From the Editor
he 2012 APME Nashville conference in September was a success by almost every measure: Good attendance, great facility, compelling programming and a terrific exchange of ideas and dialogue. Our fall edition of APME News covers the highlights from our time in Music City. Our thanks to the student journalists from Middle Tennessee State University, whose coverage of our conference makes up the bulk of our edition. I teach journalism at MTSU, so please forgive me this indulgence: I was very proud of the work put forward by our students.
I hope you’ve noticed the new design for APME News. As an association of multiplatform editors, media executives and journalism educators, we respect the power and value of print, particularly when delivered in a compelling format. Please also visit our association’s website, apme.com, as it will be the place where we begin or conclude our topics of conversation. You can find more standing features from APME News, in print and online, coming next year.
inside Fall 2012
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The President’s Corner/Brad Dennison: Whatever is next, APME is here The winds of change: Letters from two journalists in Hurricane Sandy Tips from the top: Pulitzer panel helps kick off APME Nashville conference Q&A with Pulitzer Prize winner Sara Ganim Lessons from Aurora: Panel explores mental health in covering tragedies Social studies: Social media panel narrows strategies for attendees By the tweets: Up close and personal at APME Social Media Day Unleashing your watchdog: Pulitzer winner talks “quantifying” in reporting Great Ideas: APME features a collection of the industry’s best and brightest Innovators of the Year: A look at APME’s 6th annual award winners Gary Pruitt: New AP chief stresses news and business cooperation Member Showcase: Photos of the Month winners are honored Feature Photography winner: David Guttenfelder’s Daily Life in North Korea News Photography winner: Petros Giannakouris’s Crisis in Greece Covering the courts: Seigenthaler News Service debuts at APME Right on track: APME launches “NewsTrain10” giving campaign
ABOUT THE COVER
Robert Connolly, left, embraces his wife Laura as they survey the remains of the home owned by her parents that burned to the ground in the Breezy Point section of New York, Tuesday, Oct. 30. More than 50 homes were destroyed in the fire which swept through the oceanfront community during superstorm Sandy.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Adjunct Professor of Journalism Middle Tennessee State University Andrew.Oppmann@mtsu.edu DESIGNER
APME News is the quarterly magazine of the Associated Press Media Editors, a professional, non-profit organization founded in 1933 in French Lick, Ind. Its members include senior editors and leaders from news operations in the United States and Canada that are affiliated with The Associated Press, including more than 1,400 newspapers and online sites and about 2,000 broadcast outlets. The group also includes college journalism educators and college student media editors. APME works with AP to support and recognize journalism excellence and the First Amendment. To learn more about APME’s programs and activities, visit apme.com.
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The President’s Corner
Whatever is next, APME is here
“ ... APME has
managed to stay relevant through
this dizzying era of transformation. Even embraced it. It’s no accident,
but rather a testament to the
PME must be doing something right. NewsTrain went 3-for-3 in selling out venues in Miami, Phoenix and Toronto, with average attendance of more than 100. Then September’s annual convention at The First Amendment Center in Nashville was yet another sellout. I definitely like batting 1.000.
More importantly, I have always liked APME’s propensity for finding ways to bring training
and information to its members. And clearly, APME is where journalists are turning as they
work hard to navigate the daily challenges of today’s evolving media landscape. I believe that’s because APME has evolved with it. Think about it: We will be celebrating APME’s 80th anniversary and NewsTrain’s 10th anniversary in 2013. Now think of all that has changed since just 10 years ago. Social networking behemoth Facebook didn’t launch until 2004. We weren’t Tweeting for three more years. The advent of metered paywalls, the proliferation of smartphones, the introduction of tablets and the ensuing explosion in market demand ... Well, we are all well aware it’s a list that goes on and on. And on. Yet APME has managed to stay relevant through this dizzying era of transformation. Even
leadership of this
embraced it. It’s no accident, but rather a testament to the leadership of this organization
through the years, the ongoing support of our partner, The Associated Press, and a never-
through the years ...
ending desire and commitment to stay ahead of the curve. As you read this issue of APME News, which serves as an overview of our annual convention, I think you will see what I mean. From the opening panel of Pulitzer Prize winners to the closing day dedicated to social media, the convention was end-to-end relevance. I am proud to be leading APME as we enter our 80th year as an organization and I am equally proud of our marquee program, NewsTrain, celebrating its 10th year. None of us can be entirely sure what the new year may hold in the form of journalism game-changers, but I can assure you that APME will be there to help you with it. n APME President Brad Dennison is vice president of publishing (large daily division) for GateHouse Media. Reach him at email@example.com.
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Brian Hajeski, 41, of Brick, N.J., reacts after looking at debris of a home that washed up on to the Mantoloking Bridge the morning after superstorm Sandy rolled through, Tuesday, Oct. 30, in Mantoloking, N.J. Sandy, the storm that made landfall on Monday, Oct. 29, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. AP PHOTO/ JULIO CORTEZ
The winds of change
On the evening of Oct. 29, at just about 8 p.m., Hurricane Sandy made landfall a few miles southwest of Atlantic City, N.J. The massive superstorm,
the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, affected states from Florida to New England, causing billions in damages. This edition of APME News was in production when Sandy arrived, so we paused for a moment and reordered our pages to include these dispatches
and photos from two journalists in the thick of the storm: former APME President Hollis Towns, editor of The Asbury Park (N.J.) Press and APP.com, and Dennis Waszak Jr., New York Jets beat writer for The Associated Press. We invite additional dispatches from other APME-member news operations for inclusion in the next issue of APME News magazine or online at APME.com â€“ or both. Editors can send a 200- to 300-word letter and other materials to Andrew.Oppmann@mtsu.edu.
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Hollis R. Towns
In catastrophe, a lifeline for readers
he minute we saw the forecast that Hurricane Sandy was forming in the Atlantic and would develop into “Franken-storm” just in time for Halloween, the staff of the Asbury Park Press jumped into action. Last August, we were walloped by Hurricane Irene. While we did a lot of planning and covered the story, no one believed Irene would do much damage. Well it did, and this time we were ready for Sandy. We quickly organized our newsroom into 24-hour shifts, and stationed reporters and photographers strategically in areas prone to flooding and damage. We laid out a plan that was simple and direct: “This is a digital story today and a print story tomorrow.” When Sandy’s fury began to toss homes into the sea and swallow entire towns, our reporters and photographers chronicled the devastation with a combination of awe and disbelief. But another thing happened as Sandy rearranged the Jersey Shore. She completed the transformation of our newsroom from a print operation where staffers proudly celebrated the ink that flowed in their veins to one where the immediacy of digital beckoned a new and exciting future. We all believed we were digitally savvy before Sandy, but we took those basics to new levels. I was amazed at the around-the-clock tweeting and Facebook postings that my staff hammered out. I was impressed with the more than 200 iPhone videos they created and edited from the field as the storm raged. Some would learn later that their own homes were destroyed. Yet, they kept reporting and updating and tweeting and shooting video through it all. APP.com, its mobile and tablet apps, became the lifeline for readers, at least for those with generators.
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Power was knocked out to a region of more than 1.2 million people. Although many papers could not be delivered because of the downed trees and power lines, traffic to our digital sites shattered records, with video views up 1,500 percent and page views up 500 percent. Our Facebook likes and shares exploded each day. Our Twitter followers doubled. In the many weeks and months ahead, I have no doubt that the wrath Sandy visited upon us will only make the proud and hardy souls here even more determined to rebuild. After all, Sandy didn’t just ransack a coastline, she changed the Jersey Shore. In her destruction, she wiped away some history – and even some baggage, but she also ushered in a promising new future. Hollis R. Towns, an APME past president, is editor and vice president for news of the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press.
