APME Update for Friday, April 13, 2012
Save the Date
• April 18, Social Media Credibility Webinar
• April 20, Deadline for Community Scholarships
• May 1, Deadline for APME Journalism Excellence Awards
• May 1, 2-for-1 Membership Offer Ends
• May 18-19, NewsTrain, Miami
• July 16-17, Community Journalists Symposium
• Sept. 13-14, NewsTrain, Toronto
• Sept. 19-21, 2012 - APME Conference, John Seigenthaler Center, Nashville, Tenn.
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In this communication:
• Social Media Credibility Webinar April 18
• Scholarships Offered for Community Journalists’ Symposium
• Deadline May 1 for APME Journalism Awards: New Categories for Broadcasters, Colleges - $50/entry fee for members
• We Want Your Great Ideas
• New 2-for-1 Membership Offer, Sign Up Now
• Sign Up for Miami NewsTrain May 18-19
• Watchdog Reporting
• Beat of the Week: Denver’s Slevin, Rahman, Elliott
• Editors in the News: Lee, Ryerson, Dye, Lynch, Plevka, Marimow
• In Memoriam: Wallace, Ziff, Hurley,
• Correction: APME's Community Journalism Public Service Initiative competition was reported incorrectly in last week’s Update.
• And Finally … Tweet about South Carolina Gov. Shows Hows Rumors Spread
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Please help us keep your contact information up-to-date. To change your profile, please click here.
| SOCIAL MEDIA CREDIBILITY: Extending Your Reach|
Wednesday, April 18 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time
Sign up today for the second of three webinars on social media credibility topics presented jointly by APME and Poynter’s NewsU.
This one-hour Webinar will help your news organization build credibility with your audience and become a leader in breaking news using social media.
Understand your audience's attitude toward credibility, social media and breaking news. Learn how to prepare your staff with breaking news strategies without sacrificing either speed or verification.
City editor of the Spokesman-Review, Addy Hatch discusses the results of the APME Social Media Credibility Project about the importance of online verification in social media.
You will learn:
• Details about public perceptions of breaking news credibility in traditional media versus social media outlets
• To fulfill the expectations of your readers by reporting both accurately and timely
• How to implement best practices for reporting breaking news into your newsroom
APME members may register for $9.95 by using a code. Watch for an email from Sally Jacobsen at AP, then go to this URL to sign up: https://www.newsu.org/breakingnews-social-media-credibility
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| SPECIALIZED REPORTING INSTITUTE ON THE RECESSION AND MENTAL HEALTH: 20 Scholarships for Community Journalists to be Awarded|
All Costs Covered To Attend This Specialized Two-Day Symposium In Chicago
The Associated Press Media Editors and the Local Media Foundation have been awarded a McCormick Foundation grant to conduct a special two-day symposium to educate journalists on how to uncover local stories on the impacts of the current economic crisis on the mental health of North American families and their communities.
All costs will be covered to attend the specialized symposium in Chicago, for journalists selected.
The symposium will feature top speakers from the academic world, as well as journalists who cover highly-specialized aspects of this topic. The goal is to provide scholarship recipients with a host of tools and information to better cover the topic at a local level in their communities. Follow-up webinars with symposium attendees will also be part of this comprehensive learning experience.
Scholarship applications are due by April 20; click here to access the application form and information. The symposium takes place July 16 - 17 in Chicago (air, hotel and meals are included). Special thanks to the Sun-Times Media Group for hosting this event.
Editors and reporters are eligible to apply. Special consideration will be given to those who are in a position to drive the coverage of this topic at their newspaper. Depending on the size of the paper, this may be the editor, an assignment editor or a reporter.
These scholarships are only being awarded to community journalists who work at daily newspapers with a circulation of 100,000 or less or for weekly newspapers. A number of slots have been reserved for weekly newspaper journalists and for smaller dailies under 10,000 circulation. The goal is to have a diverse audience.
The symposium presents a one-of-a-kind learning experience at a very in-depth level. The cost to develop and implement this program is $40,000 (the amount of the McCormick grant). Attendees will be treated to an extremely special experience that will pay off for years to come.
"We are very grateful to the McCormick Foundation," said Nancy Lane, President of Local Media Association and the Local Media Association Foundation. "This provides a wonderful opportunity to educate community journalists on a very important topic during a time when training dollars are tight at most companies. We are also grateful to APME for co-sponsoring this grant with us and providing invaluable assistance with the program."
"We are thrilled the McCormick Foundation saw merit in this program and we are greatly appreciative of their funding,” said APME Vice President Brad Dennison. "It’s also an honor to have an opportunity to partner with a great organization like Local Media Association with a common mission of helping newspapers break new reporting ground on a topic that affects far too many.”
