By MERI-JO BORZILLERI
With newsrooms shrinking and jobs disappearing, AWSM co-founder Kristin Huckshorn believes AWSM is needed more now than any time since it started more than 30 years ago.
And Huckshorn, as usual, is willing to help.
Huckshorn has been voted winner of the 2017 AWSM Ann Miller Service Award. It will be presented at AWSM’s 30th convention set for May 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa outside Austin, Texas.
”Our association simply would not exist without the example and leadership of Kristin Huckshorn,” said AWSM president Jenny Dial Creech. “A founder and a pioneer, Kristin has been instrumental to the growth of AWSM. We are truly grateful for her service over the years.”
The Miller Award is named for Ann Miller, longtime AWSM treasurer and Hawaii-based member whose service to the organization has spanned three decades and included work as board chairman and current member of the AWSM awards subcommittee. Read more about the award and past winners.
“I was very honored and surprised, because I think there are so many women doing some much for this organization,” said Huckshorn, whose lengthy career included time as the first Knight Ridder reporter stationed in Vietnam and later as a senior news editor for ESPN. “I am very honored in a large part because I know from where it comes from. I know Ann Miller and what she has done for AWSM, so that makes it more meaningful for anyone who wins this.”
Huckshorn, a former N.Y. Times deputy sports editor, and Michele Himmelberg, two of four of AWSM’s co-founders, have been the most consistently involved with the organization through the years. Huckshorn served on the board, including as president, and was a coordinator for AWSM’s 25th anniversary convention in 2013.
Huckshorn, AWSM’s 2006 Pioneer winner, also co-founded the scholarship program with last year’s Miller honoree, Christine Brennan. Since 2013, Kristin and her husband have funded a scholarship in the honor of the group’s founders.
In the early years, Huckshorn was heavily involved in fundraising, membership recruitment and convention planning as the organization got off the ground. She also has hosted or been involved with regional events in the New York area and participated on countless committees and panels through the years.
Huckshorn said she was inspired by the number of college students she saw attending the 2016 Miami convention, spurring the need for AWSM to renew its efforts to insist that sports departments and broadcast stations work harder for gender diversity as budget cuts mount.
As the Miami convention showed, numbers of young, talented college students are looking to break into sports media and Huckshorn wants to make news executives aware that women are again losing ground.
“I believe what happened is it’s no longer imperative to have even a token woman in your department or in your station,” Huckshorn said. “There’s a feeling it’s imperative, and it should be, to have minority representation in your department: African American representation, Hispanic representation. That’s absolutely a priority still within newsrooms and it should be.
“But I do not believe there’s any imperative any more to have a gender diverse sports department … I feel like at the big papers you see way too many guys hired and no women at all.”
Huckshorn has seen this before. AWSM’s newest Miller honoree said she’s eager to lend a hand.
“This is probably the greatest need for AWSM since it started because of what’s happened in the industry,” she said.