WSMI Annual Meeting Spotlights New Production Opportunities, Future of espnW

On Monday morning, in conjunction with SVG’s League Technology Summit, more than 60 members of SVG’s Women’s Sports Media Initiative (WSMI) gathered at the New York Hilton to discuss current issues in sports production. In addition to offering two panel discussions, the WSMI annual meeting introduced to the WSMI community SVG Assistant Editor Karen Hogan, who will be taking on more WSMI responsibilities in the future.

The first panel — New Terms, New Talent, New Opportunities — examined how automation and digital technologies are changing the makeup of sports-production teams. The second, Building the espnW Brand, provided an in-depth look at ESPN’s brand platform for women.

During the New Terms, New Talent, New Opportunities discussion, panelists touched on the importance of the latest training techniques, such as inverse mentoring, and cross-training opportunities. Increased training enables current employees to expand their skill sets and saves the broadcaster or media company from having to hire someone new every time a digital opportunity arises. The panelists also discussed some of the new job titles that have surfaced in the past few years — digital media operators, social media specialists, media logistics personnel — and touched on how current specialists can transition into those roles.

The panel featured Andrea Berry, Fox Sports, SVP, broadcast operations; Bill Chapman, Turner Sports, VP, creative development and emerging technologies; Christina Mixon, NBA Entertainment, director of graphics; Patty Power, CBS Sports Network, SVP, operations and administration; and Susan Stone, MLB Network, SVP, operations and engineering.

The morning’s second discussion, Building the espnW Brand, featured Laura Gentile, VP, and Katie Richman, director of social media strategy, espnW. The two executives, who have been involved with espnW since the brand was launched, walked the audience through a timeline of the initiative’s development. They offered eight lessons learned in building the espnW brand, from recognizing that the sports world has room for espnW to finding a muse, producing once and publishing everywhere, and sharing events beyond the event itself.

WSMI is planning its next meeting, January 2012 in Los Angeles in conjunction with SVG’s Sports Entertainment Summit. For more information on WSMI, contact [email protected] or [email protected].

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