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APME Update for Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012
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APME Update
APME Update for Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012
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ABOUT US: APME Update is published regularly by the Associated Press Media Editors Association. APME Update is edited by Sally Jacobsen. Send submissions by e-mail or call Sally at (212) 621-7007.

To receive APME Update by e-mail notify APME is an AP-member group of newspaper, broadcast and college education leaders founded in 1933 to provide input on the services of The Associated Press and to help newsroom managers become better leaders. A business league under section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, APME is funded through registrations and sponsorships at the annual conference, APME Supporting Memberships and in-kind support. The Associated Press Media Editors Association Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, supports educational programming. Membership in APME is open to senior print and online editors at AP-member newspapers and news directors, news managers or other senior positions at AP broadcast outlets in the United States and Canadian Press publications in Canada. It is also open to administrators, professors, instructors, leaders or advisers of journalism studies programs at recognized colleges and universities and to editors or leaders at newspapers, radio stations, websites or other news outlets at recognized universities and colleges.

Mailing address: Associated Press Media Editors Association, c/o Sally Jacobsen, The Associated Press, 450 West 33rd Street, New York, NY 10001. Phone: (212) 621-7007.



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AP's Curley to retire; led agency into digital age

After nearly nine years leading The Associated Press through a media landscape reshaped by unprecedented upheaval, President and CEO Tom Curley announced Jan. 23 he will step down.

AP's board of directors has set up a committee to find a replacement for Curley, who plans to defer his retirement until the transition is complete.

Curley, who has led AP since June 2003, spent his tenure working to transform the news cooperative for the digital era. He oversaw the launch of new platforms for multimedia content, led a search for fresh sources of revenue and vigorously protected the results of AP's and the industry's newsgathering efforts in a wide-open online marketplace.

"We've moved pretty aggressively, and arguably only time will tell if it has been aggressive enough," Curley said in an interview in his office at AP's New York headquarters.

"If you look at what's had to happen, you really didn't have much time to take a breath," he said. "It's happened very quickly."

Curley, 63, mandated strategic thinking and rapid response as AP faced competition from new quarters, even as dollars from its legacy business — its member newspapers — continued to dwindle.

"Tom Curley was the perfect leader to guide AP through the roughest times the media industry has ever seen," said William Dean Singleton, chairman of the AP board and chairman of MediaNews Group Inc. "He was a visionary who understood the need for AP to quickly adapt to new digital times, a transformative leader who created innovative new business opportunities for our industry and an indefatigable newsman who made sure AP remained the definitive trusted source for breaking news."

AP directors will meet this week to discuss the search process, with the aim of having a successor in place by year's end, said Mary Junck, chairman and CEO of Lee Enterprises, who is heading the committee looking for Curley's successor.

Curley — previously president and publisher of USA Today and senior vice president of its parent, Gannett Co. — is the 12th person to lead the cooperative since its founding in 1846 and was the first hired from outside its ranks. He took over from Louis D. Boccardi.

Arriving at AP, he immediately began working to reshape it, starting with a decision in his first month to move the cooperative from the Rockefeller Center building that had been its headquarters for 65 years and consolidate staff in larger offices on the west side of Manhattan. AP moved into the new offices the following July.

Curley simultaneously guided the cooperative into the digital age. He launched an interactive system for delivering multimedia content to customers in 2005. He pushed to develop products specifically for online audiences, including the Mobile News Network wireless portal released in 2008.

And he led the company in broadening its customer base, expanding AP's television business and distribution of its content online.

The changes came as the industry was battered by a rapid shift in the way many consumers get their news and a brutal recession. With newspapers' circulation falling and profits from advertising down sharply, AP came under increasing pressure.

The cooperative responded in 2007 and 2008 by cutting its rates for U.S. newspaper members and restructuring its offerings, resulting in $30 million in reductions that were followed by buyouts and layoffs.

Member newspapers provided about 40 percent of AP's revenue when Curley arrived. This year, member revenue will represent 21 percent.

"Tom has moved us further and further away from a legacy business while continuing to serve the legacy businesses that are still very important to all of us," Singleton said.