The grant is made possible by the McCormick Foundation's Specialized Reporting Institute. Each year, McCormick funds various seminars to educate and inform journalists on how to cover these narrow but critically important topics. Past topics have included: how to cover the BP oil spill, immigration and covering the Olympics.
APME and Local Media Association will also host free educational webinars after the symposium to share with the entire industry best practices and some of the lessons learned.
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|2012 APME Journalism Excellence Awards: Deadline May 1|
Did you know that APME members can send in an entry for our contest for only $50?
The rate is reduced this year for members, so round up your best work and submit it. The APME contests have expanded to include innovation awards for radio, television and colleges.
Did your public service work raise the bar? Did your First Amendment work shine? It’s easy to enter online.
Just remember, contest deadline is May 1.
Not a member? Until May 1 we have a 2-for-1 offer. Join for the regular rate of $150 and bring along a newsroom colleague or broadcast or college partner.
The 2012 APME Journalism Excellence Awards honor superior journalism and innovation among newspapers, radio, television 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.
This year, innovation-award categories have been added for radio, television and college students. In addition, the online convergence category has been retooled. The new digital storytelling award recognizes print-online combinations that draw on data visualization, social media, video and/or blogs in presenting a story.
• Sixth Annual Innovator of the Year Award. The winner will be awarded $1,000.
• (New) Innovator of the year awards for Television and Radio
• (New) Innovator of the year award for college students
• Third Annual Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism. The winner in each of two circulation categories will be awarded $2,500.
• 42st Annual Public Service Awards
• 42st Annual First Amendment Award and Citations
• 11th Annual International Perspective Awards
• Digital Storytelling and Reporting Awards (previously Online Convergence Awards)
The deadline for entry is Tuesday, May 1.
All awards are presented for journalism published or launched between July 1, 2011 and April 30, 2012.
Entry fees are $50 for APME members and $100 for non-APME members.
For more information: Please go to: http://www.apme.com/?page=2012_Contest
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|We want your Great Ideas!|
We are now accepting submissions for APME's 2012 "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" website at http://www.apme.com/?page=GreatIdeasform allows you to quickly submit entries and upload images that accompanies the Great Idea.
If you have questions, contact David Arkin, GateHouse Media vice president of content & audience, at email@example.com.
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|New 2-for-1 offer for APME membership|
Join APME now at our $150 rate and bring on another editor, educator or broadcast news leader free.
Our 2-for-1 offer will last until May 1.
This is a great time to join, for reasons outlined below. But membership has more value than ever after the APME board reduced the price of entering our prestigious Journalism Excellence Awards from $75 to $50 per entry for members. Non-members will still pay $100 per entry.
Consider the savings you and the person you bring along will have. Reach out to a broadcast leader or journalism educator in your market, perhaps, or bring in another newsroom editor.
We'll also soon roll out three social media credibility webinars that will be offered to APME members at a reduced rate.
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.
• APME News, the magazine that offers industry insight and guidance.
• The annual conference is held with Associated Press Photo Editors.
• Trade ideas and ask for advice from your peers at facebook.com/apmenews.
Sign up now at apme.com
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|Miami NewsTrain, May 18-19, 2012|
NewsTrain will be in Miami on May 18-19 for a two-day workshop. NewsTrain is sponsored by APME and this workshop is hosted by 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).
Location & times: University of Miami School of Communication, May 18-19.
Registration: Deadline is May 11. Cost is $50. Register here.
Accommodations: Miami NewsTrain will be held at the University of Miami School of Communication. A block of discounted rooms is available at the Coral Gables Holiday Inn, located next to the campus. Rates are $89 per night. To book contact the hotel by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 305-667-5611, ext. 7808, and ask for Miguel Hernandez. Request the APME NewsTrain or University rate.
Questions: Contact Michael Roberts, NewsTrain Project Director, email@example.com.
Storytelling 2012: Tom Brokaw once said, "It’s all storytelling, you know. That’s what journalism is all about.” It was true back then, and it’s true today. What’s different is that we have more ways than ever to tell our stories. But regardless of the form, we have to embrace our roles as storytellers. Here’s where you learn how – how to see the potential in everyday happenings; how to ask the right questions to hone your ideas; how to understand the basics of a great narrative; how to tell a wonderful story over five days or in five graphs; and how to find inspiration in the world around you.
Reporting for Narrative: You can’t write a great narrative without the right raw materials, without the details that are going to power that story. This kind of work requires a deeper level of reporting than other story forms. It all begins with understanding what you’re looking for. To succeed, you need to learn how to focus your idea as tightly as possible. You need to pay extra attention when you’re gathering information – to capture, for instance, not just what someone says but how they say it. You need to understand what "facts” are important. This session will teach you, whether you’re a reporter or editor, how to get what you need.
