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APME Update for Monday, June 25, 2012
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APME Update for Monday, June 25, 2012

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• 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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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 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: Easy to get and almost impossible to detect, bath salts ruin lives
Arkansas Democrat: Court files show string of misses
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Poor schools still get the short end
Houston Chronicle: Some vets' money managed — and stolen — by scoundrels
Orlando Sentinel: Florida's federal courts lag in collecting restitution for crime victims
Philadelphia Inquirer: LCB judges' work habits are faulted
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Property-tax warnings hit record high in Hennepin County
Columbus Dispatch: Columbus school district’s attendance data ‘not logical’

Read about these and more by clicking here


BEAT OF THE WEEK: Ahmed Bahaddou, Khalil Hamra, Ben Hubbard

For two weeks, the AP team of videographer Ahmed Bahaddou, photographer Khalil Hamra and writer Ben Hubbard braved danger for a direct view of the violence in Syria to provide rare first-hand images and news from the front lines of the fighting.

Then, suddenly, they became not just journalists but victims themselves of the unrest and civil war that has raged for more than a year.

While covering a gunfight between rebels and government troops in northern Syria, Bahaddou was struck in the shoulder by a bullet.

The wound was not life-threatening – Bahaddou was later taken to London for medical treatment – and it did not stop him or his colleagues. Bahaddou, in fact, continued filming and then managed to edit and file his video even as arrangements were made to evacuate him.

The episode highlighted the dangers of covering Syria's uprising, which activists trying to topple President Bashar Assad say has killed more than 14,000 people.

The Syrian government rarely grants visas to foreign reporters and strictly limits the movements of those allowed to enter. This has left most reporters relying on contacts with activists and amateur videos shot inside the country to cover the story.

Hubbard, Hamra and Bahaddou entered Syria from a neighboring country on June 2. They negotiated safe passage with the Free Syrian Army rebel group and moved secretly, traveling along backroads, staying in private homes and communicating only once or twice a day for short periods by satellite phone.

Their words, photos and video depicted rebels training, mass graves, funerals, despairing villagers and close-quarters fighting – giving vital context to the conflict.

Because of the need for security, their material moved without bylines or image credits while they were inside Syria.

They recorded clashes between the army and rebels, and the burning and bombing of several towns populated by Assad opponents. They also got a close-in view of the armed opposition, where ragtag fighters are showing increased confidence and considerable freedom of movement.

Bahaddou, an award-winning Belgian freelance video journalist who won plaudits for his coverage of the Libyan uprising last year, was making his second low-profile trip into Syria for the AP. He scored seven Eurovision exclusives and his images were used more than 1,000 times by broadcasters around the world.

Hamra's photos played on the front page of The New York Times and were featured in the Times' Lens blog, as well as in a Washington Post photo gallery.

Hubbard's first story from the trip was from the town of Taftanaz, depicting a community that residents say lost two-thirds of its inhabitants after Syrian troops stormed in, torched homes and businesses, and gunned down people in the streets.



The Chicago Police Department is not known for being a friendly bunch, especially with journalists. But Chicago video journalist Robert Ray was able to navigate his way into the good graces of Superintendent Garry McCarthy while covering the protests ahead of the NATO summit last month. The source-building paid off when McCarthy agreed to let Ray ride along with Chicago cops to see how they were handling this year’s deadly surge in gang violence.

From January to late May, Chicago has seen street violence increase by about 50 percent compared to last year. It’s a big story in Chicago and everyone wanted a piece of it: CBS and FOX had requested ride-alongs with Chicago police and were turned down, as were local TV stations. But Ray’s close relationships with the right folks paid off with unique access to capture the department’s attempts to quell the violence.

In three packaged stories, Ray offered frank, compelling interviews with officers, gang members and members of the community particularly affected by the violence. His camera work showed police running after suspected gun dealers, their guns drawn, before handcuffing them and placing them in police cars. One officer, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, compared his work on Chicago’s streets to fighting drug-dealing among tribal warlords.

Chicago newsman Don Babwin wrote a text story that accompanied the package examining the reasons why gang violence in Chicago had spiked.



Zezima named AP correspondent in Newark, NJ

Katie Zezima, a former Boston-based reporter for The New York Times, has been named supervisory correspondent for The Associated Press in Newark.

