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APME Update for Friday, June 29, 2012
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APME Update
APME Update for Friday, June 29, 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.



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

APME is heading to Music City Sept. 19-21. Will we see you there?

Our "Compose, Create and Connect ... in Nashville" conference agenda is packed with sessions that will send you back recharged. It all starts with a panel of Pulitzer Prize winners and a performance of Freedom Sings, and it will end with a day-long focus on social media -- what you
need to know.

There will be useful takeaways from every session at the beautiful John Seigenthaler Center on the campus of Vanderbilt University. The entire agenda to date is posted on our web site along with the information you need to register.

And APME Nashville 2012 will be affordable. Registration is only $250 for APME members, and our rooms at the host Embassy Suites on Music Row are $139 as the conference rate.

Among our conference activities: The annual auction at the Frist Art Museum, and a country music night at Margaritaville in downtown Nashville.

Plan to attend and spend some extra time in Nashville, visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.

July is the perfect time to register and reserve your room. And anyone who pays the registration in July will receive an APME 2012 conference T-shirt, for pickup at the desk when you arrive in Nashville.

A great conference awaits. Join us in Music City.



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.


Send Us 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



Virgin Islands Daily News: "Our money, their failures”
Austin American-Statesman: Travis County’s auditor’s office spends more than other counties
Detroit Free Press: Wayne County faces $1.5 billion unpaid tab for retiree health care
Indianapolis Star: State touted proposal to spend millions to lure business with questions
Reno-Gazette Journal: Nevada has made no changes where truck crashed into Amtrak train
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle: Local exec pay rises modestly, still sky-high
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: 2 Wisconsin billionaires pay no state income tax in 2010
Columbus Dispatch: Schools pruned records, four say
Charlotte Observer: N.C. CEOs see higher pay -- some despite losses for shareholders
Wilmington News Journal: The lies behind diploma mills

Read about these and more by clicking here


BEAT OF THE WEEK: Holbrook Mohr

At first glance, it appeared to be a routine eminent domain case. An 86-year-old woman had filed suit to keep a county utility board in South Mississippi from taking her land for a new sewage treatment plant.

Where the family had hoped to build a retirement house, the utility instead planned to cut a deep path _ even before making a settlement.

Alerted by the woman’s son, Jackson, Miss., newsman Holbrook Mohr began to investigate, and a much bigger story emerged.

In the rush to spend more than a quarter of a billion dollars in federal Hurricane Katrina relief money, the utility in Harrison County, the Mississippi coast’s most populous county, had gone on a building binge.

The lines and plants that resulted constituted a sewer system to nowhere. Worse, the utility relied on inflated population projections, and the plants might not be used for decades. Taxpayers would be left on the hook for millions of additional dollars to maintain the system.

As one engineer told Mohr: "I use the analogy of what if someone gave you a 100-foot yacht. Thank you, but I can't afford to use it, so it's stuck in the harbor."

The money came from a pot set aside to shore up utilities on the Mississippi coast after Katrina hit in 2005. But there were several eyebrow-raising flaws in the spending plan.

About $234 million in waterline and sewer pipe projects _ including one for which the 86-year-old woman’s property was being seized _ were included.

The woman whose son contacted Mohr provided a human element to start the story, but much more was needed. Officials stonewalled when they got wind of Mohr’s investigation, so he turned to Freedom of Information Act requests and state reports on the projects and hit gold in a state audit that questioned the entire building plan.

Mohr also interviewed dozens of people who, like the elderly woman, had seen the utility board aggressively try to seize their land.

After months of investigation and source-building, sources within the utility authority finally confirmed that the board knew the building plan was flawed from the beginning. Eventually, utility board members who were willing to talk on the record confirmed that the population estimates were not realistic and that it was likely taxpayers will be burdened for years with paying for water and sewage infrastructure that isn't needed.



The saga of the San Onofre nuclear plant is a huge ongoing story in Southern California, so reporters from many media outlets were pursuing the results of a three-month Nuclear Regulatory Commission investigation into why tubing in virtually new steam generators had deteriorated at a rate never before seen in a U.S. reactor. The findings of that investigation would be crucial to the future of the seaside plant, which serves millions of customers and had been shut down since a tube break released traces of radiation five months earlier.

Los Angeles reporter Mike Blood had been on the story from the outset, on top of his duties as the Southern California political reporter. Due to smart beat reporting and source development, Blood was able to report exclusively that the tubes were damaged because of design flaws that caused vibrations inside the huge generators. Even worse? Engineers were stumped as to how to fix the problem. His story was out 13 hours ahead of the official NRC announcement.

Blood had been cultivating contacts at the NRC, the utility and the no-nukes community since early this year and had established the AP’s position on the San Onofre story through a series of beats. Knowing the date the report would be released, he began making regular calls to sources stressing the AP’s strong interest in the story, reputation for fairness and accuracy, and global reach on all platforms. A few days before the scheduled announcement, Blood was notified that the NRC regional administrator would meet him for an interview on Sunday, the day before the official release. Blood agreed to meet the administrator on his day off and negotiated a release time that gave him time to write a full piece before his competitors even knew the investigation’s results.



