Sports Task Force convention programming – 2011

As the 2011 NABJ Convention and Career Fair nears, we’ll be posting more and more about our members and the task force. Today, we wanted to remind our members and non members alike of the Sports Task Force programming. Please check out our panels and workshops, and don’t forget to buy your ticket to the Sports Task Force Jam, supporting scholarships in journalism. Get your ticket now!

See you in Philly.

— Compiled by Sherlon Christie, Asbury Park Press


Sports Task Force Mentor Breakfast powered by ESPN
When: 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Where: 119AB (Convention Center)
Summary: Join the NABJ Sports Task Force and ESPN for its annual mentorship breakfast. Aspiring journalists are paired with professional mentors from broadcast, print and online newsrooms.
Speakers: ESPN’s Rob Parker and Claire Smith.

The Vanishing Black Sports Reporter: Why Diversity Matters
When: 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: 119A (Convention Center)
Summary: In an era where African Americans dominate the playing fields and arenas, the press boxes above and around them do not reflect that trend. The latest AP Sports Editors census reveals fewer people of color covering or leading newsroom coverage. What’s changed since earlier in the decade when America had six African American sports editors compared to today having one? What should those in power do to change the dynamic?
Panelists: David Aldridge, reporter and analyst for TNT, NBA TV and; Hollis Towns, executive editor and vice president-news, Asbury Park Press; Michael Anastasi, managing editor for sports, features and production, Salt Lake Tribune; Steve Smith, studio analyst, NBA TV; Mark Lazarus, chairman, NBC Sports Group; Garry D. Howard, editor-in-chief, Sporting News.

Cultural Tensions in the Black Community
When: 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: 115A (Convention Center)
Summary: Several issues have divided African Americans for years, including educated/uneducated, middle class/poor and urban/rural. As a result, offensive terms have been used to take aim at one’s “blackness.” Such instances have garnered national attention in the past year including ESPN analyst Jalen Rose’s “Uncle Tom” remark aimed at black Duke players in the 1990s; boxer Bernard Hopkins questioning the blackness of NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb; and Dr. Cornel West’s criticism of President Obama. In addition to closely examining these examples, we will also explore how these stories have been and should be covered by the media.
Panelists: Soledad O’Brien, correspondent, CNN; Roland S. Martin, analyst, TVOne, CNN, Essence; Dr. Argie Allen, director of clinical training programs, Drexel University; Isiah Thomas, former NBA star and college basketball coach; Greg Anthony, former NBA player and current basketball analyst; Nathaniel Normant, chair and associate professor of African American Studies, Temple University; Bill Rhoden, sports columnist, New York Times.

Sports Task Force Jam

Sixth annual Sports Task Force Scholarship Jam
When: 10 p.m. – 3:30 a.m.
Where: Whisper Night Club (1714 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103)
Summary: What are folks saying about the best party at the NABJ convention the last five years running? Check out the Facebook group.
Tickets: $15 for NABJ members, $25 for non members and $100 for VIP (limited). Buy online here:


Sports Pioneer Awards Ceremony
When: 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Where: 119A (Convention center)
Summary: More info coming on this soon.


Black Athlete Manifesto
When: 10:30 a.m. – Noon
Where: 119A (Convention center)
Summary: The Black Athlete has suddenly changed in front of our eyes. The superstars of our games are now born in the late 1980s, where they have faint memories of the Cosby Show or The Notorious B.I.G. and definitely have little concept of the Civil Rights Movement or the sacrifices of their predecessors. How do we deal with these athletes as journalists? How do we deal with those who are in the forefront of the Twitter generation, U-Stream craze and who seem to tattoo every one of their life achievements or opinions on their bodies? How do we close the generational gap and social gap between reporters and those athletes? And are these athletes more difficult to cover than those in the past?
Panelists: Kyle Draper, studio host, Comcast SportsNet New England; Jerry Brewer, columnist, Seattle Times; Stephen A. Smith, host, ESPN Radio; Mitch Richmond, former NBA player; Vinnie Goodwill, Detroit Pistons beat writer, Detroit News.

Sports Task Force Business Meeting and Elections
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Where: 118C (Convention center)

For more information on the convention hotel, the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, go to