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|June 3, 2010 APME Newsletter|
In this issue:
Save the Date: APME Conference at Poynter Oct. 20-22
Dates to Note:
July 12, APME Contest Deadline
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, which for the first time carries a $2,000 prize provided by sponsors GateHouse Media Inc. and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.
Others are: 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, with a $2,500 prize in each of two circulation categories.
Nominations are received online only. For more details, go to:
APME and NewsU will team up for another webinar on journalism credibility topics. A code, sent separately, will allow APME members to sign up for $9.95.
July 21, 2 p.m., Archived Content and "Unpublishing" Requests / Kathy English, public editor, Toronto Star
REGISTER for NewsTrain / Nashville SEPT. 23-24 at the Freedom Forum
>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.
Oct. 1-2, NewsTrain at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.
ARTS JOURNALISM INSTITUTE FOR CLASSICAL MUSIC, OPERA
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York have announced the seventh NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera.
The institute takes place October 9 -19 at Columbia University, and is part of a series of NEA-funded programs across the country that focus on improving arts criticism in classical music, opera, theater and dance.
The application deadline for this October's institute is July 20, 2010.
The NEA Arts Journalism Institutes are helping to establish the importance of professional training in the coverage of the arts through lectures and seminars with leaders in higher education, the arts and journalism. The programs are designed for journalists located primarily outside the largest media markets, where professional development opportunities are limited, but a limited number of positions will be considered for applicants from major media markets as well. Institutes for dance critics are also being hosted by the American Dance Festival at Duke University, for theater critics at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication, and for visual arts critics at American University. The programs cover most of the participants' expenses.
Andras Szanto, former head of the National Arts Journalism Program, will direct the institute at Columbia with co-director Anya Grundmann, executive producer for NPR Music, and artistic director Joseph Horowitz, the nationally recognized classical music historian and critic.
The attendees – who include critics, reporters and editors in traditional, broadcast and digital journalism media – will work with senior journalists and faculty members to improve their viewing, analytical and writing skills. Participants will have the unique opportunity to take advantage of the rich cultural offerings in New York City and attend performances that cover a wide variety of genres, as well as rehearsals and behind-the-scenes meetings with artists and administrators of several leading classical music presenting organizations.
The Associated Press reported that as the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig burned around him, Chris Pleasant hesitated, waiting for approval from his superiors before activating the emergency disconnect system that was supposed to slam the oil well shut at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The delay may have cost critical seconds. When Pleasant and his co-workers at rig owner Transocean finally got the go-ahead to throw the emergency disconnect switch, they realized there was no hydraulic power to operate the machinery. Five weeks after the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers, the blown-out well continues to gush oil, pouring at least 7 million gallons of crude into the Gulf. Dozens of witness statements obtained by The Associated Press show a combination of equipment failure and a deference to the chain of command impeded the system that should have stopped the gusher before it became an environmental disaster.
The Associated Press reported Social Security faces a $5.3 trillion shortfall over the next 75 years, but a new congressional report says the massive gap could be erased with only modest changes to payroll taxes and benefits. Some of the options are politically dangerous, such as increasing payroll taxes or reducing annual cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients. Others, such as gradually raising the age when retirees qualify for full benefits, wouldn't be felt for years but would affect millions. Many wouldn't affect current recipients, according to the report by the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Sen. Herb Kohl, chairman of the committee, said small "tweaks" are all that is needed to bolster Social Security's finances for future generations of retirees. Currently, 53 million Americans get Social Security benefits averaging $1,067 a month. In 75 years, 122 million, or one-fourth of the population, will be drawing benefits.
The Arizona Daily Star reports that as the state gun laws grow more liberal, business owners, employees and customers are increasingly confronting the issue of firearms in private businesses. In Arizona, a business may prohibit firearms on its premises, but some have found that doing so alienates customers who may have been carrying weapons concealed all along, or who simply believe in the right to bear arms. A less organized cadre of customers wonders why people feel the need to carry guns everywhere. The issue didn't begin with Arizona's new concealed weapons law, which as of July 29 will allow people over age 21 (and not prohibited from possessing a weapon) to carry a concealed gun without a permit. However, it's become more pronounced as business owners realize how many people are carrying firearms, and as gun-rights advocates push for public acceptance.