Curley's focus on digital has continued with the launch this month by AP and partner news organizations of NewsRight, a rights clearinghouse to track unpaid use of their content online and seek payment.

"Tom has worked very hard to promote industry collaboration, and I think that's an important point going forward," Junck said.

Curley's efforts to remake the cooperative were accompanied by an emphasis on preserving the history of an organization that had previously paid little attention to its past. Under Curley, AP created a corporate archive, gathering and examining records that clarified the critical newsgathering role AP has played since its founding.

The records also revealed the cooperative's long history of adapting to wrenching change. The lessons of the past, particularly how AP retooled following the advent of radio and then television news, proved reassuring in the current media climate, Curley said.

"When you went back and understood what the issues were, the technology is different, but the issues hadn't really changed," he said.
Early on, Curley made it a corporate priority to push vigorously for openness in government.

"The powerful have to be watched, and we are the watchers," he said in a 2004 speech in Riverside, Calif., that is credited with helping bring media organizations together to form the Sunshine in Government Initiative, which works to make government more accessible and accountable.

He also led AP's expansion of newsgathering, including negotiations to open bureaus in Saudi Arabia and, earlier this month, in North Korea, where it is the only international news organization with full-time reporters in Pyongyang.

Curley's retirement punctuates a career in journalism that began when he was 15 and called in reports from high school basketball games to his hometown newspaper in Easton, Pa. But while the field has changed tremendously, Curley said his work at AP has continually reminded him to treasure journalism's singular role.

"When I first got here, I remember walking home the first several nights saying, 'Somebody is paying me to live in New York and work for the AP,'" he said. "And I still felt that way last week."


Sign up or renew your APME membership

With more than 1,600 participants and 200 supporting members, the Associated Press Media Editors remains the practical voice for news leaders.

For the $150 cost of membership, you'll receive substantial discounts for the annual conference, APME journalism contests and APME webinars.

But there’s more:

• APME brings together news leaders from all sizes of publications and broadcast stations.

• The APME board of directors has dedicated seats for small newspapers, online and broadcast.

• Myriad programs, such as Sounding Board, help keep the lines of communication open with AP.

• News leaders can tap into AP resources on national projects, such as Broken Budgets and Aging America.

• Your newsroom can benefit from training that comes to you through NewsTrain and state APME organizations.

• APME is leading the First Amendment charge through its active committee work and with the help and resources of the AP.

• APME and APPM are at the forefront of the sports credentialing questions.

• Your organization can gain from Credibility Roundtables that offer research and insight into online issues nationwide.

• You can get great advice from the trenches.

Great Ideas program and the Innovator of the Month contest help to keep the ideas rolling all year long.

• For educators: Access to the newsroom and broadcast leaders who do the hiring.

• Weekly APME Update with news from around the industry and the AP.

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• The annual conference is held with Associated Press Photo Editors.

• Trade ideas and ask for advice from your peers at

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NewsTrain workshops for 2012

APME has selected four locations for NewsTrain workshops in 2012.
Workshops are now being planned for Phoenix, Miami, Toronto, and Chapel Hill, NC.

NewsTrain is a national touring workshop sponsored by APME and that serves journalists in their own cities. Programs are designed to provide training in the skills newsroom leaders need in a rapidly changing media setting. NewsTrain programs are aimed at all levels of newsroom editors and managers, reporters, copy editors, visual journalists, and online producers. College journalism educators and student journalists are also welcome and find NewsTrain programs valuable.

Below are dates and locations for the four workshops scheduled for 2012. Plans are now taking shape and details will be added to the APME web site listing ( of NewsTrain workshops, including agendas, speakers, and registration.

Phoenix NewsTrain, March 22-23, 2012: Local host committee includes The Arizona Republic, Arizona Newspaper Association, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona State University, Arizona Daily Star, Arizona Daily Sun, Nevada Press Association, Utah Press Association, and the Associated Press. The workshop will be held at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona State University.

Miami NewsTrain, May 18-19, 2012: Local host committee includes The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, the Associated Press Florida and Caribbean, The Palm Beach Post, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, University of Miami School of Communication, CBS 4 News, WLRN-91.3 FM (South Florida NPR). The workshop will be held at the University of Miami School of Communication.