AP PHOTO/JULIO CORTEZ
By Dennis Waszak The Associated Press
Hurricane Sandy brings nightmare to AP sports writer’s dream house
EW YORK (AP) - I was the first to cry. My wife, Daria, urged me to stop, if only for the sake of Not my wife. Not our three kids. our kids. I ran up the stairs toward the living room, strugI was standing in our pitch-black basement gling to compose myself. Behind me, all the while, the as water streamed through the broken windows sludge kept rising. At 9:16 p.m., I texted my sister again: like a waterfall. A bathtub drain gurgled, the "The basement is completely covered in raw sewage. It's slimy sewage quickly pooling in an ominous mess. Just eight destroyed." weeks after we'd bought our dream Some 10 hours earlier, I was on a conhouse - three bedrooms, big kitchen, ference call with New York Jets coach Rex pool, white fence and a finished baseRyan, hearing him describe the chalment - Hurricane Sandy was ripping it lenges his disappointing team still faced. apart with a fury that was hard to comNow I was swept up in the biggest natuprehend, along with the rest of our ral disaster to hit the New York area in Staten Island neighborhood. decades, wondering how to protect my At 9 p.m. Monday, I sent my sister family. Christina a text message saying our It's funny the places your mind wanAP PHOTO basement was still dry. It didn't take long ders sometimes, even in moments of crifor that to change. The man cave I could- This June 2012 photo taken from sis. So the fact that my mother's name is Facebook shows AP sports writer n't wait to show off to buddies, the one Sandy was at least good for a rueful Dennis Waszak Jr., his wife, Daria, and smile. Even she can't believe now how I'd spent hours working on, was fast their children. Waszak and his family being covered in rancid brown muck, much death and destruction will be moved into their Staten Island “dream beginning with what was once a white attached to it for, well, forever. house” just weeks before Superstorm carpet. Watching it methodically swallow Our neighborhood in the Eltingville Sandy devastated parts of the New up the mementos that took us a lifetime section of Staten Island was designated a York City borough. to gather, I lost it. Zone C area, at very low risk for evacuaFamily photos, clothes, thousands of CDs, furniture. tion during a storm. That's why so few of us were alarmed Thirty years of Topps baseball cards my dad gave me each earlier in the day, when the water from a creek that was part and every Christmas. A copy of nearly every story I'd ever of a planned park poured out onto Arthur Kill Road and up written - as a budding sports reporter at Xaverian High our street at high tide. We thought that would be the worst School in Brooklyn, from the Super Bowl and World Series, of it. Then the wind began whipping up, right around during 16-plus years with The Associated Press - all gone. >> Please see WASZAK, Page 34
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APME Nashville kicks off with all-star Pulitzer panel
Tips from the top
By Becca Andrews
Middle Tennessee State University
n all-star panel of Pulitzer Prize winners kicked off the first day of the APME Nashville conference, telling attendees to get creative in their reporting and in their newsrooms and that the support of good editors is essential. Michael Berens of The Seattle Times, Sue Snyder of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Katherine Lee of The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News, Sara Ganim of the Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News and Eileen Sullivan of The Associated Press spoke about their reporting processes in their recent Pulitzer Prize-winning stories. They also described the frustrations they faced and the ever-changing pace of the industry. The four journalists on the Sept. 19 panel were Michael Berens Katherine Lee (left), Sara Ganim, Eileen Sullivan and Bob Heisse were among hailed as leaders in their of the Seattle the participants of the Pulitzer panel at the APME Nashville conference. field. Each said this has Times provides been a good year for jourwatchdog tips spent on their projects, their work cannot be measured by a nalism – despite the economic uncery Page 16 y time card. tainty surrounding the industry. In Lee’s newsroom at The Tuscaloosa News, she and her “My friends and I would say this has staff were literally living out of the newsroom to cover the been a great year,” Berens said. “There are maybe fewer peodevastation caused by the tornadoes. Photographers and ple dedicated to it, but more papers dedicated to watchdog videographers risked their lives during the tornado to capthan ever before.” ture it on film. Berens added that newspapers are looking for unique conGanim said she used to sleep with a police scanner next to tent, and watchdog journalism is a good way to ensure they her bed, and was “obsessed” with her beat, particularly when get it. she began at the Centre Daily Times in College Park, Pa. just The necessity of multimedia content also found its way out of college. into the conversation. Sullivan’s work had her “drawing circles” in an attempt to “[The tornado story] had to be told in video,” Lee said. find sources who would go on the record about the New York Synder and her editor referred to security videos for the Police Department’s counterterrorism program. school violence trend story as “the holy grail,” and the video Snyder was a beat reporter thrown onto an investigative brought the Inquirer’s website national attention. team because of her expertise in her area. Ganim advised that multimedia for the sake of multimedia Possibly the most tangible reward for their work is the posis not a good thing. itive reader response, the panel said. “It’s great, but you have to know when to use it,” Gamin Lee said one morning she received a phone call from a said, after she emphasized the importance of convergence woman who told her, “My house isn’t here, but my paper is.” and multimedia. >> Continued on next page The group made it clear that a lot of time and energy were
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By Becca Andrews Middle Tennessee State University
with Pulitzer winner Sara Ganim
How did you know you wanted to go into journalism? Actually, I got into journalism as a 15-year-old in high school. My newspaper in my home town of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had a teen program. My first story that was not on the teen section page was about a girl who had cancer, and was possibly going to lose her leg, so I interviewed her before she had her surgery and saw the effect that a story that was really about something really bad, I saw the good effect that it had. When that story ran, people were holding fundraisers, complete strangers were giving her money, giving her support so that when she did lose her leg, she had a system built up that was nonexistent before the story ran. And it just really brought attention and awareness and I saw all the effects of that. That combined with being in a newsroom and that feeling – you get the bug, you either have it or you don’t. And I totally caught the bug and couldn’t wait to make that a part of my life.
Do you think your age has been a disadvantage? I don’t really know how to answer that. You know, I’ve always been really careful about where
I work and who I work for. And my first job, there were six reporters, I was one of them. We were doing everything, but I learned so much from that. If my first job had been at The Philadelphia Inquirer, I would have been doing obits, or the calendar even. Even if I had gotten a tip like this, I would have never been given that story at such a big paper. Working at a small paper that no one knows the name of making no money, it was an advantage in that respect. I was able to move up in four years working for Bob (Heisse). I had those resources, but I also had the experience, so people respected me more.
Do you ever get discouraged, hitting brick wall after brick wall in reporting, trying to get sources to go on the record? Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s normal to feel that sense of discouragement, but you have to find that motivation in there, because you might hit 20 brick walls, but number 21 might be the one. If you don’t knock on the door, you’re never going to get that story. And so, I still get the knot in my stomach before I knock on people’s doors. You know, you don’t want to do it, but you have to do it. n
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The work done via Twitter by The Tuscaloosa News was also followed closely by locals trying to pick up the pieces, and their Google Doc they put together as a community bulletin board helped readers find loved ones. The National Guard also used staff tweets during the state of emergency. Berens saw social change come about from his work when the state of Washington reversed its position of the drug methadone from a first-choice painkiller to a last resort. He also heard how the piece affected the lives of the victims’ families – particularly the mother of victim Angeline Burrell
Pulitzer winner Sara Ganim, left, received the APME President’s Award from her former boss, 2011-12 President Bob Heisse. They worked together at the Centre Daily Times in Pennsylvania.
– who came and spoke at The Seattle Times’ Pulitzer celebration. “That’s the meaning of what we do,” he said. Ganim’s coverage of the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State saw healing in the lives of victims of sexual assault, even from those not directly connected with the story. The newsrooms recognized by the Pulitzer Prize generally experienced a boost in spirits that had been exhausted by the long hours, little pay and staff cuts that have come with the recent state of the economy. “We really needed the lift,” Snyder said. “There’s still a lot of challenges, but I’m still hopeful.” n
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APME NEWS The impact of covering tragic events - like the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. was the subject of an APME Nashville conference panel.
L E S S O N S F RO M
APME panel provides look at mental health after theater tragedy By Alex Hubbard Middle Tennessee State University
or every disaster, there is a journalist who must cover it – and dealing with those after effects was the subject of an APME Nashville conference panel. “We heard (earlier at the conference) from a very inspiring Pulitzer panel about how to do journalism,” said moderator Carole Tarrant of The Roanoke (Va.) Times. “The flip side of that is how to take care of those people who do that.” The Sept. 19 “Lessons from Aurora” panel featured three editors who managed coverage of the Aurora, Colo., theater
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shooting, along with former executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Though each editor viewed the event from a different vantage point, they were left with a common problem: how to manage their reporters in order to ensure quality work and maximum personal health. Chris Clark, an Associated Press news editor from Kansas City, inherited one of the toughest tasks when he flew in to Denver to relieve Jim Anderson, the news editor in Denver, who had worked for an uninterrupted month as >> Continued on next page
much of the West experienced wildfires. Clark had commanded a newsroom in a time of disaster before, when a tornado struck Joplin, Mo. But this was something completely different. “I was this interloper that had to do things, and so I did kind of the same thing,” Clark said. “I said, ‘Look, let me take 90 seconds of your time. I’m not Jim, but I am the news editor.’” Clark asked the staff to remain flexible, but also to know when to take breaks while dealing with a long-term story. It was a good tactic, said Bruce Shapiro, formerly of the Dart Center. “Good management actually really matters,” Shapiro said. “Peer support really matters. Your journalists who are most at risk will be those who become isolated from one another, who are not talking to one another or to managers.” Shapiro and Anderson advocated creating a plan not just to deal with the disaster itself, but also to deal with how to handle those who cover the disaster. The Australian Broadcasting Corp. developed a peer-support plan to help journalists create a strong network among coworkers, Shapiro said. Despite a focus on reporters, photographers are not exempt from emotional backlash. “Several studies show that photographers appear to be at somewhat greater risk for posttraumatic stress disorder while covering the
same assignment,” Shapiro said. “Now we don’t know why that is.” He recommended allowing photographers to put together photo and multimedia presentations in order to sequence the photos, which will invoke the psychological coping mechanism though sorting them out into a logical set of events. However, covering tragic events can sometimes blend into journalists’ personal lives, as Kevin Vaughn, senior news editor of The Denver Post, experienced this summer during the Aurora shootings. “My friend Tom Sullivan lost his child that day,” Vaughan said. “Sitting in the newsroom that night, realizing the picture of my friends was going to be our art just as they were realizing what was going on, I didn’t know what I thought about it. I was so emotionally drained from my personal experience that I couldn’t really think like a journalist.” Vaughan went home that night to visit his friend and his family. For the next couple days, Vaughan used his previous experience from other incidents, such as the Columbine shootings, to help coordinate with other editors and devise a coverage plan. “It was a very weird thing, and I’ve never experienced anything like it,” Vaughan said. “I have never covered anything like this.” n
management actually really matters. Peer support really matters. Your journalists who are most at risk will be those who become isolated from one another, who are not talking to one
>> Continued from previous page
another or to managers.”
Bruce Shapiro, the Dart Center
MTSU student journalist Emily West contributed to this article.
Videos of several of the sessions from the APME Nashville conference can be found on our You Tube channel:
http:// www.youtube.com/ APMEVideo
From left: Chris Clark, Jim Anderson, Kevin Vaughan, Bruce Shapiro and Carole Tarrant.
