UA-76843172-1

Janet Simon: first female sports editor

Photo courtesy of Janet Simon in The Snapper Office.

Janet Simon ’65

I was a member of the Snapper staff between 1961 and 1965, when Professor Earle Hite was the advisor.  I started as a sports writer, then was named Women’s Sports Editor, and eventually became the first woman to hold the position of Sports Editor for all sports, both men’s and women’s.  In addition to writing game summaries and sports news and features, as Sports Editor, I also wrote the weekly “Pirates’ Den” column of sports commentary.
During that time period, two 1960’s MSC graduates and Snapper sports writers and editors attained dream jobs in the professional sports world.  Larry Shenk was named public relations director of the Philadelphia Phillies and Phil Itzoe was hired as the assistant public relations man for the Baltimore Orioles.
One of the highlights of my Snapper Sports Editor tenure occurred through these connections.  Phil Itzoe secured tickets for Earle Hite and several Snapper staffers to attend a Sunday afternoon Orioles baseball game.  As sports editor, I was given the opportunity to interview any Oriole player of my choice for a feature story in the Snapper.  I had grown up in a baseball crazy family, and my childhood hero was Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts, who by then in the late years of his career was pitching for the Orioles.  Although there certainly were bigger current Oriole stars on the roster, I didn’t think twice about my choice—Robin Roberts, future Hall of Famer.
However, this was the mid-1960’s, and women were not yet allowed in baseball locker rooms.  So Phil Itzoe arranged for Robin Roberts to meet me in the Orioles board room, where I met my longtime hero, got my story, and an autographed photo.
I held another distinction on the Snapper staff besides first woman sports editor.  The Snapper was published weekly, and the night before publication, a group of staffers and Earle Hite would go to the printer’s in Lancaster to do final editing, headline writing, and copy reading.  The paper in that era was set in movable type and then printed.  I still possess my end of year Snapper banquet award of a packet of movable type tied in red and white ribbons for the “Hellbox Award” given to the staffer who contributed the most unused type to the “Hellbox” for discarded type from stories which were too long to fit in the allotted space.  I believe I won that award two years in a row.  Brevity was never one of my strong points as a reporter!!
My time spent working on the Snapper staff was one of the highlights of my four years at Millersville.  Although I never went into professional journalism, I have maintained my love of writing by reporting news for the daily paper of my graduate university, editing newsletters for several organizations including one currently via desktop online publishing, and writing published journal articles.