APME HAS A NEW WEB SITE AT ampe.com
The Associated Press Managing Editors has launched apme.com on a new platform, hosted by yourmembership.com. It offers greater interactivity, membership management and an easy-to-use content management system.
New features include embedded video training libraries, wiki-type articles for editors to add to the discussion, an online payment processor and user profiles. There are easy links to APME's twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. The calendar function makes it simple to see what training opportunities are ahead and to check on upcoming award and conference deadlines.
We welcome your thoughts and suggestions on the new site at
http://spreadsheets.google. com/viewform?formkey= dHVTRmNsZUkzeE94eFFaeW95T0FNVk E6MA
2010 APME Journalism Excellence Awards: Deadline Monday, July 12, 2010
The 2009 APME Journalism Excellence Awards honor superior journalism and innovation among newspapers and online news sites across the United States and Canada. The awards seek to promote excellence by recognizing work that is well-written and incisively reported and that effectively challenges the status quo.
All Awards are presented for journalism published or launched between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010.
The deadline for entry is Monday, July 12, 2010.
The Awards will be presented at the APME annual training conference at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., Oct. 20-22 and linked on the APME Web site.
The Awards include the Annual Innovator of the Year Award, Public Service Awards, First Amendment Award and Citations, Online Convergence Awards and International Perspective Awards. The Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism will be offered for the first time this year.
Nominations are received online only.
For more details, go to:
SAVE THE DATES for these APME/NewsU Webinars
APME and NewsU will team up for two more webinars on journalism credibility topics. A code will allow APME members to sign up for $9.95.
Mark your calendar now for these dates:
June 2, 2 p.m., Credible Use of Social Media / Dave Olson, editor, The Salem News in Massachusetts
July 21, 2 p.m., Archived Content and "Unpublishing" Requests / Kathy English, public editor, Toronto Star
Journalism educators and college media advisers: Apply for a McCormick Award to attend NewsTrain in Nashville
Journalism educators and college media advisers may apply for awards to attend the Nashville NewsTrain, Sept. 23-24, 2010.
Click here for more information or to apply for a McCormick Award for the Nashville NewsTrain.
APME and Freedom Forum will host this NewsTrain at the John Seigenthaler Center, Freedom Forum, Nashville. Attend both days, or pick a day/pick a track. Registration costs $50 for one or both days.
FOR GENERAL REGISTRATION FOR THE WORKSHOP, CLICK HERE.
KEYNOTE SPEECH ON THURSDAY, SEPT. 23: JOHN SEIGENTHALER
Track 1: The Nimble Leader
- Helping Reporters to Develop Their Beats / Jacqui Banaszynski
- The Skeptical Editor / Jacqui Banaszynski
- Covering the New America / Bobbi Bowman
- Creating a Constructive Culture / Ronnie Agnew
Track 2: The Evolving Journalist
- Coaching Writers and Planning Content for Multiple Media / Michael Roberts
- Great Ways to Tell Stories With Data / Patrick Beeson
- Ethical Decision-Making – Social Media and Breaking News / Banaszynski and Roberts
Third Rail / Extra Jolt
- Coaching Narrative Storytelling / Jacqui Banaszynski
- A course for educators: Journalism Class Exercises that Work
WE WANT YOUR GREAT IDEAS
We are accepting submissions for APME's 2010 "Great Ideas” book. What's a great idea?
It can be a new concept for print or online, or a major improvement to something we do every day. This is a chance for your newspaper to show off great work and to help fellow editors by providing ideas that might work in their markets. APME is again focusing on watchdog stories — big and small — because of the difference they can make in the community.
Our "Great Ideas” Web site allows you to quickly submit entries (150-word limit) and upload a picture (.jpg, .pdf) that accompanies the Great Idea. When the Great Ideas page opens, click on the "Submit Your Great Idea!” link and input the entry. The process is simple, quick and painless.
If you have questions, contact Kurt Franck, executive editor of The (Toledo) Blade or Terry Orme, managing editor news/business at The Salt Lake Tribune.
Kurt: 419-724-6163, firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry: 801-257-8727, email@example.com
APME UPDATE NEEDS YOUR HELP
Please send links to your best impact reporting — whether of the watchdog variety or a look at stimulus spending — or to any other subject you would like to share with other editors. Please e-mail the link to firstname.lastname@example.org
STIMULUS: TRACKING THE SPENDING
The Press of Atlantic City reports several New Jersey agencies that handle federal stimulus dollars say they can no longer report projected job-creation numbers for any stimulus project. Instead, they are now reporting only actual jobs created — and a dip in job-creation numbers is already evident when compared with the figures Democratic federal and state administrations had been reporting. The timing of the change coincides with Chris Christie's arrival as the state's Republican governor. And while departments say the shift started before Christie took office, experts say the changeover appears to be bad news for Democrats touting high job-creation numbers as they run for federal elections this fall. As of March 31, New Jersey had benefited from the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with close to $10.2 billion in stimulus funding, federal stimulus data show. That money continues to be allocated for contracts, loans and grants, and used for everything from tax assistance for low-income families to construction and infrastructure projects.
http://www. pressofatlanticcity.com/news/ top_three/article_ec2e0988- 559a-11df-a7ee-001cc4c03286. html
WATCHDOG REPORTING: SUMMARY OF RECENT IMPACT REPORTING
The Associated Press reported from El Paso, Texas, that when Mexican drug traffickers need someone killed or kidnapped, or drugs distributed in the United States, they increasingly call on American subcontractors – U.S..-based prison gangs that run criminal enterprises from behind bars, sometimes even from solitary confinement. Prison gangs have long controlled armies of street toughs on the outside. But in interviews with the AP, authorities say the gangs' activity has expanded beyond street-level drug sales to establish a business alliance with Mexican cartels. The partnership benefits both sides: The gangs give drug traffickers a large pool of experienced criminals and established distribution networks in the U.S. And the cartels provide the prison gangs with discounted drugs and the logistical support of top criminal organizations. To carry on their gang activity, imprisoned gang members resort to elaborate subterfuge: using sign language, sending letters through third parties, enlisting corrupt prison officials, holding conference calls using contraband cell phones. Some even conduct business in an ancient Aztec language to foil censors.
