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|May 19, 2010, APME Newsletter|
In this issue:
Save the Date: APME Conference at Poynter Oct. 20-22
Dates to Note:
June 2, APME/NewsU Webinar on Social Media
The APME 2010 Conference – Building Momentum – will be held Oct. 20-22 at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.
More information on the program will be posted soon on the APME website at apme.com.
For hotels, the downtown Hampton Inn & Suites and the Marriott Courtyard both have set aside a block of rooms for $94 a night for the conference. The special Poynter room rate will be available until Sept. 26 or until the group block is sold out, whichever comes first. For more information, go to apme.com
The 2010 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 conference at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., Oct. 20-22 and linked on the APME website.
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:
APME and NewsU will team up for two more webinars on journalism credibility topics. A code, sent separately, will allow APME members to sign up for $9.95.
June 2, 2 p.m., Credibility and Social Media in Your News Organization / Dave Olson, editor, The Salem News in Massachusetts
Many news organizations dived into social media first and figured out the credibility issues second. The Salem News, led by Editor Dave Olson, developed its credible presence on Facebook and Twitter from the ground up, with the help and advice of the user communities and the newsroom. He'll explain how the The Salem News learned how users counted on journalists to provide credible content and help you answer questions for your news organization.
To register: http://www.newsu.org/social-
Also, SAVE THE DATE FOR THE FINAL APME / NewsU CREDIBILITY WEBINAR:
July 21, 2 p.m., Archived Content and "Unpublishing" Requests / Kathy English, public editor, Toronto Star
>Journalism educators and college media advisers may apply for a McCormick Award to attend the Nashville NewsTrain.
>The Scripps Howard Foundation is funding scholarships valued at up to $300 to help journalists from diverse backgrounds attend. Alumni of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute's programs and journalists from the organizations that planned this NewsTrain workshop are encouraged to apply.
STIMULUS: TRACKING THE SPENDING
Wal-Mart said it is pulling an entire line of Miley Cyrus-brand necklaces and bracelets from its shelves after tests performed for The Associated Press found the jewelry contained high levels of the toxic metal cadmium. In a statement issued three hours after AP's initial report of its findings, Wal-Mart said it would remove the jewelry, made exclusively for the world's largest retailer, while it investigates. The company issued the statement along with Cyrus and Max Azria, the designer who developed the jewelry for the 17-year-old "Hannah Montana" star. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had learned of cadmium in the Miley Cyrus jewelry, as well as in an unrelated line of bracelet charms, back in February, based on an earlier round of testing conducted at AP's request, but had continued selling the items. It said as recently as last month that it would be too difficult to test products already on its shelves.
An Associated Press investigation shows the federal agency responsible for ensuring that an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was operating safely before it exploded last month fell well short of its own policy that inspections be done at least once per month. In fact, the agency's inspection frequency on the Deepwater Horizon fell dramatically over the past five years, according to federal Minerals Management Service records. Since January 2005, inspectors issued just one minor infraction for the rig. That strong track record led the agency last year to herald the Deepwater Horizon as an industry model for safety. The inspection gaps are the latest in a series of questions raised about the agency's oversight of the oil drilling industry. Members of Congress and President Barack Obama have criticized what they call the cozy relationship between regulators and oil companies and vowed to reform MMS, which both regulates the industry and collects billions in royalties from it.
