By RACHEL LENZI
Members of the Association for Women in Sports Media met for a general business meeting on May 27, where several topics and issues were addressed regarding the current state of the organization, as well as future events.
Among AWSM’s goals and items that were discussed:
– Membership: AWSM membership has held steady over the past few years, but in that time more students than professionals have joined.
AWSM president Jennifer Overman said the goal is to have more of a balance – ideally 50/50 – by adding professional members, and that AWSM is seeking out relationships and/or strengthening relationships with professional journalism groups to help promote AWSM.
– Student chapters: We currently have 13 student chapters and there was strong representation at this year’s convention. Guidelines for membership as a student chapter were discussed in regards to possibly expanding the organization’s student-chapter reach. Gina Mizell, vice president of student development, explained the application process for potential student chapters.
“It’s a process that’s continuing to evolve,” Mizell said of the growth of AWSM’s student chapters. “We’re looking for more professional mentors. If you are an alum of the school or in the area of a certain school, please let us know.”
Mizell emphasized that AWSM is also seeking out future internship opportunities; AWSM has placed six interns this summer at CNN, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, MLB.com, PRO Sports Communications and the Colorado Springs Gazette.
– #AWSM2016 and future conventions: AWSM’s 2016 convention is scheduled for late summer in Miami, and while some expressed concern with the initial date selection – during NFL and college football preseason, as well as potentially during the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro – Overman explained the process of selecting convention dates and sites, which rotate annually in order to give everyone a chance to attend. Every attempt is made to accommodate the most number of members but has to be balanced by location and cost.
“There’s never a perfect time of year to accommodate everybody,’ said Kathy Kudravi, AWSM’s chair of the board. “There’s always something that comes up that’s never the right time of year for everybody.”
Panel topics for future conventions were suggested and discussed, including creating a podcast, the anatomy of working on an enterprise project, and examining current events in sports (which has been done at previous conventions) such as covering domestic violence and the NFL or “Deflategate” and the New England Patriots.
– Regional events and webinars: Kelly Burke, AWSM’s vice president of professional development, discussed plans for regional events in Washington, D.C., Phoenix and possibly Orlando, Fla., and explained that webinars are also becoming a point of focus, and asked for suggestions for future webinars.
AWSM has hosted one-hour, web-based career chats with Ann Liguori, a sports talk radio and television host and WFAN and CBS Sports Radio Network’s golf and tennis correspondent; Lindsay Jones, an NFL reporter with USA Today; Vicki Michaelis, a professor of sports media at Georgia and a former AWSM president; and Kudravi, American Sports Network’s executive web editor.
– Board status: Overman said there are currently no official open board positions, but AWSM is in search of coordinators for open positions, including a social media coordinator, and for assistance in planning AWSM’s 2016 convention in Miami.
“If you’re interested in helping out in any aspect of the organization, let us know,” Burke told the members in attendance. “We will find a way for you to help us.”