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APME Update for Friday, April 27, 2012
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APME Update
APME Update for Friday, April 27, 2012

Save the Date
May 1, Deadline for APME Journalism Excellence Awards
May 1, 2-for-1 Membership Offer Ends
• May 18-19,
NewsTrain, Miami
• June 1,
Deadline for Nominations for McGruder Awards for Diversity Leadership
• 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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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 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


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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Don't delay: 2012 APME Journalism Excellence Awards: Deadline is Tuesday!

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.

More details:

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.

Categories include:

• 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:


Last chance for 2-for-1 APME membership offer; ends May 1

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

Sign up now at


Nominations open for McGruder Awards for Diversity Leadership – Deadline June 1!

The Associated Press Media Editors, in partnership with the American Society of News Editors, is accepting nominations for the 11th annual Robert G. McGruder Awards for Diversity Leadership.

Two awards are given annually: one for newspapers with a circulation up to 75,000; one for newspapers with more than 75,000 circulation.

The awards go to individuals, newsrooms or teams of journalists who embody the spirit of McGruder, a former executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, former managing editor of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, graduate of Kent State University and relentless diversity champion. McGruder died of cancer in April 2002.

This year, the awards are being sponsored by the Free Press, The Plain Dealer, Kent State University and the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute.

Jurors will be looking for nominees who have made a significant contribution during a given year or over a number of years toward furthering diversity in newspaper content and in recruiting, developing and retaining journalists of color.

Announcement of the winners will be made at the annual APME conference Sept. 19-21 in Nashville, Tenn. The recognized honorees each receive $2,500 and a leadership trophy.

Who is eligible? Individuals, newsrooms or teams of journalists from U.S. daily newspapers are eligible. A nominee's newspaper must participate in the American Society of News Editors' annual employment census.

The awards recognize achievement for the past 12 months or contributions over a number of years.

What are the criteria? The Diversity Leadership Awards honor an individual, a newsroom or a team of journalists for significant leadership in diversity through:

Recruitment: by providing opportunities for journalists of color to learn about news careers and to enter the newspaper industry in internships and full-time jobs.

Development: by offering opportunities for journalists of color to grow in their current roles and to receive mentoring and training to advance to positions of greater authority, responsibility or expertise.

Retention: by ensuring that journalists of color want to remain in the news industry by providing an inclusive work environment that offers opportunities to contribute and advance.

Content: by reflecting a diverse community accurately and in a way that demonstrates community and industry leadership. The definition of diversity in content includes ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious background, political bent and physical ability.

Nominations can be made by individuals, newspapers, professional organizations, schools of journalism and others.

Rules for entries: Send a letter (no more than three pages) outlining specific information about the achievements and how they benefited the community, the industry and journalists of color. The letter should include the name of the person making the nomination and his/her signature and telephone number.

You may supplement an entry with electronic clips, but please send no more than four. Send copies no larger than 11 by 17 inches.

Send material by email to:

Sally Jacobsen,
The Associated Press
450 West 33rd Street
New York, N.Y. 10001

Deadline: Material must be received by close of business on Friday, June 1.

Past winners of the McGruder awards:

Gregory Moore, editor of The Denver Post, and Sherrie Marshall, editor of The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph

Randy Lovely, editor and vice president of The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, and Bill Church, executive editor of the Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore.

Troy Turner, editor of The Daily Times in Farmington, N.M.; and Karen Magnuson, editor of The Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle

John Bodette, executive editor of the St. Cloud (Minn.) Times; and Charles Pittman, senior vice president for publishing at Schurz Communications

Wanda Lloyd, executive editor, Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser; and Joe Grimm, recruiting and development editor, Detroit Free Press

Sharon Rosenhause, managing editor, Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and the Pacific Daily News on Guam

Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, S.D.; and The Honolulu (Hawaii) Advertiser

Bennie Ivory, executive editor and vice president for news at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.; and Susan Ihne, then executive editor, St. Cloud (Minn.) Times

Charlotte Hall, then vice president/planning, Newsday, Long Island, N.Y.; and the Greeley (Colo.) Tribune