The Associated Press reported that with Texas facing a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion, Gov. Rick Perry has spent almost $600,000 in public money during the past two years to live in a sprawling rental home in the hills above the capital, according to records it obtained. It costs more than $10,000 a month in rent, utilities and upkeep to house Perry in a five-bedroom, seven-bath mansion that has pecan-wood floors, a gourmet kitchen and three dining rooms. Perry has also spent $130,000 in campaign donations to throw parties, buy food and drink, and pay for cable TV and a host of other services since he moved in, the records show. The public spending on Perry's rental comes as the state grapples with a budget shortfall forecast to reach at least $11 billion over the next two years. Perry has asked state agencies to cut their budgets by 5 percent and the Republican House speaker has begun to consider furloughs and shortened workweeks for state employees. Ethics watchdogs, meanwhile, say Perry's campaign may have violated state disclosure laws because of the vague way he's reported what his staff calls "incidental" spending at the mansion. "Anybody who is not offended probably doesn't know what's going on," said Rep. Jim Dunnam of Waco, the Texas House Democratic leader. To spend so much while asking state agencies to spend less, Dunnam said, is "just rank hypocrisy." Perry dismissed such criticism with a laugh when asked by the AP about the costs of living in the exclusive Barton Creek Estates neighborhood in West Austin: "If that's the best cut anybody's got of leadership in the state of Texas, then bring it on."
The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports some of the region's largest landowners are also the region's biggest tax delinquents. They are developers and development companies who owe hundreds of thousands of dollars. From large, mostly empty oceanfront condominium developments in Sandbridge to never-started commercial projects on farmland in Suffolk, the recession-stung developers haven't been able to finance or sell their projects. Without cash coming in, many have been unable to pay even their most basic bills. Now their struggles are trickling down to cities wrestling to balance budgets gored by cuts in state funding and other revenue shortages. An analysis by The Virginian-Pilot shows that as of mid-April, more than $40 million combined was owed to five cities in unpaid real estate taxes, fees and interest. Much of that - and certainly the largest individual chunks of it - was owed by developers.
The Palm Beach Post reports that a glaring loophole in a bill meant to crack down on Florida pain management clinics would allow cagey operators to continue peddling huge amounts of narcotics to drug traffickers and junkies. Authorities say unscrupulous pain clinics figure prominently in elaborate drug-selling operations and are fueling a dramatic spike in overdose deaths across the Southeast. The loophole lies in the provision's language, which targets doctors who sell pills to "any patient who pays for the medication by cash, check or credit card.” Nothing in the bill prevents doctors from charging a flat fee for an "office visit” and simply giving away pills for free. The pain clinic business offers doctors a unique incentive to interpret any new laws creatively: staggeringly huge amounts of cash. Five doctors who worked part-time at a Lake Worth mega-clinic raided by federal agents in March earned a combined $5.1 million in 2009 alone. One doctor pocketed more than $44,000 in a single week, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
The Tennessean of Nashville reports more than $92 million in disaster relief funds have been approved by the federal government, and Nashville residents appear to be receiving most of that money, a quick influx of cash that has pleased state officials and surprised recipients. Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency say they have already disbursed $79 million in flood relief. More than 50 percent of that money has been awarded to residents of Davidson County. The money has provided needed relief to residents in hard-hit neighborhoods, where some flood victims have already begun to repair their ravaged homes. The speed of the response has also helped reverse widely held misgivings about FEMA forged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina four years ago, when months-long delays in aid distribution compounded problems that began with the slow response to the crisis. FEMA officials say they have teams of people reaching out to register residents in rural areas and non-English speakers. Victims have until July 6 to register. Officials said there is no limit to the amount of aid available to Tennessee.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale reports on complaints by patients, malpractice attorneys and consumer advocates who say Florida's system for policing the state's 66,000 doctors and 840,000 other medical professionals is feeble and ineffective. Consumer group Public Citizen last month ranked Florida the eighth most-lenient in the nation for disciplining doctors. The ranking stems from the number of serious actions per 1,000 doctors last year, when the state revoked the licenses of 94 and suspended 18 others. The toughest state disciplined doctors at rates three times as high. The trend has been true for a decade, the group said. Regulators dismiss 90 percent of complaints that patients or others file against practitioners, more than 95 percent of those against doctors. When action is taken, the state rarely imposes serious punishments, such as revoking or suspending licenses. Virtually all of the dismissed complaints are dropped during confidential reviews by the Florida Department of Health and its panels of medical professionals, state records show. Complaints that advance to public hearings often take years to resolve and typically end in settlements in which doctors are fined or ordered to take remedial classes, critics say.
