One of the benefits of having a museum that doubles as an event venue is that we get to connect with some pretty amazing organizations who use our space for special events. One such group, the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) is using our space this summer – and we thought we’d take a moment to tell you about this national association of sports people that is based right here in Winston-Salem.

History of NSMA

sports media awardsThe NSMA was started sixty-four years ago as a group which sought to develop educational opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in sports media. The organization grew up in Salisbury, North Carolina, as a North Carolina sports writer and broadcaster group but evolved into a national association with members in 49 states plus the District of Columbia. Last year, its headquarters were moved to Winston-Salem.

Membership has grown with time to its current membership level of over 1,000. While the annual awards ceremony is the highlight of the year for the NSMA, the association does many other things throughout the year including:

  • Creating internships opportunities for students
  • Starting student chapters at various colleges and universities
  • Providing educational events for members
  • Assisting members to connect with job openings
  • Facilitating peer feedback on members’ work

The annual awards event

Once a year, the NSMA has a multi-day education, networking and awards event. Members from all over the country attend – and it will be held in Winston-Salem this June. Over the course of several days, attendees will socialize, network, attend seminars and take part in awards ceremonies honoring state-level, national and hall of fame sportswriters and broadcasters.

Members nominate and elect:

  • A sportswriter and sports caster of the year from every state
  • A national sports caster of the year
  • A national sportswriter of the year
  • Hall of fame inductees, recognized for career excellence


sports media awards

Dr. Harold Pollard (center), between Bucky Dame (left) and Don Flow at 2013 Winston-Salem Open (Robert Crawford Photo)

This year, the NSMA is introducing a new award – the Annie Award – named in honor of Ann Lewallen Spencer. Spencer was the owner of Goody’s and a passionate supporter of NASCAR and UNC sports. The award will honor a sports connector within a local community. The first recipient of the Annie Award will be Dr. Harold Pollard, a local physician who worked tirelessly to bring major tennis tournaments to the Winston-Salem area. Dr. Pollard passed away late last year.

The Winston Cup Museum is one of the first stops for attendees to this year’s awards event. On Day One, the museum will host a welcome reception. The museum offers a unique backdrop for writers and broadcasters with a love of NASCAR sports history. Attendees will get to tour the museum, enjoy refreshments and network before heading over to the JDL Fast Track for a barbeque dinner.

Having lived in Winston-Salem for nearly 30 years, I’m excited to show off different parts of our city, including the Winston Cup Museum. It’s a great venue for a sports crowd who will love the NASCAR history the museum provides, and we are thrilled that Will and Christy Spencer wanted to be a part of our annual event.

Dave Goren, Executive Director of NSMA

Day Two brings a sports medicine workshop at Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine followed by a sports book festival at BookMarks. Note: this festival is open to the public, so anyone can attend, meet the authors and get their books signed. The evening festivities include dinner, awards and a panel discussion on the history of television syndication in college athletics at the newly remodeled Benton Convection Center.

On Day Three, the NSMA will host seminars geared towards younger sports media folks and an afternoon bus tour of the city of Winston-Salem. The main event will happen that evening – the 59th annual awards banquet, held at the Joel Coliseum.

By Day Four, the sports writers and casters pack up and head home. Most are ready to go back to their usual routine – with so many daily activities (including an after party following each evening’s meal), everyone is wiped out!

So keep an eye out for all of these sports figures coming to town in a couple of months. We’ll be ready to welcome them here at the museum on June 23!

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