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Vol. 51, No. 4 • May 2014 • .pdf version
Goal is to surpass 1,000 memberships
By JOE MITCH
If you haven't done so already, it's time to renew your membership in the USBWA for 2014-15.
Renewal notices were sent electronically to members in late April and will be followed by reminder emails later in the spring and summer to those who haven't renewed.
The USBWA experienced record growth this past season, with membership climbing to 994, an all-time high for the association.
The goal this year is to surpass the 1,000 mark. We're asking members to reach out to your colleagues, either at your own sports department or in the press box, and encourage them to join. For a membership application, go to the USBWA's website at usbwa.com.
New USBWA president Dana O'Neil has made it her mission to recruit young writers and more women to join the organization and become actively involved in the leadership of the USBWA.
There are a number of reasons why membership in the USBWA makes all the sense in the world for sportswriters covering college basketball.
The annual member directory alone is worth the $50 membership fee.
It contains the names, email addresses and phone numbers of head coaches and basketball contacts at all NCAA Division I schools and the writers who cover them.
Members receive discounts at Hilton Hotels, Hertz car rentals and Brooks Brothers clothiers, free in-season subscription to seven issues of Basketball Times and the right to vote for the USBWA's men's and women's All-America teams and player, coach and freshman of the year awards for men and women.
The USBWA pays special attention to serving the needs of its members, especially in areas of access and working conditions for writers at basketball venues. When the NCAA drastically cut back on the number of courtside seats for the media at NCAA tournament games, the USBWA stepped in and led the way to restore a number of those seats.
When SIDs cried out for help with credentialing bloggers and reporters from websites, the USBWA offered to vet online entities and provide a list of those sites that the USBWA endorses to receive a credential.
To help spread the word, the USBWA has struck up a partnership with CoSIDA to communicate to its membership the free online credentialing service that the USBWA is offering SIDs.
BREAKFAST HIGHLIGHTS: One of the real joys for those attending the USBWA honors breakfast each year at the NCAA Men's Final Four is to see the look of appreciation in those being honored.
This year was no different. Congratulations to all of the award winners: Brian Morrison of the ACC with the Katha Quinn Award for service to the media. Hall of Fame inductees George Lapides (Memphis Commercial-Appeal) and past presidents Dick Jerardi (Philadelphia Daily News) and Robyn Norwood (Los Angeles Times); Eamonn Brennan of espn.com with the Rising Star Award; Dau Jok of Penn with the Most Courageous Award.
And finally, Kirk Wessler (Peoria Journal Star) with the Ray Marquette Award for outstanding leadership as president of the USBWA this past year. Kirk was terrific as president and showed he cared deeply for the organization. He always had the best interests of writers in mind during his presidency and was dedicated to the cause of helping them do their job.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL AWARDS DINNER: The USBWA officially closed the basketball season with the presentation of its player, coach and freshman of the year awards at a college basketball gala in Oklahoma City on April 14. USBWA President Kirk Wessler presented the Oscar Robertson Trophy to Doug McDermott of Creighton as national player of the year and the Henry Iba Coach of the Year award to Gregg Marshall of Wichita State. Jabari Parker of Duke received the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award.
The event benefits the Tisdale Foundation to provide opportunities in sports for disadvantaged youth in Oklahoma City and the USBWA's scholarship program.
SPORTS JOURNALISM PARTNERSHIP: The USBWA has entered into a working partnership with the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center.
Under the direction of USBWA Hall of Famer and past president Malcolm Moran, the NSJC will provide the USBWA with faculty, staff and student support throughout the academic year.
They will provide content for the USBWA website and help the association contact prospective new members. USBWA members will also have the chance to participate in various initiatives on the campus in Indianapolis, dealing with major sports media issues of the day.
The NSJC is already handling the USBWA sportswriting seminar and competition that's held in conjunction every year with the men's Final Four. More than 50 students participated in the workshop this year in Dallas.
The NSJC is regarded as being the most comprehensive institute for the study of sports journalism in America. Through its programs, the center provides top quality instruction on sports media for high school students and veteran professionals.
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