The Press of Atlantic City, N.J.. reports that instead of disappearing, Atlantic City's eyesores are becoming permanent fixtures. When Mayor Lorenzo Langford asked residents to help compile a list of the 10 most blighted buildings in 2003, response was so heavy that the city eventually posted a list of 11, with two tied for first (or worst) property. The purpose was to put pressure on negligent property owners to improve their sites. But most apparently didn't feel the heat.
Nine of the 11 properties listed remain as ugly as the day their dirty facades were put on the list nearly seven years ago. The properties show up in clusters on a map, with several in the city's rundown Inlet section, multiple properties near the city's most prominent roadway, Pacific Avenue, and others scattered elsewhere. Many are in prime locations, either near the water or sandwiched between nearby casinos. All of them are hard to look at, with boarded-up windows, graffiti and weeds growing from various cracks. Most are owned by out-of-town businessmen, which city officials believe is a key to their years of disrepair.
The Maine Sunday Telegram of Portland reports on what it calls the irrational pricing system for medical care in a state where one patient who had an MRI done at the Maine Medical Center campus in Scarborough for about $1,800 later discovered she could have saved about $1,000 by waiting a week longer for an appointment at a nearby office of Marshwood Imaging Center. The same system has made it possible for one patient's insurance plan to pay less than $600 for a colonoscopy in one part of the state and an uninsured patient to be charged more than $4,800 for the same procedure elsewhere. Now, however, patients and employers are learning to shop for medical care the same way they would compare prices for refrigerators or building contractors. A website created last year by the Maine Health Data Organization allows anyone to look up a limited number of medical procedures, such as MRIs or colonoscopies, and compare the prices insurance carriers paid to different hospitals or clinics, as well as the prices charged to patients without insurance. By September, a deadline set by the Legislature, the state's website should include a broader range of more up-to-date medical prices, together with information about the quality of care at each hospital and doctors' office in the state.
The Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, N.Y., reports that by the time the average suburban Monroe County high school senior reaches the end of this school year, taxpayers will have spent well over $100,000 on her education. Area suburban schools are academically strong compared to their statewide peers. Mathematics and English assessment test results exceed the state averages, and a higher percentage of suburban seniors graduate on time, as compared to schools of similar economic circumstances from across the state. Many area schools have received national accolades. But, with the state in a financial crisis that could last for years, and school costs continuing to skyrocket, schools are in flux. Facing steep cuts this year in state aid, local schools are planning layoffs, class size increases, fewer electives and other cuts as well as tax increases to cope with a countywide loss of more than $62 million in aid. Since 1998 — when this year's graduates started first grade — school spending within the county's suburban schools has risen by more than 70 percent, and taxes have increased at about the same rate.
The statement was stunning.
Martha Mendoza, a national writer on special assignment to cover the drug war in Mexico, confronted U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske with her findings that after 40 years, $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, the United States' war on drugs had failed to meet any of its goals. Drug use remained rampant and violence was even more brutal and widespread.
"In the grand scheme, it has not been successful," Kerlikowske conceded. "Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified."
After the interview, Kerlikowske wondered to his aide if Mendoza had grasped the significance of what he was saying. "Do you think she got that?" the aide told Mendoza his boss had asked.
Indeed she had. No sitting drug czar had ever said anything like that before. Mendoza's story now would be more than just another progress report; with Kerlikowske's testimony, it would be an indictment of the war on drugs waged by nine presidents.
Mendoza had spent three months researching and reporting the story. She filed Freedom of Information Act requests in both the U.S. and Mexico and combed through historical archives to identify the original goals set out by the Nixon administration. She quantified spending by studying drug control budgets dating to the 1970s and interviewed dozens of government officials past and present.
She followed the money:
_ $20 billion to fight the drug gangs in other countries.
_ $33 billion in marketing "Just Say No"-style messages to America's youth and other prevention programs.
