Sports Task Force programming for 2012 NABJ convention and career fair in New Orleans


Sports Task Force Professional Development Breakfast (7:30 to 9 a.m.)
Powered by ESPN, join the NABJ Sports Task Force for its annual mentorship breakfast, where aspiring journalists are paired with professional mentors from broadcast, print and online newsrooms. Moderator: Michael Smith, ESPN Talent; Presenter: Jemele Hill, ESPN Talent; Featured Speaker: Stan Verrett, ESPN SportsCenter Anchor. Location: NOHR Napoleon Ballroom (3rd Floor).

Interactive Session I (12:15 to 1:30 p.m.)

A “Brand” New You: Cut Through The Media Clutter and Make Your Mark!
Creating your own journalist brand is a must these days, as we all work to differentiate ourselves from the news/blogger crowd. Having your own brand can boost your profile at your current job, lead you to your next job or even help you create your own entrepreneurial Website or blog. This panel will offer tips, tricks, tools and techniques to help you create your own brand and take it to the next level. Presenters: Natalie McNeal, Personal Finance Journalist/Blogger/Speaker; Bomani Jones, Sports Personality, Contributor, and ESPN’s “Around the Horn;” Marcus Osborne, Founder & Podcaster/Blogger, Straight Male Friend; Corynne L. Corbett, Beauty Director, Essence; Benet Wilson, Founder,, Freelance Aviation/Travel, Journalist, Director of Media Relations, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Interactive Session II (3:45 to 5 p.m.)

Faces Behind the Lens: The Unseen Sports Jobs
Sports fans are familiar with the well-known, on-air personalities. But most people don’t see the people behind the camera – the producers, directors, editors, talent bookers and publicists calling the shots. This session will feature a group of professionals who will provide an overview of the sports jobs you should know and what it takes to succeed in these positions. Presenters: Rashan Ali, Social Media Correspondent, NBA TV; Galen Gordon, Coordinating Producer, ESPN; Harold Bryant, Executive Producer and Vice President, Production, CBS Sports; Drew Watkins, Creative Director, Turner Sports; Tony Wyllie, Senior Vice President, Communications, Washington Redskins.


Interactive Session III (9 to 10:15 a.m.)

No sports oriented session.

Interactive Session IV (3:30 to 4:45 p.m.)

From the Playing Field to The Press Box
Professional athletes are accustomed to answering – and sometimes dodging – the tough questions. What is it like leaving the game and being on the other side – now being paid to publicly constructively criticize others? This workshop features those who have made the switch. Presenters: LaVar Arrington, Sports Radio Host, WJFK FM, former NFL Player; Jim Rice, Baseball Analyst, Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee; LaChina Robinson, WNBA Analyst, NBA TV; Masai Ujiri, General Manager, Denver Nuggets; Michael Smith, Senior Writer, ESPN.

A Brand New Game: 40 Years since Title IX
Before 1970, women were essentially stonewalled in the sports world, even moreso than in some other facets of society. In 1972, Title IX came along and helped advance women dramatically in the sports arena. In this panel, pioneers and beneficiaries of Title IX discuss the changing landscape as well as the obstacles that remain. Presenters: Lisa Salters, Reporter, E:60, Correspondent, ESPN; Laurel Richie, President, WNBA; Graham Watson, Sports Blogs Editor, Yahoo!; Paula Madison, Owner, Los Angeles Sparks.

Sports Pioneer Awards ceremony (6 to 7:30 p.m.)
Powered by the NFL, Fox Sports, NASCAR, the NBA, and NFL Players Association. Location: Grand Salon B.

Sports Task Force Jam (10 p.m. to 3 a.m.)
The Annual Sports Task Force Scholarship Jam is a special fundraising event. Come out and enjoy music and dancing for a good cause. Proceeds from the party go to benefit NABJ’s Larry Whiteside Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships to help aspiring journalists; proceeds also support general funds for NABJ and the Sports Task Force.This event is hosted by New Orleans’ own Michael Smith and Stan Verrett. DJ Limelight and a New  Orleans deejay will be spinning. More on the Sports Task Force Jam.


NABJ Golf tournament (7:30 to 10:15 a.m.)
This year the NABJ Celebrity Golf Tournament will take place in the home of New Orleans’ first PGA tournament and the South’s premier golf destination Lakewood Golf Club. Hosted By: Stan Verrett of ESPN and former professional football player Kordell Stewart. Location: Lakewood Golf Club, 4801 General Degaulle Drive, New Orleans, LA 70131.

Interactive session V (10:15 to 11:30 a.m.)

The Art of the Hustle
This financial seminar for young journalists just starting out is designed to offer a reality check. Graduating is scary, but it’s even scarier when you don’t know the source of your next dollar. Young journalists need to know how to work a side hustle and how to invest early. They also need to know how to budget, how to invest and how to save. This panel targets graduating seniors, unemployed young journalists and recently employed graduates. Presenters: Keith Reed, Senior Editor, ESPN The Magazine; Ashleigh L. Atwell, Student, Georgia State University; Marcus Vanderberg, Yahoo! Sports.

Interactive session VI (11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

New Media, Old Problems
There has been tremendous growth in the blogosphere and at traditional new media sites, such as ESPN, Fox, Yahoo, and NBC-Comcast. Yet despite the vast opportunities, the number of African-American sports journalists in new media remains frighteningly low. The Big Lead and Deadspin have become immensely popular sports pop culture sites, yet neither employs an African-American blogger. Panelists will discuss the lack of diversity and the reasons behind it and the role of content in the lack of diversity. The session also will offer solutions for hiring companies and black journalists. Presenters: Jemele Hill, Columnist/Television Personality,; AJ Daulerio, Editor-in-Chief, Gawker; Bomani Jones, Sports Personality, Contributor, and ESPN’s “Around the Horn;” Don Povia, Creator,; Graham Watson, Blog Contributor, Y! Sports.

NABJ Sports Task Force business meeting (2 to 3 p.m.)
Come meet the members of the Sports Task Force board and find out about what the NABJ Sports task force has been up to the previous year and what’s ahead. Location: Compass.