Narrative Writing: And now for the hard part – taking all those facts and creating a story. You won’t be writing with your hands; you’ll be writing with your head and your heart. And before you write, you’ll need to understand not just where the story begins but where it will end. You must know how to develop characters, how to weave in background, how to speed up and slow down the action, how to create compelling scenes, how to use dialogue and internal monologues, and how to leave the reader feeling satisfied. Come hear how to pull it all together.
Interactive Storytelling 2.0: As newsrooms get better at the variety of online tools available for storytelling, it’s time to reset the term "multimedia storytelling” and talk about what approaches and techniques really engage readers. Today the concept of interactive storytelling is much more than adding a video to a story. Telling a story online can and should involve interactive features, alternative story forms, data visualization, video and photos – all in pursuit of a strong narrative storyline. How the best storytellers approach multimedia storytelling today and the skills and tools you can use to do the same.
Building a Mobile Strategy: Many newsrooms are launching or expanding their efforts in mobile content. This session explores some of the different technical solutions such as responsive design, web APPs and native APPs (iPhone, droid, etc), and how each approach aligns with goals, content plans, and staffing.
Planning & Coaching Content Across Platforms: How to frame clear standards and workflows for new digital media in a rapidly changing media environment. The focus is on building a strong set of online tools for covering your community and how to enable everyone on staff – reporters, editors, online producers, visual journalists -- to use the tools effectively.
Beat Mapping: How to use a technique called "beat mapping” to improve coverage in daily and enterprise work. Beat mapping is used by reporters and editors to outline new areas of coverage, to merge two or more old beats, and to refocus existing beats on topics and issues that mean the most to readers. The process also helps communicate clear expectations between reporters and editors in managing work across print and digital platforms.
Social Media Reporting Tools: Social media offers reporters unprecedented tools for building better networks of sources, gaining access to a more diverse and varied set of sources, and spotting trends and issues before they become news. How to use the tools provided by LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media platforms to get ahead of the news and find the best sources.
The Data Mindset: How to see data and treat it as a source to be interviewed, like people. When to create data, to adapt someone else’s or to analyze existing public data. Tips to make data the inspiration and foundation of great news and enterprise stories.
Maria Carrillo is managing editor at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., where she remains committed to craft even in a Twitter world. Her exceptional writers have been nationally recognized, including being Pulitzer and ASNE finalists. Carrillo has worked at The Pilot for 14 years, directing many of the paper’s projects and previously overseeing its narrative team. That work has spawned five books so far. Carrillo has been a visiting faculty member for The Poynter Institute and the Nieman program, a lecturer for the National Writers Workshops and the American Press Institute, and twice been a Pulitzer juror.
Luis Clemens is National Public Radio's senior editor for diversity. Luis works across the newsroom to build a broad foundation of diverse experts and sources in order to enhance NPR's news coverage. In this position, Clemens is also part of NPR's Diversity team and is active partner in training initiatives at NPR and across public radio - helping to strengthen local coverage by expanding the range of content, sources, ideas and expertise. Before joining NPR in 2010, Clemens was a frequent guest on NPR's programs, often interviewed about Latino voters. Clemens began his career in journalism at the local Telemundo and NBC television stations in Miami. In 1993, he began working at CNN as an assignment editor. Three years later he was promoted to Buenos Aires bureau chief. Following CNN, he went on to be a spokesperson for the United Nations World Food Programme in Zimbabwe. Before re-starting a career in journalism and coming to NPR, Clemens owned and operated two laundromats in Xalapa, Mexico.
Miranda Mulligan is the digital design director for The Boston Globe / boston.com. She is a designer and educator with over 10 years of experience in print and web design, photography and information graphics reporting. She has also worked for The Virginian-Pilot, interned with The Sun-Sentinel and The Philadelphia Inquirer and volunteers with Online News Association, Virginia Press Association, the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for News Design.
Paul Overberg is a database editor at USA TODAY and a member of its data team. He helps to shape its demographic trend coverage, but also analyzes data on subjects from war casualties to highway traffic. He also helps to produce data maps, graphics and interactive applications. He had earlier been a science and environmental reporter and editor at Gannett News Service in Washington and a reporter and editor at The Courier-News in Bridgewater, N.J.
