program — Anything under $249.
If you are interested in helping sponsor this important initiative, please contact APSE president Mary Byrne (Mary.E.Byrne@espn.com), secretary-treasurer Bill Eichenberger (firstname.lastname@example.org), Diversity Committee member Larry Graham (email@example.com) or myself.