http://www.kansascity.com/ 2010/05/02/1918044/mexican- traffickers-get-help-from.html
The Associated Press reported that moved by a huge tide of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress, Congress has pressured the Department of Veterans Affairs to settle their disability claims – quickly, humanely, and mostly in the vets' favor. The problem: The system is dysfunctional, an open invitation to fraud. And the VA has proposed changes that could make deception even easier. PTSD's real but invisible scars can mark clerks and cooks just as easily as they can infantrymen fighting a faceless enemy in these wars without front lines. The VA is seeking to ease the burden of proof to ensure that their claims are processed swiftly. But at the same time, some undeserving vets have learned how to game the system, profitably working the levers of sympathy for the wounded and obligation to the troops, and exploiting the sheer difficulty of nailing a surefire diagnosis of a condition that is notoriously hard to define. "The threshold has been lowered. The question is how many people will take advantage of that," said Dr. Dan G. Blazer, a Duke University psychiatrist who has worked with the military on PTSD issues. PTSD, he adds, is "among the easiest (psychiatric) conditions to feign." Some claims are built on a foundation of fake documents; in other cases, the right medals – plus a gift for storytelling – secure unearned benefits.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/ news/2010/may/01/in-tide-of- new-ptsd-cases-fear-of- growing-fraud/
The Associated Press reported that lawmakers crafting a sweeping farm bill in 2008 promised it would cut government payments to wealthy farmers. Two years later, little appears to have changed. New data shows that the wealthiest farmers in the country are still receiving the bulk of government cash, despite claims from lawmakers that reforms in the bill would put more money in the hands of smaller farms. At the same time, a series of exemptions written into the bill has made it more difficult for the public to find out who is receiving what.
The Ventura County Star reports on an innovative county-run health plan in California called Access Coverage Enrollment or ACE. The program, backed by federal funding, pushes low-income people toward care before they're sick. Over three years, it has provided coverage and treatment to more than 13,000 uninsured people, many in their 50s with no money for doctors and chronic conditions that demand care. In a health care system in desperate need of fixes, state leaders and outside evaluators say ACE and similar efforts in nine other California counties are part of the answer — a cost-effective bridge to 2014, when national health care reform brings more coverage and options.
http://www.vcstar.com/news/ 2010/apr/30/county-programs- offer-lifeline-to-uninsured/
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Miguel Olea, who held a 17-year-old girl in his room against her will for days, raping her repeatedly, was eventually convicted of statutory rape, sent to prison and then paroled on the condition he avoid contact with minors. This year, however, California parole officials put him on a new budget-saving program called nonrevocable parole meaning Olea, 22, would not have to report to an agent or risk being returned to prison for violating conditions of his release. He is one of 452 high-risk offenders excused from supervised parole this year, a group the state is now trying to get back in the fold. Their dismissal was not a mistake, officials say, but the result of a recalibrated computer model that better accounted for certain risk factors. The list of parolees being rounded up and returned to active supervision includes rapists, gang members, repeat wife-beaters and ex-felons found with guns, records obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune show.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/ news/2010/may/02/high-risk- parolees-rounded-more- supervision/
The Sacramento Bee analyzed recently released state figures showing Sacramento City Unified spends more money on employee benefits on a per-pupil basis than any other district its size in California. Next door in Elk Grove Unified, employee benefit expenses aren't as high, but they have increased 55 percent per pupil during the past five years, nearly double the statewide growth. Both districts are mired in deficits, severing teachers and popular programs. Every two weeks for the past several months, their leaders have faced a verbal thrashing at board meetings from parents and instructors tired of worrying about what will happen after the inevitable cuts
http://www.sacbee.com/2010/05/ 02/2720659/sacramento-elk- grove-school-workers.html#mi_ rss=Education
The (Portland) Oregonian fought back when the University of Oregon redacted dollar amounts from its most recent marketing agreement with Nike. The public university had previously made public the financial details of the school's deal with Nike, the company co-founded by Phil Knight, a major donor to UO. Nike had virtually pioneered the endorsement and outfitting arrangements now commonplace across the country. The university's decision was at odds with president Richard Lariviere's declaration that there would be a new era of openness and transparency at the school after a secret $2.3 million separation agreement with its athletic director came to light. The Oregonian asked the attorney general to order the university to release the unredacted record and, under pressure, the university complied.
http://blog.oregonlive.com/ behindducksbeat/2010/05/ university_of_oregon_under_ ord.html
The (Portland) Oregonian published a three-part series last year on former television newsman Jeff Alan, who had written a book on journalism ethics. The series noted, in part, that Alan had used different Social Security numbers and had disappeared and been declared dead at the request of his ex-wife. That reporting prompted an investigation by the federal government, which resulted in Alan's recent indictmenthttp://www. oregonlive.com/north-of-26/ index.ssf/2010/04/feds_indict_ former_koin_news_director_ jeff_alan_on_social_security- related_charges.html. The Oregonian's Peter Carlin Ames then delved deeper into the public record to update readers on how the strange life of Jeff Alan had taken even stranger turns in the past year.
http://www.oregonlive.com/ north-of-26/index.ssf/2010/05/ former_koin_newsman_jeff_alan_ keeps_public_profile_finds_ new_troubles_in_past_year.html
The Providence Journal reports on Central Falls, R.I., the smallest and perhaps the poorest-city in the nation's smallest state. Long a haven for immigrant families and first-generation Americans, the mile-square city drew national attention last year when every teacher at its high school was fired in a battle over education reform. In the first of a three-part series, the newspaper explores the challenges of learning- and life- facing the dropouts, parents, students and teachers at Central Fall High School.