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Panel on social media narrows strategies for attendees
By Mark Mize
Middle Tennessee State University
ournalists participating in the “Is There More to Social Media Than Being Liked?” session at this year’s APME Nashville conference delved into myths surrounding traditional ideas on successful social media involvement. The panel was moderated by Ellyn Angelotti of the Poynter Institute and featured a panel including Frank Daniels III of The Tennessean; Jay Small, president of Informed Interactive; and Steve Yelvington, who works with Morris Publishing Group. The discussion began with the panel reiterating the importance of social media in collaboration with online and print content. “Every reporter should be all over Twitter and Facebook and building their own personal brand,” Daniels said. “Social media should be a way for us to create a social understanding.” Yelvington lauded Facebook as the social media leader in terms of expanding your audience, referring to it as “the one.” However, a disconnect exists between traditional metrics, such as “likes” and “follows,” and the actual reach of social media that leads to increased advertising revenue. Yelvington explained that many of the hits media outlets receive from social media are from one-, two- or three-time users. The numbers continue to decrease until a group of readers are reached that are “addicted” to an outlet’s product. These users will provide solid numbers to show advertisers in the interest of building online revenue. Small added that it is important to be able to show small- and medium-sized community businesses that you are willing to “up the ante” and engage in social media. Finally, Angelotti and the panel emphasized that it is important for editors to explain to their staff how to use social media not only as a way to promote their articles
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and content, but also as a means to engage with their audience on a more personal level, tying social media interactions to content goals. Sometimes, these readers can even help writers improve their product and correct mistakes. This exchange can prove to be mutually beneficial for both sides and may help increase online and print viewership overall. “People want to share, and they want to converse,” said Yelvington. n
APME Social Media Day: By the Tweets
he last day of the APME Nashville Conference (Sept. 21) got the most attention from the Twitterverse, as journalists inside – and outside – the John Seigenthaler First Amendment Center weighed in with observations and thoughts on social media. AP Political Editor Liz Sidoti got things going early with her observation that social media, while valuable, can be a “time suck” that distracts some
journalists from learning “shoe-leather reporting.” Sidoti’s remarks built a virtual bridge of tweets between APME participants in Nashville and other journalists attending the Online News Association conference in San Francisco. Carole Tarrant, editor of The Roanoke (Va.) Times, helped organize the panel discussions on and was the day’s most devoted tweeter. We’ve reprinted a selection of raw
tweets, in chronological order, to give readers of APME News a sampling of the virtual discussion. You can find the entire thread by searching #apme2012 on Twitter. You’ll also see here a few other tidbits from the conference’s final day, including the surprise presentation of an APME President’s Award to Seigenthaler, who gave brief remarks of thanks.
Ellyn Angelotti @ellynangelotti Looking forward to a great conversation with @jaysmall@yelvington@ fdanielsiii on “Is there more to being liked on social media?” #apme2012
Jack Marsh @johnsmarsh AP uses Twitter primarily as a tip service rather than a source. #apme2012
Johnbeck @jlbeck Sidoti concerned that for young reporters using Twitter may come at the expense of learning basic reporting skills #apme2012
John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 Joe Vardon: both camps using @twitter to get msg out #apme2012
John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 Vardon: There’s only so much truth you can get out in 140 characters #apme2012
APME @APME “Twitter is a good thing, and a bad thing. Politicians say some stupid things on Twitter.” ~Joe Vardon#apme2012
Will Kessel @collisionbend Truth: “There's only so much truth you can get out in 140 characters.” - Joe Vardon, CBus@dispatch#apme2012
John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 Sidoti: politicos use @twitter to manipulate journos b/c they know we watch it and have smaller staffs #apme2012
Angie Muhs @amuhs AP’s LizSidoti not a fan of social media b/c young reporters are too preoccupied with tweeting. “It's a time suck.” #apme2012
APME @APME Sidoti: campaigns capitalize on angst in media industry; use social media to speak to media and manipulate media #apme2012
APME @APME Sidoti says Twitter is bad for media because young reporters are multitasking rather than focusing on shoeleather reporting. #apme2012
johnbeck @jlbeck Panelists say politicians have figured out how to use social media to influence the narrative of the campaigns #apme2012
Kurt Franck @KGFranck_Blade AP’s Liz SIdoti says young reporters have not learned enough “shoe-leather reporting” because they are so busy tweeting. #apme2012
Tiffany Gibson @Tiffanyg89 @AP’s Liz Sidoti says social media isn’t good for American journalism. Young journos aren’t learning reporting basics. #apme2012 Angie Muhs @amuhs Sidoti’s Twitter concern: are young reporters missing out on shoeleather reporting b/c they’re too busy on social media. #apme2012 Joe Hight @JoeHight AP’s Liz Sidoti: Social media is a “time suck” and threatening young journalists’ understanding of reporting basics. #apme2012 Erika Niedowski @eniedowski RT @amuhs: AP’s LizSidoti not a fan of social media b/c young reporters are too preoccupied with tweeting. “It’s a time suck.” #apme2012 >> Continued on next page
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APME NEWS Matt DeRienzo @mattderienzo Not why. MT @Tiffanyg89 AP’s Liz Sidoti: social media isn't good for journalism. Young journos aren’t learning reporting basics. #apme2012 Tiffany Gibson @Tiffanyg89 @mattderienzoWhy do you think they aren’t learning basics? #apme2012
media but old values are so damn important." #apme2012 Meg Downey @megdowney John Seigenthaler gets APME President’s Award #APME2012 Angie Muhs @amuhs Legendary journalist John Seigenthaler: it’s new media, but old values are still critical. #apme2012 // yes.
Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant It’s Social Media Friday at #apme2012. In 1st session, AP’s Liz Sidoti stirs it up by saying young journos are tweeting too much. #apme2012
Lawrence K. Beaupre @LarryBeaupre John Siegenthaler@apme: It’s a new media but the old values so damned important #apme2012
John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 Journos need to get back to the basics of fact-based journalism and focus on what matters. “Check the crap at the door.” #apme2012
Diane Sawchuk @DianeSawchuk @KGFranck_Blade: AP’s Liz SIdoti says young reporters not learned enough “shoe-leather reporting” cos they are so busy tweeting. #apme2012
Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant Sidoti, AP's pol editor, says journos are not learning basics of shoeleather reporting. But blaming on Twitter? (Comment here.) #apme2012
Becca @kbeccaandrews “It’s a new media, but old values are so damned important.” - John Seigenthaler#apme2012
Joe Hight @JoeHight APs Liz Sidoti: High standards and precision should be valued over “swiftness” of reporting on social media. #apme2012 APME @APME “The way we restore public confidence [in the media] is high standards, precision, accuracy, and swiftness” ~#lizsidoti#apme2012 Jack Marsh @johnsmarsh Distinguished journalist #JohnSeigenther 2B honored w surprise President’s Award from #apme2012prez@ bobheisse for hosting ’12 convention. Matt DeRienzo @mattderienzo John Siegenthaler: “It’s a new
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Mark Mittelstadt @mmittelstadt @fdanielsiii Social media good for individual reporter brand building, not seeing how helping the newspaper #apme2012 APME APME “Every reporter should be all over Twitter and Facebook and building their own personal brand.” Frank Daniels III #APME2012 Mark Casey @MarkCasey12News Frank Daniels III - Twitter is great for individual reporter brands - not so much for the parent media company #apme2012 Cathy Grimes @cathgrimes @caroletarrant Great live tweeting at #apme2012. Enjoying your posts.
