When Naila-Jean Meyers was growing up, she wanted to be like sportscaster Harry Caray. She thought he had the best job in the world; he got to watch and talk about baseball all day. As the Star Tribune’s senior assistant sports editor, Meyers is living her Caray dream in print.
And in May, she became the Associated Press Sports Editors' Second Vice President. In 2023, she will move up to become APSE's fifth woman president. Meyers was surprised by her initial nomination but is excited to step into a larger leadership role within the organization.
“I was definitely surprised, to the point where I was actually in the chat on Zoom talking to another person who had just been nominated,” Meyers said. “And I heard my name and got caught on camera making a surprised face.”
Meyers, who has been at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota since January 2020, recounted her start with APSE on the phone during her vacation at her parents’ house in Missouri. Meyers became involved with APSE in February 2016 while she was working at The New York Times. Her boss, Jim Luttrell, invited her to become a judge at the winter conference. From there, she progressively became more involved in the organization.
During the virtual 2021 APSE Winter Conference in February, Meyers was surprised when Tommy Deas, the Alabama sports editor for Gannett South Region, nominated her for the position during the conference. Initially, another colleague of Meyers’ said he was going to nominate her, but Meyers wasn’t sure if she wanted to do it.
“Then, Tommy nominated me without asking,” Meyers said. “It was pretty funny.
Meyers, the only woman out of four contestants to be nominated in this cycle, took a week to decide if she was ready for the position. She decided she was. She wrote a platform that emphasized networking among journalists and providing more tools for reporters in the middle of their careers. Although APSE has tools that help younger journalists, Meyers said it lacks in providing assistance to those who are transitioning back into journalism or have been laid off. Members of APSE were then asked to read each nominee's platform and vote.
Meyers will assume her new role in August and is excited to learn the ins and outs of the organization before becoming its president in three years. Although her nomination caught her by surprise, she has been ready to assume the role since she heard her name called.
“I don't think I would have said yes, or accepted the nomination if I weren't ready to win,” Meyers said. “You either expect to win or you have to be prepared to win ... So winning was like, OK, well now we get to work.”