http://www.projo.com/news/ content/central_falls_ dropouts_05-02-10_5JI7KV7_ v127.40e0ad4.html
The Washington Post reports a national physicians organization has quietly decided to revoke the certification of any member who participates in executing a prisoner by lethal injection. The mandate from the American Board of Anesthesiologists reflects its leaders' belief that "we are healers, not executioners," board secretary Mark A. Rockoff said. Although the American Medical Association has long opposed doctor involvement, the anesthesiologists' group is the first to say it will harshly penalize a health-care worker for abetting lethal injections. The loss of certification would prevent an anesthesiologist from working in most hospitals.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ wp-dyn/content/article/2010/ 05/01/AR2010050103190.html
The Post-Crescent of Appleton, Wis., reports the agency charged with operating a Wisconsin state contracts website that is missing large amounts of information says it is working on site improvements and that data has been added. Meanwhile, more than five weeks have passed since a Northeastern Wisconsin lawmaker asked for an audit of the site, and no one has acted on the request. A Gannett Wisconsin Media analysis in March found that only 14 of 98 state agencies, schools and boards listed on the Contract Sunshine site had posted any contract information, as required by a 2006 law. The site, http://sunshine.sundialsc.com/, is supposed to disclose all spending on contracts worth $10,000 or more. The state Government Accountability Board, which oversees the site, has cited technical issues, a lack of resources and limited enforcement power as reasons why the site is missing information.
http://www. greenbaypressgazette.com/ article/20100503/GPG0101/ 5030542/1207/GPG01/Agency- adds-information-to-state- contracts-site
The Patriot News of Harrisburg, Pa., looks at how real estate agents, in a sign of the times, are filling space in the troubled commercial property market. The newspaper provides examples of how the midstate's beleaguered commercial real estate market is forcing buyers, sellers and agents to find new uses for vacant buildings that once housed offices, warehouses and retailers. Church congregants, for example, gather in a former auto dealership, the service bay now a 600-seat auditorium and the former showroom the setting for youth classes. Mammograms and ultrasounds are the order of the day inside the Camp Hill building that once housed a call center for Williams-Sonoma, known for its kitchen wares. Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is moving offices into a space that was once a Giant Food Store. Cumberland County intends to store its voting machines, service its vehicles and put its library system headquarters at a former auto dealership in Carlisle.
http://www.pennlive.com/news/ patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/ news/1272687922292650.xml& coll=1
The Idaho Statesman reports how Idaho's most successful Democrat in nearly two decades was connected to one of the lowest points in Republican Party history – and why some of his disappointed party-mates are bringing it up now. The day Walt Minnick decided to resign from Richard Nixon's White House was the defining moment in his life. As he's always told it, it was Sunday, Oct. 21, 1973, the day after two attorneys general resigned after Nixon ordered them to fire a special prosecutor. But his official biographies leave out the fact that he stayed on in the White House to continue his efforts to establish the Drug Enforcement Agency and lead the administration's international anti-drug programs until Jan. 14, 1974. Minnick didn't hide his delayed departure when interviewed by the Idaho Statesman in 2008. But two Idaho Democratic bloggers, fed up with Minnick's conservative voting record, are challenging Minnick's resignation motives in a 6,000-word polemic that cites at least 45 documents found online and in public and private archives.
http://www.idahostatesman.com/ 2010/05/02/v-print/1175360/ rep-waltminnicks-watergate- moment.html
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports you'd think the highest ranking administrator in City Hall, City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr., also would be the highest paid employee in city government. That distinction, however, apparently belongs to Greater Cincinnati Water Works director Dave Rager, who this year through his city pension and a contract that kept him as head of the water agency even after he "retired" will earn more than $274,000. Dohoney, though, can hardly complain, because he approved the deal that made that possible. Under the provisions of the Cincinnati Retirement System's early retirement plan, Rager and more than 200 others who took advantage of it were to be prohibited from working for the city for five years. To circumvent that, on Dec. 31, 2007 - Rager's last day on the city payroll as a normal employee - Dohoney and Rager signed a waiver exempting him from the five-year ban.
http://nky.cincinnati.com/ article/AB/20100501/NEWS0108/ 5020330/0/NEWS0103/Water- works-chief-274K-double-dip
A Buffalo (N.Y.) News analysis of 1,180 subsidized homebuyers since 1990 shows where they came from and where they moved and confirmed the vast majority of new homebuyers merely moved from one Buffalo neighborhood to another — about 2.2 miles, on average. That is fueling concern among housing advocates that Buffalo's subsidized housing program revitalizes some neighborhoods at the expense of others, and may even be increasing the already large stock of vacant housing in some of the city's most distressed neighborhoods.
http://www.buffalonews.com/ 2010/05/02/1037446/the- housing-shuffle.html
The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reports David Foster made government officials a promise. If they would give his non-profit public money, he would develop seven properties into affordable housing for one of Tampa's poorest neighborhoods. Eight years and more than $560,000 later, five of the properties sit vacant and rotting. All seven ended up in foreclosure. Given this history, it's hard to imagine that Foster and his Central City Community Development Corp. would receive more taxpayer money for development projects. Unless you're U.S. Reps. Bill Young, Gus Bilirakis and Kathy Castor, or U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Last year, those lawmakers helped Foster get a $500,000 federal earmark for a huge Tampa project called Veterans Commons to house homeless veterans, mentor for at-risk students and put 400 people to work. But the federal earmark process involves little vetting of recipients. So the four members of Congress didn't know that Foster had never successfully completed a housing project.
http://www.tampabay.com/news/ politics/developer-of-failed- projects-secures-500000-from- congress/1091983
The St. LouisPost Dispatch notes that not long ago it was common to find lines of people waiting to testify before the Missouri House Standing Committee on Children and Families. Speakers addressed subjects as diverse as child immunizations, day care quality, child abuse, foster care, safety hazards, adoption and abortion. In 2007, under the helm of Republican Ward Franz, the committee fielded 45 different bills. Its work resulted in laws to protect foster children and support adoptive families. That's far different from this year's session. The same committee, now headed by state Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon, has just 13 bills before it. Half of them deal with abortion restrictions, an issue on which Davis has long hung her political hat. But advocates for children's issues and day care safety have quietly grumbled that under Davis' rule, a once vital committee charged with child and family issues has been so focused on abortion that it has avoided other important work.
http://www.stltoday.com/ stltoday/news/stories.nsf/ politics/story/ 5FA4291BBF0529C586257716001247 53?OpenDocument
The St. LouisPost Dispatch followed Christopher Moore from July to December last year as he completed his prison sentence in a treatment program for methamphetamine addicts at the Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center. Illinois started the national pilot program at the facility near East St. Louis in 2006. It's the first prison-based program to recognize what many treatment experts believe — that those trying to beat the highly addictive drug need special attention. The program's three-year contract expires in September. Its future is unclear in a state with severe budget woes. For Moore, and more than 500 other meth addicts who have been admitted to the program, the prison provides the ground work for conquering what they have come to believe is a hopeless habit. The rest is up to them.