_ $49 billion to cut off the flow of illegal drugs along America's borders.
_ $121 billion to arrest more than 37 million nonviolent drug offenders, about 10 million of them for possession of marijuana, even though studies show that jail time tends to increase drug abuse.
_ $450 billion to lock those people up in federal prisons, where half of all inmates
are serving time for drug offenses.
The facts and figures were brought to life by an interactive produced by Jake O'Connell in New York that featured graphics explaining the numbers, along with slideshows and videotaped interviews of experts discussing the problem.
The story received wide play, including dozens of U.S. front pages. It was one of the most e-mailed stories on Yahoo, and it generated a tremendous amount of reaction:
_ "It's the best expose on the drug war to date. I think it's going to have a major effect on public opinion and public policy." _ Beto O'Rourke, El Paso, Texas, City Council.
_ "The Associated Press has just dropped a bombshell on America's longest running war." _ Huffington Post.
_ "The 40-year budget amounts you cite are a significant new addition to the debate. They're sad and shocking, too." _ Adam Isacson, senior associate of the Washington Office on Latin America.
The AP has restored country names to these international datelines: Bogota, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Kabul and Oslo. The province name was restored to Ottawa.
These 49 international capitals and cities 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.
Neil Brown has been named the new editor of the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. CEO and Chairman Paul C. Tash made the announcement during a staff meeting. Brown began working at the Times in October 1993 as world editor. He became managing editor in 1995 and was named to the board of Times Publishing Co. in 1997. He became a vice president in 2001 and was named executive editor and vice president in 2004. The University of Iowa graduate is a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Board of Directors and a past president and board member of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. Tash had previously held the title of editor, but a release from the company says Tash has recently turned more of his attention to the business operations.
The Tennessee House sponsor of a resolution that sought to ban an Associated Press reporter from the chamber withdrew the measure. Democratic Rep. Joe Towns of Memphis said he decided to pull the resolution after talking with House leaders. The sergeant at arms and a state trooper ordered Erik Schelzig to leave the House floor last week after he began taking photos of a collapsed House Speaker Kent Williams, who had fainted as a result of low blood sugar. The Elizabethton independent got up minutes later and resumed presiding over the session about an hour later. He said he didn't eat breakfast and his blood sugar was low. He was back to work this week. The resolution said Schelzig hindered "emergency medical personnel from providing necessary medical care" to Williams. But video footage from a local television station showed Schelzig was actually behind a glass barrier where reporters are required to work. He has been supported by news organizations and open government advocates – all of whom said he was doing his job. Laura Leslie, president of Capitolbeat, a national association of statehouse reporters and editors, wrote a letter to the speaker. She said if Schelzig was obstructing medical assistance, the sergeant at arms should have told him to move. But the video and the angle of Schelzig's photo suggest that wasn't the case, she said. "It would set a very poor precedent if your chamber were to give this measure any consideration, let alone pass it," she wrote.
After 85 years, the iconic redheaded orphan Annie is ending her time on newspaper comics pages. Tribune Media Services announced it will cease syndication of the strip "Annie" on June 13. Instead, the company said it is taking Annie into the Internet age by pursuing new audiences for her in digital media. The comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" made its newspaper debut on August 5, 1924, first written and illustrated by creator Harold Gray. The strip later was renamed simply "Annie." The spunky orphan was adopted by Daddy Warbucks and later joined by her lovable dog Sandy. Annie was famous for wearing a red dress with white collar and cuffs. Over decades she became the center of a radio program, a Broadway musical and movies.
New Jersey's Supreme Court has ruled a newspaper cannot be held liable for accurate reporting of allegations made in a lawsuit before trial. Last week's ruling overturned a 2008 decision by an appeals court that found The Record of Bergen County libelous for its reporting of a lawsuit. In a March 2006 story, the newspaper wrote about a federal bankruptcy court complaint that alleged Thomas Salzano misappropriated money from a now-defunct telecommunications company. Salzano sued the newspaper, saying the allegations in the complaint were unfounded. The state Supreme Court says newspapers are not liable as long as they accurately quote allegations in a suit. However, the court did say a lower court must decide whether statements in The Record's article made by sources not contained in the lawsuit were defamatory.