Michael Roberts is a newsroom trainer and consultant and Project Director for NewsTrain. Previously, Michael was Deputy Managing Editor Staff Development at The Arizona Republic (2003-2010), responsible for all newsroom training, served as writing coach, and edited major projects. Outside his own newsrooms, Roberts helped create and launch NewsTrain, designed and taught the American Press Institute’s first online seminar for copy editors, and has presented programs for the Poynter Institute, American Press Institute, the Maynard Institute, Freedom Forum, and various National Writers Workshops. Before the Republic, Roberts was Features Editor, AME/Features-Business, and then for 10 years the Training Editor/Writing Coach at The Cincinnati Enquirer. He also worked as a writer and editor at the Midland (MI) Daily News, the Detroit Free Press, and as a senior editor at two magazines. He taught feature writing at the University of Cincinnati and regularly presented programs at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Arizona State University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|WATCHDOG REPORTING: SUMMARY OF RECENT IMPACT JOURNALISM|
• Arizona Daily Star: Honors College rakes in "urgent” fees but spends little
• Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Lobbyists’ outlays to Georgia lawmakers know no limit
• Austin American-Statesman: Austin not ready for "silver tsunami” of elderly poor
• Cleveland Plain Dealer: Oil and gas lobbyists flood Ohio
• Denver Post: 911 problems spur review of training, policies
• Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel: Demand soars for gun permits in Florida
• Lexington Herald-Leader: Official threw big, expensive party despite budget cuts
• Orlando Sentinel: $2 million in taxpayer dollars fund pro-business groups
• Philadelphia Inquirer: Gas explosion site shows gap in pipeline safety rules
• Patriot-News: Religious questions for voters seeking state ID without photo draw fire
• Press of Atlantic City: Vets left stranded in housing complex amid squalor and crime
Read about these and more by clicking here
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|BEAT OF THE WEEK: Denver’s Slevin, Rahman, Elliott|
It was supposed to be routine, a 50-acre "controlled” burn of brush, undergrowth, downed trees and branches to reduce fire danger in the Rocky Mountain foothills southwest of Denver. But it was hardly routine. It turned into a six-square-mile wildfire that killed three people and destroyed dozens of homes.
That would have been a good story by itself. But there was a bigger story still. Buried in a raft of official documents was proof of a cascade of missteps that contributed to the tragedy. Other media had access to the same material, released by state authorities, but apparently didn’t dig as deeply as AP staffers Colleen Slevin, Rema Rahman and Dan Elliott.
The problem started four days after the original controlled burn when crews patrolling the perimeter spotted a wind-blown ember igniting grass. Elliott later confirmed from state forest service documents that in all the planning no one had asked for real-time weather forecasts that would have warned of dangerous fire conditions that day, with 60 mph winds and temperatures in the 80s.
Other mistakes were exposed by 10 hours of 911 emergency logs analyzed by Elliott, Slevin and Rahman, with help from the Denver staff and Michelle Price at the West Desk:
• Panicky residents were told by 911 dispatchers not to worry. Three of the callers were later found dead at their destroyed homes.
• Overwhelmed dispatchers had not been told the fire was out of control and hung up on some callers who should have been told to evacuate. Many residents hadn’t been notified of the controlled burn to begin with.
• Local fire chiefs could not reach the state crew to find out what was happening _ and couldn't act _ because the crew used a different radio frequency.
• Automatic emergency call records showed that the first formal evacuation alerts weren’t issued until 3½ hours after the fire erupted and that the first calls were rescinded because they went to the wrong addresses _ some of them out of state.
Rahman, a legislative relief staffer, selected the most compelling 911 exchanges to bring the chaos home to readers. Those included a call from 77-year-old Sam Lucas, one of the first callers, who expressed astonishment that a controlled burn was being conducted in such weather conditions. Lucas was not advised to evacuate by a dispatcher, and he and his 76-year-old wife perished in the fire.
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|EDITORS IN THE NEWS |
Youkyung Lee, a reporter who has covered technology, business and politics in South Korea and for overseas publications, has been named technology writer in Seoul for The Associated Press.
Stephen Wright, the AP's Asia business editor, made the announcement.
Lee has been a reporter for the English language news service of South Korea's national news agency Yonhap for the past four years, where she covered consumer technology and the economy. She has worked as a translator for state television and a special correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, reporting on the protests over U.S. beef exports to South Korea and a North Korean spy trial among other topical issues.
An Asian Freeman Scholar, Lee graduated from Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French Studies. She spent a summer as a writer for the French language Adjinakou newspaper in Benin.
Dennis Ryerson will retire as editor of The Indianapolis Star on June 1 after nine years at the position.
The Indianapolis Star reports (http://indy.st/HYa0A1 ) Publisher Karen Crotchfelt made the announcement during a meeting in the newsroom. Ryerson will take on a part-time role as a columnist and editorial writer.
Ryerson was previously the editorial page editor and vice president of the San Jose Mercury News in California, editor of The Des Moines Register in Iowa and executive editor of the Great Falls Tribune in Montana.
A search has begun for Ryerson's replacement.