Nicholas Riccardi named AP West political reporter

Nicholas Riccardi, a former investigative reporter and bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, has been appointed political reporter for The Associated Press and will be responsible for driving election coverage across the U.S. West. The appointment was announced by West Region Editor Traci Carl.

Riccardi will work from a base in Denver to drive political coverage across the West. He will work with AP's political beat reporters and statehouse correspondents to set the news agenda and in non-election years will drive government accountability coverage.

Riccardi will report to Jim Anderson, the AP's news editor for the Rocky Mountain region.

Riccardi, 39, joined the Times in 1994 in Southern California. He served as an investigative reporter and beat writer on Los Angeles County government and then became the paper's Denver bureau chief in 2005, reporting on politics, immigration policy, energy and other top issues for a nine-state region. Riccardi led the Times' coverage of the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabriel Giffords in 2011 and covered much of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He also helped cover the war in Iraq.

Most recently, Riccardi led the Times' bureau in Sacramento, supervising California state government coverage and coordinating the bureau's online, investigative and enterprise reporting as well as daily spot coverage.

A native of New York, Riccardi holds a degree in English from Oberlin College in Ohio.

Washington Post Managing Editor Spayd to step down

Washington Post Managing Editor Elizabeth Spayd plans to step down at the end of the year after the 2012 elections. In a newsroom memo, Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli announced Spayd's plans. She has served as managing editor since 2009. Spayd was the first woman to serve as managing editor at the newspaper. She oversaw daily planning and sections including national, foreign and business news.

Spayd's co-managing editor Raju Narisetti left in January. Former Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple was recently named to a managing editor position that has included oversight of local news and sports, among other sections. Brauchli credited Spayd with piloting the newsroom as a "bulwark of sound judgment." A departure date has not been set. Brauchli says Post executives plan to think about whether to adjust the newsroom structure.



• News Corp. Board Confirms Plan to Split in 2
• Newspaper: Ohio agency lax in housing inspections
• Hires Well-Known Radio Personalities to Launch Live Streaming Radio Station
• Buffett's Berkshire buys Waco newspaper
• Texas photographer missing in Nuevo Laredo
• Police to probe Reno photographer abuse complaint
• George Cogswell named Commercial Appeal publisher
• ACLU questions newspaper ban at Jasper County jail
• 'Monitor,' sister papers get new owner
• Bill lets Caltrans skip newspaper notices
• NY's Stony Brook U plans center for slain reporter

Read about these items and more by clicking here



George R. Hearst Jr., media titan's grandson, dies

Hearst Corp. board chairman George Randolph Hearst Jr., the oldest grandson of the media titan William Randolph Hearst, died, the company said. Hearst was 84.

The company said in a statement that Hearst died at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif., due to complications from a stroke.

Hearst was the chairman of a privately held media conglomerate that traces its roots back more than 125 years, when his grandfather took over the San Francisco Examiner. Hearst was a director of the company for more than 50 years, the company said. He succeeded his uncle, Randolph A. Hearst, as board chairman in 1996.

Hearst Corp. owns 15 daily newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and San Francisco Chronicle. It also owns a long list of magazines, including Esquire, Harper's Bazaar and Cosmopolitan, 29 TV stations and shares in several cable networks.

Hearst was also president of The Hearst Foundation and a director of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Hearst joined the staff of the Los Angeles Examiner in 1948 and rose to vice president of Hearst Publishing Co. a decade later. He would become the publisher of several Los Angeles newspapers.

Hearst also enlisted in the Naval Air Corps during World War II and then in the Army during the Korean War, the company said.

One of his sons, George R. Hearst III, is publisher of the Albany Times Union in New York. He is also survived by his wife, Susan Hearst; two other children, Stephen T. Hearst and Erin Hearst Knudsen; his twin sister, Phoebe Hearst Cooke; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Craig Stanke, Madison native, a respected editor, dies

Madison State Journal
By Doug Moe

The last time I saw Craig Stanke was the first time I had seen him in 35 years.

We grew up one year and one block apart in Midvale Heights. Craig was a grade ahead of me. We weren't close as kids, but we knew each other and shared a love of sports.

We both attended West High and UW-Madison and we both went into journalism. That's where the stories diverge. Craig left Madison and I stayed.

I knew — in the vague way your hear things about acquaintances — that he had become a highly respected sports editor. The reading public might not know the name Craig Stanke, but sports media people did.

I saw him a year ago last month. It was a sad occasion. He had come back to Madison from his home in Florida — where he served as Deputy Managing Editor of — for the funeral of his mom, Ann Stanke.

