Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

Bednarowski push for expanding diversity initiatives

By Clevis Murray
SJI Class of 2019

Time flies when you are running an organization.

For John Bednarowski, sports editor of the Marietta Daily Journal, his one-year term as the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) is nearing its end. Since that June 20th day, it has been a year of sadness, laughs and work toward the future and diversity.

Bednarowski had one goal in mind for himself: do not damage the legacy of APSE. It can safely be said that has not been done.

“Well, you know, it’s kind of hard to say. When you become APSE president, what you think of is, ‘oh God, don’t let me screw this up.’ You find out very quickly when you have a year, that goes by really fast.”

One of the reasons why his term felt like it was in acceleration mode is because he and his staff were focused on high school football from the summer to the winter. From the previews in the prime of the heat to the championship games in the cold. High school football is one of the biggest things for his paper and managing and organization while covering student-athletes was a unique experience.

Getting ready for high school football was one of the things that kind of put his mind at ease to an extent, away from the early days of his presidency with APSE. To Bednarowski’s estimation, one of the first things he had to do as president was release a statement on the Capital Gazette shooting, another small newspaper, located in Annapolis, Maryland.

“That’s not the kind of thing you want to start off, but we handled that.”

From making sure to address a delicate issue such as the shooting, Bednarowski turned his attention to another sensitive topic these days: diversity.

As president, one of his goals was to address the diversity fellowship and create a diversity foundation. The fellowship is a year-long fellowship for mid-career professionals, which aims to improve their skills for that larger role they may seek. As for the foundation, the aim of that is aid their diversity program, because, to him, diversity is important.

Such a task to implement more tools to stress diversity involves many conversations, and more questions than answers. He’s had multiple talks with others on the topic, including Todd M. Adams, the incoming APSE President.

“It’s real smooth with John,” Adams said. “John’s real good about taking into account everything that everyone around him is saying and kind of processing it and making solid decisions with that. He’s very patient with things, I’m more of a direct, ‘hey, here’s how I think things should be done.’ He’s very good about slowing things and looking at it.”

Both agreed addressing diversity is an important matter, and for Bednarowski, his goal is to get the diversity foundation up and running. For himself, the hope is to have voting commence by the APSE conference, beginning on June 16th. What makes such an endeavor difficult is finding a board of directors, creating bylaws, IRS approval, and likely other obstacles.

“It takes discipline to really make sure you’re staying on top of everything,” Bednarowski said. “I think we’ve done some good things. We’re working out getting the APSE foundation started, to aid our diversity program. Unfortunately, that’s taken longer than I would’ve hoped, but it’s all part of the process.”

Bednarowski has endured the process of preaching diversity. Will the next APSE president be able to do the same, and attempt to complete the diversity foundation? Time will tell, as it will fly by for the next president as well.