The appointment was announced by Karen Testa, the news cooperative's East region editor, and Larry Rosenthal, the news editor for New Jersey.

Zezima will oversee two other news staffers in the AP's northern New Jersey office as she focuses on politics and enterprise reporting.

As a Times reporter from 2002 to 2011, Zezima covered many of the biggest stories in New England.

She reported on the Catholic church's sex abuse scandal, the 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 and the death of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy. She also wrote a series of stories about prescription drug abuse in New England.

Most recently she was one of 18 journalists chosen to spend the academic year at the University of Michigan as a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow.

Zezima is a 2002 graduate of Boston University.

She will join the AP at the end of July.

Joe Higgins named editor of The Athens Messenger

A reporter at The Athens Messenger since 2003 has been named editor of the southeast Ohio newspaper.

The 32-year-old Joe Higgins on Monday succeeds Angela Mitro, who resigned.

The Athens Messenger reports his appointment was announced by Monica Nieporte, regional vice president for American Consolidated Media and publisher of The Messenger.

Higgins has covered courts, law enforcement and sports for the newspaper.

N-R newsroom shuffles roles

Two experienced journalists have taken on new roles at the News-Register of McMinnville, Oregon.

Ossie Bladine, who joined the staff last year, has been promoted to news editor, the No. 2 position in the newsroom. He assumes responsibility for working with reporters to develop and package stories, producing the main section of the print edition and managing the front page of the online version.

Nathalie Hardy, a former reporting intern, a periodic freelance contributor and author of a weekly parenting column, has taken over Bladine's former role covering county government and politics.

Executive editor leaving to join Digital First venture

Wilmington, N.C., Star News Executive Editor Robyn Tomlin is leaving the newspaper to become editor of Thunderdome, a new venture of media giant Digital First Media.

Project Thunderdome is aimed at providing non-local content for Digital First's 75 daily newspapers, more than 300 websites and about 300 other publications.

Digital First is the umbrella company for the Journal Register Co. and Media News Co. with such papers as the Detroit News, the San Jose Mercury News and the Denver Post.

Tomlin, who will be based in New York City, will report to Digital First Editor in Chief Jim Brady, former executive editor of

Among Tomlin's previous positions was executive editor of the Times Daily in Florence. Immediately before coming to Wilmington, she served as executive editor of the Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner.



• Law enforcement restricts media wildfire coverage
• Photographer says Alec Baldwin hit him in NYC
• Anderson names Scripps executive new publisher
• Paper declines to issue retraction on bridge story
• Newspaper announces change in leadership
• Arkansas Democrat-Gazette unveils state’s first augmented reality newspaper

Read about these items and more by clicking here



Former Journal Star editor Tom Driscoll dies at 86

Retired Journal Star editor Tom Driscoll, who's remembered for his crusade to save the riverfront of Peoria, Ill., has died. He was 86.

Driscoll began his career as a reporter in 1949 at the Peoria Journal-Transcript, which merged with the Peoria Star in 1955. He worked his way up, becoming executive editor in 1984. He retired in 1991.

At the time of his retirement, then House Minority Leader Bob Michel published remarks in the Congressional Record praising Driscoll's career as "marked with professionalism and integrity."

The Journal Star reports that his former colleagues remembered him as a hard-nosed reporter who was known for being ethical and unflappable.

Former newspaper owner, publisher dies
Tom Burnett, who founded the Rathdrum Star weekly newspaper in Idaho before it closed in December due to his retirement, died at his home, acquaintances said. He was 70.

Burnett has worked at several newspapers over the past 50 years, including from being a copy boy in Stamford, Conn., to owning the former weekly Post Falls Tribune in the 1980s. The Star was the first paper he started.


AND FINALLY … Texas man revels in small-town newspaper job

Allan Turner
Houston Chronicle

Normangee, Texas — The mythic country editor comes straight from Norman Rockwell. See him now, a green-visored curmudgeon with a heart of gold setting type late into the night by the warmth of a potbellied stove. A sage of the sticks, he's wise and, above all, courageous, battling wrong with such finesse that even his fiercest foes exit smiling.

Rockwell prints line an office wall at the Normangee Star, a 1,450-circulation weekly that Hank Hargrave, son of a Brazos Valley dairy farmer, runs out of the remodeled garage behind his house. Though kind and courageous, Hargrave puts the lie to the painter's sepia-toned romanticism.