http://www.stltoday.com/ stltoday/news/stories.nsf/ laworder/story/ 457B5530795BC5FB86257716001806 19?OpenDocument
The San Antonio Express-News looks at the explosive growth in recent years of the University of Texas at San Antonio and the lack of on-campus housing, which has driven students into surrounding neighborhoods and fueled the development of towering apartment complexes. Nearby residents are quick to applaud UTSA's success but complain of worsening traffic jams, rising crime and falling home values. At their breaking point, many homeowners have joined forces to block plans for any new high-density student housing in the area — namely, apartment complexes. "I have serious concerns about the area becoming a college slum if this kind of development continues,” says the president of the Maverick Creek Homeowners Association.
http://www.mysanantonio.com/ news/politics/Neighbors_are_ feeling_UTSAs_growing_pains. html
The Rockford (Ill.) Register Star looks at the close of AMCORE Bank and the "wealth effect," what happens to a town when companies fail, move or are bought out. With its dwindling manufacturing base, the Rock River Valley economy has been lagging the nation since the mid-1990s. This recession has been especially punishing, pushing the March unemployment rate to 17.9 percent. The area's income, in other words, was already faltering when the decline and eventual closing of AMCORE Bank chipped away at a less measurable part of the economy. AMCORE's demise is the third major business loss since the beginning of 2007 that has eliminated an incalculable amount of wealth from the Rock River Valley.
http://www.rrstar.com/ carousel/x359583213/AMCORE- adds-to-region-s-loss-of-real- wealth
The Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, N.Y., looks at why judges in Monroe County have long sent away more juvenile delinquents and persons in need of supervision, or PINS, to secure and nonsecure facilities than Buffalo's Erie County and Syracuse's Onondaga County combined. Monroe County is also more likely to keep them for a time in a local detention facility, rather than release them to their families, before their cases come to court. And among the 10 counties that place the most juvenile delinquents in state custody, according to a study of New York's juvenile justice system, Monroe leads in disproportionately placing African-Americans.
http://www. democratandchronicle.com/ article/20100502/NEWS01/ 5020353/1003/Why-are-more- Monroe-County-kids-in-the- juvenile-justice-system
The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reports the high cost of prescription drugs has left many Central Floridians scrambling for ways to afford their medications. But for some, cheaper meds are just a mouse click away. An estimated 1 million Americans each year buy their medications online from Canada. It's not clear how many Floridians get their drugs that way, but the newspaper reports this consumer segment is growing as more people look for ways to cut down on health-care costs. Even though buying medication online from other countries is illegal, a group representing Canadian online pharmacies is seeking to get the word out about safely buying their drugs over the Internet.
http://articles. orlandosentinel.com/2010-05- 02/news/os-drugs-canada- online-20100502_1_doughnut- hole-canadian-online-pharmacy- drugs
TheOrange County Register reports that before the year is over California prisons will have released about 6,500 "low risk" offenders under a new state law. About 24,000 parolees will also be switched to new, non-supervised parole. Those being released and placed under the new system have been deemed by a computerized risk assessment to be at low risk of committing another crime. Some inmates continue to go in and out of prison for parole violations, while others are incarcerated for new crimes. The recidivism rate raises worries that there will be few options available to inmates returning to society.
http://www.ocregister.com/ news/parole-246647-state- prison.html
The Northwest Herald of Crystal Lake reports Illinois' 1984 Freedom of Information Act, meant to increase transparency, quickly became a tool that the state's 7,000 units of government could wield to withhold information – journalists and other critics quickly came to call it the "Freedom From Information Act.” Lawmakers tacked more than 50 exemptions onto it, written in a way that public bodies could withhold just about anything they wanted. That changed Jan. 1, when a new and significantly improved FOIA took effect. It was drafted last year by Attorney General Lisa Madigan and good-government groups and passed into law after the arrest, impeachment and indictment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But the law does what it is supposed to do – shine a light on government – only if people are willing to use it. Statistics from Madigan's office show that the vast majority of FOIA requests come from the public, not the news media.
http://www.nwherald.com/ articles/2010/04/15/r_ cvpvp2sxtc14x6bw1n3eq/index. xml
The News & Record of Greensboro, N.C., reports students these days need a degree in debt management. Rising tuition rates and dwindling financial support from state and federal governments have driven many students to take out loans to fill the gap. National data show student loan debt has been on the rise in recent years. Two-thirds of four-year college graduates from the class of 2008 left school with student loans, according to one study. The 2008 figures are the most recent available. The average amount of their debt: $23,000. While the cost of college has increased, state support has not. State governments, responsible for funding public colleges, are squeezed and, as a result, are not putting as many resources into higher education.
http://www.news-record.com/ content/2010/05/01/article/ college_grads_may_need_a_ degree_in_debt_management
The Montgomery Advertiser, in a "print exclusive" unavailable online, reports state workers in Alabama receive 13 paid holidays each year, twice what some non-governmental workers receive, but it's really pensions and health benefits that set state workers apart from their counterparts in private industry. For example, private companies have for the most part abandoned defined benefit pension plans, but it quotes one authority as saying the state can't really cut costs immediately, especially on retirement.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that just three years ago Milwaukee police officials were analyzing crime trends by reading printed incident reports and sticking pushpins representing weeks-old crimes into maps. On a recent Monday morning, however, members of the department's command staff gathered at their daily meeting and – using laptop computers and wall-mounted flat-screen TVs – reviewed interactive maps tracking crimes that had occurred just hours earlier. Those maps are available to officers in squad cars and department leaders alike. When combined with data on the activity of officers, from traffic stops to arrests, it provides a picture of how well crime-fighting strategies are being executed – and working. Department officials say a new commitment to technology is a key factor behind police statistics that show a 40.2 percent drop in reported violent crime in Milwaukee for the first quarter of 2010 when compared with the first quarter three years ago.
