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APME Update for Thursday, June 6, 2012
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APME Update
APME Update for Thursday, June 7, 2012

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June 15, 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.



Please help us keep your contact information up-to-date. To change your profile, please click here.


A Pulitzer winner panel will kick it all off. A performance of Freedom Sings will follow.

Great sessions on watchdog reporting, covering the presidential race, and navigating the sports credential challenges will take place, and there will be takeaways offered for every size newsroom.

We’ll vote on the Innovator of the Year, and we’ll hear from the small newspaper that won an APME grant earlier this year to conduct a project.

A day-long focus on social media will conclude it, with top speakers and great ideas presented.

Join us for APME Nashville 2012 at the beautiful John Siegenthaler Center on the campus of Vanderbilt University, Sept. 19 to 21.

There will be fun too. A night and the APME auction at the Frist Art Museum, and a country music night at Margaritaville in downtown Nashville.

And it’s affordable. APME has a $139 nightly rate at the Embassy Suites Nashville, on Music Row within walking distance of the conference site. With a $250 registration rate for members, and within driving distance for many, this is one that will go easy on expenses.

Perhaps plan a weekend in Nashville after the conference sessions. See the Country Music Hall of Fame, take in the Opry, and perhaps see the Tennessee Titans in action on Sunday. What better place to relax before heading back to the office.

Join us at APME Nashville 2012. Register now.



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 15.



The Associated Press Media Editors Foundation needs your help to make our auctions successful.

The silent and live auctions will be held at the opening night reception at the annual conference in Nashville. We'll party at the Frist Center for Visual Arts on Wednesday, Sept. 19. As always, auction proceeds will go to support the APME Foundation and valuable programs, such as NewsTrain.

In August, we will feature some of the great items on the slate in September and allow folks to place an opening bid. We'll also have some online-only items, such as tickets to activities in Nashville, as well as an APME memberships conference registrations. This is a great way to give tickets to events or travel either before or after the conference

Right now we need donors – editors and friends of APME who can contribute items for the online, silent and live auctions. We're looking for anything newspaper or Web-related such as award-winning photos, umbrellas, signed comics and autographed books. Jewelry, art, wine and other libations are always popular sellers. Sports tickets and trips are big-ticket items that bring in the cash. A round of golf at a great course or a weekend stay at a resort hotel would be wonderful donations.

You can indicate the auction to which you wish to donate – maybe you will choose both – on the pledge form. We’ll need donations for the online auction by July 15, and for the silent and live auctions at the conference by Aug. 31.

Follow this link to the pledge form, which should be sent to Kim Meader of the Arizona Republic, NM19, 200 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, AZ 85004 or e-mail

Once you've made a pledge, we will coordinate with you about where to mail the donation.

Your donation is tax-deductible and much appreciated by APME and its foundation.

Please be creative and generous.

Thank you, Hollis Towns, APME Foundation president.



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



Indianapolis Star: Just how clean are Indiana’s waterways?
Kansas City Star: Many Bullets, Little Blame
Lexington Herald-Leader: Mental health agency spends big on executives and lobbying
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Police misreporting trend extends to assaults on officers
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Fraud, mismanagement hijack federal tutoring program
Arizona Republic: Arizona prison system sees high number of deaths
Austin American-Statesman: More Austinites drilling private wells to water lawns
Orange County Register: Disney, Knott's frequent targets of lawsuits
Tampa Bay Times: Stand Your Ground Law Yields Shocking Outcomes
The Tennessean: Data show horse groups find more violations when USDA is present

Read about these and more by clicking here


BEAT OF THE WEEK: California’s Hanna Dreier

Hannah Dreier was in just the third week of her temporary assignment as California legislative relief when her editor, Tom Verdin, suggested she look into the state's popular specialty license plate program established in 1992. Was the money it generated really going where it was supposed to?

No one had ever done an audit, so Dreier dived into her own investigation, working through multiple government entities, filing public records requests and reconciling conflicting data -- all while juggling the usual heavy load of daily legislative copy.

She soon decided to focus on the 9/11 memorial plate, a hunch that paid off for an accountability story that dominated California for two days.

Dreier found that only a fraction of revenue from the 9/11 plates -- $80,000 of the $15 million raised – had been used for college scholarships for children of those who died in the 2001 terrorist attacks. Legislation creating the plates had earmarked 15 percent, $2.25 million, for scholarships.