A Lebanese newspaper says the global financial crisis coupled with regional tensions have derailed its hosting of a world gathering of newspaper executives and editors planned for next month. The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers has said that the World Newspaper Conference that was to be held in Beirut from June 7-10 was canceled because Lebanese host An-Nahar was not able to provide the agreed funding for the event. A World Editors Forum planned at the same time in the Lebanese capital was rescheduled for October 6-8 in Hamburg, Germany. An-Nahar said last week it deeply regretted the cancellation. It said the global financial crisis and "repeated Israeli war threats against Lebanon" scared away advertisers and sponsors of the event. The 2010 world newspapers congress would have marked the first time the newspaper executives' meeting was held in an Arab nation. About 700 senior newspaper executives were registered for the Beirut events.
The New York Times Co. said May 17 it expects to see an improvement in print advertising revenue in the second quarter from the prior quarter. Digital advertising revenue is expected to post percentage increases in the high teens, a similar trend seen in the first quarter. The company said it continues to expect lower cost savings for the remainder of the year after making several major cuts last year. Moreover, newsprint prices are rising. The New York Times also expects depreciation and amortization expenses of $125 million to $130 million, capital expenditures of $45 million to $55 million, net interest expense of $85 million to $90 million and income from joint ventures of $5 million to $10 million, excluding asset sale gains.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is boosting its bet that better days are ahead for the slumping newspaper industry. It reported last week that it now owns a 10.2 percent stake in USA Today publisher Gannett Co., making it the company's largest shareholder. JPMorgan disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it owned 24.3 million Gannett shares as of April 30, up from 7.4 million shares at the beginning of the year. It used a form that signals the investment is a passive one, not a prelude to a takeover attempt. And JPMorgan didn't make the investment with its own money; it bought the stock through investment arms that manage money for other institutions and individuals.
JPMorgan has acquired a more direct interest in newspapers through the recent wave of bankruptcy reorganizations. To give newspapers more breathing room, JPMorgan and other creditors have been forgiving outstanding debts in exchange for ownership stakes in several newspaper companies. The swaps have left JPMorgan as a part-owner of The Orange County Register in southern California, the New Haven Register in Connecticut and dozens of other daily newspapers. JPMorgan also could become a co-owner of the Tribune Co., publisher of the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, if a proposed bankruptcy reorganization plan gains court approval. The bank so far hasn't said much publicly about its plans for the newspaper that it acquired through bankruptcy restructurings.
The publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News is leaving as part of the transition to new ownership by company creditors. Brian Tierney will step down as chief executive on May 21, and as publisher when the sale closes in late June or early July, the company said. "It's obviously with a certain sense of sadness when you see the folks around here that you've enjoyed working with," Tierney, 53, said. However, he noted that the Inquirer has survived for more than 180 years."The future is bright. I want to be cheering them on the sidelines," he said. Joseph Bondi of Alvarez & Marsal, who has served as a consultant during the 15-month bankruptcy, has been named interim CEO until the closing. Creditors have named former Newsweek executive Greg Osberg their incoming publisher and Robert Hall, a former publisher of the newspapers, chief operating officer.
Donnis Baggett, editor of The Eagle of Bryan-College Station, has been named publisher of the Waco Tribune-Herald. Both papers report that the 57-year-old veteran journalist will leave The Eagle, a 21,000-circulation daily, on May 28. He'll take up his new duties at the Tribune-Herald, a 35,000-circulation daily, effective June 1. Baggett has been the top news executive at The Eagle since 1995, serving as editor and publisher until three years ago when Jim Wilson assumed the publisher title. Previously, Baggett spent 19 years with The Dallas Morning News, first as a reporter, then as state editor and then assistant managing editor. Before that, he worked as a weekly in Livingston, his hometown. Baggett also has been active in open government, agricultural and ranching efforts. Wilson said a search will now begin for Baggett's successor.
