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Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer to Receive Mary Garber Pioneer Award

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 8:06 AM, under

Harrisburg, PA (Dec 11, 2007) - Mary Schmitt Boyer, a sports writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has been selected as the recipient of the Association for Women in Sports Media's 2008 Mary Garber Pioneer Award.

A longtime NBA and Olympic reporter, Schmitt Boyer (pictured left) served as AWSM president in 1993-94. “It’s important to me for [women] to know that I’ll be there for them," Schmiit Boyer says. "But I’ve considered myself more of a pilgrim than a pioneer. I can’t believe I’m that important to anyone else. I’m flabbergasted.”

This award has been given annually since 1999 to those who have distinguished themselves in the field while reflecting and advancing the values and mission of AWSM. The first award recipient was Lesley Visser, the NFL's first female beat writer and the first female commentator for “Monday Night Football.”

This year's award will be presented during AWSM's 2008 Convention, Feb 8-11 in South Florida

Past Honorees of the Award
(Source: Association for Women in Sports Media)


Julie Ward has been a deputy managing editor at USA TODAY since 1989. She joined USA TODAY as a general assignment reporter in 1984 and also has been an assignment editor for the NBA, golf, tennis, motor sports, boxing, colleges and high schools. Presently, she oversees the projects desk.

She led the USA TODAY team that won the 2002 APSE award for best news story which revealed the 302 members of Augusta National Golf Club. She headed the Associated Press Editors diversity committee for two years. In 2001, she received a mentoring award from Girls Incorporated.

Before joining USA TODAY in 1984, she was a reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat where she covered women's sports and was a columnist. One of her fondest memories is covering future Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee and watching her practice running the hurdles set among potholes on the street in the front of Lincoln High School in East St. Louis, Ill. The cinder track was down the street and not in much better condition.


Kristin Huckshorn’ journalism career came full circle when she was named deputy sports editor at The New York Times in 2003. Thirteen years earlier, she was the first female sportswriter at the San Jose Mercury News, covering high school and college sports, the NFL and the Olympics.

In between sports jobs, Huckshorn, now a senior news editor for "ESPN Reports," covered the 1992 presidential campaign, the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings, famine in Somalia and war in Bosnia for Knight Ridder. In 1994, she opened the first post-war U.S. newspaper bureau in Vietnam and covered Southeast Asia from her post in Hanoi.

An AWSM founding member and co-chair of the internship/scholarship committee for its first five years, Huckshorn lives in Manhattan with her son, Jack.


Cathy Henkel has been setting a standard of excellence as sports editor at The Seattle Times since 1990. The Times’ sports section won Associated Press Sports Editors’ vaunted Triple Crown award in 1999, 2002 and 2004. The section also has earned five APSE top-10 daily awards and two APSE awards for investigation under Henkel’s direction.

Henkel worked as a reporter and copy editor before becoming a sports editor. She began her career at The Wichita Beacon in 1966 in news, but moved to the sports side of the business in 1976 at the Eugene Register-Guard. She covered high school and college sports and also worked as a copy editor and then assistant sports editor. The Seattle Times hired her in 1987 as assistant sports editor.


Christine Brennan is one of the few female sports columnists working at a major daily newspaper. In addition to writing for USA TODAY, Brennan is a commentator for ABC News, ESPN and National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.”

She is the author of best-selling books “Inside Edge” and “Edge of Glory,” both on figure skating, and of “Best Seat in the House: A Father, a Daughter, a Journey through Sports,” a memoir that chronicles her career and her father’s profound effect on her path.

In 1985, Brennan became the first woman to cover the Washington Redskins as a staff writer for The Washington Post. She became the first full-time female sports writer at The Miami Herald in 1981. A native of Toledo, Ohio, Brennan was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in 1995. She was AWSM’s first president, elected in 1988.


Melissa Ludtke was central to a precedent-setting case in the fight for equal access to locker rooms. In 1977, then-Major League Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn prohibited Ludtke, a writer for Sports Illustrated, from interviewing players in the clubhouse during the World Series. SI publisher Time Inc. filed a lawsuit, and a U.S. federal judge ruled that male and female reporters should have equal access to the locker room.

Ludtke began her career as a freelancer with ABC Sports in the early 1970s, then became a reporter for SI and a correspondent for Time magazine. Ludtke now is the editor of Nieman Reports, a quarterly magazine published by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University that addresses issues related to the practice of journalism. She is the author of “On Our Own: Unmarried Motherhood in America,” published by Random House in 1997.


Tracy Dodds, one of the few women to have run a sports department at a major daily newspaper, is the only person to have served as president of both AWSM and the Associated Press Sports Editors.

A 1973 graduate of Indiana University, Dodds worked as a writer at the Bloomington Herald-Tribune, The Milwaukee Journal, The Houston Post and The Los Angeles Times. The athletes she has covered is a Who's Who of sports greats: Muhammad Ali, A.J. Foyt, Janet Guthrie, Wayne Gretzky, Troy Aikman, Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis.

She was an assistant sports editor at The Los Angeles Daily News and Orange County Register before being named sports editor of the Austin American Statesman. She later was associate sports editor at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland but returned to writing at the Indianapolis Star as a sports enterprise writer.


Michele Himmelberg, as an NFL beat writer in the late 1970s and early ‘80s and as AWSM’s president during the controversy over the New England Patriots’ harassment of reporter Lisa Olson in 1990, was on the front lines of the battle for equal access to locker rooms.

At Himmelberg’s first job covering the NFL, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat writer for the Fort Myers News-Press in 1979, her newspaper had to threaten a lawsuit in order for her to gain equal access. Two years later, she had moved to the Sacramento Bee, where a lawsuit was filed to win her equal access to the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room.

An AWSM founding member, Himmelberg worked as a sports writer and columnist for more than 20 years, covering professional sports and the Olympics. She began working for the Orange County Register's business section in 1995.


Claire Smith, a news editor at ESPN, was one of the first women to cover a Major League Baseball beat, in the 1980s. She withstood snubs from players and managers to eventually earn their respect for her knowledge and coverage of the game.

She worked as the New York Yankees beat writer at The Hartford Courant and later became The New York Times’ national baseball writer. She was a columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer before moving into management as an assistant sports editor. She is the proud mom of son Josh.


Lesley Visser was the NFL’s first female beat writer, the first female commentator for “Monday Night Football”, the first woman to report from the network sideline of a Super Bowl, the first female sportscaster to carry the Olympic Torch (in 2004) and the first woman to receive the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award (2006). Visser has covered every major sporting event, from Wimbledon to the Final Four to the Olympics.

Visser joined The Boston Globe as a sportswriter in 1974 and two years began covering the New England Patriots beat. She expanded her career to television sports in 1982, contributing features to CBS. She joined CBS Sports full-time in 1986.

Visser joined CBS' “NFL Today” in 1990. She moved to ABC/ESPN in 1994, contributing to “Monday Night Countdown” and “SportsCenter.” Visser became a sideline correspondent for “Monday Night Football” in 1998. She returned to CBS Sports in 2000.

Photographs courtesy of the Association for Women in Sports Media.

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