Don Flores, executive vice president and editor, El Paso (Texas) Times; and Jim Strauss, publisher, Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune


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 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


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 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,


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 / 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:



AP: Environmental Protection Agency fighting legacy of its own success
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Money flowed to lawmakers before big vote in Georgia
Austin American-Statesman: Incentives to draw businesses to Austin rare
Bergen Record: Uninsured rely on fundraisers to help pay medical bills
Houston Chronicle: Houston’s public works employees have highest dismissal rate
Indianapolis Star: County repairs sex offender registry after paper publishes errors
Lexington Herald-Leader: Promise of jobs lured city into financial mess
Charlotte Observer: Nonprofit hospitals make big profits, pay big salaries

Read about these and more by clicking here


BEAT OF THE WEEK: Cain Burdeau

The Gulf oil spill was two years ago. But for Cain Burdeau and his AP colleagues covering that huge story and its aftermath is a continuing mission.

Burdeau’s latest scoop connects the dots from a series of findings – and the growing concerns of marine biologists – about possible injury to fish stocks in the Gulf of Mexico.

Burdeau first heard about fishermen and scientists finding scarred and deformed fish in the fall of 2010, just months after oil had stopped flowing from BP’s Macondo well. Though early reports were skeletal, Burdeau stayed with the story.

The reports of lesions on fish continued in 2011, though there wasn’t enough research to pinpoint what was happening, beyond the known impact of the oil on coastal oyster beds and marshes. But scientists were getting more interested, and they collected samples, developed methodologies and established scientifically sound lab tests to validate what they were observing.

This year, Burdeau went back to sources he had developed in nearly two years of reporting on the spill, some through his work on AP’s national environmental team. The scientists were ready to talk. One, LSU marine biologist Jim Cowan, said something startling: There was evidence of damage to the red snapper population. He shared with Burdeau drafts of his research papers, the names of colleagues working on pathology, and photographs of wretched-looking snappers. Burdeau got in touch with snapper fishermen who complained about weird stuff they were seeing on the deep reefs.

Others backed up Cowan’s findings, including Steve Murawski, a former chief scientist for the National Marine Fisheries Service, now with the University of South Florida and leading a team of scientists who examined fish populations in developing what appears to be the first comprehensive environmental assessment of the Gulf’s marine species after the spill.

Burdeau looked at lab reports on naphthalene, a chemical compound found in the bile of fish taken from heavily oiled areas. He continued to talk to sources and listened to the experiences of Gulf fishermen. After weeks of research, Burdeau felt confident there was enough solid science to report that not all seemed so rosy in the Gulf of Mexico two years after the BP oil spill.



Vijay Joshi, a long-time foreign correspondent for The Associated Press who has worked in Asia and the Middle East, has been named assistant editor for the Asia-Pacific region, based in Bangkok.

John Daniszewski, the AP's senior managing editor for international news, announced Joshi's new role.

Joshi will be based at AP's Asia-Pacific desk in Bangkok, where he will oversee day-to-day operations and assist Asia-Pacific Editor Brian Carovillano in directing news coverage of the region.

Joshi, 50, has been the acting deputy to Carovillano since February 2011, when he moved from Kuala Lumpur, where he was chief of bureau for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

"Vijay is a gifted and multi-talented journalist who knows both the region and the AP inside and out," Carovillano said. "He's perfectly suited to this new role and will be a big part of our efforts to continue elevating AP's Asia report and to push for more distinctive coverage of the region."

Joshi joined AP as a correspondent in New Delhi in 1989. He was a correspondent in Cairo and news editor in Singapore and Bangkok before becoming chief of bureau in Kuala Lumpur in 2004.

A journalism graduate from Osmania University in India, Joshi also has a master of science degree in marine geology from Andhra University in India and a bachelor's degree in geology from Osmania.

A native of New Delhi, Joshi began his journalism career with the Indian Express newspaper in 1985. He also worked for India's biggest news agency, Press Trust of India, before joining AP.