John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 @RickEBlair: don't get lost, get targeted. Get shared. #apme2012 Joe Hight @JoeHight Rick Blair: Pinterest delivers more traffic than Yahoo Search. Best used for travel, entertainment. #apme2012 Bradley Davis @bradleydaviswsj Old thinking MT @JoeHight AP: Social media is “time suck” and threatening young journalists’ understanding of reporting #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant HGTV publishes everything through HootSuite. Pinterest was first social media that @CParizman heard thru family, not @mashable. #apme2012 Steve Buttry @stevebuttry BS @JoeHight: AP’s Liz Sidoti: Social media is a “time suck” and threatening young journalists’ understanding of reporting basics. #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant Are you listening on social media? asks@CParizman. They use Radian6 for analytics. #apme2012 Katie Myers @k_myers @APME: “Every reporter should be all over Twitter and Facebook and building their own personal brand.” Frank Daniels III #APME2012 Joe Hight @JoeHight @SusanEll77 You can see the complete conversation by going to #apme2012. The debate does show continuing concerns. Lholeva @Lholeva Social media is great for building personal brand and every reporter and editor should be “all over it.” #apme2012 >> Continued on next page
APME NEWS Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant Keel says musicians have a lot of success connecting w fans on Twitter, “sometimes to the point of oversharing.” #apme2012 Laura Sellers @lsellersearl #apme2012 it’s not an ‘or’ universe, it’s an ‘and’ universe @yelvington quoting @fdanielsiii Mark Baldwin @MarkFBaldwin @yelvington: social media at core of why people use Internet. #apme2012 Steve Buttry @stevebuttry BS RT @KGFranck_Blade: AP’s Liz SIdoti says young reporters haven’t learned “shoe-leather reporting” because they’re busy tweeting #apme2012 APME @APME Content generators, in an ever increasingly social world, need to include multimedia to grab the public's attention. #apme2012 S Burzynski Bullard @suebb Good reporting resources here from Pulitzer winner Michael Berens, Seattle Times, via @apmehttp:/www. watchdogreporter.com#APME2012 Steve Buttry @stevebuttry @caroletarrantThe young journos I know use Twitter + shoe leather to kick old-school journos’ asses. #apme2012 APME @APME Steve Yelvington says, in terms of expanding your audience, “Facebook is the one.” #APME2012 Matt DeRienzo @mattderienzo @stevebuttry is in Nashville w/ us virtually ... Can he maintain Twitter arguments at two different conferences across country? #apme2012
http://Examiner.com/eu#apme2012 Steve Buttry @stevebuttry @caroletarrant The young journos I know dig in & seek the truth rather than speaking or writing in ignorance. #apme2012 APME @APME You can use all the social media networks for promotions, but it all has to start with a good product. #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant TV experimenting with livesyncing - shows have embedded hashtags so fans can connect, get extra content while watching. #apme2012 John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 Blair: when the media Tweets, they’re not re-Tweeted. When they are, they’re not being read. #apme2012# disheartening Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant @stevebuttry I hear you. That’s why I helped organize today’s sessions. Ignore/dismiss social at your own peril. #apme2012 Joe Hight @JoeHight Rick Blair: Facebook is a much better tool for journalists than Twitter. #apme2012 APME @APME “Social media should be a way for us to create a social understanding.” Daniels #APME2012 Grant Smith @grantmeaccess @stevebuttry@caroletarrant “Stirring it up” or just talking about something she doesn’t understand? @lsidoti has only one tweet. #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant Examiner trains every one of its 80K writers to us social, drive traffic. See at
Mark Mittelstadt @mmittelstadt @jaysmallThere are fewer of “us” Why wouldn’t we take advantage of larger community editorial process? #apme2012 APME @APME You cannot jump into social media and expect it to work, you have to have a detailed strategy and future milestone to strive for #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant The worst thing that every happened to this is calling it social media. Social means nothing. It's personal media, @R says. #apme2012 APME @APME Speaking on social media, Yelvington says, “People want to share, and they want to converse.” #APME2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant Until you use social, you won’t understand analytics - putting cart before the horse. You have to live amongst the people: @R#apme2012 Kathleen Struck EDH @KStruckEDH #apme2012 Best journos have metabolism for news cycle, intuition, dauntless curiosity, competitive streak, ferocity, best technology. APME @APME Learn to walk before you can run, understand and use the different social networks before you try to monitor them. #apme2012 Matt DeRienzo @mattderienzo @R prefers “personal media” over “social media.” Too many talking strategy w/o personally using and understanding it.Att: AP! #apme2012 >> Continued on next page
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APME NEWS APME @APME Panel champions new metrics that more adequately reflect social media involvement than “likes” and “follows.” #APME2012 Matt DeRienzo @mattderienzo What media organization gets social media the best? @R says it’s NPR. #apme2012 cc: @acarvin Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant Bravo encouraged “Housewives” to tweet. Only took off when they put # of followers on screen, turning it into competition. #apme2012 APME @APME Not tying social media interactions with content goals is a huge missed opportunity. -Ellyn Angelotti#APME2012 Joe Hight @JoeHight Rex Hammock: NPR and NY Times seem to have mastered balancing personal and professional brands in social media. #apme2012 APME @APME Jay Small says it’s important to show community businesses that are you are engaged in social media. #APME2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant “Is There More to Social Media Than Being Liked?” Poynter's Ellyn Angelotti hosts next panel. #apme2012 ClarisaGerlach @clairgp Yes > RT @caroletarrant: Until you use social, you won’t understand analytics. You have to live amongst the people: @R#apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant APME Great Ideas for social: Democrat &Chron reporters use #wiwohashtag (what I’m working on) to get reader input. #apme2012
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@yelvington#apme2012 kmagnuson @kmagnuson #apme2012 joke: Carton of yogurt walks into bar. Bartender: “We don't allow your kind in here.” Yogurt: “Why not? We’re cultured!” :) Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant “More” panel: @yelvington, @fdanielsiii, @jaysmall - all w seriously deep experience in digital journalism. #apme2012 Josh Barone @joshbarone Lord. RT @APME: “Every reporter should be all over Twitter and Facebook and building their own personal brand.” Frank Daniels III #APME2012 John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 @frankdanielsiii are we using #socialmedia effectively? #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant Why does TV do social better than papers? @jaysmall: Lots of “stunting” w contests, flogging promotions, talent out front. #apme2012 kmagnuson @kmagnuson Social media panel: Paradigm shift w/ Pinterest driving more traffic than Yahoo search, Bing, Twitter. Only 1/3 eds here use it. #apme2012 John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 @jaysmall says TV does good job of being seen in community, print journos do not. Is a #paradigmshift needed fellow print folks? #apme2012 Leon Tucker @CourierPostEd @jaysmall of Informed Interactive shows there's much more to social media than being liked #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant Marketing is baked into the DNA of TV - immense advantage:
John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 @yelvington if you frame yourself as “the newspaper” you lose. Have to use other platforms that are tied together, integrated #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant Social is a tool for marketing what we do, a tool for listening and gathering: @yelvington. Social is the core of the Internet. #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant @fdanielsii and @yelvington, pioneers in putting news online, said they didn’t grasp the social interaction early on. #apme2012 John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 @yelvington does community buy into your social media contract #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant If your paper has commenting, make sure you know/talk about its purpose: @yelvington#apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant He uses TripAdvisor a lot “comments are rarely negative.” They have a purpose. #apme2012 Lauranh @lauranh It took three days, but I think #apme2012 found its flashpoint. #keeptweeting#balance#worthit Megan Sheridan @Msheridanbdc You need to know what your goals are and the problem you're trying to solve @yelvington#apme2012 Leon Tucker @CourierPostEd Context and meaning when using metrics. Identify problems are you >> Continued on next page
APME NEWS rying to solve and use metrics to create solutions @yelvington#apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant It's not about “likes.” It’s about getting more people to visit your site more than 1X a month: @yelvington#apme2012 John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 @yelvington “Am I getting crickets or am I getting 65 folo ups?” #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant Morris uses Chartbeat to see real-time social action on sites. Can change newsroom culture if used: @yelvington#apme2012 Angie Muhs @amuhs @R says best journalists know what readers are interested in & tweet it to their site if they have it, to others if not. #apme2012 John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 @frankdanielsiii we've got an opportunity to engage ppl about our stories, what we're covering. #apme2012#socialmedia Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant Are we willing to submit to being part of the conversation, instead of putting something out there and retreating? @jaysmall#apme2012 Megan Sheridan @Msheridanbdc Journalists need to be a part of the conversation in social media, but without argument. #apme2012 Chris Cobler @chriscobler @inglejohn1973Exactly. What fun it is to talk with our audience about our stories, see what resonates. #APME2012 Chris Cobler @chriscobler Why wait for a cranky phone
caller when you can engage with audience via social to see what they think? #APME2012 Megan Sheridan @Msheridanbdc Columbus Dispatch invited community to breakfast to make connections with readers sincerely. #apme2012 Tom Kahl @TomKahlBDC Says who? @Msheridanbdc Journalists need to be a part of the conversation in social media, but without argument. #apme2012 Megan Sheridan @Msheridanbdc Sunday is such a big Facebook day. Our website is dead on Sunday. @yelvington#apme2012 Angie Muhs @amuhs @terihayt has great case of how reporter who writes abt (literal) traffic is seeing tremendous (online)traffic via mobile. #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant TX paper talking about moving soc med editor to Sun to Thurs schedule because Sunday is such a high-traffic Facebook day.#apme2012 Angie Muhs @amuhs They are using that knowledge to maximize how her stories go out; local tire dealer wants to advertise on her work. #apme2012 lauranh @lauranh @yelvington says they’ll shift engagement team's sked to take advantage of massive Facebook presence on Sunday #apme2012 Megan Sheridan @Msheridanbdc Facebook has become the #3 referrer behind direct traffic and search. #apme2012
Rex Hammock @R From the panel stage, whenever I say this is the last thing I’m saying, I’m not telling the truth. #apme2012 Lauranh @lauranh #APME2012 too MT @mimijohnson RT @debgalant: Hard to be a speaker at #ona12 with everyone looking at their devices. http://pic.twitter.com/FnJO04kD” Megan Sheridan @Msheridanbdc Being liked is a good thing but not as important as shares and click throughs. #apme2012 Megan Sheridan @Msheridanbdc Promotions, ex:giving away an iPad, to get likes is useless because those people aren’t engaged. #apme2012 Carole Tarrant @caroletarrant “I equate the “like” to the first kiss after a good first date:” @jaysmallIf you don’t follow up, you’ll drop off the list. #apme2012 Megan Sheridan @Msheridanbdc @yelvington said metered content not a bad thing. Social media can encourage readers to subscribe to metered site. #apme2012 John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 I’ve always believed and taught that #socialmedia is about the convo, not the presence. Don’t enter the room say hi and leave #apme2012 John_Ingle @inglejohn1973 Cont... If you don’t cultivate the #socialmedia convo, you can't cultivate the #socialmedia relationship. Just my 2 cents #apme2012 n
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“It’s about the people. What we do isn’t about numbers; it isn’t about databases. It’s about telling the stories of the people.”
Unleashing your watchdog Michael Berens offered APME Nashville conference attendees tools and repositories to help qualtify information for enterprise stories.