The executive editor of the Green Bay (Wis.) Press-Gazette is retiring after 40 years in the news business. Sixty-year-old John Dye has been the executive editor since late 2004. Before that he spent three years as the newspaper's managing editor. A Press-Gazette report (http://gbpg.net/HChoBu ) says his retirement is effective April 20. Press-Gazette publisher Kevin Corrado says Dye could always be counted on to present stories fairly, accurately and with integrity. He says Dye has earned this time to enjoy his family without the pressures of looming deadlines. Dye says he plans to remain in Green Bay, spending time with his family and being involved in the community. Local-news editor Amber Paluch will serve as the interim executive editor. Corrado says the search for a full-time replacement will begin immediately.
The Columbia Basin Herald. of Moses Lake, Wash., has named Lynne Lynch as its new managing editor.
Lynch, 35, started at the Herald in 2003 as the newspaper's education and health reporter and has most recently been the business reporter.
She has spent nearly six years working for the Herald, is a former bureau reporter for the Tri-City Herald and worked for weekly newspapers during the early part of her career.
The managing editor of the Journal Star newspaper in Peoria is resigning to become general manager of the student newspaper at Illinois State University.
The Journal Star reports ( http://bit.ly/Hf6zrJ ) that managing editor John Plevka will leave next month to take the position at The Daily Vidette. The Daily Vidette general manager Richard Jones is retiring. The 56-year-old Plevka has been the top editor at the Peoria newspaper since 2008. Before that he spent ten years as assistant managing editor for news and graphics.
Plevka says he's excited to manage a student publication and help "shape a new generation of journalists."
The Journal Star's publisher says the search for a new managing editor will begin immediately.
Former Philadelphia Inquirer editor William Marimow is returning to run the newspaper again under new management a year and a half after stepping down following an earlier ownership change.
Philadelphia Media Network, which owns the paper and the Philadelphia Daily News, said last week it had hired the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner as the Inquirer's top editor.
The 64-year-old Marimow served as the Inquirer's editor from 2006 to 2010 and is now teaching journalism at Arizona State University. He will take over as top editor next month.
The company, which was bought by a group of local investors, says Marimow's return heralds an expansion of investigative journalism at the paper. Marimow and a partner wrote stories that won a Pulitzer in 1978, and a second Pulitzer came in 1985.
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• AP revenue declines slow in 2011; seen up in 2012
• White House Correspondents' Association-Awards
• Before movie, Titanic was a news story
• Mike Wallace's legacy lives on at U. Michigan
• US counters drug smugglers in Mexican newspapers
• Suburban NY newspaper announces new location
• Mistrial after photo sent from Kansas courtroom
• Thousands of WVU student newspapers disappear
• Blogger exposes links between UK journos, shady PI
• USA Today publisher to retire in September
• Voccio named publisher of The Bulletin of Norwich
• New owner of Philly papers vows not to interfere
• Sara Glines named publisher of York newspaper
• USA Today imposes staff furloughs to save money
• Editor of Boston U paper resigns after rape spoof
• Newspapers erect pay walls in hunt for new revenue
• David Mele to become The Virginian-Pilot Publisher
Read about these items and more by clicking here
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Mike Wallace, '60 Minutes' interrogator, dies
AP Television Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — "Mike Wallace is here to see you."
The "60 Minutes" newsman had such a fearsome reputation that it was often said that those were the most dreaded words in the English language, capable of reducing an interview subject to a shaking, sweating mess.
Wallace, who won his 21st and final Emmy Award at 89, died Saturday in the New Canaan, Connecticut, care facility where he had lived the last few years of his life. He was 93.
Wallace didn't just interview people. He interrogated them. He cross-examined them. Sometimes he eviscerated them pitilessly. His weapons were many: thorough research, a cocked eyebrow, a skeptical "Come on" and a question so direct it took your breath away.
He was well aware that his reputation arrived at an interview before he did, said Jeff Fager, CBS News chairman and Wallace's long-time producer at "60 Minutes."
"He loved it," Fager said. "He loved that part of Mike Wallace. He loved being Mike Wallace. He loved the fact that if he showed up for an interview, it made people nervous. ... He knew, and he knew that everybody else knew, that he was going to get to the truth. And that's what motivated him."
Wallace made "60 Minutes" compulsively watchable, television's first newsmagazine that became appointment viewing on Sunday nights. His last interview, in January 2008, was with Roger Clemens on his alleged steroid use. Slowed by a triple bypass later that month and the ravages of time on a once-sharp mind, he retired from public life.
During the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, he asked Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini — then a feared figure — what he thought about being called "a lunatic" by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Khomeini answered by predicting Sadat's assassination.
