A blast from the past: former female sports editors reflect on their time at The DePaulia


Megan Bower

Megan Bower served as The DePaulia’s Assistant Sports Editor from 2010-2011.

Eleven years ago, many things looked different for The DePaulia. Oliver Purnell had recently been named DePaul’s men’s basketball head coach and the newsroom office was located in the Lincoln Park campus.

However, many things are the same. Doug Bruno is still at the helm of the women’s basketball team and I’m the first female sports editor since Cheryl Waity over a decade ago.

Now, Waity and former assistant sports editor Meghan Bower take a look back on their time at The DePaulia as the last female editors of the sports section.

As a fifth-year DePaul student, Waity was on the DePaulia staff for four years and served as the editor-in-chief in her senior year. She took over the position of sports editor in her fifth year, during the 2011-12 school year, when the staff needed someone for the position, and she enjoyed college sports enough to be willing to step into the role.

“My experience was good for the role,” Waity said. “I do love sports, I love college basketball, so it worked out fine, but I didn’t see myself going into sports ever.”

Waity never felt slighted as a woman covering sports at The DePaulia, and enjoyed working with a DePaul athletic department that had women in high positions of power. To her, the biggest issue was trying to interview basketball players who were over a foot and a half taller than her 5-foot-3 frame.

Since she was in different positions, she was not as sports-focused as other sports editors, but the experience allowed her to gain important skills in covering sports that served her well for a future in journalism.

“Getting that experience in sports was really helpful and it looked good,” Waity said, “It definitely served me well in the future because I did work at smaller community news organizations coming out of school, and in those cases, you do really need to be a jack of all trades.”

After graduating from DePaul, Waity went on to work as a community news producer before working as an editor. She is now the senior editor and designer for TCA for the Tribune Publishing Company.

Unlike Waity, Bower’s life centered around sports from an early age. She grew up in a family that loved sports, especially hockey, and she carried that love into her position on the newspaper staff.

She stepped into the role during the 2010-11 school year, where she worked with the sports editor at the time, Shaymus McLaughlin, while Waity was editor-in-chief.

“For me, it was a great way to get some kind of real-world experience,” Bower said. “And then also improving your writing and finding ways to come up with creative storylines but also that were easy to understand for a variety of audiences and a lot of other transferable skills like balancing strangers and learning how to talk to strangers.”

For any DePaulia sports editor, the basketball edition — which usually comes out a week or two before the college basketball season begins —  is the most important issue that they will put out all year and for Bower and McLaughlin, the focus of the issue was handed to them when Purnell was hired the year they were on the staff.

Bower and McLaughlin spent hours going back and forth on cover ideas before deciding to have both Purnell and Bruno on the front page of the special issue, and then had to approach the coaches and explain their ideas to them, which involved the coaches standing together and posing for the camera, which Bower led the charge in directing.

“I was always really appreciative of and impressed with how hard she worked,” McLaughlin said. “She was constantly doing stuff, constantly writing, constantly reaching out to the athletics people, players, trying to put together more stories, just always one. I don’t think there was ever any idle time with her.”

Bower’s title may have been assistant sports editor, but McLaughlin considered her to be a co-editor after all the work they put into the section together.

“With both Meghan and Cheryl, I always felt like the paper and the sports section were in good hands,” McLaughlin said. “Reliable, great judgement, always worked really hard, and I felt comfortable that if I messed up or made a mistake, one of them would catch me, which is the best feeling you can have with other editors and colleagues.”

After DePaul, Bower took her love of hockey and shifted right into the role of public relations manager for the Chicago Blackhawks, where she worked for nearly six years. Now, she works for the Chicago Bears as director of corporate communications, using the same skills she built from her time on The DePaulia staff.

“I can’t take credit for this, of course, but I was at the Blackhawks when we won [The Stanley Cup] in 2013 and 2015,” Bower said. “Being able to experience the championship is something that a lot of people, whether they’re staff or players or owners or whatever, we never get to do, so to be able to be a part of that was really amazing.”

Bower was also given the opportunity to cover the World Cup of Hockey in 2016 for the National Hockey League. At the World Cup, some of the best hockey players from around the world played for their national teams and being able to work at the event was a dream come true for the hockey lover.

While Waity and Cheryl went down different paths following their time as editors of the sports section, both have accomplished many things in their careers. They both remain appreciative of their time at The DePaulia because every late night and printed issue helped them build the skills that they needed to get where they are today.

“We had a great team with ourselves as the editors and then with the writing staff, so that was a great experience,” Bower said. “I look back on it very fondly. I actually still have all the issues we put out in a box somewhere in my house, so it was a great experience.”