The Milwaukee (Wis.) Journal Sentinel reports on a not-too-distant time when doctors will use genetic profiles to treat patients. Howard Jacob, head of the Molecular Genetics Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin, describes what has happened since a machine helped sequence the first human genome in 2003. A machine the Medical College has today does the work of 200 of the old ones; it can sequence a human genome in a few months for several hundred thousand dollars. And the Medical College has already ordered next-generation sequencers. Within less than a decade, a complete genetic blueprint could be attainable in 15 minutes for as little as $100. Moreover, in a case that suggests the technology is beginning the journey from research to medical practice, Jacob described how he and his colleagues used a targeted version of gene-sequencing to diagnose and treat an apparently new disease in a young boy at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Medical schools are coming to this recognition as well - albeit too slowly for some. Already, companies such as 23andMe and Navigenics are selling personal genetics tests, offering consumers the chance to learn their risks for dozens of diseases.
The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reports Palm Beach County prosecutors, court liaisons and social services workers are saying more people are reporting domestic violence. And the hard numbers show that more of them are taking the step of obtaining a temporary restraining order injunction. In the first four months of 2010, the number issued has skyrocketed, a Palm Beach Post analysis shows. As of the end of April, courts were on pace to issue more than 3,575 orders, 1,200 more than last year, according to data from the Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts. The latest spike is the culmination of a three-year trend. From 2007 to 2009, the number issued in criminal court has grown about 10 percent a year, jumping from 1,939 in 2007 to 2,359 in 2009. Assistant Palm Beach County State Attorney Elizabeth Parker, who oversees the family violence unit, says her office processed more than 6,000 domestic violence cases in 2009, a 20 percent jump over the estimated 5,000 in 2008.
The Press of Atlantic City reports how New Jersey's famed gambling center is being surrounded and economically threatened by competitors in nearby Delaware and Pennsylvania. Legal gamblers began rolling dice and playing cards in Delaware for the first time last week as Harrington Raceway and Casino started operating table games such as craps, blackjack and poker. The games began just after noon and are adding to the growing competition that is slowly surrounding Atlantic City's waning gaming industry. Analysts estimate Delaware will steal about 5 percent of Atlantic City's table-game business, followed by an extra 20 percent hit from the more formidable Pennsylvania casinos once they introduce table games this summer. Atlantic City raked in $1.2 billion in table-game revenue in 2009, so a 25 percent loss would equate to $300 million. "We will now have full-service casinos,” Delaware Lottery Director Wayne Lemons said. "We have slots, we have table games and we are the only state in the region that has sports betting. We expect you'll find a full complement of things we can use to attract customers.”
In the last decade, a vermiculite mine in tiny Libby, Mont., has polluted virtually every corner of the town with deadly microscopic asbestos fibers. There has been periodic attention from reporters over the years, but Billings correspondent Matt Brown pushed coverage to a dramatic new level last week.
By reviewing hundreds of government and court documents and interviewing EPA officials past and present, Brown reported that the asbestos cleanup has simply overwhelmed regulators. The W.R. Grace vermiculite mine has became the deadliest Superfund site in the nation's history.
The idea for the story originated with a tip from a local resident who lost a family member to the pollution, the kind of random contact that grows out of a report with a local presence. People need to be paying more attention to the town, she told Brown. He began digging through documents in hopes of uncovering new details about how the mine cleanup has been botched.
He searched through court papers, reviewed hundreds of state environmental records and analyzed internal EPA documents to come away with a powerful conclusion: The federal government is way over its head in responding to the disaster and still has no clear plan to end Libby's toxic legacy, despite spending $333 million in the last 10 years. He found that regulators still do not have a grasp of the science to understand how to clean up the asbestos and how it is sickening residents. In the course of his reporting, he was also able to provide a dramatic new death toll for Libby's pollution: 400 residents and counting.
By leading with two sisters holding court with dead family and friends in the town cemetery, Brown established a powerful narrative thread that made this accountability story a compelling read.
