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Hollis Towns named APME president

Thursday, October 21, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jack Lail
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Hollis R. Towns, executive editor of the Asbury Park Press in Neptune, N.J., was elected Thursday president of the Associated Press Managing Editors at the group’s annual conference in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"I’m thrilled to be elected president of an organization with such a rich history and bright future,” said Towns, 46. "I plan to build on the successes of the past year by growing the membership, extending our reach and launching an important national reporting project with The Associated Press.”

Towns began his career at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter. He became executive editor at the Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer before being named editor at the Asbury newspaper, which is owned by the Gannett Co.

Bob Heisse, executive editor of the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., was elected vice president of the association and will serve as president in 2012.

Brad Dennison, vice president of News & Interactive for GateHouse Media, and Debra Adams Simmons, newly named editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, were selected for the leadership ladder of APME.

The APME board's action placed Dennison in line to be president of the organization in 2013 and Adams Simmons in 2014. Dennison will serve as secretary and Adams Simmons as Journalism Today chair next year.

APME, an association of editors at AP's 1,500 member newspapers in the U.S. and newspapers served by The Canadian Press in Canada, works closely with the news company to strive for journalism excellence. APME also supports training and development of editors in a changing media landscape, as well as initiatives in online credibility and diversity.

Otis Sanford, editor for opinion and editorials for The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tenn., completed his term as association president and will become president of the APME Foundation.

Dennison has been with GateHouse Media Inc., since October 2006. He oversees all aspects of GateHouse’s news and online operations. From May 2004 to October 2006, he served as vice president of news for Birmingham, Ala.-based Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. Previously, he held editing positions at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Daily Southtown on Chicago’s South Side, and various community newspapers in the Midwest and South.

"I’m honored to have the opportunity to play a key leadership role for this great organization over the next few years,” Dennison said. "APME has done an excellent job of being at the forefront of everything from First Amendment issues to providing training and development to our newsrooms, and we will continue to find ways to build innovative programs onto a very strong foundation.”   

Adams Simmons served as managing editor of The Plain Dealer for three years. Prior to that, she was editor and vice president as well as managing editor of the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal. She also worked in editorial roles at The Virginian-Pilot, the Detroit Free Press, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant and the Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald-Journal.

"This is a marvelous opportunity to play an important role in shaping APME's future," Adams Simmons said.

She is chairing the 2011 APME conference in Denver. "The Mile High City promises big things," she said.

Reelected to terms on the board were Jon Broadbooks, executive editor of the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill.; J. Todd Foster, executive editor of the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press; Alan D. Miller, managing editor of the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch; and Jack Lail, multimedia editor of the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel.

Elected to terms on the board were Carol L. Hanner, managing editor of the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal; Teri Hayt, managing editor of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson; J.B. Bittner, editor of the Stillwater (Okla.) News Press; and Chris Cobler, editor of the Victoria (Texas) Advocate.

Associated Press Media Editors

APME is a professional network, a resource for helping editors and broadcasters improve their news coverage and newsroom operations.

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