Toronto NewsTrain, Sept. 13-14, 2012: Local host committee includes Metroland, Newspapers Canada, Canadian Press, Ontario Community Newspapers Association, The Toronto Star, and Ryerson University. The workshop will be held at the Toronto Star Press Centre.

Chapel Hill NewsTrain, Fall 2012: Local host committee includes the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, North Carolina Press Association, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The workshop will be held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For more information, contact Michael Roberts, NewsTrain Project Director,


Watchdog Reporting

• AP IMPACT: Meth fills hospitals with burn patients
• AP: Obama's health overhaul lags in many states
• Arizona Daily Star: Felon in cocaine, corruption sting hired by agency for troubled kids
• Cleveland Plain Dealer: Metro-Health "police” made arrests but lacked legal authority
• Denver Post: Colorado holds back economic aid to companies until job promises are met
• Philadelphia Inquirer: Tracking $700,000 paid to lobbyist by housing authority
• Oklahoman: Drug companies paid $6.3 million to doctors for research, speaking
• Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Taxpayers will "pay” for delay in road construction

Read about these and more by clicking here


Beat of the Week: Rome Team

It was 3 o'clock in the morning when APTN senior producer Maria Grazia Murru and Rome correspondent Frances D'Emilio were roused with reports that a cruise ship had run aground off the Tuscan island of Giglio and that there were casualties.

Before the sun came up, AP had a cross-format team of reporters, photographers and video journalists on site, producing a string of beats that dominated the story. It was a text book study of great teamwork on a big disaster story. The beats included: the first interviews with passengers, the first eyewitness reports that the captain had abandoned ship before everyone was safe, and the first amateur video from inside the ship.

The beats started even as Rome correspondent Nicole Winfield, photographer Gregorio Borgia and an APTN crew were rushing to the scene, with D'Emilio working the phones and filing from home and photo editor Domenico Stinellis scouring the Internet from Rome for the first still photos.

D'Emilio's first APNewsAlert cited the Italian news agency ANSA, but she had coast guard confirmation before sending an APNewsNow. D'Emilio also was first to report details of helicopters plucking passengers off the ship's deck, that there had been no SOS call and that the crew had falsely assured passengers that the boat just had a minor electrical problem. The evacuation alarm didn't sound for about an hour and 13 minutes, after the ship had capsized to the point that lifeboats on the exposed port side could no longer be lowered down.
Murru, of APTN, got a head start by contacting freelancers Fulvio Paolucci and Luigi Navarra even before the costs had been approved. "If it's a cruise ship," he said TO the London intake editor, "it's big and it's going to develop into something visually."

Stinellis, meanwhile, searched websites and social networks for images and found a Facebook user who took the first photos of the stranded ship while helping to evacuate a passenger. He obtained permission to download the pictures and later got higher-resolution versions and a waiver.

When the four-person crew from Rome arrived at the mainland port of Santo Stefano, it was still dark and passengers covered in blankets were just arriving on ferryboats from Giglio.

While Winfield went to find survivors, Borgia arrived at the port at 7:30 a.m. and moved his first images less than 40 minutes later. Less than two hours later he was on a ferry headed to the island where the ship had grounded. Borgia was able to shoot images of the vessel as his own ferry passed and transmitted the stunning, up-close images of the tipped-over liner jutting from the sea before he reached the island. The images fronted The New York Times and other online sites for hours, unchallenged.

AP coverage was ubiquitous. The story and photo was front and center on The New York Times website for much of the first day, and was Yahoo's most popular story all day.


Best of the States: Kansas’ John Hanna

Many governors’ State of the State addresses are a laundry list of rewarmed campaign promises and general initiatives they want the Legislature to pursue. Rarely do they put forward any big surprises. But, sometimes, surprises can hide in what appears to be a straightforward announcement.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback used his State of the State to release his "revenue-neutral” budget, which he said would cut the income tax rate for married couples making more than $60,000 a year. He said it also would cut a lot of other taxes, keep the sales tax in place and eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit, a device that reduces or eliminates taxes for poor people. And that got John Hanna’s attention.