The story was accompanied by Rick Bowmer's poignant video and photos. The story also included an AP interactive graphic by Dan Kempton in Phoenix on the health impacts of asbestos exposure. It received huge Web play, and YouTube postings of the video drew thousands of viewers.
Social media have gained greater recognition in the 2010 edition of The Associated Press Stylebook with a separate section for the first time that also makes "website" one word.
For the second year in a row, the AP is holding the price steady on the 2010 book. AP members pay $11.75 per book, a deep discount off the regular retail price of $18.95.
Rates for Stylebook Online are based on the number of users, with pricing available for individual named users or for concurrent users. The price per user decreases with more users. For a member with 50 users, for example, the price is less than $10 a user in the first year - and drops to less than $6 a year when renewed.
Michael Giarrusso, a state news director for The Associated Press, has been named chief of bureau for Arizona and New Mexico. The appointment was announced by Kate Lee Butler, vice president for U.S. Newspaper Markets. Giarrusso succeeds Michelle Williams, who became chief of bureau for the South Atlantic region in March. Giarrusso will oversee AP's news and business operations in the two states. He will be based in Phoenix. "Michael is a skilled and experienced journalist who brings insight and fresh ideas about news and how its delivery and consumption is changing to his work in Arizona and New Mexico," Butler said. Giarrusso, 40, began his AP career in 1992 as an intern in the Atlanta bureau. He worked as a reporter in Atlanta, correspondent in State College, Pa., and editor on the AP's national editing desk in New York. From 1998 to 2003, he was news editor for Georgia. He became state news director for the South in 2003, overseeing news operations in the 14-state region. He added oversight for the West region last year. From 2007 to 2009, Giarrusso led the U.S. regionalization project, working with a large multi-department team to create a new regional filing structure that moved editing functions out of New York and the state bureaus and into four regional filing centers. In 2008, he won the AP's highest internal honor, the Gramling Award, for his work in the reorganization. Giarrusso is a graduate of the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. In 2000, he won the college's John E. Drewry Award for early career achievement. In 2008, he was a fellow in Columbia University's Punch Sulzberger Executive News Media Leadership Program.
A judge has urged that a copyright dispute between an artist and The Associated Press over the Barack Obama "HOPE" image be settled quickly, saying it was likely the AP would win the case. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein made the suggestion at a hearing in which he ordered Shepard Fairey's lawyers to turn over records of communications Fairey had with his lawyers before he sued the AP in February 2009. He also said AP lawyers can depose Fairey a second time. "I have a feeling ... that whether it's sooner or later, The Associated Press is going to win," Hellerstein said. He said a settlement might be possible if the AP dropped some of its demands that Fairey be punished for copyright infringement and for his actions in the case. Fairey has sued the AP, charging that his artwork does not infringe copyrights held by the AP. In a countersuit, the AP has said the uncredited, uncompensated use of one of the news cooperative's pictures violated copyright laws and posed a threat to journalism.
Neither side embraced the judge's suggestion to settle the case. AP lawyer Dale Cendali told Hellerstein the news organization was seeking "substantial damages." "Our primary objective is to make it clear to the world that The Associated Press is the copyright owner of that photograph and what he did was not fair use under copyright law," Cendali said. "The Associated Press truly has been aggrieved here." She said depositions and other evidence in the case had revealed that Fairey has earned at least $2 million from the sale of products derived from his depictions of a 2006 AP photograph of then-Sen. Obama at the National Press Club in Washington. She said another $2 million has been earned by a company that sells merchandise such as T-shirts and posters based on Fairey's depictions of the photograph.
Vermont journalists and open government advocates were urged to expand their use of sunshine laws to obtain public records, with a pair of experts calling such reporting essential to keeping tabs on how taxpayer money is being spent. The digital age has made it easier to obtain minutes of city council meetings, restaurant inspection records and dozens of other kinds of public records, and it's up to citizens at large - not just professional journalists - to exercise their right to obtain information from City Hall, the Statehouse and other government entities, they told about 40 people at a seminar hosted by the Vermont Press Association."This isn't about selling papers. This is about democracy," said David Cuillier, chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists' freedom of information committee. "If we have secret government, we might as well throw in the towel." The event, co-sponsored by the Vermont Coalition for Open Government, was centered around the visit by Cuillier, who is on a 45-day tour aimed at boosting use of public records requests by the news media and others. Vermont, in particular, is lax on providing the tools for such reporting, Vermont Press Association Executive Director Michael Donoghue told the group.