As editor, reporter, photographer, ad salesman, office manager, headline writer, layout artist, bookkeeper and newspaper delivery man for the Star — this year celebrating its 100th anniversary — Hargrave staunchly is a 21st-century man, electronically transmitting completed pages to a distant printing plant, and keeping football fans up to date with Facebook posts from the stadium.

Church picnics, funerals and ballgames are the Star's stock in trade. And the paper, as with community weeklies in general, seems to flourish in the face of Internet-generated travails that afflict its daily big-city cousins. Readers in this Leon County hamlet of 724 seem loyal supporters.

"It's the bond that holds the community together," postmistress Pam Rogers said of the Star.

"I see Hank from City Council to school to football," Mayor Ronnie Meadors said. "You would think there were five or six of him. He seems to get everything covered. I don't see how he does it."

How he does it, Hargrave responded, is simple: He works 60-hour weeks with only a week's vacation at Christmas.

At 47, shiny-bald and developing a paunch, Hargrave seems a natural small-town newshound. He smiles readily and punctuates his conversation with "sir" and "ma'am." An ever-present fixture with his digital camera, he balances his primal urge for news with finely honed diplomacy.

"I really enjoy being around people," Hargrave said. "So many times with a larger paper, everything tends to be kind of negative. In a community paper, everything is more positive. You want to share who's born, who's getting married, who's graduating from school."

Still, he's prepared to blow the whistle, if necessary. "I'm here to promote the town and help you get out your news items," he told the newly elected mayor. "But, if you're naughty, I'm going to tell. All I ask is that you don't put me in that spot."

A Bedias native, Hargrave bought the Star in 2004 from Billie Bouldin, a Normangee real estate agent whose family operated the weekly for half a century. Prior to that, he had been a beat reporter with a suburban Dallas daily — he hated it — and held management jobs with weeklies in Madisonville and Navasota.

The Star's office, furnished with a sagging sofa and Hargrave's newspaper-themed collection of ceramic miniatures, seems to invite townsfolk to sit a spell. Also in the office are a lawnmower, discarded computer monitors and a stack of bound newspapers dating to the 1930s.

The Star, typically containing 10 pages, appears shortly after dawn each Wednesday. While largely a one-man operation, Hargrave's daughter, Louisa, a recent nursing school graduate, and his 9-year-old nephew, Bailey Murphy, help prepare the papers for mailing.

With Louisa and his son, Luke, a prison guard, expressing little interest in the business, Hargrave gently nurtures young Bailey's interest in the newsman's craft. "If you ever take this up," he said at one point, "remember: Photos are your bread and butter." Later, as he bent to snatch a penny from the sidewalk: "Bailey, never pass up free money."

The Star, one of 579 Texas weeklies, seems robust in the face of challenges facing the newspaper industry. Bolstered by weekly grocery inserts and occasional ads from an auto dealership, the paper provides an income that, Hargrave said, "covers my obligations and gives me a little extra."

Jeff Sonderman, of the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based journalism think tank, said such papers will "continue to do pretty well."

Hargrave recalls the blistering call from an elderly woman incensed that the Star carried an advertisement for Viagra. Next, she fumed, would come touts for condoms. Hargrave explained that the ad had come as a package deal over which he had little control and promised to pass along her complaint.

Then came another Leon County newspaper's move to snag copies of Normangee school kids' letters to Santa — long a mainstay of the Star's holiday editions. Hargrave quietly conferred with school officials and the intrusion was repulsed.

A 30-minute drive from Bryan-College Station and midway between Dallas and Houston, Normangee hardly is immune to crime. Hargrave often finds himself explaining to a suspect's friends and family why he must publish the malefactor's name. "Good people can do bad things," he'll say.

Even the Star is victimized each week by a thief, who drops only two pennies into a self-service news rack before absconding with the latest edition. The newspaper sells for 50 cents a copy.

In March, Hargrave broke out his biggest headline type for a front page story about the discovery of a missing 85-year-old Central Texas woman's body in a shallow grave near a Leon County retirement village. A relative of the victim, who had been bludgeoned and buried alive, was charged with the murder.

"It was a shocker," Hargrave said, adding that — unable to leave his post in Normangee — he will cover the trial by monitoring other newspapers.

"As much as we try to focus on the good," he said, "there's a lot of bad that happens in the world."


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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