By RACHEL LENZI
When the efforts of the Association for Women in Sports Media and the Associated Press Sports Editors came together to create an all-day event geared towards different facets of sports journalism, the two factions didn’t have to look far to create a level of female representation on its panels.
“It organically worked out where we had a strong, female presence,” said Kelly Whiteside, a former USA Today Sports reporter who is now an assistant professor in sports media and journalism at Montclair (N.J.) State University.
“I knew of what I was going to put together, but from APSE, they had a good group of panelists and just organically included women. We didn’t have to force it so that women were on the panel. It just happened.”
AWSM and APSE teamed to host a day of workshops Nov. 9 at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on Montclair State University’s campus, outside Newark, N.J. More than 100 attended the event, including 25 AWSM members.
The event hosted four panels — the perils of social media, the five-tool journalist, the athlete as a journalist and data journalism — that included AWSM members, sports editors from newspapers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region, journalists from various platforms, and college instructors.
On those four panels were seven women, including ESPN baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza, who addressed the session via Skype. Mendoza appeared on a panel that was moderated by Lindsay Berra of MLB.com and paired with a Yogi Berra Museum exhibit on athletes moving into the broadcast booth.
What stood out for Whiteside, who organized two of the panels, was the response to the panel on the perils of social media. The panel included Adena Andrews of espnW.com, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, Nicole Auerbach of USA Today Sports and Jane McManus of ESPN.com.
“Overall, the event spoke to all the folks in the audience, from people at the smaller papers to the women in sports media, to students who are thinking about these areas as careers,” said Whiteside, who moderated the social media panel. “And the issues that we talked about on the social media panel, they’re so second-nature to us, but people may have no idea what women face in that realm.”
Whiteside emphasized the importance of the daylong event from an educational and from a professional perspective.
“It’s important, especially if you work at a place where a staff isn’t all that diverse,” Whiteside said. “Maybe you aren’t aware of some of the issues. Any time you can have a panel and have a forum in which different voices are heard from or different issues are brought up, it’s great.”
Read more about the event from the Montclarion, the Montclair State student newspaper.