Late in his career, he interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin, and challenged him: "This isn't a real democracy, come on!" Putin's aides tried to halt the interview; Putin said he was the president, he'll decide what to do.
"Many people who weathered a Mike Wallace interview grew to respect him greatly and, you know, have great regard for him because I don't recall anybody ever saying to me, 'He took a cheap shot' or 'He did the obvious,' or that he was, you know, playing some kind of game," Fox News Channel Chairman Roger Ailes said on Sunday. "He actually was trying to serve the audience, and that's what made him great."
When a Wallace story found little to back up rumors that Coors beer executives were racist, the relieved company took out newspaper ads trumpeting that it had survived. The ad's top: "The four most dreaded words in the English language: Mike Wallace is here."
He was equally tough on public and private behavior. In 1973, with the Watergate scandal growing, he sat with top Nixon aide John Ehrlichman and read a long list of alleged crimes, from money laundering to obstructing justice. "All of this," Wallace noted, "by the law-and-order administration of Richard Nixon."
The surly Ehrlichman could only respond: "Is there a question in there somewhere?"
In the early 1990s, Wallace reduced Barbra Streisand to tears as he scolded her for being "totally self-absorbed" when she was young and mocked her decades of psychoanalysis. "What is it she is trying to find out that takes 20 years?" Wallace wondered.
"I'm a slow learner," Streisand told him.
"He was hands down the best television interviewer ever," said Steve Kroft, his former "60 Minutes" colleague. "I can't think of anyone, besides (CBS legend Edward R.) Murrow, who had a greater influence in shaping television journalism."
"60 Minutes" pioneered the use of "ambush interviews," with reporter and camera crew corralling alleged wrongdoers in parking lots, hallways, wherever a comment — or at least a stricken expression — might be harvested from someone dodging reporters' phone calls. Wallace once went after a medical laboratory offering Medicaid kickbacks to doctors in this fashion.
They were phased out after founding executive producer Don Hewitt termed them "showbiz baloney." ''Finally I said, 'Hey, kid, maybe it's time to retire that trenchcoat,'" Hewitt recalled.
Wallace's late colleague Harry Reasoner once said, "There is one thing that Mike can do better than anybody else: With an angelic smile, he can ask a question that would get anyone else smashed in the face."
As a young producer at the CBS' New York affiliate, Fager first dealt with Wallace when he had to cut down one of the reporter's stories to 90 seconds for a broadcast.
"I was scared of him and intimidated by him," he said. "He knew it and he would just make you more miserable. That was Mike. He always had a twinkle in his eye, and even if you were intimidated by him, it was hard not to love him."
His prosecutorial style was admired, imitated, condemned and lampooned. In a 1984 skit on "Saturday Night Live," Harry Shearer impersonated Wallace, and Martin Short played weaselly, chain-smoking attorney Nathan Thurm, who becomes comically evasive, shifty-eyed and nervous under questioning.
Wallace was hired when Hewitt put together the staff of "60 Minutes" at its inception in 1968. The show wasn't a hit at first, but worked its way up to the top 10 in the 1977-78 season and remained there year after year. Among other things, it proved there could be big profits in TV journalism. It remains the most popular newsmagazine on TV.
Wallace said he didn't think he had an unfair advantage over his interview subjects: "The person I'm interviewing has not been subpoenaed. He's in charge of himself, and he lives with his subject matter every day. All I'm armed with is research."
Wallace himself became a dramatic character in several projects, from the stage version of "Frost/Nixon," when he was played by Stephen Rowe, to the 1999 film "The Insider," based in part on a 1995 "60 Minutes" story about tobacco industry whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand, who accused Brown & Williamson of intentionally adding nicotine to cigarettes. Christopher Plummer starred as Wallace and Russell Crowe as Wigand. Wallace was unhappy with the film, in which he was portrayed as caving to pressure to kill a story about Wigand.
Operating on a tip, The New York Times reported that "60 Minutes" planned to excise Wigand's interview from its tobacco expose. Wigand had signed a nondisclosure agreement with his former company, and the network feared that by airing what he had to say, "60 Minutes" could be sued along with him.
The day the Times article appeared, Wallace downplayed the gutted "60 Minutes" story as "a momentary setback." He soon sharpened his tone. When the revised report finally aired, he told viewers that he was "dismayed that the management at CBS had seen fit to give in to perceived threats of legal action." The full report eventually was broadcast.
In addition to his Emmys, Wallace won five DuPont-Columbia journalism and five Peabody awards.
In all, his television career spanned six decades, much of it at CBS. In 1949, he appeared as Myron Wallace in a show called "Majority Rules." In the early 1950s, he was an announcer and game show host for programs such as "What's in a Word?" He also found time to act in a 1954 Broadway play, "Reclining Figure," directed by Abe Burrows.
