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Vol. 47, No. 4 • May 2010 • .pdf version
Reporting from Women's Final Four, with thoughts on new media
By WENDY PARKER / Blue Star Media
When I first contacted the only sportswriter I had heard of who covered women's basketball, I didn't how important that phone call would become.
It was 20 years ago that I first talked to Mel Greenberg, who created the first women's poll for the Philadelphia Inquirer and is simply known around the sport as "The Guru." He suggested that I join the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, which then as now included a subscription to Basketball Times.
Many of you know the rest of that story, but being part of the USBWA has been truly special, from the associations and friendships that have endured all these years to the numerous career opportunities it has provided.
I'm especially honored to be a part of the USBWA now as I reinvent my career.
Ironically, Mel is retiring from a 40-year career at the Inquirer in which he became the only USBWA Hall of Famer from the women's side, He will continue writing about the game as he joins the growing ranks of newspaper refugees. Welcome to the diaspora.
At the USBWA's women's awards breakfast in San Antonio, the severely dwindling media presence in women's basketball was the topic of a roundtable discussion with representatives from the NCAA and CoSIDA.
Only a handful of major newspapers sent reporters to the Women's Final Four, a trend that will continue. While a number of us who've left print are trying to recreate our work online, this also presents new issues and challenges. Rick Nixon of the NCAA discussed how his organization is reviewing its credentialing process.
They understand revising their online criteria is necessary to boost women's coverage, and I am hopeful changes will be in place for next season. My thanks go to Barb Kowal, CoSIDA's external relations director, and Notre Dame women's hoops SID Chris Masters for their participation and ideas.
These interests have led to me being asked to serve as the USBWA's new media coordinator. I'll work with NCAA, CoSIDA and other organizations, informing our members about how their activities affect the work we do.
But it's important for members to let us know what they think the USBWA can and should be doing to meet the technological challenges that are transforming all media industries. I think this can be a truly exciting time if we're willing to embrace the future.
Please drop me a line at email@example.com with your ideas, comments, concerns and suggestions.
My thanks go to Joe Mitch, John Akers, Ted Gangi and the rest of the USBWA board for the opportunity to serve the organization in a new way. A special thanks also goes out to ESPN, especially Josh Krulewitz and Carol Stiff, for their continued support.
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