Before his term as Associated Press Sports Editors president has even begun, Gary Potosky has started thinking about his successors.
A longtime journalist, Potosky understands the industry’s constant evolution and the need to prepare for what’s next. Now, more than 30 years into his career, he’s bringing that unmatched ability to anticipate to his role at APSE.
Set to begin his presidency at APSE’s summer conference in mid-August, Potosky will lead the organization through its present-day challenges with aplomb, and he’ll tackle its most critical future challenges, too.
From the very beginning, Potosky has thrived in every facet of sports journalism, with his experience running the gamut from layout design to writing and editing. After working for several small newspapers in his home state of New Jersey, Potosky moved to The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he currently works as sports editor.
Though Potosky has always shined as a writer and editor — he’s covered professional sporting events and Monmouth County’s dubious touch-tone tee-time reservation system with the same level of excitement — his focus during his term as APSE president will be shaping and nurturing journalism’s next generation of leaders.
“I think the most important part of the future of APSE and the future of the industry is to build the next generation of leadership,” Potosky said. “It’s important to many in my situation and my level of experience that once our time starts to pass — and it will — there's another group [of leaders] behind us.”
Still, a few weeks out from the start of his term, Potosky has already identified concrete ways to hone APSE’s mentorship structure. His initial focus will be to optimize APSE’s student chapters and clarify their benefits and functions within the organization.
“We are in the beginning stages of building and rebuilding our student chapter base,” Potosky said in an email. “Individual students can join, and we want them involved too. But more than anything, we want young pros to be involved, so when their time comes to lead, they're ready.”
For those who know him well and have experienced his warmth and authenticity firsthand, there’s no doubt Potosky is the right person to develop budding journalists. Jane McManus, the Director of the Center for Sports Communication at Marist College and Potosky’s colleague through APSE, has long admired Potosky’s ability to make connections and has tried to emulate his skills.
“My sense is that he really recognizes when somebody might feel like they’re out of place in this business, and he wants to find a place for them,” McManus said. “He wants to make sure they're aware there is a place for them. It's just something that I admire, and I've tried to kind of model some of my own practices on what he's done.”
Along with training the next generation of APSE’s leaders, Potosky aims to push APSE’s digital presence into the future too. He’s already begun developing plans to transform the organization into a “digital leadership powerhouse” that serves as a guide for other media organizations.
“We will build APSE into a digital powerhouse by growing as a solutions warehouse for newspapers and websites big and small — mentorship, year-long digital solutions portal, pushing the digital foundation of our contest, networking and leading by example,” Potosky explained in an email.
Lisa Wilson, the outgoing APSE president who in 2020 became the first Black woman to captain the organization, knows Potosky will smoothly transition into his role as president and anticipates shrewd improvements.
Wilson explained that during Potosky’s term as first vice president, he revamped the APSE contest to expand when digital entries could be submitted and judged, ensuring that contestants could send in their best work from any point throughout the year. He also partnered with Wilson to expand APSE’s mentorship program from four mentor-mentee pairings to six mentor-mentee pairings.
“I really want to credit Gary with just being an incredible partner in my presidency,” Wilson said. “He’s just been wonderful to work with, and what he did with our contests this year, I have to give him so much credit for that. I just can't imagine where he'll take things as president.”
As APSE enters a transitional period, adjusting from virtual conferences and communication back to its pre-pandemic structure, Potosky is poised to make the organization an example of excellence in digital media and mentorship. Looking to the future, he’ll use his term as president to strengthen APSE long after he’s gone.
“There has to be a next-generation behind me that continues to further that necessary growth, that necessary adaptability and necessary chase of being valued, valuable, important,” Potosky said. “We can't have a generation of leadership coming up behind us that isn't prepared and isn't excited and anxious to meet those challenges. And to keep this industry healthy. And to keep our organization healthy.”