Documents that might show how a 22-year-old Haitian immigrant duped coaches and administrators into thinking he was a 15-year-old student and basketball star will not be released, attorneys for state and local school officials say. Lawyers for Ector County schools and the University Interscholastic League say the records for Guerdwich Montimer, who is charged with felony sexual assault and false documentation, are protected under federal student privacy laws. The Associated Press sought records of Montimer's request to be eligible to play basketball at Odessa Permian High School, whose football team and backers inspired the book "Friday Night Lights." The request, which sought letters from Permian coaches and himself to UIL officials, was denied.
A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that the state League of Municipalities is not a government entity and is not subject to the state's open public records law. The Fair Share Housing center had been seeking records from the organization, which lobbies in Trenton on behalf of local governments. The court agreed with the League: Even though much of its funding comes from public agencies, it is not one itself. The group makes money from memberships and its convention. Local taxpayers foot much of the bill for both. The housing center, a nonprofit group that advocates for housing access, says it intends to appeal last week's ruling to the state Supreme Court.
The mayor of Gallup in western New Mexico has filed a defamation lawsuit against the local newspaper publisher, claiming the newspaper intentionally harmed him by publishing articles about a 1948 rape case in which the mayor was implicated but never tried nor convicted. An attorney for Gallup Independent publisher Bob Zollinger said his client is "innocent of all charges." The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Sam Bregman, the attorney for Mayor Harry Mendoza, said "it is time to put a stop to Mr. Zollinger and his paper" and that Mendoza plans to hold both accountable. A dispute between the mayor and publisher made headlines in January when a security camera showed them engaged in a fistfight in a Gallup bank parking lot. Mendoza, mayor since 2007, faces trial June 17 on misdemeanor assault and battery charges in that case. The 78-year-old Mendoza and 60-year-old Zollinger both claim the other started the fight. The dispute centers on newspaper articles linking Mendoza to the gang rape of a teenage girl in 1948 when Mendoza was 16 years old. The mayor denies the accusations.
Advertising revenue at U.S. newspapers fell 10 percent in the first quarter from the year before, the smallest such drop since the recession began in late 2007. Newspaper ads brought in $6 billion in the January-March period, down from $6.6 billion last year, according to numbers released last week by the Newspaper Association of America.
With the latest erosion, the newspaper industry is now subsisting on 46 percent less ad revenue than just four years ago. Newspaper ad revenue totaled $11.1 billion in the first quarter of 2006. Although newspapers are still hurting, the first-quarter trend offered the latest sign that the misery may not last much longer. The industry's year-over-year declines in ad revenue have eased in each of the last three quarters. "We continue to hear that an advertising rebound is getting closer," said John Sturm, president of the Newspaper Association of America.
An eastern North Carolina newspaper publisher is retiring and turning the publication over to his son. The Goldsboro News-Argus announced that Hal Tanner Jr. will step down after 26 years running the newspaper. His son will take over. Hal Tanner III is currently the paper's general manager. Tanner Jr. will continue to work as a consultant and adviser to the newspaper. The elder Tanner started his career as a reporter at the News-Argus in 1962. He worked at newspapers in Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas and with United Press International before becoming publisher in Goldsboro in 1984. Tanner III has been general manager of the News-Argus for 10 years. He started his career in South Carolina with The Greenville News-Piedmont in the paper's management training program.
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.
Billings (Mont.) Gazette outdoors editor Mark Henckel, 59, died after suffering a heart attack at his Park City home. Henckel wrote about the outdoors for almost 38 years, and was known as an advocate for fishing, hunting and recreational interests. He received numerous writing, editing and community service awards throughout his career. Henckel also spent considerable time speaking to organizations, outdoor groups and classrooms. Henckel graduated with a journalism degree in 1972 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He accepted a Gazette job offer over the phone and moved to Billings sight unseen to take a night reporter job, before becoming the Gazette's first outdoors editor.