Christopher Kinsler has been named editor of The Journal in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Kinsler, a 14-year veteran of Ogden Newspapers, replaces Don Smith, who last month was named executive director of the West Virginia Press Association.

Publisher Craig Bartoldson of the Journal ( says Kinsler is an experienced journalist with a proven record of directing newsrooms and development strong community news coverage.

Kinsler most recently served as associate general manager of The Post-Journal in Jamestown, N.Y. He also worked as region editor for The Post-Journal and as sports editor of The Observer in Dunkirk, N.Y.

Kinsler is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University.

James Mallory, a veteran journalist and senior editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has announced plans to retire.

Mallory, who is senior managing editor at the newspaper, has had a 30-year career in journalism, The Journal-Constitution reported (

As one of the newspaper's top editors, he's credited with helping to guide The Journal-Constitution through tumultuous times in the newspaper industry, as advertising revenues sank and expenses had to be cut.

Editor Kevin Riley says Mallory played a key role in rebuilding The Journal-Constitution into a stronger newspaper and boosting its credibility among readers.

"He's been a trusted adviser and steady hand who faced the most demanding changes and situations with determination and fearlessness," Riley said. "He has made us better journalists and the AJC a better newspaper."

Mallory, 56, joined the newspaper in 1988 and held a number of key roles, including assistant business editor, news personnel manager, night assistant managing editor, assistant managing editor for Business and deputy managing editor for Metro and Business.

"I'm leaving the AJC, my second home for nearly a quarter century, positive about the strength of the organization and the direction of the newspaper," Mallory said.

"I've worked with a lot of talented journalists over the last couple of decades who in their own ways brought a unique passion of journalism to this newspaper," he said. "The talented journalists at the AJC today are on the cutting edge of the changes that will sustain our profession for many years to come



• Pulitzer Prizes announced
• Fundraiser planned for Ernie Pyle site in W. Ind.
• Labor ruling against Hilo newspaper upheld
• Hearing ends over Mo. newspaper editor's death
• Play looks at Welsh roots of WikiLeaks’ Bradley Manning
• New publisher takes helm of Punxsutawney (Pa.) Spirit
• New military photo scandal: Panetta apologizes
• Gannett names Courier-Journal publisher
• Judges, journalists clash over courtroom tweets

Read about these items and more by clicking here



Gillette, Wyo., newspaper publisher and philanthropist Jack K. Nisselius has died. He was 91.

Nisselius was a partner in Sage Publishing, which owned several papers including the Cody Enterprise, Douglas Budget, Green River Star and in Montana, Dillon Tribune.

He both published the Gillette News-Record and reported in its pages as Gillette grew from a small agricultural community into a coal boomtown.

The News-Record reports ( ) Nisselius graduated from the University of Missouri journalism school in 1942. He served four years in the Army during World War II, including time in Germany, and served in Korea during the Korean War.

Kevin Crosbie, the publisher of The Chronicle newspaper of Willimantic, Conn., has died at the age of 52.

Vincent Crosbie said that his brother died unexpectedly and the cause was determined to be a heart attack.

The Crosbie family started the The Chronicle in 1877. Kevin Crosbie succeeded his mother, Lucy Crosbie, as publisher in 1992. He represented the fifth generation of the family to lead the daily newspaper. Lucy Crosbie died on Jan. 1.

Kevin Crosbie began working for the newspaper within a few years of graduating from Skidmore College.

During his years at the helm of the Chronicle, Crosbie also served as president of the Connecticut Daily Newspapers Association and as a member of the board of the New England Newspaper Association.

Jim Fain, a former Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, publisher who became the Cox newspaper chain's national correspondent in Washington, D.C., has died in Georgia. He was 91.

Rinehart and Sons Funeral Home in Jesup, Ga., said in an online obituary that Fain died Sunday at a hospital in Savannah.

Fain was publisher in Texas from 1976 to 1983, and also served as editor at the Dayton Daily News in Ohio and the Miami News.

The native of Norman Park, Ga., graduated from Emory University with a degree in journalism. He served in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific during World War II and joined the Air Force Reserves.

