Industry Vets Share Knowledge at NSMA's Convergence Summit


More than 30 sports media industry veterans shared a wealth of knowledge over NSMA's two-day Sports Media Convergence Summit, on June 26-27 in Winston-Salem, NC. The Summit seminars and panels are targeted toward students and young professionals but are considered continuing education by older practitioners as well.

On the 26th, the four seminars were:

  • Small Market Sports Coverage - Why it's important and how to prepare, with presenters Gary Laing (2021 Delaware Sportscaster of the Year) and Maurice Patton (2021 Tennessee Sportswriter of the Year);
  • Writing Feature Stories - Challenges in writing in-depth profiles and finding outside-the-box enterprise stories, with presenters Keith Sargeant (2021 New Jersey co-Sportswriter of the Year) and Geoff Hobson (2021 Ohio co-Sportswriter of the Year);
  • It's Not What or Who You Know, It's Who Knows You - Networking the right way to build and extend your network, with panelists Wes Durham (11-time Georgia Sportscaster of the Year), Paul Keels (5-time Ohio Sportscaster of the Year), and Matt Lepay (10-time Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year);
  • Social Media in Sports - How to use social media to promote your stories and engage your audience, with presenters Kendrick Haskins (2021 Kentucky co-Sportscaster of the Year) and AJ McCord (2021 Oregon Sportscaster of the Year).

On the 27th, the Summit seminars and panels ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

  • Sports Columns - The challenge of delivering interesting stories, with presenter Bob Glauber (2021 New York co-Sportswriter of the Year);
  • Station Navigation - What happens when you're a team play-by-play announcer and your station's talk shows criticize the team? How do you walk the tightrope?, with presenter Bob Socci (2021 Massachusetts Sportscaster of the Year);
  • Before You go Live - Preparation is key before you hit the air, with panelists Keels and Andy Burcham (2021 Alabama Sportscaster of the Year);
  • Caught on the Web - Navigating away from legacy media onto the web by creating your own site, with panelists Jason Caldwell (2021 Alabama Sportswriter of the Year) and B.J. Rains (3-time Idaho Sportswriter of the Year);
  • Covering a Beat - Adapting your beat writing in a Zoom-filled world, with Donna Ditota (2021 New York co-Sportswriter of the Year) and Joe Person (2021 North Carolina co-Sportswriter of the Year);
  • The Real Inside Story - Tips, trick, and tales from hosting a studio show, with presenter Ernie Johnson (2021 National co-Sportscaster of the Year);
  • Building Your Brand - How college students and young professionals can market their work and themselves to increase their audience, with presenters Kendrick Haskins (2021 Kentucky co-Sportscaster of the Year), Morey Hershgordon (2021 Rhode Island co-Sportscaster of the Year), and Zach Mackey (2021 Montana Sportscaster of the Year);
  • Making Your Own Breaks - How to find the job you want even if it doesn't exist, and finding the reps when experience is required, with panelists John Nicholson (director emeritus of Syracuse University's Newhouse Sports Media Center and Barry Gresham (assistant professor, Middle Tennessee State University);
  • Different World - In our techno-driven 24-hour news cycle, what journalism still matters and why, with Hall of Fame panelists Jackie MacMullan, Curry Kirkpatrick, Lesley Visser, and Bob Ryan;
  • Keeping Radio and Podcasts Fun, with panelists Adam Gold (2021 North Carolina co-Sportscaster of the Year) and Adam Witten (Learfield VP of Broadcast Operations);
  • Diversity in Sports Media - Where are we? How far have we come? How do we make it better, with moderator Tom Boman (Learfield VP of Broadcast Operations) and panelists Chris Lewis (2021 Idaho co-Sportscaster of the Year), Kate Scott (2021 California Sportscaster of the Year), Brittany Cooper (2021 Idaho co-Sportscaster of the Year), and Dominick Petrillo (blind freelance journalist).

Video of the seminars and panels can be found here.

In addition, the following provided feedback on attendees' demo reels:

  • Jim Paschke (2021 Wisconsin co-Sportscaster of the Year);
  • Steve Holman (2021 Georgia Sportscaster of the Year);
  • John Nicholson, (Dir. Emeritus, Newhouse Sports Media Center, Syracuse University);
  • Jon Chelesnik (Sportscasters Talent Agency of America, CEO);
  • Fred Cowgill (2021 Kentucky co-Sportscaster of the Year);
  • José Pañeda (2021 Florida co-Sportscaster of the Year);
  • David Steele (2021 Florida co-Sportscaster of the Year);
  • Marc Zumoff (2021 Pennsylvania Sportscaster of the Year);
  • Matt Lepay (2021 Wisconsin co-Sportscaster of the Year).

The NSMA thanks all of these volunteers for helping us fulfill our mission to educate and mentor students and young professionals! Thanks also to our room moderators Matt Krause and Daron Vaught for their assistance in making everything run as smoothly as possible.

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