Instead, Gov. Jerry Brown and his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, had raided the fund for $3 million to help plug budget deficits.

Reaction was immediate. The state Department of Motor Vehicles removed the reference to scholarships from its description of the memorial fund and apologized for the misrepresentation. Brown ordered an audit, and a key lawmaker announced a legislative inquiry.

The 9/11 plates were a logical target. Emblazoned with the words "We Will Never Forget," they made the most emotional appeal, and they had the least oversight of 10 specialty plates in the $250 million program.

While money from all the other plates went to specific agencies and nonprofits, 9/11 plate revenue fed into a special antiterrorism fund to be used for vaguely defined activities.

Dreier discovered that no agency was responsible for ensuring the money was being spent as promised, and she spotted numerous discrepancies between agencies that distributed the money.

The state treasurer's website said that only $20,000 in scholarship money had been distributed and that the scholarship program actually ended in 2005, even though the DMV's website still promoted it.

Dreier searched the state's website and found millions of dollars in loans from the fund buried in hundreds of pages of budget documents from 2008 and 2011.

At that point, she started trying to account for every dollar of the $15 million the plate had raised. Information from the half-dozen agencies sharing the money often conflicted. For instance, the Department of Finance said $1.1 million had gone to the scholarships, but further back-and-forth between Finance and the state treasurer's office revealed that most of that money had actually been transferred back.

The Department of Food and Agriculture waited eight weeks to respond to a public records request and then, the night before the story was set to run, sent 50 pages of itemized budget reports accounting for millions of dollars. The state Emergency Management Agency also sent hard-to-follow budget documents, after several requests. An executive finally explained the spending.


BEST OF THE STATES: North Carolina’s Skip Foreman

Building and maintaining relationships with members and key customers is critical for a Breaking News Staffer since, among other benefits, it increases the likelihood of cooperation on breaking stories. Veteran newsman Skip Foreman knows that all too well: His contacts among North Carolina broadcasters are extensive, and he took advantage of one of those relationships when Gov. Bev Perdue disparaged another state in what could have remained an under-the-radar comment.

On May 11, a reporter with WITN-TV in eastern North Carolina asked Perdue what she thought of the passage of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. The governor’s response: "Folks are saying ‘What in the world is going on in North Carolina?’ We look like Mississippi."

Foreman, who discovered the comment by monitoring Twitter, reached out to the TV station while alerting his AP colleagues in Mississippi. His main challenge was making sure he got Perdue’s exact words, so he asked a WITN producer to play the tape of the entire interview.

The story went national when the top political leaders in Mississippi defended their state and fired back at Perdue, and Perdue’s refusal to back down or apologize kept it trending for several days:

"We would not have had any of this if it not been for Skip,” Carolinas news editor Tim Rogers said. "He’ll call straight to a member. They know Skip and they’ll take his call.”



Nimmons named AP assistant international editor

Ellen Nimmons, a veteran editor for The Associated Press, has been named Assistant International Editor, helping shape the news cooperative's daily international news report.

The appointment was announced by John Daniszewski, AP's senior managing editor for international news.

Nimmons will be based in New York, and Daniszewski said she will report to him and play the leading role in "bringing together our daily breaking news report. She will also work with foreign regional editors, correspondents and bureau chiefs and manage a number of staffing, budgeting and other issues."

Nimmons, 63, joined AP in 1977, first as a reporter in the Minneapolis and Boston bureaus and then as a New York-based editor for national and international news. During the 2003 Iraq war she was a supervisor on the war desk established to oversee coverage of the invasion. In recent years she has helped to implement a decentralized editing structure and worked as a coordinator and liaison in AP's New York newsroom for international topics.

Before joining the AP, she was city editor for the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire.

Born in Vermont, Nimmons grew up in Greenfield, Massachusetts and earned a bachelor of arts in journalism and political science from Syracuse University.

Web editor promoted to head Johnstown newspaper

Eric Knopsnyder has been promoted from web/multimedia editor to editor of The Tribune-Democrat newspaper in Johnstown, Pa.

Knopsnyder, 37, joined the newspaper in 2000 and was promoted to sports editor in February 2004. He was named to the new position of web/multimedia editor last July.

Publisher Robin Quillon complimented Knopsnyder for expanding the newspaper's online products and content and Knopsnyder said he hopes to expand online content including video, podcasts, live chats and breaking news.