Fain worked at several newspapers in Georgia, including the Albany Herald, Columbus Ledger and Atlanta Journal. He was Cox's first publisher in Austin.


And Finally ... The "Digital Divide” Problem

The Spokesman-Review
Spokane, Wash.

Staying informed and getting connected to the online world are not as easy to accomplish as those of us in the newspaper industry might sometimes think.

The challenge of obtaining timely and reliable news and information was brought home in some interesting ways at a daylong symposium on rural information needs earlier this month at Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. The symposium, as Murrow’s Dean Lawrence Pintak explained, was part of a larger initiative by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Knight Foundation on the FCC Information Needs of Communities project, involving 12 of the nation’s leading journalism programs.

I was invited to join the symposium panel of newspaper editors and publishers, local government officials, communications experts and academics to examine the information challenges facing small and rural communities. Pintak opened the conversation with a blunt assessment. He said he was appalled by what he called "the black hole of information” in rural communities. Later, his Murrow faculty colleague Doug Hindman cited WSU research in 2011 that found only 20 towns and cities in Washington have daily newspapers. Seventy-seven towns have weekly newspapers, including free distribution papers. The same research showed only 23 radio stations in the state provide local news.

In a post-symposium email to panelists, Pintak cited what I consider comforting research that found 72 percent of American adults say they follow local news closely "most of the time, whether or not something important is happening.” The telephone survey of 2,250 adults, conducted in January 2011 by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project, found what it called local news enthusiasts are more wedded to their newspapers than others, relying on them for much of their local news, and 32 percent feel it would have a major impact on their ability to get the information they want if their local paper vanished.

Not surprisingly, Pew reported younger local news followers differ from their older counterparts in some important ways, including less reliance on local papers, potentially signaling changes to come in the local news environment.

While panelists touched upon the current state of local newspapers, television and radio, most of the conversation focused on Internet access, especially in rural communities. There’s been much written about what is being called a growing digital divide, a phrase referring to those who are fortunate enough to have high-speed broadband Internet versus those who have no Internet access or just the slower, dial-up version. Susan Crawford, a law school professor and former adviser to President Barack Obama for science, technology and innovation policy, described potential effects of the divide in an essay last December for the New York Times:

"Increasingly, we are a country in which only the urban and suburban well-off have truly high-speed Internet access, while the rest – the poor and the working class – either cannot afford access or use restricted wireless access as their only connection to the Internet. As our jobs, entertainment, politics and even health care move online, millions are at risk of being left behind.”

Rep. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, who has been a proponent of expanding broadband access across the state, agreed the digital divide exists in Washington and is, in fact, growing. McCoy noted, "Economic development follows the trucks who are laying the fiber optic cable.” McCoy said there remain local hurdles to expansion because of what he called the intrusiveness of the technology in terms of cell towers and pole attachments.

Angela Wu, formerly Washington’s Broadband Policy and Programs director, added to the chorus of those who are sounding the alarm about the digital divide and pushing for broader access: "There is a privileged class that has developed because not everyone has access to all that is available online.” Wu said there is Internet access in many rural areas, but it is at "snail speed.”

Wu recently formed a nonprofit in Seattle called MIO (move-it-online), with a mission to help small businesses develop their online presence by using tech-savvy youth interns. MIO was recently granted tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service. Wu’s research shows there are 160,000 small businesses of one to 10 employees in the state. It’s estimated that 45 to 55 percent of those businesses are not online.

Kristie Kirkpatrick, director of the Whitman County Rural Library District, told panelists that technology is simply not available in many rural areas. "So many people depend on libraries for information. We are busier than ever, even though book lending is down.” The Whitman County system has 14 branches, including the headquarters in Colfax, and all have some version of broadband.

So, what’s the next step in the conversation about rural information needs? Pintak promises that the discussion will continue and suggests that one critical step will be to help educate state legislators and local policymakers, as well as encourage digital literacy campaigns in rural areas.

I hope to revisit this topic of Internet access in a more detailed story later this spring. In the meantime, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions on the subject.


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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