Where are they now? Hal Bodley, president 1981-1982 Jan. 14, 2010
I was president 1981-82 and a founder of the association.
What was your best memory of APSE?
When in the early years of APSE I wrote a set of proposed ethical guidelines and was almost kicked out of the room. Also, during a period when to use today’s terms we had an economic meltdown and almost went bankrupt. Another time on the eve of the convention secretary-treasurer Bob Segar suffered a heart attack causing us to scramble with the registrations which he was handling.
What was the highlight of your time as a sports editor?
Seeing young journalists I hired mature and advance to higher levels, i. e. Gary Smith (Sports Illusrated), Gene Quinn (former Chicago Tribune sports editor), Henry Freeman (former USA Today sports editor), Jim Hawkins (Detroit baseball writer), Chuck Lewis (former CBS 60 Minutes producer). … As a sports editor-columnist, covering some of the major events of my generation, including the 1972 Munich Olympics.
What would you do differently today as a sports editor?
Probably be more aware and pro-active of readers’ demands and interests. Do more long-range planning instead of spending so much time putting out the daily section. When I was sports editor we did very little investigative reporting; I wish I had pushed for more although our lack of manpower was always a reason not to. Pay much more attention to the electronic media because this is so important to all sports fans today. During my era, we did little in this area.
What advice do you have for current sports editors?
During these tough economic times (and this is difficult), try not to short-change the reader in coverage. So many papers have cut down on coverage of their teams even though this is what the readers are most interested in. By saying “we can’t afford to cover that team,” you’re only driving the reader to the Internet or another media source. Secondly, I believe it is very important that multi-media be an integral part of the staff today.
What is your current occupation?
I was baseball editor/columnist for USA TODAY for 25 years (1982-2007) before retiring. I am currently senior correspondent for MLB.com, writing baseball columns and doing TV. I was with the Wilmington (DE) News Journal from 1960 until USA TODAY was born and sports editor of the News Journal the last 12 years there.
Do you have any plans for the future?
Just to remain active in the business for as long as I can contribute meaningfully.
Editor’s Note: In conjunction with APSE’s partnership with Indiana University’s National Sports Journalism Center, a new Hall of Fame will permanently honor winners of the Red Smith Award as well, secondarily, past APSE presidents. As a part of that effort to honor those who built APSE, past presidents will be invited to the 2010 convention in Salt Lake City. Leading up to the convention, past presidents will be periodically profiled here.