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Vol. 46, No. 1 November 2008 .pdf version
Invite your local college-paper beat writer to join USBWA
By STEVE CARP / Las Vegas Review-Journal
I happened to notice my college diploma the other day (yes, I actually did graduate) and realized it'll be 30 years next May that I earned a degree in journalism from San Jose State.
The reason I bring up college is because as our numbers shrink I'm talking newspapers and newspaper jobs we need to find ways to shore up our membership in the USBWA.
In talking to Joe Mitch last A ugust, I mentioned to him that instead of putting our efforts into recruiting beat writers at daily newspapers, perhaps we should look into signing up writers who cover college basketball for their school papers.
Joe told me that the USBWA does offer membership to college journalists. It's $20, and while that may be a little steep for a college kid (back in 1979, 20 bucks could be a hell of a lot of beer at the Spartan Pub), it might be a pretty savvy investment.
I'm not talking about the Marriott card and the Hertz discount. Those are nice perks, but most college papers don't travel with their teams. What I'm thinking about is the opportunity to have a vote for the national player of the year, the All-America team and the all-district team.
Think about when you were in college and you'd see the Wooden Award and All-America teams announced in late March. Tell me you didn't disagree with the choices from time to time. I'll bet you were wishing you had a voice and could offer your opinion.
The USBWA, of course, provides you that opportunity. As a member, you are part of the process. To me, that's a way to sell a college kid on the merits of joining. Let's play to his or her ego, so they can brag to their friends on campus that they had a say as to who won the Oscar Robertson Trophy. The question is, how do we let these budding future journalists know they are not only welcome to join our group, but we really, really want them?
Simple. Chances are you've befriended the kid who writes for the college team you cover. Next time you see he or she at practice, let them know about the USBWA and offer them the opportunity to join. Tell them they can go on-line to USBWA.com and sign up. Perhaps they can convince their school paper to pick up the tab for them.
If we could get just half of the Division I schools to get their campus newspaper to sign up, that would really boost our organization.
When you go to practice or are at a game, go up to the school-paper beat person and invite them to be part of our family. We can use the warm bodies.
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