Pulitzer Prize-winner Berens talks ‘quantifying’ in investigative reporting at APME conference By Mark Mize Middle Tennessee State University
ulitzer Prize-winning Seattle Times investigative reporter Michael Berens told the APME Nashville conference that using the right process and repositories of information can be the key to successful watchdog journalism. “The most powerful way to make stories is to find these repositories and find a way to quantify them,” said Berens, who led a breakout session on Thursday, Sept. 20. Berens said that most of his skills were honed in his first four or five years at The Columbus Dispatch on the police beat. He said that when deciding on which watchdog stories to pursue, journalists must look at which ones will yield the best results. “There are lots of examples of really well-done stories, but they’re boring, or they’re not relevant, or you see it wasn’t their story,” Berens said. Creating checklists may seem like a basic task. However, Berens says they can help journalists understand the elements that make for great stories if there is the tangible ele-
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ment of quantification. “When you look at the award-winning stories out there, for want of a better description, and compare it to stories that don’t quite meet that bar; one of the things you’ll notice is the quantification,” Berens said. He went on to list tools and repositories that will help quantify information for enterprise stories. The Fatality Analysis Reporting database is available free from the federal government, and keeps records on every fatal car crash in America, such as the weight of the car, nature of the crash, and information about those injured in the crash. “If you develop this tool in the newsroom, and a lot of newsrooms keep this updated annually, so they can use it on a flash, you can start doing watchdog stories right from a breaking news event,” Berens said. Payroll data can be also be useful to jump start stories. Berens said payroll databases can not only create interesting stories by searching criteria, such as which city employees are the highest paid, but may also be a good way to find valuable sources. “When I’m doing a story on any kind of city or state agency, I get the payroll database, and I look for everyone who has retired during the last six months and give them a call. “They’ve just left and now they’re free to talk, and boy, they will talk,” said Berens. Berens said in-patient hospital discharge database is the most valuable database that he has ever come across. “It’s a roster of every patient who’s admitted to every hospital in your state. It’s a list of whether they were on Medicaid or insurance, did they come through the emergency room, did they come in through the prison, did they come in through the nursing home, what was their diagnosis code,” said Berens. It also includes other information, including some patient demographics, what they were treated for and how much it costs, which can lead to various kinds of medical-related stories. “It’s about the people. What we do isn’t about numbers; it isn’t about databases. It’s about telling the stories of the people,” said Berens. n
2012 APME NASHVILLE CONFERENCE
great ideas T
he Associated Press Media Editors features each year a collection of the best and brightest ideas from around the industry in our Great Ideas book. The 2013 edition, which debuted at the 2012 APME Nashville conference, is available online as a PDF document at APME.com and has sections on Audience Engagement, Enterprise Storytelling, Multimedia, Niche Product/Section/Site, Social Media, Streaming Live/Broadcast, Video and more.
As a special feature of APME News, here’s a sampling of what you can find in the full book. Also remember: If you've launched a great idea, you can submit it now through an easy-to-use form found on APME.com and we'll consider it for our monthly recognition and our annual book. If you have questions, contact David Arkin, executive director of the News & Interactive Division for GateHouse Media at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET WELL PAGE The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, Okla. Kelly Dyer Fry Editor/Vice president of news OPUBCO Communications Group NewsOK launched its first one with “Get Well, Ryan Broyles” to allow users to share their positive thoughts on the OU wide receiver. It received more than 100 comments in the days after Broyles’ injury. We built a simple page, created a photo gallery of Ryan throughout his football career, dating from Norman High School to his final OU game. Then we embedded a Facebook commenting wall and launched the page. All of the comments were FB comments, creating a centerpiece for the already viral stir about Broyles in the University of Oklahoma football fan community. FIND THE SITE HERE
ARIZONA STORYTELLERS Arizona Republic, Phoenix Nicole Carroll Editor Nicole.email@example.com Storytellers is a multimedia website, a video project, weekly print stories, a collaborative community effort and a series of live events. Every weekday, we post a video story to arizonastorytellers.com. Every Monday, we publish a front-page story. We’ve told the stories of a Holocaust survivor, an Olympian who swam in front of Adolf Hitler, a female WWII pilot, a quadruple-amputee golfer, a 4-year-old violinist and dozens more fascinating, funny, inspiring people. Our broadcast partner, KPNX-TV’s 12 News, airs the video stories. Republic photojournalist Pat Shanahan won an Emmy for one of his Storyteller videos. FIND THE SITE HERE
OAKLAND EFFECT The Oakland Tribune, Oakland, Calif. This is an 18-month fellowship funded by the California Endowment to examine the impacts of violence, trauma, health, wealth and geographic inequities in Oakland and Alameda County. The $348,000 grant covers the cost of a full-time reporter, includes funding for Oakland Voices, the creation of a website dedicated to this area of coverage and an aggressive community engagement campaign that includes public forums and other outreach to provide those most
impacted by these issues with the opportunity to have their issues heard before the leaders and major stakeholders charged with addressing these disparities. The goal is to raise awareness of the impacts of violence, trauma, mental health, wealth and geographic inequities on Oakland in the hopes the stories produced will help push leaders to come up with solutions to these challenges. Oakland Effect stories are published first in The Oakland Tribune and other Bay Area News Group papers and websites.
BRAINSTORM NASHVILLE The Tennessean, Nashville, Tenn. Meg Downey Managing editor firstname.lastname@example.org Tennessee ranks among the top five states for obesity. We wanted to do more than document the problem. We wanted to give the community a platform by which to detail solutions and connect with others of similar passion. To do that we launched a public service project intended to begin in cyberspace but connect
CROWDSOURCING FOOD REVIEWS The Roanoke Times, Roanoke, Va. Kathy Lu Editor of Extra email@example.com When our downtown market building reopened last fall, we decided to make it a project for readers to review the eight vendors for us. We did this by soliciting the comments first on our food blog, and then reversepublishing the reviews in print. It was a good way to use crowdsourcing for both mediums. people in real life BrainstormNashville.com— an engagement tool that would serve far beyond this one important issue. The BrainstormNashville concept has been described as the “Editorial Page of the Future” because it not only documents problems and suggests solutions, but gives the community a voice and leadership role in doing likewise. In addition to being a source, we are now a connector. FIND MORE ONLINE
GREAT IDEAS FADING ART FORM The Spokesman-Review, Spokane,Wash. Addy Hatch City editor firstname.lastname@example.org Our story focused on teachers who are de-emphasizing the instruction of cursive writing. We included information on what local school districts do, as well as one small, private school that still has kids write in cursive using pens and inkwells. In scoping the story, the reporter and the city editor decided to ask readers for examples of their cursive writing; we have many older readers, as do most papers, who tend to be very penmanship-proud. We published two briefs soliciting such examples, asking readers to write out “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” and mail it to us. We were floored by the response, getting 400 examples within a matter of days. Because of that response, we worked with the page designer to feature some of the examples in the A1 display, then copied and posted the rest as PDFs. The package got great response after we published it and was shared on Facebook nearly 1,200 times. FIND MORE ONLINE
CONSTRUCTION ZONE MULTIMEDIA MAP The Columbus Dispatch Columbus, Ohio Alan Miller Managing editor email@example.com When construction crews were about to tear into one of the most convoluted and congested interchanges in Columbus, we put together a map showing how traffic would be affected. Hover over key spots, and you get a description—and a video of a highway expert driving the route and explaining the changes. We also created a Dispatch.com landing page for ongoing coverage. And we held a contest to let readers name the page: “Crawlumbus” was the winner. Readers loved it. FIND MORE ONLINE
EXAMINING MISSING PEOPLE CASES GateHouse Media Missouri Joyce Miller Editor firstname.lastname@example.org There are as many as 100,000 activemissing people cases at any given time in the United States. While a lot of those will be resolved, many families never find any answers. A project by central Missouri GateHouse Media newspapers looked at missing people across a five-county area, with graphics broken down by location, age and years reported missing. The story included descriptions of 19 local people who were reported missing and never found.
ARIZONA AT 100 Arizona Daily Star, Tucson,Ariz. Teri Hayt Managing editor email@example.com As the Grand Canyon state approached its centennial on Feb. 14, 2012, the Arizona Daily Star set out to create a package that would appeal to readers and to potential sponsors. Editor Bobbie Jo Buel visited Tucson businesses that were around when Arizona became a state and asked them to sign on as sponsors. Seven did. Over the next year the paper produced five tabloid sections—one on the state’s Wild West and movie history; one on the best of Arizona; one on the state’s most colorful leaders, citizens and rogues; one on the state’s oldest businesses; and one that revisited the day Arizona became a state. Each one was fronted by a beautiful state flag-inspired illustration by staff artist Chiara Bautista. FIND MORE ONLINE
OUR CITY, OUR WORLD Winnipeg Free Press Winnipeg,Manitoba Julie Carl Deputy editor Julie.Carl@freepress.mb.ca Sure, daily newspapers will be dead in North America by 2020, but not so in the rest of the world. So what do you do when you are the cultural mosaic that is Winnipeg, Canada? You build bridges into those ethnic communities that embrace newsprint. We created Our City, OurWorld, a special section which we publish monthly, focused on each ethnic community. We kicked the whole thing off with an entire newspaper focused on our African community. Each section of the paper was packed full of stories on African newcomers to our Canadian turf. Not bad when you think that daily newspapers aren’t expected to die there until well past 2040.
