Stefanie Loh, who joined U-T San Diego as a sports reporter on Aug. 27, was elected as AWSM’s president in June.
She formerly worked at the Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News and Morgantown (W. Va.) Dominion Post.
Loh offers her outlook on the organization below:
Q: What are your main goals to accomplish as AWSM’s president?
A: I want to raise the profile of the organization and to help us grow into our role as media members of the 21st century. We have evolved from our origins as a newspaper-oriented group, and I want our programming and membership to reflect that growth. So we’d like to get more women from different spheres of the media involved with AWSM. Additionally, by the end of my term as president, I hope to leave behind a flourishing network of AWSM college chapters all over the country.
Q: What inspires you about AWSM?
A: AWSM is the voice for women in sports, but it’s more than that, it’s a family. We’re small enough that there’s a level of intimacy inherent in everything we organize, but big enough that we have members in some of the biggest media outlets in the country.
Q: What do you think AWSM needs to do better?
A: think AWSM needs to do a better job of providing resources and programming for its membership in between conventions. We want you to stay in touch with your friends more than once a year, and we want to give you programs to help you do that! We’ve got some great ideas in the pipeline.
I think AWSM also needs to start taking a more active role in cultivating the future of women in sports, and to do that, we must look to the colleges, where a whole generation of female sports professionals is currently learning the ropes. We want them to look to us as a useful resource for years to come.
Q: What do you see as the membership’s role in the coming years?
A: Our membership should serve as a sorority for one another, and a both a professional and personal network. But more importantly, we need to be visible advocates for women in sports media. We want to put on programming to help increase the profile of women in sports, and to help female sports professionals cope with the issues they might encounter in their lives — be it in the newsroom or at home.
We all share a common bond in the frenetic, often fluctuating environment that characterizes the lifestyle of a journalist or media professional in sports. Let’s help one another discover ways to better manage that lifestyle, and to raise the level of awareness of the issues that female athletes and media members continue to face in the sports world.
Q: What role has AWSM played in your life?
A: I first heard about AWSM in the mid-2000s, when, as a college student and journalism major at the University of Oregon, I ran into AWSM member Rachel Bachman on campus. Rachel was a reporter for the Oregonian at the time, and she told me about AWSM and encouraged me to apply for the scholarship and come to the convention. I applied for but never actually got the scholarship, then decided to come to the convention anyway.
From the time I attended my first convention in Dallas, I was struck by how much of a sisterhood this organization is. At that convention, I met women from a multitude of media outlets, all of whom were friendly, personable, and most of all, willing to share their experiences and help newcomers in any way they could. I’m still friends with many of the women whom I met at my first convention, and I will say with certainty that the people I met at AWSM have had a tremendous impact on my career. They’ve served as sources, sounding boards, friends, and mentors, and that’s what AWSM does — it gives you a network to count on, and a group you can say you belong to. Being a woman in sports media can sometimes be a very lonely thing, with AWSM, you’re never alone.