An inspirational voice among writers and editors, Claire Smith, KLN ’79, namesake and founding executive director at the Claire Smith Center for Sports Media at Temple University, received the prestigious Red Smith Award.
Presented by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE), the Red Smith Award is given annually to a writer or editor for outstanding contributions to sports journalism.
Learn more about Claire Smith, her history of being a prominent trailblazer in sports journalism and the Red Smith Award in the list below.
The Red Smith Award, named in honor of sportswriter Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith, is considered among the highest sports journalism honors in the United States. She is the sixth woman and the fourth Black journalist to win the award.
At the time, Claire Smith covered the New York Yankees for the Hartford Courant until 1987. Previously, she wrote for the Bucks County Courier Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
She has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize twice.
Despite this, she regards the 2023 Red Smith as the “Mount Olympus” of sports writers. Speaking with the Sports Journalism Institute, she stated, “As a baseball writer, you kind of grow into the job, and you think of the possibilities. What I never ever dreamed of was being honored with the Red Smith award because that’s the Mount Olympus in terms of the writers who’ve received it.”
In 2016, she was named the first female winner of the Baseball Writers Associate of Americas J.G. Spink Award for 2017. She received that award at the July Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“Claire Smith,…broke barriers so girls like me could dream of covering baseball…” wrote National League executive editor for Major League Baseball, Jenifer Langosch Segal.
In a profile produced for the New York Times, Smith’s brother, Hawthorne, noted that “It’s important that she is a woman and a person of color, but that’s not why she’s here. She’s here for her excellence.”
Claire Smith is nothing short of a prominent figure in journalism and the sports world. The obstacles she has overcome have paved the way for journalists and society. Klein College and the Claire Smith Center for Sports Media are proud to have such an accomplished individual to help shape the future of tomorrow.