From his years at the Kansas statehouse, Hanna knew that legislative research staff could group taxpayers by income and run an analysis on how much their taxes would go up or down under any plan. He also knew that the research staff was unlikely to hand such an analysis to a reporter without going through legislative staffers.

So Hanna tracked down a legislative source he thought would be helpful. The source showed Hanna what the research staff had given his boss and provided to a special study group – the first time any reporter had seen it.

What it showed was shocking: Individual taxpayers who make $25,000 or less – a whopping 41 percent of Kansans – would see their taxes go up an average of $156, while those individuals and some small businesses with incomes of $250,000 or more would see their taxes drop 18 percent.

The story, Hanna said, "hit the Capitol with the force of a ton o’ bricks.” The governor’s chief of staff tracked Hanna down in the hallway, wagging his finger and shouting that the story was "complete bull----,” but couldn’t come up with any substantive reasons why. Lawmakers since have confided to Hanna that his story effectively doomed the tax plan as politically toxic.


Editors in the News

Justin Breen has been appointed interim editor of the Rapid City Journal.

Breen, 34, comes to Rapid City from Munster, Ind., where he has been the assistant managing editor of The Times of Northwest Indiana. The Times and the Rapid City Journal are both owned by Lee Enterprises. "We are fortunate to have Justin acting as interim editor at the Journal. He is highly respected and is dedicated to fair and accurate reporting. Journal Media is the dominant news source in western South Dakota and Justin will ensure our company continues to provide quality content,” said Shannon Brinker, president and publisher of the Journal Media Company. Breen has worked since 2006 at The Times, where he coordinates content with editors and the photo department. Previously, he worked for the Post Tribune of Northwest Indiana, the Michigan City News Dispatch and Chicago Tribune. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star says Michael Nelson has retired as editor.

Nelson joined the Lee Enterprises newspaper in April 2008, succeeding Kathleen Rutledge. Publisher Julie Bechtel says city editor Todd Henrichs will take over in the interim. Nelson is a native of Shenandoah, Iowa. He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and worked for The Kansas City Star from 1974 until joining the Journal Star.

The Wall Street Journal says it has hired the managing editor of The Washington Post to head its online news properties. Raju Narisetti joined the Post three years ago in a reorganization of the newspaper's top management. The announcement marks a return to the Journal for the 45-year-old Narisetti. He had been deputy managing editor at the newspaper and editor of its Europe edition. He leaves the Post on Feb. 1 and starts at the WSJ on Feb. 15. In a newsroom announcement, Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli credits Narisetti with building a team that increased the Post's online traffic.

In his new role, Narisetti will become managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and deputy managing editor. Before joining the Post, Narisetti was founding editor of the India-based Mint business newspaper.

The publisher and editor of The Salina (Kan.) Journal plans to leave the paper in March.

Tom Bell announced his decision to his staff last week. He said he will start a new job in Salina but did not elaborate on his next venture. The 57-year-old Bell has been the Journal's publisher and editor since 1998. The Journal reported that Bell's journalism career began in 1980 at The Hutchinson News. He was named general manager of The Olathe Daily News in 1987, then editor and publisher of The Chanute Tribune in 1990. He spent seven years at Chanute, worked less than a year at The Garden City Telegram and then moved to Salina.

Jerry Grilly has marched The Denver Post through the economic desert and says he can see the digital promised land, but he won't be crossing over. Grilly will retire as the newspaper's president and chief executive effective Feb. 10, the paper's owner, MediaNews Group, announced. He became The Post's publisher and president in 1998, leading it through the final years of a hard-fought newspaper war with the Rocky Mountain News. He retired for the first time in 2006 as executive vice president and chief operating officer at MediaNews. Grilly returned in March 2009 to help The Denver Post navigate the recession and craft strategies to cope with the shift by readers and advertisers away from print and toward digital platforms. With the paper's finances stabilized and a digital strategy locked down, Grilly said it was a good time to retire and leave the execution to someone else.

Digital First Media was formed last fall to manage the news properties of MediaNews Group and New York-based Journal Register Co., where Paton is also CEO.

