June 3, 2023

Naila-Jean Meyers aims to broaden APSE programming, buy-in among mid-career members in 2023-24 presidential term

Noah Furtado

With decades’ worth of sports media experience — most notably stints at the New York Times and now the Star Tribune — Naila-Jean Meyers knows the importance of having a mentor and being a mentor. 

The incoming president of the Associated Press Sports Editors has been as helpful to young reporters as anyone throughout her career. Those relationships were among the reasons Meyers was nominated, and subsequently appointed, to the APSE executive board in 2021, even though she did not have prior leadership experience in the organization. 

What got her through, though, was a willingness to work for the benefits of all — students and professionals.  

Meyers’ desire to learn didn’t stop at her graduation from Northwestern University in 2000, nor did her growth as a journalist when she joined the Times as a staff editor in 2005. With that in mind, she didn’t want APSE members to feel limited in their career progression. Surely, there is always more room to advance.

“You get to a certain point and people think that you got to this point for a reason, and you don't need any more help,” Meyers said. “And I don't think that's true.”

When Meyers’ 2023-24 presidential term officially begins at the APSE Conference in July, she will be a few years removed from a pandemic-era period of change that brought her closer with peers and past colleagues in search of answers.

She had recently moved to the Star Tribune after 15 years at the New York Times and naturally found herself having conversations to ease the lack of familiarity she felt during that transition. She intends to build a bigger platform within APSE’s wide-reaching network.

Meyers said current engagement could be better among mid-career members, who she acknowledged as an underrepresented group amid the robust programming in place for early career development and mentorship. In all, she aims to broaden resources, in part to safeguard the organization’s future.

“If you have a handful of people who are really active and really engaged, that's great but those people can't do everything,” said Meyers, who added that PSE’s longtime leaders won’t be around forever. 

Meyers credited such perspective to the two years she’s spent in office as Second and First Vice President, terms that included the tradition of twice-a-year meetings in person that she intends to continue.

 “I think she has seen everything and learned herself just from some of my trial and error,” said Jorge Rojas, outgoing APSE President.

“I have a lot of ideas: Some of them are good, some of them are easy, and some of them are not that easy,” Rojas continued. “And Naila’s been great at helping me think it through. She’s going to have a ton of ideas of her own, just seeing what the process has been.”

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