In the mid-1950s came his smoke-wreathed "Night Beat," a series of one-on-one interviews with everyone from an elderly Frank Lloyd Wright to a young Henry Kissinger that began on local TV in New York and then appeared on the ABC network. It was the show that first brought Wallace fame as a hard-boiled interviewer, a "Mike Malice" who rarely cut his subjects any slack.
Wrote Coronet magazine in 1957: "Wallace's interrogation had the intensity of a third degree, often the candor of a psychoanalytic session. Nothing like it had ever been known on TV. ... To Wallace, no guest is sacred, and he frankly dotes on controversy."
Consider this "Night Beat" exchange, with colorful restaurateur Toots Shor. Wallace: "Toots, why do people call you a slob?" Shor: "Me? Jiminy crickets, they musta' been talking about Jackie Gleason."
In those days, Wallace said, "interviews by and large were virtual minuets. ... Nobody dogged, nobody pushed." He said that was why "Night Beat" ''got attention that hadn't been given to interview broadcasts before."
It was also around then that Wallace did a bit as a TV newsman in the 1957 Hollywood drama "A Face in the Crowd," which starred Andy Griffith as a small-town Southerner who becomes a political phenomenon through his folksy television appearances. Two years later, Wallace helped create "The Hate That Hate Produced," a highly charged program about the Nation of Islam that helped make a national celebrity out of Malcolm X and was later criticized as biased and inflammatory.
After holding a variety of other news and entertainment jobs, including serving as advertising pitchman for a cigarette brand, Wallace became a full-time newsman for CBS in 1963.
He said it was the death of his 19-year-old son Peter in an accident in 1962 that made him decide to stick to serious journalism from then on. (Another son, Chris, followed his father and became a broadcast journalist. He anchors "Fox News Sunday" on Fox broadcast.)
Wallace had a short stint reporting from Vietnam and took a sock in the jaw while covering the tumultuous 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. But he didn't fit the stereotype of the Eastern liberal journalist. He was a close friend of the Reagans and was once offered the job of Richard Nixon's press secretary. He called his politics moderate.
One "Night Beat" interview resulted in a libel suit, filed by a police official angry over remarks about him by mobster Mickey Cohen. Wallace said ABC settled for $44,000, and he called it the only time money had been paid to a plaintiff in a suit in which he was involved.
The most publicized lawsuit against him was by retired Gen. William C. Westmoreland, who sought $120 million for a 1982 "CBS Reports" documentary, "The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception," that accused Westmoreland and others of deliberately underestimating enemy troop strength during the Vietnam War.
Westmoreland dropped the libel suit in 1985 after a long trial. Lawyers for each side later said legal costs of the suit totaled $12 million, of which $9 million was paid by CBS.
Wallace said the case brought on depression that put him in the hospital for more than a week. "Imagine sitting day after day in the courtroom, hearing yourself called every vile name imaginable," he said.
In 1996, he appeared before the Senate's Special Committee on Aging to urge more federal funds for depression research, saying that he had felt "lower, lower, lower than a snake's belly" but had recovered through psychiatry and antidepressants. He later disclosed that he once tried to commit suicide during that dark period. Wallace, columnist Art Buchwald and author William Styron were friends who commiserated often enough about depression to call themselves "The Blues Brothers," according to a 2011 memoir by Styron's daughter, Alexandra.
Wallace called his 1984 book, written with Gary Paul Gates, "Close Encounters." He described it as "one mostly lucky man's encounters with growing up professionally." In 2005, he brought out his memoir, "Between You and Me."
Wallace was born Myron Wallace on May 9, 1918, in Brookline, Mass. He began his news career in Chicago in the 1940s, first as a radio news writer for the Chicago Sun and then as a reporter for WMAQ. He started at CBS in 1951.
He was married four times. In 1986, he wed Mary Yates Wallace, the widow of his close friend and colleague Ted Yates, who had died in 1967. Besides his wife, Wallace is survived by his son, a stepdaughter, Pauline Dora, and stepson Eames Yates.
Longtime UMass journalism professor Ziff dies
Howard M. Ziff, professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has died.
Ziff's son tells The Associated Press that the longtime professor and veteran newsman died at an Amherst hospice after an extended illness. He was 81.
Ziff was born in Holyoke and began his journalism career as a reporter for Pacific Stars and Stripes during the Korean War. He moved to Chicago in 1958, where he moved up the ranks from reporter to eventually become city editor at the now defunct Chicago Daily News.
He moved to Amherst to help establish the journalism program at UMass in 1971 and served on its faculty until his retirement in 1998. He was a mentor and friend to dozens of young journalists.