ROCFLAVORS Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y. Jane Sutter Community Partnerships and Niche Content firstname.lastname@example.org FlavorsofRochester.com is a website focusing on the food and drink scene in the Rochester region. The site launched with a package on classic cocktails that included video interviews with six bartenders talking about the cocktail revival and recipes of cocktails. Other packages have focused on a day in the life of our large public market, how to make award-winning barbecue, 50 places to dine outdoors and more. The companion print section is called ROCFlavors and appears Fridays as people are planning their weekend. The mobile platform features databases such as restaurants, bars and farmers markets, archive of restaurant reviews, events and blogs. FIND MORE ONLINE
of the Year Awards
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s ‘Empty Cradles’ earns top award
he Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s multimedia effort for its “Empty Cradles” series about the death of children before their first birthday was selected as the winner of the Associated Press Media Editors association’s sixth annual Innovator of the Year Award. The Journal Sentinel’s effort was selected by the attendees of the 2012 APME Conference in Nashville among a field of three finalists. The two other finalists were the Arizona Republic and KPNX-12, Phoenix, for the convergence of print, broadcast and online in its website, AZCentral; and The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, for innovations throughout its website. The judges, who narrowed the field to three finalists, said the Journal Sentinel project “tackles a social issue and not only tells the story but, as an information source, is part of the solution. The project gets readers involved.” In addition to the award, the Journal Sentinel received a $1,000 prize from GateHouse Media. Also honored at the conference was The Seattle Times, whose investigation of the state of Washington’s practice of steering people to methadone to reduce its Medicaid costs won a Public Service award from APME. APME President Bob Heisse honored three with President’s Awards for outstanding achievement: J. Lowe Davis, editor, Virgin Islands Daily News; Sara Ganim, reporter, The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa.; and renowned editor and publisher John Seigenthaler, now chairman emer-
itus of The Tennessean. Other awards presented include: In the 40,000- to 150,000-circulation category, The Patriot-News was honored for its coverage by Ganim of the Penn State sex-abuse scandal involving former football coach Jerry Sandusky. The Virgin Islands Daily News won the small-circulation category for “License to Steal,” a twomonth investigation that exposed a con man who set up a credit union to steal from unsuspecting customers – and the lax oversight of such institutions by the Virgin Islands government. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune were the winners of the Gannett Foundation Award for Digital Innovation in Watchdog Journalism, administered by APME. The Journal Sentinel was honored for “Both Sides of the Law,” an investigation into the system that allows Milwaukee police officers to stay on the job despite violating laws and ordinances they were sworn to uphold. The Herald-Tribune won for its “Unfit for Duty” reports on Florida’s law enforcement officers, their personal and professional conduct, and the system that was not up to the task of monitoring them. Cox Media Group in Ohio was honored in the new category of Innovator of the Year for Radio and Television for its convergence of print, online and broadcast operations in Dayton. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and its >> Continued on next page
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APME NEWS >> Continued from previous page
collaboration with the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison won the Innovator of the Year for College Students, the second new category announced this year. Two universities received honorable mentions in the college category: The Center for Innovation in Media at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn., for reforming and reshaping its student media; and the University of Oklahoma for its commitment for transparency. The association also chose the winners for the following awards (in order of circulation category, over 150,000, 40,000-150,000 and under 40,000):
FIRST AMENDMENT: n The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for its investigation, “Both Sides of the Law,” of the Milwaukee Police Department. The judges said it uncovered a level of abuse, corruption and out-right criminal activity in the Police Department that was breathtaking in its scope. n The Knoxville News Sentinel for reporting on an out-ofcontrol judge in the Baumgartner case, which prompted immediate and sweeping government reform. n The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press for its investigation of the sloppy handling of warrants by the Vermont judiciary, which revealed negligence at every level of the legal system.
n The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press for breaking news coverage during the Occupy Burlington encampment.
HONORABLE MENTIONS The judges listed honorable mentions in several categories:
PUBLIC SERVICE Over 150,000: n The New York Times for its investigation of abuse of disabled people in state care. n The Atlanta Journal Constitution for its investigation into schools that were cheating on standardized tests. 40,000 to 150,000: n Sarasota Herald-Tribune for “Unfit for Duty” about Florida’s rogue law enforcement officers. n Asbury Park Press for its report on a cluster of suicides by teens and young adults in the Manasquan, N.J., area. Under 40,000: n Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World for “Unraveling a Rape Case” about using DNA evidence to find a rape suspect. n Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader for “Fighting DUI” about the cost of cracking down on DUIs.
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: Over 150,000: n The Chicago Tribune for “Fugitives from Justice,” which exposed systemic communication failures between the state and the federal government in finding fugitives.
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: n Over 150,000: The Wall Street Journal for “China’s Succession Scandal,” which the judges said offered a rare glimpse of the secretive inner workings of the Chinese Communist Party elite. The series of stories led to the ouster of an up-and-coming party leader and cracked open the door for the Chinese as well as the rest of the world. n Under 149,000: The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn., for “A Healing Trip,” about Memphis-area soldiers who stormed France’s Utah Beach on D-day on a return visit. The judges said it was a well-woven story that found new life in an otherwise traditional angle.
Over 150,000: n The Wall Street Journal for its Sept. 11 anniversary coverage. 40,000 to 150,000: n The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., for its package, “Loving Ingrid,’’ about a woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury. Under 40,000: n Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World for “Unraveling a Rape Case” about using DNA evidence to find a rape suspect.
DIGITAL STORYTELLING AND REPORTING
n USA Today for its 14-month investigation, “Ghost Factories: Poison in the Ground,” which revealed the locations of more than 230 long-forgotten factories and the amount of toxic lead left behind. n The Roanoke (Va.) Times for “Picking Up the Pieces,” a look at how the town of Martinsville is recovering after manufacturing jobs went to China.
Over 150,000: n The Seattle Times for “The Price of Protection,” its investigation of the state of Washington’s reimbursement for civil commitment cases for sex offenders. 40,000 to 150,000: n The Oklahoman for its investigation of the state’s child welfare system. n
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DIGITAL STORYTELLING AND REPORTING
New AP chief stresses news, business cooperation
“While the business may change — and it will change, and it’s changing right now — our mission doesn’t. Ours doesn’t and yours doesn’t. And that feels pretty good in these changing times.”
ASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gary Pruitt, the new president and CEO of The Associated Press, pledged to continue close cooperation with member news organizations on news collection, open government efforts and generating online advertising revenues. In remarks at the annual Associated Press Media Editors convention on Sept. 20, Pruitt noted that the AP Mobile news app presents a key area where the cooperative and members can “be business partners today in a way we couldn’t before.” “You can be our local partner,” said Pruitt, the 13th person to head the news cooperative since its founding in 1846. “AP can supply the national news, the international news — you can supply the local news. And we'll share ad revenues.” Pruitt also announced to the gathering of top editors and news executives that the AP will contribute $25,000 to the APME’s touring journalism workshops called NewsTrain as the program enters its 10th year. As newsrooms face substantial budget cutbacks, he said, training “is a very tough issue these days.” “It’s not an easy year for AP to make a $25,000 contribution, but it reflects our confidence and our judgment about what a valuable program NewsTrain training is,” he said. Pruitt, who took over the AP job in July, noted what he described as a changing business relationship between the AP and the newspapers that own it. U.S. newspapers currently account for just 22 percent of revenues, while broadcasters represent an even smaller portion, he said. Meanwhile, 35 percent of revenues are generated abroad. “That doesn’t mean you’re less important to AP. That doesn’t lessen our commitment to you,” he said. “Rather, it allows us to serve you completely and affordably by having that diverse business space and growing platform of customs. “It’s only in that way that AP can provide you the most up-
to-date, the most accurate, the most complete and the justplain best news report in the world every day.” Pruitt was a First Amendment lawyer before joining The McClatchy Corp. as general counsel in 1984 and rising to the position of chairman by 2001. He recalled “lots of fights” over access to public records and court hearings, defending libel lawsuits and quashing subpoenas. “AP’s great, because there are more places to fight in that way,” he said. “And we can be brothers and sisters in arms in the battle to uphold the Constitution.” Pruitt said he looked forward to continuing a strong working relationship with member organizations. “While the business may change — and it will change, and it’s changing right now — our mission doesn’t,” he said. “Ours doesn’t and yours doesn’t. And that feels pretty good in these changing times.” More than half the world’s population sees news reported by the AP on any given day. The not-for-profit cooperative, based in New York and owned by its member newspapers, has journalists in more than 300 locations worldwide, including all 50 U.S. states. n
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Two editors receive McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership Tom Arviso, publisher and chief executive officer of the Navajo Times in Window Rock, Ariz., and James Mallory, recently retired senior managing editor and vice president of news of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, were the recipients of the 11th annual Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership, awarded by the Associated Press Media Editors. The McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership is given annually to individuals, newsrooms or teams of journalists who embody the spirit of McGruder, a former executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, managing editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and a gradARVISO uate of Kent State University. McGruder died of cancer in April 2002. A past president of APME and former member of American Society of News Editors’ MALLORY Board of Directors, McGruder was a relentless diversity champion. This year, the awards were sponsored by the Detroit Free Press, The Plain Dealer, Kent State University and the Freedom Forum. The winners were recognized Thursday, Sept. 20, at the APME Nashville conference, each receiving $2,500 and a leadership trophy. Arviso and Mallory were honored for their longstanding commitment to diversity in newspaper content and in newsroom recruiting and staff development. In the nominating letter for Arviso, Teri Hayt, managing editor of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, who has worked closely with Arviso, described
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PHOTO BY DARBY CAMPBELL/MTSU
Don Henry (left) and Jonell Mosser sing a song at Freedom Sings, a performance that demonstrates the power of the First Amendment through the presentation of banned music, at the APME Nashville conference on Sept. 20.
him as a journalist “with a deep commitment to nurturing minority journalists and delivering top notch news reports to a minority population.” James Mallory, who retired in April as the senior managing editor and vice president of news at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was nominated because he “has been a strong advocate for the AJC and the journalism industry in all of the areas that the McGruder award highlights: recruiting, development, retention and content,” read his nomination, led by Managing Editor Monica Richardson with contributions from more than a half-dozen colleagues.
Journalism fellowship offered on economics of aging and work The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, in partnership with APME, is offering a new oneyear journalism fellowship that will
focus on the economics of aging and work. This fellowship is a 12-month residential fellowship located at the headquarters of the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. Mid-career journalists working for AP or an APME news organization are eligible to apply. The topic and the work will be closely connected with the AP-APME special project “Aging America,” and the fellow selected will participate in that work. The fellowship will include the opportunity to produce regular journalism for distribution by AP on issues related to the aging American workforce, to learn the skills of researchbased enterprise reporting, to work with economists at the University of Chicago, and to participate in an >> Continued on next page
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original NORC survey on retirement planning issues facing the baby boom generation. While the fellow’s reporting will be targeted for a national audience, there will be opportunities to add a local or regional focus. At the end of the year, the fellow will return to the newsroom with skills and experiences designed to elevate not just their own coverage of economic issues but also to share with colleagues. More information about the fellowship including the online application process is available at www.apnorc.org. Applications are due Nov. 30.