The Record of Bergen County, N.J., reports that legal records that contain details about people's lives, home and government dealings are mined every day by lawyers and other professionals trying to make money. And the state helps them do it, earning more than $2 million each year for providing access to the data. With just a few keyboard strokes, government databases can provide up-to-date information about divorces, foreclosures and criminal matters. Get a speeding ticket and within days your mailbox will likely be flooded with solicitations from lawyers who learned of your alleged lead foot by tapping into a digital repository of traffic tickets. Critics say the commercial use of public records should be curtailed. But some lawyers argue they are simply taking advantage of their First Amendment right by offering a service that someone might need.
http://www.northjersey.com/ news/state/92609989_Public_ records_make_it_easy_for_ lawyers__others_to_solicit_ business.html
The Arizona Daily Star of Tuscon reviews the impact of the state's new immigration enforcement law. The full impact may not be known for months because attorneys and law enforcement officials need to make sense of its language and legal challenges will be handled in court. But the newspaper looks at seven things that are known about Arizona's controversial law SB1070 and what they will mean in practice. Among its findings, the law becomes a very large, unfunded mandate for police departments.
http://azstarnet.com/news/ article_a9006f6b-f9b6-59db- 87b4-d54a09b4b786.html
AP'S BEAT OF THE WEEK – BURDEAU, MATTHEWS, SEMANSKY, BRANDON
AP reporter Cain Burdeau, video journalist Rich Matthews and freelance photographer Pat Semansky weren't content to hear the news; they wanted to see it.
Slowly but surely, the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico approached the Louisiana coast, and reporters and TV crews from around the country were eager to capture the moment the oil reached shore and the first effects on the fragile Gulf ecosystem. Most of them gathered at the command center where the Coast Guard, oil giant British Petroleum and the government would hold briefings.
Not Burdeau, Matthews and Semansky.
They knew that the best place to cover the drama unfolding at sea was on the water. But where exactly?
Burdeau worked local sources and spoke to oilfield workers at the staging area in Venice, La., to get a sense of where and when the first waves of oil would reach the Mississippi River Delta. Acting on that intelligence and guidance from colleagues in the New Orleans bureau monitoring weather and currents, Burdeau, Matthews and Semansky boarded a charter boat whose captain was a Coast Guard veteran and experienced offshore sailor.
Five and a half miles out in rolling six-foot waves, they saw the distinct sheen of oil on the water. Burdeau called news editor Brian Schwaner in New Orleans, who suggested they follow the edge of the oil sheen as they headed back toward shore. Eventually, in fading light they found long tendrils of oil reaching the shoreline, and the signs of it were everywhere in the South Pass of the Mississippi and the surrounding wetlands. Burdeau phoned it in and the APNewsAlert went out immediately.
Twenty minutes later, a frantic Coast Guard public affairs officer called Burdeau and said he was being bombarded by media about the AP story. Where did it come from? Burdeau told him what he saw.
Later, NASA satellite imagery and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration overflight maps showed that what the AP had seen was the tip of an oil sheen that snaked into the delta before moving more generally north as a huge blob. NOAA maps would soon confirm the delta as the first place in Louisiana with oiled beaches.
Burdeau also learned that a dockside warehouse was being prepped as an animal rescue center, and called photographer Alex Brandon, a longtime New Orleans photographer now based in Washington. Brandon went to the warehouse to do some reconnaissance. As chance would have it, the first bird, a Northern Gannett, had just been brought in, covered in oil. Brandon took the first pictures of affected wildlife, which were flashed across the world and dominated cable TV and websites.
AP RESTORING COUNTRY NAMES TO SOME INTERNATIONAL DATELINES
Effective May 17, the AP will restore country names to these international datelines: Bogota, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Kabul and Oslo. It will restore the province name to Ottawa.
These 49 international capitals and cities will continue to stand alone in datelines:
Amsterdam, Baghdad, Bangkok, Beijing, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, Cairo, Djibouti, Dublin, Geneva, Gibraltar, Guatemala City, Havana, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Kuwait City, London, Luxembourg, Macau, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Monaco, Montreal, Moscow, Munich, New Delhi, Panama City, Paris, Prague, Quebec City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, San Marino, Sao Paulo, Shanghai,
Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Vatican City, Vienna and Zurich.
EDITORS IN THE NEWS
Patrick McDowell, Asia-Pacific editor for The Associated Press, has been named assistant chief of bureau for Illinois and Indiana. The appointment was announced by Kate Lee Butler, the AP's vice president for U.S. Newspaper Markets. McDowell will report to Chief of Bureau George Garties and succeeds Dave Zelio, who last year was named sports editor for AP's Central Region. McDowell has reported for the AP from Europe, Africa and Asia, and in his current position led award-winning coverage of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2008 cyclone that devastated Myanmar. He also was an architect of the AP's expansion of its China operations in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games, a major strategic initiative for the news cooperative. In March, McDowell earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.
"Patrick has served AP members admirably through his leadership overseas, and will put a strong mix of news and business skills to work for members and customers in Illinois and Indiana," Butler said. McDowell, 51, joined the AP in Paris in 1989. He was named correspondent in South Africa in 1995 and promoted to news editor in Bangkok a year later. He transferred to Kuala Lumpur in 2000 as chief of bureau for Malaysia. In 2004, he was promoted to Asia-Pacific editor, directing AP's news operations across Asia. A native of Petaluma, Calif., McDowell earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of the Pacific and a master's degree in international journalism from the City University, London.
Jaymes Song has been named administrative correspondent for The Associated Press in Honolulu, overseeing news and operations for the bureau covering Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific. The appointment was announced John Raess, chief of bureau for northern California, northern Nevada and Hawaii. Song, who assumes his new duties immediately, joined the Honolulu bureau in November 2000 and has had a variety of editing and reporting responsibilities in Hawaii. In an interim news manager role, Song has led the bureau on major breaking news, including last year's deadly earthquake and tsunami that struck American Samoa, as well as efforts to improve enterprise and watchdog reporting. As a reporter, Song has covered many breaking news and sporting events, as well as reported on the tourism industry, Native Hawaiian affairs and the demise of Hawaii's iconic sugar industry. Song, 36, is a native of Seattle. A graduate of Western Washington University, he also has been a reporter at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and The Orange County Register.