Former Salisbury publisher James Hurley III dies
Former Salisbury (N.C.) Post Chairman and Publisher James F. Hurley III has died after a long bout with cancer. He was 80.
The Salisbury Post reported (http://bit.ly/Hb1H42 ) that Hurley underwent an operation for cancer in late 2011, and had had spent the last several months in hospice care.
Three different Hurleys served as publisher during the family's 85 years of ownership. Hurley, his father and grandfather ran the newspaper, and the youngest Hurley led the Post from 1974 until the newspaper was sold to Evening Post Publishing Co. of Charleston in early 1997.
Jimmy Hurley made the newspaper his career, rising from a sports correspondent at 13 to the editor's job 20 years later before becoming publisher.
Among Hurley's survivors is Gerry, his wife of 54 years.
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A project of a finalist for APME's Community Journalism Public Service Initiative competition was reported incorrectly in the APME Update on April 5. The Observer-Reporter of Washington, Pa., proposed a project on its homeless community.
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|AND FINALLY … Tweet about South Carolina governor shows how rumors spread|
By KATHLEEN PARKER
The (Bowling Green, Ky.) Daily News
WASHINGTON — All it takes is one little twit. Or a tweet, as the case may be – not that the two are mutually exclusive.
In fact, very likely the person who recently started a rumor about South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was trying to create that idiot’s delight – "buzz” – for his blog. Or whatever little virtual temple he had erected to himself.
So it goes in the ridiculous political arena in which we now find ourselves.
The rumor – that Haley was about to be indicted for tax fraud – was so delicious that other bloggers, tweeters and even some mainstream media outlets felt compelled to repeat it.
Except that it wasn’t true. Not even a little bit. Some twit thought it would be fun to start a rumor and see what happened next. We all know what happens: Indictments spread like wildfire; corrections couldn’t roast a marshmallow.
The damage took only a couple of hours. And Haley, a rising star in the Republican Party and a possible vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney, is all too aware of the potential cost to her reputation. She’s been through this before. While she was running in the Republican primary for governor, two men stepped forward to claim sexual dalliances with the married mother of two.
Obviously, South Carolinians either didn’t buy it or didn’t care. The attack was so vile and, frankly, not so credible that voters reacted by checking the box by Haley’s name. Her popularity as governor ebbs and flows as these things go, but her appeal as a national figure does not seem affected by local attacks. She’s going to be around for a long time.
Meanwhile, what Haley experienced as a target of the rumor mill should be of more general concern to everyone. The New York Times tracked the path of the Haley/tax rumor to show how quickly it traveled from a small spark in the fevered brain of a political enemy into a bonfire of inanity. It began with a blog item, then was tweeted by The Hill, a Washington political newspaper, and reported in a short article by The Daily Beast.
All of this happened between 12:52 p.m., when the blog post went online, and 1:12 p.m., when a reporter for USA Today actually decided to call Haley’s office and find out if the story was true. Give that reporter a raise! But the rumor was retweeted at 1:14 by a Washington Post reporter and later picked up by online outlets Daily Kos and The Daily Caller. By 3:29, The Drudge Report linked to the Daily Caller article featuring the headline: "Report: DOJ may indict S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley for tax fraud.”
The next morning, The State newspaper, South Carolina’s largest, had a front-page story. All in a day’s whisper.
What is abominably clear is that this sort of thing can happen to anyone at any time. And much worse things can be said that can’t easily be disproved. Haley extinguished this fire by releasing a letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating that there was no investigation.
But what if, instead, the rumor were that a candidate was once suspected of child abuse? "Neighbors, who remembered Candidate A as quiet and polite, nonetheless say they always suspected.”
We used to recognize rumors for what they are, but in the era of insta-everything, rumors get to enjoy enough time in the sunlight to make an imprint on the community psyche. Most disappointing during this particular cycle was the failure of legitimate news organizations to turn the rumor over and examine its underbelly before repeating it.
What happened to a minimum of two corroborating sources before a story is posted?
Even laymen unfamiliar with traditional journalism’s standards and procedures learned that rule from "All the President’s Men,” the movie based on Woodward and Bernstein’s historic Watergate investigation.
That was then. Now editors faced with dwindling subscriptions and advertising must compete with the twits who make it up as they go. But the danger of trying to keep up with twits and tweeters is that eventually you may get good at it – and no better.
Integrity of information is the one thing newspapers can promise readers that other new media can’t deliver with the same consistency.
It isn’t only a matter of pride or even of survival of newspapers, in which I obviously have a personal interest. Ultimately, it is a matter of helping protect freedoms that will become diminished as a less-informed citizenry surrenders responsibility to titillation – and slouches inevitably toward idiocracy.
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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.
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