By Gerry Ahern
Director News Content
USA TODAY Sports Media Group
In the aftermath of the successful and exhilarating Chicago summer conference, one of the best I’ve ever been associated with, I wondered, “how do we keep the momentum going?”
The answer: Invest in our future.
In my inaugural speech as APSE president I focused on what’s in store for our organization, more specifically how to forge our destiny, how to develop it, how to grow it.
Today’s sports department leaders need to shepherd and welcome the next generation in a much more proactive and engaging manner.
I have called on every member of APSE to recruit and sponsor one college student as a member of our organization. The students can come from your alma mater or your coverage area. The $25 fee will give the students access to the minds and events that will shape the future of sports journalism. In addition to the financial commitment, I expect each sponsoring editor to help mentor the student as they prepare to enter the profession.
Could be advice on how to handle a story or a situation. Could be information on internships and/or job opportunities. We need to be accessible and involved with these developing talents.
One editor has already converted words into swift, decisive, impressive action.
Ron Fritz of the Baltimore Sun didn’t agree to sponsor one college student to become a member of APSE.
Not two, not three.
"It's the right thing to do," said Fritz, who came up with the idea to actively recruit more college journalists to APSE. "The interns who work at The Sun are academic interns and I wanted to make sure they left with more than clips and references.
"This way they have access to APSE and its sports editors, its conferences and training sessions."
Now it’s up to the rest of us to deliver. Sponsors should go to the APSE website and to How to Join
in the left-hand menu. Click the link Click Here to Sign Up Now
and fill out the form as you would for yourself but with the student's information. Hit Send
at the bottom of the form and a payment page will pop up. Go to the students payment link and pay for as many students as you would like to sponsor. For more information, contact executive director Jack Berninger at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (804) 741-1565.
A great suggestion on how to raise the profile of the sponsored students came from Loren Nelson of Minnesota Hockey Hub.
Following Loren’s formula, we will provide bios (with pictures) of the students on the APSE website. The bios will include the following information:
How did you become interested in sports journalism?
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned?
Work appears on:
I hope these college sponsorships and bios are the beginning of a new era for APSE, one with an eye on preparing for what’s next in our business rather than waxing historically about the past.
Our actions, in the age of digital-first, 24-7 media, are every bit as important to us as they will be to the college students.
Our future, and theirs, depends on it.