Effective newsroom leadership rooted in values, says Poynter Institute’s Butch Ward Newsroom leadership rooted in clear, strong values leads to good journalism. That was the message from Butch Ward of the Poynter Institute in a discussion with editors at the APME Nashville conference on Sept. 19. Ward said that values shape how editors lead their newsroom, so it’s important for editors to reassess their values periodically and ask whether their leadership style works and what values are driving it. And, he said, such behavior encourages a free exchange of ideas and leads to good outcomes. He said it’s important to understand what values motivate people to do good work. Extrinsic motivators, such as pay increases, can be effective but generally have short-term effects. Intrinsic motivators tend to be more long-lasting, and key among them are competence, choice, growth and meaning. Here’s what those mean for those seeking to do good work, Ward said: n “Competence” is wanting “to do the things I’m good at.” Staff members want to know they are good at their
PHOTO BY DARBY CAMPBELL/MTSU
work and want to be told that they are. n “Choice” is about having a certain level of autonomy in the job – the trust of their supervisors to make good choices about how to do the work. n “Growth” is knowing that they have the opportunity to learn and grow in their work. n “Meaning” is knowing that the work being done has meaning to readers and the community – that it makes a difference in people’s lives. “These are motivators that can propel a staff,” Ward said. They also are rooted in values, and he said that the boss needs to be out front in demonstrating that values aren’t just talk.
APME’s First Amendment award named for retired AP CEO Curley One of the top awards presented annually to newspapers by the Associated Press Media Editors is the First Amendment Award. Each year three news-papers win it, and one is named the sweepstakes winner at the APME conference. Starting in 2013, the sweepstakes award will be named for Tom Curley, retired CEO of The Associated Press, and the winner will receive $1,500 from the APME Foundation, APME President Bob Heisse announced Thursday, Sept. 19 at the APME
Sonny Rawls (left), a journalism professor at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, was surprised to see Hollis Towns, executive editor of the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, at the APME Nashville conference. Towns worked for Rawls as an intern at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The pair had not seen each other in more than two decades.
Nashville conference. Curley led the AP for nine years and was known for leading a corporate push for openness in government. “The powerful have to be watched, and we are the watchers,” he said in a 2004 speech in Riverside, Calif. That speech is credited with helping bring media organizations together to form the CURLEY Sunshine in Government Initiative, which works to make government more accessible and accountable. Curley was the 12th person to lead the cooperative since its founding in 1846.
AP names first international social media and UGC editor The Associated Press has expanded its commitment to social media and user-generated content as global newsgathering resources, promoting Fergus Bell to the newly created position of social media and UGC editor – international. “Fergus Bell has put the AP front and center in our efforts to secure the copyright and forensically verify usergenerated content (UGC), which has become a focal newsgathering >> Continued on next page
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APME NEWS >> Continued from previous page
resource for the AP and took on a sharpened urgency as the Arab Spring swept the region last year and into this one,” said Tamer Fakahany, AP deputy managing editor and head of the news agency’s Nerve Center, in a memo to staff on Oct. 15. “Fergus has spearheaded notable newsgathering victories which have paid huge dividends for our entire news report, our subscribers/clients,
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and made our competitors and the online community stand up and take notice," Fakahany added. “In Syria, where access for the AP has been intermittent due to regime restrictions and security concerns, daily clips of bombardment, protests and massacres have helped us to tell the story of the civil war. Fergus established a network of sources in Syria we could depend on for material and helped set in place a multilayered verification process
involving AP Television, the Middle East desk’s regional and linguistic experts and the BELL Nerve Center.” With his international focus, Bell will remain based in London and report to Fakahany and AP Television Head of Output Beth Colson while also working closely with overall Social Media Editor Eric Carvin in New York. n
APME NEWS APME recognizes contributions to the AP photo report through the Showcase Photo of the Month Award. The competition is judged by AP and member photo editors. The monthly winners are displayed at the annual conference and a Showcase Photo of the Year Award is presented.
AP Photo/The Arizona Republic
Hikers watch an annular eclipse from Papago Park in Phoenix on Sunday, May 20, 2012. The annular eclipse, in which the moon passes in front of the sun leaving only a golden ring around its edges, was visible to wide areas across China, Japan and elsewhere in the region before moving across the Pacific to be seen in parts of the western United States.
JUNE Curtis Compton
AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Fans go over the wall to snag a foul ball by Atlanta Braves' David Ross during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Sunday, June 17, 2012, in Atlanta. The fan second from left ended up making the grab.
PHOTO OF THE YEAR
AP Photo/The Denver Post
Chantel Blunk, wife of Jonathan Blunk, waits Friday, July 27, 2012, on the tarmac at Denver International Airport as her husbands body is about to be loaded into a plane to fly to Reno, Nev., for his full military funeral. Blunk a five-year U.S. Navy veteran that was killed during a July 20 shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora.
AP Photo/The Stuart News
Rose Paffenroth, left, who lives in Vero Palm Estates, gets a hug from neighbor Sue Stiles after a tornado severely damaged a row of homes in their community in Vero Beach, Fla., Monday, Aug. 27, 2012.
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APME photo contest winner
Feature Photography: David Guttenfelder Inside a Closed Society: Daily Life in North Korea
Central Pyongyang, North Korea is seen at dusk April 12, 2011.
A city tram carries passengers in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 15, 2011.
In this April 17, 2011 photo, North Koreans go about their daily routines south of Pyongyang along the highway to the southern city of Kaesong, North Korea.
North Koreans pay their respects before a monument of Kim Il Sung at Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 14, 2011. The celebration is called “The Day of the Sun” in honor of the former guerrilla fighter who founded North Korea in 1948.
A North Korean soldier stands in front of the country’s Unha-3 rocket on April 8, 2012. North Korean space officials have moved a long-range rocket into position for this week’s controversial satellite launch, in defiance of international warnings.
In this April 3, 2012 photo, a student learns to drive a tractor on a computerized driving simulator at the Samjiyon Schoolchildrens’ Palace in Samjiyon, North Korea.
North Korean soccer fans react after their team missed a goal during a World Cup qualifying match against Uzbekistan, in Pyongyang, North Korea, Oct. 11, 2011.
In this April 14, 2011 photo, portraits of North Korea's late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il hang on a wall at a children's school of performing arts in Pyongyang.
North Koreans enjoy a ride at the Kaeson Youth Amusement Park in Pyongyang, North Korea, Oct. 26, 2011.
North Koreans wave flowers at an unveiling ceremony for statues of the late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 13, 2012.
New North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang to commemorate the 70th birthday of his late father, Kim Jong Il on Feb. 16, 2012.
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APME photo contest winner News Photography: Petros Giannakouris A Financial Crisis in Greece
Riot policemen arrest a protester during clashes in central Athens on June 29, 2011.
A child goes to receive food in Athens on Feb. 20, 2012. Charities have set up a food bank to help recession-hit families behind the block, an old public housing project built in the 1930s.
Gerasimos, an 83-year-old Greek man, carries a mirror salvaged from the rubbish through the Plaka district of Athens on March 12, 2012.
The paint-splattered entrance of the bank of Greece, in central Athens on Sept. 15, 2011.
A riot policeman is hit by a petrol bomb during rioting in Athens, Oct. 20, 2011.
A protester throws a stone at riot police as he seen in the smoke from a stun grenade thrown by police forces during rioting in central Athens Oct. 20, 2011.
A protester hits with a stick riot policemen during clashes at Athensâ€™ main Syntagma square,in central Athens, on June 29, 2011.
An old man counts his money in central food and vegetable market in Athens on Feb. 20, 2012.
Homeless people eat a New Year's day meal distributed by the municipality of Athens, on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012.
People eat food received from the Greek Orthodox Church in Athens on Dec. 22, 2011.
A homeless person sleeps at Omonoia square in central Athens on Feb. 23, 2012.
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“When you cover the courts, you’re not just reporting to the public, but you’re making the legal system more just.” Senior Judge Gilbert S. Merritt
Seigenthaler News Service debuts at APME By The Associated Press
ASHVILLE, Tenn. — Judges and news industry leaders say an innovative project that will allow college journalists to cover the federal justice system in Tennessee will give students valuable experience while holding federal officials more accountable. Seven students from Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Mass Communication make up the inaugural staff of the Seigenthaler News Service, which will have a different group of students each semester and allow them to earn 12 credit hours. The initiative is named after John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and a former editor and publisher of The Tennessean. Seigenthaler persuaded the newspaper’s senior editors to allow the students to work out of the newsroom and publish their coverage of the U.S. District Courts and other federal entities, such as the U.S. Attorney’s office. “It is fitting that this endeavor, which we believe to be the first of its kind devoted to coverage of federal courts, will bear the name of John Seigenthaler, a legendary journalist and defender of the First Amendment,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, who announced the effort at the APME Nashville conference. Supporters of the project say it is unique because very few journalism schools have similar initiatives, and none of them includes coverage of federal courts. Seigenthaler and others say the absence is symbolic of the lack of attention mainstream news media have given to federal systems in recent years, making the public wonder what is really going on behind courtroom
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doors. “I think this is going to be a model, because the (federal) courts aren’t being covered across the country,” Seigenthaler said of the project. Tennessean executive editor Maria De Varenne said a large part of the lack of federal court coverage is due to the economic downturn. “So many newspapers were having layoffs. Media organizations were having layoffs,” she said. “We clearly don’t have the staff that we had two or three years ago. We cover courts, but we don’t have somebody covering federal courts every day. This will allow us that opportunity.” Dwight Lewis worked at The Tennessean for a little more than 40 years before retiring last year as the newspaper’s editorial page editor and columnist. He said the courts will benefit from coverage by the students, who will in turn gain “invaluable” experience. “If you don’t have people covering you, you tend to get lazy, or maybe not do the best that you can do,” said Lewis, who will be an editorial consultant on the project. “And I think the courts will be under more of a microscope.” The students started their coverage in mid-September. To prepare, they have been meeting with federal officials and judges, including Senior Judge Gilbert S. Merritt of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Merritt told the students their work would make the federal court system more transparent and hold the judges accountable. “When you cover the courts, you’re not just reporting to the public, but you’re making the legal system more just,” he said. The seven Seigenthaler Scholars, all
MARK HUMPHREY/ THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
John Seigenthaler speaks at the announcement of a project that allows college journalists to cover the federal justice system in Nashville, Tenn.
