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“It’s been a long time coming – too long – but I’m encouraged because I’m the first”

The Undefeated's Lisa Wilson is on track to become the first African-American woman to be APSE president

The Undefeated’s senior sports editor Lisa Wilson consults with senior researcher/sports writer Martenzie Johnson. (Lonnae O’Neal/ESPN)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last month, Lisa Wilson became the first African-American woman elected Second Vice President of the Associated Press Sports Editors.

The senior sports editor at The Undefeated, ESPN’s content platform exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture, will begin her three-year term during the annual APSE Summer Conference from June 17-20 in Nashville.

Wilson joined ESPN and The Undefeated in March 2017, after serving as the executive sports editor at The Buffalo News. There, she was the nation’s only black female sports editor at a major metropolitan daily.

Wilson discussed her APSE leadership role with Front Row:

A fellow pioneer weighs in on his mentee

Garry D. Howard, past President of the APSE (2009-10) and the first African-American to hold that position in the 40-year history of the organization, on Wilson’s election: “Lisa Wilson is more than ready to lead this organization. She will have a chance to have an impact. I am very excited about her prospects.”

What does it mean to you to be the first African-American woman elected APSE second vice president?
My election as Second Vice President of the Associated Press Sports Editors is truly one of my proudest moments. To think that there has never been a black woman voted into office, and my colleagues saw something in me that made them want to bestow that honor on me gives me an overwhelming feeling of pride and gratitude. The APSE is where I met my mentor Garry D. Howard and other veteran editors who have willingly lent their guidance and support. Now I’m the veteran editor and must do the same for other young editors and reporters. I welcome the responsibility of serving this great organization for the next three years.

In two years, I will ascend to the presidency, the first black woman to assume that role in the 40-plus year history of APSE. It’s been a long time coming – too long – but I’m encouraged because I’m the first. One of my duties will be to ensure I’m not the last.

How does your role at The Undefeated impact your leadership decisions at the APSE and vice versa?
One of my goals as an APSE officer is to do all I can to increase membership and diversity among our membership. If I succeed, there’s no way for our group to go another 40 years without a black woman in office. Working at The Undefeated has reinforced how important it is for women and journalists of color to have a seat at the table.

In my previous job at The Buffalo News, I was the only black woman on the management team. At The Undefeated, our managing editor is a black woman, two of our deputy editors are black women, our Culture, Sports, Uplift and Photo editors are black women, and our copy chief is a black woman. We don’t just have a seat at the table; our insights shape the important work we do daily.

Becoming an officer in APSE is sure to make me an even stronger leader. Our APSE membership will push me to be a stronger voice and move our organization forward.


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