But Knopsnyder says he doesn't want to do that at the expense of the newspaper's print edition, saying "A lot of people just love the feel of holding a newspaper — and I am one of them."

National search under way for new Democrat editor

Joseph H. Adams, publisher of Lebanon Publishing Company, announced that Clay Morgan, Director of Content and Audience Development has left the company.

Morgan has accepted the position of editor and general manager of the Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Daily News Journal.

During his three months at the Lebanon (Tenn.) Democrat, Morgan heightened the level of planning that occurs in the newsroom and wrote a new digital content plan that will be implemented in the near future.

According to Adams, a national search for Morgan’s replacement is under way.

"We hate to see Clay go, but we are now focused on finding the right journalist to lead the Democrat’s newsroom as we go forward,” said Adams.

Dadisman named Daily Herald publisher in Everett

The Washington Post Co. named David Dadisman publisher of The Daily Herald in Everett, Wash.

He remains general manager of The Daily Herald Company, a unit of The Post's newspaper publishing division.

The Daily Herald reports Dadisman replaces Allen Funk, who recently retired from the paper.

Dadisman has been general manager of the Daily Herald Company since January 2010. He previously worked as vice-president-circulation for The Washington Post.

In addition to The Daily Herald newspaper and, The Daily Herald Company publishes The Weekly Herald community newspaper, the monthly Herald Business Journal and La Raza del Noroeste, a weekly Spanish-language newspaper and website.

Scarritt retiring as editor of Birmingham News

Birmingham (Ala.) News editor Tom Scarritt will step down this fall after 37 years at the state's largest newspaper, Birmingham News Multimedia President Pam Siddall announced.

Scarritt joined the newspaper in 1975 and served in several roles, including Washington correspondent, editorial page editor and executive editor, before becoming editor in 1997. He also serves as vice president of the Birmingham News Multimedia Co.

Under Scarritt's leadership, The News produced its prize-winning coverage of the tornadoes on April 27, 2011, and won a Pulitzer Prize for its articles about corruption in Alabama's two-year college system.

Scarritt's departure announcement coincides with The Birmingham News, the Press-Register of Mobile, The Huntsville Times, and the website becoming part of a new digitally focused media company called the Alabama Media Group. In the fall, the three papers will begin printing three days per week and place new emphasis on the website.

With the changes, Kevin Wendt, editor of The Huntsville Times, is becoming vice president of content for the Alabama Media Group and Mike Marshall, editor of the Press-Register, is becoming statewide commentary director, the new company announced.



• Tight times make political press choose battles
• Halifax Media Group buys Fla., NC newspapers
• Texas GOP leader charged with assaulting reporter
• Buffett questions New Orleans newspaper changes
• Freedom sells 4 Midwest newspapers
• East Texas papers sold to Victoria Advocate owner

Read about these items and more by clicking here



Longtime AP bureau chief Ambrose Dudley dies in NC

Ambrose Dudley, a retired chief of bureau for The Associated Press, died after a long battle with cancer. He was 72.

Dudley started at AP in Raleigh, N.C., in 1963 after two years as news editor of The State Journal of Frankfort in Kentucky.

During his 33-year career at AP, he covered legislatures in North Carolina, Kentucky and Rhode Island, served as broadcast supervisor in North Carolina and South Carolina, and worked as a correspondent in Rhode Island.

He was named news editor in Hartford, Conn., in 1971, and a year later, was named chief of bureau in Hartford. He became bureau chief for North Carolina in 1980, and retired in 1999.

Dudley hired several current staffers in the North Carolina bureau. The people who worked for him said he was especially supportive of helping women rise through the ranks of the wire service.

Dudley loved covering elections and hurricanes, said Sue Price Johnson, who knew him for more than 30 years and took over as bureau chief when Dudley stepped aside.

Johnson was one of many staffers who Dudley helped push into bigger roles in the company. She retired as bureau chief for North Carolina and South Carolina in 2009.

Former Beaver County Times executive editor Brown dead

Leonard R. Brown, executive editor of The Times during Beaver County’s tumultuous 1980s, has died.

Born in Long Island, N.Y., and raised in Byesville, Ohio, Brown began his newspaper career at age 17 as a teen photojournalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. While at the Inquirer, he worked in several positions, including reporter, assistant city editor, day city editor, graphic arts director and assistant news editor.

