Vol. 46, No. 4 May 2009 .pdf version
Carp: Here to increase membership, watch over writers
Mitch: Detroit was place to be for annual awards breakfast
Akers: USBWA plans to catch a 'Rising Star'
Greenberg: Women's Final Four offers full plate
Sportswriting workshops net 150 entries
Writing contest deadline: June 15

John Akers

Next season, USBWA plans to catch a 'Rising Star'

By JOHN AKERS / Third Vice-President

Like all of us, the USBWA isn't getting younger.

Without going all Benjamin Button here, there is a way to reverse the aging process.

While wireless access and courtside seating remain the issues of the day, connecting with that Next Generation of college basketball writers who are doing great things is vital to the future of the organization.

We haven't given younger writers much reason to be interested. If you go to the Monday morning breakfast, nearly all of the folks who are running the meetings or being honored have their AARP cards. For anyone on the south side of 30, the USBWA must feel very old.

Which sparked an idea.

We've created the Rising Star Award.

USBWA board member Nicole Vargas of the San Diego Union-Tribune was instrumental in drawing up the guidelines for this new award, which will be presented to a member who is under 30 and shows the most promise in our profession.

It could go to someone already entrenched as a national writer or on a coveted beat at a major newspaper, website or newspaper. We might honor a young writer who has produced an exceptional body of work at a medium- sized or smaller newspaper. I t could go to the student writer for a college paper who is breaking news and outwriting the veteran writers on his or her beat. Our honoree might be someone who, in these difficult financial times, has creatively built a reputation, perhaps on a self-created website or as a freelancer.

In other words, we'll be flexible and keep an eye out for the under-recognized young stars as well as the obvious.

We would place an emphasis on writers who have displayed journalistic excellence, an interest in the USBWA and a desire to cover college basketball for the foreseeable future.

Any USBWA member who is under 30 on Jan. 1, 2010 will be eligible. The award is a one-time honor.

The winner will be awarded a plaque at the annual USBWA awards breakfast. Five other finalists will receive certificates and be recognized through a news release.

Candidates can enter their own names for consideration, be nominated by another member or solicited by the award's selection committee, which will initially be members whose ages are closer to 30 than 50. The Rising Star Award winner also will be asked to help select the next year's winner, until a committee comprised entirely of Rising Star alums is available to judge their peers.

The winner gets a nice addition to the resume and a reason to become more involved. The USBWA begins to identify its next wave of leadership and gives younger writers a reason to both join and become involved.

Most important, the USBWA grows younger.

Everybody wins.

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