Monica Nieporte, publisher of The Athens Messenger and regional vice president of American Consolidated Media-Ohio, was elected president of the Associated Press Society of Ohio for 2010-11 at the group's annual convention. Laura Kessel, managing editor of The (Willoughby) News-Herald, was named president-elect and Lance White, managing editor of The (Wooster) Daily Record, was named trustee. Cheryl Splain, editor of the Mount Vernon News, was elected as a director representing newspapers of up to 10,000 daily circulation. Peter Mattiace, editor of The (Findlay) Courier, was elected to represent newspaper with a daily circulation of 10,000 to 50,000. Jeff Gauger, editor of The (Canton) Repository, was elected as at-large director representing newspapers from all circulation divisions. Splain, Mattiace and Gauger were elected to two-year terms. Also serving on the APSO board, with a term expiring in 2011, is Ellen Stein Burbach, assistant managing editor/administration and medical editor, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, representing newspapers with a daily circulation of more than 50,000.
Sandy Cunningham, publisher of L'Observateur (LaPlace) was elected president of the Louisiana Press Association at its 130th Annual Convention. Other officers elected were: President-elect Jerry Pye, Publisher, Bastrop Daily Enterprise and Louisiana Regional Manager, GateHouse Media and Secretary-Treasurer Norris Babin, Co-Publisher, The Plaquemines Gazette (Belle Chasse) and The St. Bernard Voice (Arabi). Elected to the board for a three-year term were Josh Beavers, Publisher, Minden Press-Herald; Garland Forman, General Manager, The Bunkie Record, and David Francis, Business Manager, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans). Francis also serves as the LDNPA president. Elected to the board to continue one year remaining of a three-year term was Thomas B. Shearman III, Publisher, the American Press (Lake Charles).
BUSINESS OF NEWS
The Associated Press said its net income plunged as revenue fell nearly 10 percent last year. The news cooperative also expects a decline in revenue this year, which would be its first back-to-back drop since the Great Depression. The AP released its 2009 financial results at the not-for-profit organization's annual meeting in New York. AP executives used the forum to explain some of the ways they hope to boost revenue for the organization and its members, such as with news applications for the iPad. Net income decreased 65 percent to $8.8 million in 2009 from $25.1 million a year earlier. The AP would have posted a loss had it not booked a $13.2 million gain from the sale of its German-language news service. Revenue totaled $676.1 million, a drop from $747.7 million in 2008. It was the first annual decline in revenue since a 6 percent drop in 1993. If revenue falls this year as anticipated, it would be the first time that has happened in consecutive years since 1932 and 1933, according to the 164-year-old organization's corporate archives. Back then, the AP got most of its money from the U.S. newspapers that own it. The AP is far more diversified today, with a steadily growing amount of money coming from online and broadcast customers, photo archives and other commercial endeavors such as a sports statistics joint venture. U.S. newspapers account for about one-fourth of AP's revenue today.
The AP is trying to bring in more revenue from the Internet and mobile devices. It struck a new licensing deal for an undisclosed amount with Yahoo Inc. this year and is trying to negotiate a new contract with Internet search leader Google Inc. A licensing deal with Microsoft Corp. is set to expire this summer.
"The AP, in the last five years, has laid the foundation for a new way of doing business in the digital marketplace," AP Chairman William Dean Singleton said. Singleton also is CEO of MediaNews Group Inc., publisher of the San Jose Mercury News and 53 other daily newspapers.
As part of its digital focus, the AP will launch a service it says will enable it and participating newspapers to track where and how their online content is being used. The AP believes the service, called a news registry, can help it and newspapers find new moneymaking opportunities from online licensing and advertising. About 200 newspapers have been testing the registry since late last year. The AP hopes to have about 600 newspapers on board when the service officially debuts July 14. The AP also hopes to build on the popularity of its news application for mobile phones with more sophisticated programs tailored for the iPad, Apple Inc.'s new computer tablet. The initial iPad application is free, but the AP plans other "apps" that will require subscriptions.
"We believe the infrastructure we are putting in place will make it possible for publishers to set rights, apply tags, create products and execute sales direct to consumers," AP CEO Tom Curley said.
In other news, the AP elected two new directors to three-year terms on its 18-member board. They are: Michael Golden, vice chairman of The New York Times Co. and president and chief operating officer for The New York Times Regional Media Group; and Katharine Weymouth, publisher of The Washington Post and CEO of Washington Post Media. They replace directors who are retiring from the board after reaching their maximum tenure: Boisfeuillet (Bo) Jones, vice chairman of The Washington Post Co.; and H. Graham Woodlief, vice president of Media General Inc.
Four incumbents were re-elected to the board: Robert Jack Fishman, president and CEO of Lakeway Publishers Inc., and publisher-editor of the Citizen Tribune in Morristown, Tenn.; Mary E. Junck, CEO of Lee Enterprises Inc.; Steven O. Newhouse, chairman of Advance.net and editor-in-chief of The Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.; and Charles V. Pittman, senior vice president at Schurz Communications Inc. in South Bend, Ind.
Executives at The Washington Times are negotiating to sell the newspaper, which was founded in 1982 and funded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. Nicholas Chiaia, a member of the newspaper's two-person board of directors, said in a statement that executives recently entered into discussions with "a number of parties interested in either purchasing or partnering with the Washington Times." Chiaia released the statement to The Washington Post, which reported that the Times was seeking buyers. Times spokesman Don Meyer confirmed Chiaia's statement. Last week, Publisher Jonathan Slevin left the newspaper, saying the board had been playing an "intrusive role" in day-to-day affairs. At the beginning of the year, the Times cut more than 40 percent of its staff. The newspaper eliminated its sports section and most local coverage as part of a new strategy to focus on politics, business, cultural issues and investigative reporting. The paper has often been viewed as a conservative alternative to the much larger Washington Post. In late January, the Times hired Sam Dealey, a journalist and fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, as its top editor. He was previously a contributor at U.S. News and World Report and served as an editorial writer for the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal and for The Washington Times.
