Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Heading the AP Sports Family: Terry Taylor Is the First Woman Sports Editor at the Associated Press

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Heading the AP Sports Family: Terry Taylor Is the First Woman Sports Editor at the Associated Press

Article excerpt

IN THE TIGHT but worldwide family of the Associated Press, they call them "dream sheets," the blue forms that the wire service sends annually to all personnel asking where they would like to be assigned.

When Terry Taylor got her form in 1980, she was night supervisor of the Philadelphia news bureau.

"I checked the box for 'New York sports,' thinking nobody would look at it and forgot it," she said.

Several weeks later, Taylor received a call from AP headquarters in New York City inviting her to join the sports staff there.

"At that time, I was into full-time orthodontics," she said. "I couldn't see paying for a New York apartment and paying for my dental work. I was cautious. I was afraid I'd be living on spaghetti in New York. New York [headquarters officials] said to wait a year and let them know when I was ready," she said.

Her dental work completed in 1981, Taylor accepted the New York invitation. In October 1992, she became the AP's first female sports editor, filling the slot of Darryl Christian, who was named AP managing editor.

Taylor was one of five deputy sports editors before she was promoted. She had left the wire service in December 1990 to become an assistant sports editor of the New York Times but returned in September 1991.

"I knew I had a chance when I was a deputy sports editor," she said. "But I went to the Times. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to add another dimension. They're wonderful people who work there. A marvelous place and I've got some very good friends there.

"It was good for me. I knew I didn't belong there but belonged to the AP, the backbone of journalism. Get the news, verify it and send it out. For most of my career, that's what I've done," she continued.

Taylor has overall direction of international sports coverage for the AP. She has three assistants in the United States plus Steve Wilson, sports editor in London, who is responsible for European coverage.

The AP is the world's largest distributor of sports news. Its 100 designated sportswriters concentrate almost exclusively on sports, although in a few bureaus, they also do some general news work. The wire service has an international staff of 2,374, including more than 1,800 employees in news and photos. …

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