The Associated Press Sports Editors’ summer conference started June 15, and with it, IUPUI made history. It was the first time in the APSE’s 48-year history that the conference was hosted on a college campus, which was made possible by the persistence of Malcolm Moran, director of the Sports Capital Journalism Program at IUPUI.
“There were nine years of effort going back to my arrival on campus in 2013,” Moran said. “Hosting the summer conference allowed us to expand upon what the organization’s leadership already knew: that IUPUI was serious about handling the conference responsibilities as part of our service to the industry and demonstrated that approach to the members that came to Indianapolis to visit our campus.”
The conference gathers sports editors from ESPN, The Athletic, USA Today and other top publications from around the country to discuss trends in the industry and share ideas. Some of the biggest leaders in sports led sessions and sat on panels, including Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey, who gave insight into the growth of sports betting and college athletics.
IUPUI graduate students were also heavily involved. They ran the registration desk, handed out goody bags and wrote multiple articles for the APSE website, which opened up opportunities to network with some of the best in the business.
“From the start of our preparation, our students understood that there was value to the tedium because it allowed them to put their attitude and work ethic on display for everyone they encountered,” Moran said. “It was a very untraditional way for potential job applicants to be observed by people that hire staffers, and the students came through.”
And it was those seemingly random encounters that students said made the biggest impression.
“The weirdest thing happened when I was sitting in a chair, and this guy comes up to me and says, ‘Have you been here before? It’s my first time. Where is this?’ and he just drops that he’s with ESPN,” said Derek Harper, a Master of Arts student in the Sports Capital Journalism Program.
“We got to talking, and he said he’s looking for potential hires, and I gave him my resume,” Harper said. “He said that there are internships sometimes and that he’d send me a note later. It’s things like that, random things that you wouldn’t experience anywhere else.”
Harper said the APSE summer conference is one of many great opportunities he’s had as part of the Sports Capital Journalism Program. He helped cover the early rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament hosted in Indianapolis this year.
“It’s long hours, and you learn a lot and you make some mistakes,” he said. “It’s part of the process, but you gain that experience and learn how to perfect it.”
Zachary Powell, who just graduated with his M.A. from the program, covered the Final Four of this year’s March Madness, sitting right behind the CBS broadcasting crew during the championship game. Now that he’s completed his master’s, he will be the sports editor of The Lock Haven Express in Pennsylvania.
Powell said being able to attend the APSE summer conference is helping him prepare for the next steps in his career.
“I’m getting to connect and network with people to figure out how I can be my best coming into that role,” Powell said. “We get to showcase who we are, learn the job market and market ourselves so that sports editors can see us, and we can learn from them as well.”
At the end of the conference, a session was held specifically for career development. It included resume reviews and advice for job hunting.
“The most lasting moments were when I caught glimpses of personal hallway conversations, when editors from places like the Los Angeles Times and Seattle Times sat with students and shared observations and suggestions,” Moran said. “The impact of those quiet moments may last for years.”