Creditors won the frenzied bankruptcy auction for Philadelphia's two major newspapers with a $139 million bid last week, despite last-minute pledges from area philanthropists to boost a local group's bid. Publisher Brian Tierney fought strenuously to retain local control of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, rounding up business moguls Raymond and Ronald Perelman, H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest and others. But the final bidding went in eye-popping $10 million increments, and the investors ultimately felt they had to walk away. "They paid a lot of money for it. We stayed in it as long as we thought made sense," said 92-year-old philanthropist Raymond Perelman of Philadelphia, who along with son Ronald, the Revlon chairman, offered $27 million in cash and loans. Despite the bitter loss, Tierney pledged to work toward a smooth transition in ownership. He said he took comfort in the creditors' stated commitment to both the employees and quality journalism. The new owners include the hedge funds Alden Capital and Angelo Gordon & Co, along with Credit Suisse and other banks. They will install a former publisher of the newspapers, Robert Hall, as interim chief operating officer. The company, which also operates the Philly.com web site, will retain just $36 million in debt, down from $400 million before the February 2009 bankruptcy filing.
The Buffalo News' latest buyout offer has been accepted by 27 employees, including several veteran reporters. Along with eight people in the newsroom, employees in circulation, accounting and classified advertising have accepted a package negotiated by managers and the Buffalo Newspaper Guild that will have them retire as of April 30. It is the second early retirement offer at the paper in two years. Last year, 46 Guild members accepted, reducing the payroll by $2.9 million annually.
Gannett Co. said it has completed the sale of Hawaii's largest newspaper, The Honolulu Advertiser, to Oahu Publications Inc. Financial terms of the sale to the owner and publisher of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin weren't disclosed when the announcement was made Monday. The sale includes related assets, including a website, non-daily publications and Gannett's interest in Hawaii.com. Oahu Publications also owns other weekly newspapers and magazines. Previously announced plans call for the Advertiser to continue publishing for 30 to 60 days before merging with the Star-Bulletin, Hawaii's second-largest newspaper, to form the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
"FIRST PET” PUBLISHED BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, CELEBRATES WHITE HOUSE PETS THROUGH THE DECADES
In an age of often bitter partisan politics, The Associated Press celebrates White House residents with the widest bipartisan appeal – the first family's pets.
The AP's FIRST PET is a 128-page collection of revealing photographs documenting U.S. presidents and their pets through the decades.
Drawn from the AP's vast photo library and enlivened with informative historical commentary, FIRST PET memorializes the special relationship of presidents and the animals they have brought into America's most famous home.
Here are Franklin D. Roosevelt and his beloved Scottie, Fala; George H.W. Bush with his Springer spaniel Millie (who wrote a best-seller with the help of first lady Barbara Bush); Bill Clinton and his cat, Socks, and chocolate Labrador, Buddy; and Bo, the Portuguese water dog the Obama family brought home to the White House last year.
Here, too, are the more obscure pets the White House has hosted, such as President William Howard Taft's pet cow Pauline Wayne, the Coolidges' raccoons, and the young Caroline Kennedy's pony, Macaroni, part of a family menagerie that also included two other ponies, a Guinea pig, assorted birds and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa.
In an introduction to this entertaining volume, Claire McLean, founder and director of the Presidential Pet Museum, writes: "Our presidents show goodness of heart during their private and personal moments with the animals with which they have bonded."
FIRST PET is the latest in a series of AP books showcasing the news organization's wealth of archival images. Other volumes include NEW YORK YANKEES 365, a photo history of the 2009 World Champions, and BREAKING NEWS, a 2007 history of the AP.
Amazon.com listing for FIRST PET:
FIRST PET by The Associated Press with an introduction by Claire McLean; Nonfiction; $15.00; ISBN: 978-0-9841927-0-0
Photo caption (top): Cover: Bo, Portuguese water dog of the Obama family, June 2009.
Photo caption (below): The Clinton family cat Socks peers over the podium in the White House briefing room in Washington, March 19, 1994. After the Clintons left the White House in January 2001, Socks lived with Bill Clinton's secretary, Betty Currie, in Hollywood, Md. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
AP CORPORATE ARCHIVES OFFERS BOOKLET FOR STATE MEETINGS ON RISKS JOURNALISTS TAKE TO COVER WARS
The AP Corporate Archives is producing a 70-page booklet entitled "The Costs of War:AP Journalists in Beirut, Kabul, and Baghdad, 1975-2010.” The booklet highlights the complex risks taken by AP journalists and local staff in covering the Lebanon civil war and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It features photographs and documents drawn from the Beirut and Cairo bureau records, the text archive, and the photo library, with commentary by Corporate Archives Director Valerie Komor.
The booklet is accompanied by a DVD featuring a selection of oral history interviews conducted last year with AP reporters and photographers in the Middle East.
The Archives is making the booklets available for state AP meetings. For more information, contact Valerie Komor at email@example.com or at 212-621-1731.
APME's GREAT IDEAS CD GIVEAWAY
The Texas APME convention is using APME's Great Ideas CD as a giveaway at the conference. The CD has terrific ideas that editors can use throughout the year. It might work for your conference too.
Evelyn Cunningham, a pioneering journalist who covered the birth of the 1960s civil rights movement and later served as an aide to New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, has died in Manhattan. She was 94. Cunningham was a reporter and editor for the Pittsburgh Courier, an influential black newspaper, from the 1940s through the early 1960s. She earned the nickname "the lynching editor" for her reporting on lynchings in the segregated South. She interviewed prominent civil rights figures, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and produced a three-part series on the King family. In 1998, Cunningham and other Courier staff members accepted a George Polk Award for the paper's civil rights coverage. In an interview with The New York Times at the time of the award, Cunningham recalled walking up to Eugene "Bull" Connor, the Birmingham, Ala., police commissioner who had ordered fire hoses turned on civil rights workers, and asking for an interview. He used a racial epithet and walked away. "Actually, I didn't anticipate he would give me the interview," she said. "But as a reporter, I had to give it a shot." She also interviewed sports and entertainment figures. When she visited Louis Armstrong at his home in Queens, she asked him about the classical music he was listening to. "It's Beethoven," Armstrong said. "Y'know, I play a lot of it. You can learn a lot from them cats."
http://www.sacbee.com/2010/04/ 28/2712548/pioneering- journalist-evelyn-cunningham. html
Ron Fimrite, a longtime columnist and writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and Sports Illustrated, has died at the age of 79. Fimrite, who built his career entertaining readers with his offbeat sense of humor and colorful descriptions, was also the author of a several books. Fimrite joined the Chronicle in 1959, where he was first assigned to covering police and courts. When he started writing columns for the paper, his items eventually caught the attention of Sports Illustrated. The magazine hired him away from the Chronicle in 1971, where he worked for nearly three decades. After retiring from Sports Illustrated, he continued to contribute articles to the magazine, as well as other publications for several years.