Tom Rachman Wows Critics and Readers With "The Imperfectionists,” a Novel Take on the News
By JILL LAWLESS
LONDON (AP) – Tom Rachman went into journalism to become a novelist.
Neither is among the world's most secure professions, and Rachman is mildly astonished that his plan succeeded beyond all expectations.
After a decade as an editor and foreign correspondent, Rachman has published his first novel, "The Imperfectionists," a barbed yet humane depiction of the staff of a money-losing English-language newspaper based in Rome.
Its reception is every first-time novelist's dream. There have been rapturous reviews _ "captivating," "beguiling," "magnificent." It was one of the hottest properties at the 2008 Frankfurt Book Fair, has been published to acclaim in North America and Europe, and has settled in the upper half of Amazon's 100 top-selling titles.
Novelist Christopher Buckley, whose review led The New York Times Book Review, wrote that Rachman's novel "is so good I had to read it twice simply to figure out how he pulled it off."
A 35-year-old with a boyish appearance and a serious manner, Rachman is not one to crow publicly about his success, but he does allow himself a note of quiet satisfaction.
"There was a certain irony in it," he says. "I entered journalism in order to get out of it, and then I found myself discovering subject matter in the field itself."
Readers – especially those who are journalists – have delighted in Rachman's depiction of the news business in all its soiled glory: the eccentric and often egomaniacal staff; the gnawing anxiety of an industry in financial crisis; the perennially filthy newsroom carpets at his fictional, unnamed newspaper.
"The Imperfectionists" is full of such precise observations drawn from personal experience. It is set in Italy, where Rachman spent several years as a correspondent for The Associated Press. He also worked as a copy editor at the Paris-based International Herald Tribune newspaper.
The novel tells stories of 10 newspaper staffers and one reader. There's the aging Paris correspondent, trying to pitch quirky story ideas and being told the budget will only stretch to "jaw-dropping stuff ... terrorism, nuclear Iran, resurgent Russia." There's the driven editor-in-chief who can't run her personal life as briskly as she does her office, and the embittered copy editor, nursing resentment at being overlooked. The inexperienced Cairo stringer -- steamrollered by a visiting correspondent who crashes at his apartment, steals his computer and hijacks his story.
All struggle to control their lives amid a hail of indignities – some of their own making, some sent by fate, some driven by the pressures of dwindling readership and bewildering technological change.
Susan Kamil, Rachman's editor at The Dial Press, says that knack for balancing the specific and the universal is key to the book's success.
"While I felt the setting was fascinating ... I soon forgot I was reading a book set in the newsroom," she said. "I got involved in the lives of these characters. It could be any office, or any family – full of dysfunction and full of humor and full of tragedy."
Rachman tells their stories with a deft balance of humor and compassion. His characters are self-centered, shortsighted and often downright odd – but alsoidealistic and dedicated.
"I didn't want this to be a cruel book," says Rachman, sipping Darjeeling tea in a bright bookshop cafe in London, where he is working on a new novel.
Rachman, who was born in London and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, can see "tiny bits" of himself in all his characters. But he's not sure he has what one character calls "the newspapering temperament."
Rachman turned to journalism for pragmatic reasons. After studying cinema at the University of Toronto, he was determined to write fiction, but felt his life wasn't interesting enough.
"I thought, 'How can I find a career in which I can write, read and travel, and do so relatively quickly?' And I thought international journalism would be the trick. ... It was a means to an end that I did for the better part of a decade."
His career in journalism showed him both its glamour and its grind. There was a posting to Rome as a foreign correspondent, as well as stints in Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Egypt. He also worked on the AP's international editing desk in New York.
When he turned 30, Rachman decided to pursue his literary career. He quit journalism, moved to Paris – where he knew no one – and started to write. The result, after more than a year, was a completed novel – nothing to do with journalism – that he rejected as a failure.
"Crestfallen and out of money," he took editing shifts at the Herald Tribune, and eventually started writing again, realizing that he had a gold mine in his own experience.
"I'm sort of stunned that my original plan worked out," Rachman said, "because I had mislaid it along the way."