In October 1980, Brown became executive editor at The Times. During his eight-year tenure, he directed newsroom coverage and oversaw the newspaper’s editorial page as Beaver County and its residents grappled with the demise of the steel industry.

During that time, The Times won regional, state, and national journalism awards, including the Public Service Award presented annually by the National Associated Press Managing Editors Association, a National Headliners Award and the U.S. Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award.

The Times was also ranked the best newspaper in the state in the under-50,000 circulation category in a survey of Pennsylvania editors and journalism educators.

In December 1988, Brown was named executive editor at the Bucks County Courier Times in Levittown, another Calkins Media newspaper, and served in that position until March 1993. He returned to the Inquirer and retired from that newspaper in 2000.

Brown served as president of the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors Association and as vice president of the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors.

Former NY Daily News editor O'Neill dead at 89
Former Daily News editor-in-chief Michael O'Neill, who oversaw coverage of the city's financial crisis in the 1970s, has died at age 89.

He started at the Daily News in its Washington bureau in 1956 and rose through the ranks to become the top editor in 1975. His tenure included the famous Daily News headline about President Gerald Ford's speech denying the city money during the financial crisis, "Ford to City: Drop Dead."

The newspaper's publisher, Mort Zuckerman, said O'Neill "brought the Daily News into the modern newspapering era with an emphasis on investigative reporting."

O'Neill, who stepped down from the top position in 1982, was lauded for steps he had taken such as introducing columnists including Jimmy Breslin and Mike Lupica and for broader coverage of the city's five boroughs and development of different newspaper sections.


AND FINALLY … Movie buff overcomes the hurdles of autism

The Florida Times-Union

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — This is a story of how Michael Long II became a king.

There was a time when Long wouldn't look people in the eye or let anyone touch him.

Slowly the teenager became comfortable with giving some at Baldwin Middle Senior High a half embrace.

But now Michael is so confident, he'll shake a stranger's hand and even give a lucky few a full loving hug.

In fact, he has so successfully emerged from his shell, his peers crowned him Prom King.

Long, 19, has high-functioning autism and his early years at Baldwin were often difficult.

Long used to constantly be anxious or fearful of everything from the lights in the cafeteria to the goal post on the football field.

"He wouldn't take gym because he wouldn't go out there," said Debbie Ashley, Baldwin's English and journalism teacher. "Now he runs the school, or he thinks he does," she said playfully.

Long's new found confidence came from his experience as a student journalist.

"I like writing feature stories, interesting ones," Long said. "I write news stories, too, but I like writing features a lot better because it's more fun to write."

Long started studying journalism in middle school and is now the editor of Baldwin's high school newspaper. Michael's father, Michael Long, said his son often spends his time at home dissecting a movie or reading about cinema history online.

As editor, Long helps other students with stories, comes up with story ideas and edits stories and advertisements.

But Long's passion is old movies. He prefers a Hitchcock film to anything produced today. His most recent review is of "The Godfather."

But he's a little more new school with his favorite actress: Emma Watson.

Long said his goals are firmly set.

"I want to be a movie reviewer when I grow up," he said. "I like sharing my opinion and what I think."

Long's favorite movie is Bruce Willis' "Die Hard," but definitely not the sequels.

" 'Die Hard' one is the best one," he said. "It's just an awesome movie, all the action and stuff. And Alan Rickman as the villain was really great."

Ashley said Long's growth is evident in how students treat him now.

"He was different in class and the kids gave him a really hard time," Ashley said. "But he's grown and he's so much better in class now and the kids have come to accept him and the kids respect him because they know what he's overcome."

Fellow Baldwin senior Paul Bugbee said it was that respect that motivated him to put a post on his Facebook page encouraging other seniors to vote for Michael for prom king.

"It got a bunch of likes on it so they just voted for him," Paul said. "They were totally with it, they were all for helping Michael win. He was so happy, just overjoyed that night."

Long said the students chose him because they think he's "a cool guy."

"I was really excited because it's a really big honor," he said. "And out of all the seniors I was chosen, that's really good."

Long's dad said at one time he wondered whether his son would make it out of middle school, now he's graduating high school.

"How much more proud of him can I be? I'm very proud," he said.

Long's next goal is to get his driver's license and, hopefully, start a job this summer.


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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