Stephen Rosenfeld, a Washington Post editor and columnist whose foreign affairs expertise helped shape the newspaper's editorial page for more than three decades, died May 2 in Springfield, Va. He was 77. During his 40-year tenure at The Post, Rosenfeld wrote more than 10,000 op-ed columns and unsigned editorials. He frequently took on two of the most polarizing issues of the time, the Cold War and the conflict in the Middle East, but built a reputation among colleagues for his unflagging efforts to understand the world and his ability to write intelligently about any part of it. Rosenfeld became deputy editor of the editorial pages in 1982 and served in that role for almost two decades. Famously calm, he was the steadying influence among his colleagues as they debated how to present the newspaper's positions on local, national and international issues. He became editorial page editor in 1999 and retired a short time later in 2000.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ wp-dyn/content/article/2010/ 05/02/AR2010050203549.html
AND FINALLY..."OLD HACKS” WHO COVERED VIETNAM WAR REUNITE IN FORMER SAIGON
By BEN STOCKING AND THOMAS MARESCA
Associated Press Writers
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (AP) – Some walked with canes, others with limps. Their hair stained with streaks of silver, their faces mapped by years of pressure and deadlines.
At first glance, it could have been any 35th reunion anywhere, but once the drinks and stories started flowing in the former Saigon's sultry air, this crowd of self-proclaimed "Old Hacks” revealed how they risked their lives every day to tell the world about an ugly guerrilla war fought in the jungles of Vietnam, where they had unfettered access to report.
The aging press corps came together, one more time, on the eve of the day the Vietnam War ended 35 years ago – April 30, 1975 – when communist North Vietnamese forces drove tanks through the former U.S.-backed capital of South Vietnam, smashing through the Presidential Palace gates.
It was a dramatic end to a long, bloody war that killed an estimated 3 million Vietnamese and some 58,000 Americans.
The journalists also gathered to watch Vietnam's formal commemoration of Liberation Day, as it is known here, taking in a parade down the former Reunification Boulevard that featured tank replicas and goose-stepping soldiers in white uniforms. Some 50,000 party cadres, army veterans and laborers gathered for the spectacle, many carrying red and gold Vietnamese flags and portraits of Ho Chi Minh, the father of Vietnam's revolution.
"This was the first foreign war the U.S. ever fought where the press challenged government thinking, challenged the decisions of generals, challenged the political decisions the war was based on," said former CNN correspondent Peter Arnett, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his Vietnam coverage in 1966 while working for The Associated Press.
Arnett, like many of the globe-trotting journalists, came to Vietnam as a young reporter and grew up covering battles from the trenches where correspondents were permitted to go without restrictions. Many carried their war experience into other conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan, but said they were never again given such freedom to tell their stories from the front lines.
"No longer will you ever be able to do wars like Vietnam," said Bob Carroll, a former United Press International photographer. "What did the military learn about press access from Vietnam? Don't give it to them."
The reunion's nostalgia was tinged with sadness for the 79 colleagues lost years ago on the battlefields of Indochina, along with others who survived bombs and bullets only to die more recently from illnesses or accidents. Dutch photojournalist Hugh Van Es, pioneering female reporter Kate Webb and legendary Pulitzer Prize winner David Halberstam were among the recently deceased who were remembered.
Others too ill to make the journey were also missed, such as former AP Saigon bureau chief George Esper, one of the few journalists who refused to leave Saigon, now named Ho Chi Minh City, after it fell to the communists. Today, Vietnam continues to operate as a one-party political system, though it has opened its economic doors to free-market capitalism.
But the mood was far from somber. Whoops of laughter also roared through the famous Caravelle Hotel ballroom as the former war correspondents, many of whom survived war injuries along with years of hard boozing and chain smoking, told stories about their wartime shenanigans and how they outsmarted the competition.
Matt Franjola admitted he used to bribe the U.S. military signal operators in Khe Sanh, the site of a famous battle near the demilitarized zone in central Vietnam, with fresh loaves of French bread so they would relay his stories back to the U.S. ahead of competing news services. He worked for UPI at the time, and later switched to the AP.
"I cheated," Franjola said. "That's what happens when you know your way around."
The reunion, which the group holds every five years, brought together about 30 journalists and was organized by Carl Robinson, a former AP correspondent who manages the Old Hacks message board on Google Groups.
The journalists were treated like rock stars by young admiring Vietnamese journalists eager to hear war stories from a time before they were born. Edith M. Lederer, who continues to work for the AP decades after covering the Vietnam War, was among those tailed by the local press. She was the only female correspondent to return for the reunion.
"The Vietnam War showed beyond any doubt that women reporters, photographers and TV correspondents had what it takes to cover major conflicts and breaking stories," she said. "In all of the major wars that followed Vietnam, women have become far more commonplace in the media. For me, that's really heartening."
The Vietnamese scribes filed stories in the state-controlled media about the return of the Old Hacks, many of whom fell in love with the people of Vietnam and have returned many times over the years to visit old friends.
"It's strange to be able to talk about a war and talk about all the benefits that came from it," said Jacques Leslie, who covered the war for the Los Angeles Times. "But for me it was a positive experience. I found out I could do things I had no idea I could do, and I'm grateful for the experience."
At the Liberation Day parade, the Old Hacks sat in the VIP section near a handful of former U.S. war veterans who have also returned to Vietnam many times since the war ended. Among them was Jim Doyle, a member of the Vietnam Veterans Peace Inititative, a small organization that supports a health clinic near Danang.
"I never had an enemy in Vietnam," Doyle said. "My government did, but I didn't. This place feels like home to me. These are probably the warmest, most genuine people I've ever met."
The government extended its hand to the Old Hacks, setting up a meeting with the mayor of Ho Chi Minh City and offering a trip to the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels, an extensive underground network where communist Viet Cong guerrillas sought refuge from American bombers.
"I think that now the government realizes that we were people who covered the war objectively," said James Pringle, who worked for Reuters in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Associated Press writer Margie Mason contributed to this report from Hanoi, Vietnam.
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