MediaNews Group has launched a search for Grilly's replacement. Kirk MacDonald, executive vice president of sales for Digital First Media, will handle sales functions in the interim. Digital First Media president Jeff Bairstow will temporarily oversee business operations. Editorial will continue to report to Denver Post publisher and MediaNews Group chairman William Dean Singleton.

The deputy editor of The Forum newspaper in Fargo has been named the next editor of the Grand Forks Herald. The Forum says Mary Jo Hotzler will begin her new duties in early March. Herald Editor and Publisher Mike Jacobs is taking a new position within Forum Communications Co., which owns both newspapers. Hotzler has been at The Forum for 10 years, working as a reporter, assignment editor and deputy editor.


Industry News

• AP opens full news bureau in North Korea
• Group in Utah to rank bills concerning open records law
• Sentence for horse soring includes newspaper story
• Ex-Md. Gov. Ehrlich to pen weekly column for Sun
• Judge orders state agency to pay newspapers, legal fees
• Panel debates release of Ky. child abuse records
• ACLU sues Indy over newspaper for homeless
• BYU newspaper to switch to weekly
• Home News Enterprises buys The Tribune from Freedom Communications
• 'Star' dimmed forever as weekly paper stops press
• Some North Dakota newspapers promote petition for better mail service

Read about these items and more by clicking here


In Memoriam

Veteran Alabama newsman Kim Price, publisher of The Wetumpka Herald newspaper, died at his home in Alexander City. He was 57. Price died after a battle with cancer, said Herald Managing Editor Peggy Blackburn. Much of Price's career was spent with community and small town newspapers, but Blackburn said Price often pursued larger stories, such as the upcoming federal gambling trial in Montgomery and the activities of the Alabama Legislature. His 40-year journalism career included a stint with The Associated Press in Birmingham; Omaha, Neb.; Boise, Idaho; and Dallas from 1978-1990. Price was past chairman and president of the Alabama Press Association. He was active in environmental issues and in 2005 was awarded the Conservation Communicator of the Year by the Alabama Wildlife Federation. He was owner and president of Price Publishing. Price was president, publisher and editor of The Shelby County Reporter from 1990-2001 and president and publisher of the Alexander City Outlook from 2001-2003.

Retired longtime Detroit Free Press columnist Jim Fitzgerald has died at 85. The Free Press says Fitzgerald died of natural causes at an assisted living facility in Lapeer.

Fitzgerald was born in Port Huron and graduated from St. Stephen School. He was drafted into the Army during World War II and served in Germany. He received a journalism degree from Michigan State University in 1951 and joined the Lapeer County Press, becoming its editor in 1960. The Free Press hired him as a back page columnist in 1976. He retired in 1995.

Free Press associate editor Ron Dzwonkowski (zwon-KAU'-skee) says Fitzgerald was gentle with a sharp wit and "brought small-town sensibilities to the big city."

Conrad Fink, who taught generations of young journalists at the University of Georgia after a career as a foreign correspondent and executive for The Associated Press, died in Athens, Ga., at age 80. The bushy-browed Fink had taught as a journalism professor since 1983 at UGA, where students either feared or revered him for his gruff persona and merciless editing of their class assignments and published news stories.

His approach to teaching resembled that of a newsroom editor more than an academic, drawing on Fink's 20 years of experience with The AP. In a career that spanned 1957 to 1977, he served as a night editor in Chicago, a foreign correspondent and as an AP vice president in New York. In the 1960s, he covered major news stories — including several wars and armed conflicts — in India, Vietnam, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. Fink's influence reached beyond his classes at UGA. He also wrote 11 journalism textbooks on subjects ranging from editorials and sports writing to newspaper management. A native of Michigan, Fink served in the 1950s as a 1st lieutenant in the U.S. Marines before landing his first newspaper job at the Daily Pantagraph in Bloomington, Ill. During his AP career, Fink also served in London as executive director of the AP-Dow Jones Economic Report and later as AP's vice president of newspaper membership. UGA honored Fink last November by inducting him into the Grady Fellowship, a group of distinguished alumni and media professionals.


ABOUT US: APME Update is published regularly by the Associated Press Media Editors Association. APME Update is edited by Sally Jacobsen. Send submissions by e-mail or call Sally at (212) 621-7007.
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