seniors, are: Emily Kubis, Amanda Haggard, Christopher Merchant, Richel Albright, Kate Prince, Kylie Kolz, and Alex Harris. Prince says she’s looking forward to educating the public. “A lot of people we talked to have said the biggest issue with no one reporting from the federal courts, is that the public … is just kind of in the dark,” said the 24-year-old, who is double majoring in electronic media communications for journalism and criminal justice administration. The Seigenthaler News Service will resemble existing programs at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Communication at Arizona State University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. News Service director and journalism professor Wendell Rawls said he hoped in the future to expand both the content and reach of the students’ coverage, and to involve students from other departments, such as political science, business law and criminal justice. n
APME launches ‘NewsTrain10’ giving campaign
he Associated Press Media Editors has launched a special fundraising campaign in support of NewsTrain’s 10th anniversary year in 2013, news that was greeted at the organization’s Nashville conference with a significant donation from its partner organization, The Associated Press. Addressing the APME Nashville conference attendees, new Associated Press CEO Gary Pruitt announced that the AP would donate $25,000 to NewsTrain for 2013, and called the program “the best journalistic training in the country.” New chief “APME and NewsTrain are so fortunate outlines AP’s to have the Associated Press as a partner,” mission said incoming APME President Brad y Page 25 y Dennison, who announced the “NewsTrain10” program during his opening remarks on Sept. 19. “This was an incredibly generous gesture by Mr. Pruitt and I sincerely thank him and the AP for this donation.” The “NewsTrain10” personal giving campaign is actually aimed at garnering smaller donations of $10 or $100 from those who have attended or been involved in the program over the years, while attaching donors’ names to the program. “Friends of NewsTrain” will be listed in APME News and on the APME.com website through the 2014 conference. In addition, $10 donors will receive a special NewsTrain10 lapel pin, while $100 donors will receive the pin and a golf shirt with the NewsTrain10 logo. NewsTrain is considered APME’s marquee program and is a national touring workshop that has reached more than
Journalists from the Arizona Republic participate in a breakout session during a NewsTrain session in Phoenix earlier this year.
5,000 journalists since its inception. Sessions are designed to provide training in the skills, knowledge and information that newsroom leaders need in a rapidly changing media environment. NewsTrain programs can include an array of sessions, including editing a variety of content types, management and organizational development, and innovations in digital media, among others. In 2012, under the leadership of director Michael Roberts, NewsTrain has sold out three recent stops in Phoenix, Miami and Toronto. The average number of attendees has been more than 100. NewsTrain donations will be accepted through APME.com. n
APME NewsTrain Director Michael Roberts addresses attendees at a training session in Phoenix earlier this year.
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We were the new family in town, but we’ve forged bonds and relationships that will make exchanging “Hello” or “Have a good day” feel genuine in a way they didn't always before.
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4 p.m., and that picture-postcard white fence was blown to pieces. Soon after, with everything else we could tie down, board up or cover already secured, and roof tiles flying around like the occasional frisbee, my neighbors and I headed inside to ride the storm out. The power was on for two more hours, gone just as Daria was cooking dinner for the kids. They thought it was fun to eat and play by candle light. But I looked out the window, saw the water from the creek halfway up the street, and it struck me that Hurricane Sandy hadn’t even really hit yet. Then came a frantic knock at the door. “Dennis!” yelled a neighbor. “Your house is leaking gas!” The hissing outside was louder than the shrill howl of the wind. A man I'd never seen before was walking around in the hurricane, heard the leak and smelled the gas. Out of nowhere, a neighbor showed up with a wrench and shut off the main valve. Some else called National Grid and three minutes later, two workers from the power company turned up to make sure everything was locked down. I’m still not sure who the first of those guardian angels was, but I promised myself to find out soon. When I do, I’m going to hug him. But there were still more pressing concerns first. Around 7 p.m., our next-door neighbor, a sweet Italian grandmother named Grace, ran outside crying that the water in her basement was already a few feet high. Ours was still dry. But the water rushing faster and faster up the street now licked at the door of Daria's car in the driveway. I grabbed the keys and drove five blocks, parking it up on a hill. Then I jogged back home, with rain pelting my face, my arms over my head to protect myself from the tree branches swirling around, and moved my car. When I returned the second time, the water was even with the first step of our house. And it kept coming. Another step, then another. Two more and the water would be level with the first floor. What then? That reverie was broken the second the alarm system tripped in response to the water bursting through the basement windows. Soon enough, the electrical outlets were submerged and there was no chance to reach the fuse box in the corner and switch off the circuits. We were running out of options, and fast. In a panic, I started reviewing one nightmare scenario after another. What if water fills the first floor? Do we huddle upstairs? Punch a hole through to the attic and climb up there? Do we even try to stay in the house, and if so, for how long? Could we swim to safety out the front door? Incredibly, the longest few hours of my life ended almost as suddenly as they began. Almost too subtle to notice at first, the water lost its surging power and began to subside. Our kids, oblivious to all that was going on, were already
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fast asleep. Daria and I sat in the living room for hours in the dark, save for the glimmer of a few candles, listening to the splashes of water against the walls like clockwork every few minutes. Just when we started making a list of what was lost beneath the two feet of sewage in the basement below came the biggest splash of all - our huge refrigerator. I took a few steps downstairs and stopped. A sea of sewage was sloshing side to side and the stench _ I can still smell it. I doubt it will leave me anytime soon. Somehow, I slept about three hours that night. When I stepped back outside, I could see the same wear and tear on the faces of my neighbors. But we quickly took stock of one another and our families and began comparing notes. The damage on every side was heartbreaking. Grace and husband, Nicky, had nearly 6 feet of water in their basement and lost everything, including her father's ashes. But we were all alive. We had no power, gas, heat, even cell phones with a charge - and no way to communicate with anyone outside our tiny corner of the world. The bakery and the deli across the street were flooded. Three 20-foot-long heavy metal box containers that sat in front of the Walgreen's were scattered down the block, one finally settling in front of a restaurant more than 100 yards away. Finally, we turned our attention to cleaning up. A neighbor named Ben, who is Grace's son-in-law and works as construction contractor, came over and began pulling up the carpeting in our basement, then the flooring, before turning his attention to the walls. In the “dream” kitchen we felt so fortunate to have just a few nights earlier, a FEMA inspector sat, compiling a list of the damage. You learn a lot about people in bad times and what we learned is how neighbors opened their arms to each other, offering food, water, clothes - anything that might help someone else. We were the new family in town, but we’ve forged bonds and relationships that will make exchanging “Hello” or “Have a good day” feel genuine in a way they didn't always before. A long, tiring road lies ahead, but the doubts that crop up will be easier to deal with knowing we’re going through it together. Just a few miles away, people died and homes were completely destroyed. Seeing the scale of destruction in TV reports from my parents' home in Brooklyn broke my heart all over again. I spent three days digging through those things I’d cherished all my life. I put nearly all of them on the side of my house, saying a sort of goodbye to so many material things. And yet, once the sun managed to peek through the clouds, it hit me: We were blessed. We turned out to be among the truly lucky ones. n
APME BOARD OF DIRECTORS
n President: Brad Dennison, GateHouse Media, Fairport, N.Y. n Vice President: Debra Adams Simmons, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland n Secretary: Teri Hayt, The (Canton, Ohio) Repository n Journalism Studies Chair: Alan D. Miller, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch n Treasurer: Jan Touney, Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa
(Terms expiring in 2013) n J.B. Bittner n Carol L. Hanner, Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal n Jack Lail, Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel n Jan Touney, Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa
Executive Committee (officers above plus) n Past President: Bob Heisse, State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill. n AP Senior Vice President/Executive Editor: Kathleen Carroll, New York n AP Vice President/Senior Managing Editor: Mike Oreskes, New York n Conference Program: Mark Baldwin, Rockford (Ill.) Register Star and Bill Church, Salem (Ore.) StatesmanJournal
(Terms expiring in 2014) n Bill Church, Salem (Ore.) Statesman-Journal n Michael Days, Philadelphia Daily News n Alan English, The Log Cabin Democrat, Conway, Ark. n Kurt Franck, The Blade, Toledo, Ohio n Gary Graham, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash. n Joe Hight, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City n Laura Kessel, The News-Herald, Whilloughby, Ohio n Eric Ludgood, WGCL/CBS, Atlanta News n Aminda Marques Gonzalez, Miami Herald n Martin G. Reynolds, The Oakland Tribune n Monica R. Richardson, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Terms expiring in 2015) n Dennis Anderson, Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star n Mark Baldwin, Rockford (Ill.) Register Star n Chris Cobler, Victoria (Texas) Advocate n Angie Muhs, Portland (Maine) Press Herald n Laura Sellers-Earl, East Oregonian Publishing Co., Astoria, Ore. n Jim Simon, The Seattle Times n Elbert Tucker, WBNS-10TV, Columbus, Ohio
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The 2012 APME Nashville conference in September was a success by almost every measure: Good attendance, great facility, compelling programmi...
Published on Nov 4, 2012
The 2012 APME Nashville conference in September was a success by almost every measure: Good attendance, great facility, compelling programmi...