The AP Corporate Archives is offering a 70-page booklet on "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 staffers 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.
The Texas APME used 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.
Angus M. Thuermer witnessed firsthand the anti-Semitic firebombings of synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses on a night of broken glass that came to be known as "Kristallnacht" as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press in prewar Germany and covered the German invasion of Poland, before he was interned by the Nazis. In later years, as station chief for the CIA in Berlin, he kept watch on the Cold War. Even with those hair-raising experiences, Thuermer claimed to lack one essential possession as a young reporter in Nazi Germany. Jokingly, he told writer David Halberstam the importance of a trench coat to someone trying to be a foreign correspondent, "but as The Associated Press' low man in Berlin, I was too poor to have one." While he became widely known as a CIA spokesman, Thuermer had a front row seat both as a newsman and CIA agent for some of the biggest moments in the 20th century. Thuermer died April 14 at age 92.
TV and Newspaper Scooped by Middle School's Online Paper
By CATHY GRIMES,Daily Press
An AP Member Extra
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — When an explosion tore a hole in Crittenden Middle School in November, the first media on the scene weren't local television and print journalists.
The Crittenden Purple Press, the school's online daily newspaper, scooped the local paper and the TV stations, posting within hours of the event a 400-word story by a sixth-grade reporter and a mobile-phone photo taken by a student.
The story was read by people as far away as California as well as in the school's hometown, Crittenden English teacher Deanna Bush said.
Bush, the paper's adviser, helped found the Purple Press last year as an ink-on-paper product, but students said the news felt old by the time they received their papers.
Printing the Press cost $900, rapidly depleting production funds. Bush used $80 in grant funds to buy a two-year blog subscription, and the Purple Press went online.
It has been building a readership ever since, said editor Adina Lewis, an eighth-grader.
An avid newspapers reader herself, she said most students don't read newspapers because they find them boring and of little relevance in their lives.
The Purple Press, on the other hand, focuses directly on their lives. The staff of 20 students offers a mix of social and hyperlocal news. There are plenty of stories about Crittenden-only activities, events, athletics and information. But students also report on fashion, entertainment, books and music. They're not shy about tackling touchy subjects, either. An advice column question spawned a story on sexual harassment.
Students spend 30 minutes four days a week working on the newspapers as part of an English class. They file their work on classroom laptops and update the site daily.
Lewis said moving online solved another bane of reporters: space limitations. "Articles can be as long as we want and have as much information as we like."
Reporters and photographers must serve an internship to join the Purple Press staff, and there's a waiting list. Bush works with writers on story formats and styles, how to write compelling lead sentences, how to conduct an interview and how to fact-check accuracy.
"Every time they go out, they are representing the Purple Press," Adina said.
As students progress to a probationary period, they learn about journalism ethics. Bush regularly checks reporter notebooks to review interview questions and research.
Members of the staff are recognizable by their press passes, which they are required to wear when on the job.
"They cherish those," Bush said. "For them, when they put those on, they are professionals."
Students also scooped the professional press when a roofing mishap resulted in a fire.
"All they had to do was get on their computers and write," Bush said. The young reporters were so intent on reporting the news, she had to order them out of the building when it was evacuated. "They're journalists first."
Bush said the biggest challenge is maintaining a balance between work on the Purple Press and a focus on other literacy skills. But she noted that students master important study skills they will use in college and on the job.
"They have to edit, organize their thoughts, solve problems and learn to behave like adults," Bush said.
Adina said she hopes to continue her journalism work at Denbigh High School. Assistant editor Briana Bradham, now a seventh-grader, will take the helm next year.
On the Net:
Crittenden Middle School Purple Press: http://purplepress.edublogs.