Ann was a force of nature — funny, forthright and altogether colorful in her longtime role as general director of Madison Opera. She had a vast network of friends throughout the city who were stunned when Ann was diagnosed with ALS in 2009. Some time later I wrote about the extraordinary, loving relationship Ann had with her daughter, Kristin Erickson. That column appeared May 1, 2011. Less than three weeks later, Ann died.

I saw Craig Stanke at the memorial service. He had white hair and a youthful grin. We spoke in the friendly but slightly awkward manner of adults who had known one another as kids but not seen each other in decades. He complimented me on the column about his mom. I told him I kept hearing good things about his work as a big-time sports editor, which was both true and a bit unusual, because who says good things about editors?

They did about Stanke. Just a month after I saw him in Madison, I wrote a column about another Madison native, East High grad Randall Mell, who was working for the Golf Channel. Mell told me his big break came when a sports editor in Fort Lauderdale hired him at the Sun-Sentinel. The editor was Craig Stanke.

It was a note from Mell one morning late last month that gave me the shocking news that Stanke had died in his sleep, at 56, in Coral Springs, Fla., of a previously undiagnosed heart condition.

Tributes from colleagues around the country quickly appeared in newspapers and on the Internet. Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers — who hired Stanke at the Beloit Daily News right out of UW- called him "a newspaper genius."

The testimonials were consistent in their depiction of Stanke as a class act, and they shared a quality — wistful, largely unstated — that is not uncommon after a sudden loss: a desire to somehow honor his legacy.

Now his colleagues at the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) association have found a way. On Saturday, at the APSE summer convention in Chicago, a recreational run begun a few years ago will for the first time be known as the Craig Stanke Memorial APSE 5K Run.

It will be in Grant Park, according to Tim Stephens, sports editor of the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Stephens, second vice president of APSE, said it's a small way to mark Stanke's large contributions to their craft. "Everyone who made it to a leadership position in sports journalism knew Craig, or knew of him," Stephens said.

Naming the APSE run for Stanke is appropriate in two ways. Early, while still in Beloit, he earned a national APSE award for his columns. Later, of course, he became a legendary editor himself.

Running also was important in his life. Stanke was a track star at West High and embraced the sport again two years ago when he decided to get himself back in shape. In that regard, he served as an inspiration to his colleagues, including Stephens, who has lost more than 100 pounds in the last year and a half.

There was a celebration of Stanke's life earlier this month at a restaurant in Coral Springs named Runyon's, which recalls the rakish sportswriter Damon Runyon. Runyon once said, "You can keep the things of bronze and stone and give me one man to remember me just once a year." It's nice to know Craig Stanke will be remembered.


AND FINALLY … Sacramento Bee: Couple's delivery of lost ring brings joy to Auburn woman

By Jing Cao

Darlene King thought it was a lost cause - that she would never see her late husband's wedding ring again.

But that was just what Shannon and Steve Callahan came from Elverta to deliver Wednesday night.

Fighting back tears, the Callahans handed the ring, delicately placed in an ornate ivory box, over to King at her Auburn residence.

"I want to give this ring back to you," Shannon Callahan said, with her arms wide open and a ring in one hand, "and a hug."

Thomas King had lost the ring five to six years ago before the couple moved from Texas to California.

"I told him it probably went down the drain or something,” said King, 78. "We thought it was a lost cause."

And on their end, the Callahans had almost given up on what Steve Callahan called a far-fetched search.

So when The Bee left her a message saying that a Sacramento couple might have found the ring under their car's passenger seat, she was at first skeptical.

"The first question I asked was is it white or yellow gold," King said. "Because if it was yellow, it wasn't his. And it would be disappointing if it wasn't his."

The ring is 14 karat white gold with five diamond flecks on top and an inscription from 51 years ago.

Steve and Shannon Callahan had spent the last three weeks desperately trying to find who lost it.

They were sure they found the right person when they called King on Wednesday morning.

She described the ring in perfect detail, including its size. And her wedding date - April 29, 1961 - was inscribed inside the band.

As soon as they got off work, the Callahans rushed to Darlene King's senior community apartment in Auburn. Shannon Callahan was thrilled that she could return the ring.

"She lost her own ring before and was really upset," Steve Callahan said.

Darlene King and her husband, Thomas, had purchased two cars from Crawford Auto Plaza in El Paso, Texas. When they moved to California, their 2004 silver Pontiac Grand Am came with them - the same car that the Callahans bought in January from Sunshine Automart in Sacramento.

Three weeks ago Steve Callahan lost his cellphone and his wife stumbled upon the ring. He felt in the spaces between the seats of their car while Shannon reached below the passenger seat, where she felt the ring wedged in the middle.

"My heart dropped inside," she said. "I turned to my husband and said, 'OK, it's a ring.' There were five diamonds on top of it and an inscription. So I knew it was a wedding ring and it belongs to somebody."

Shannon Callahan became determined to find that somebody, because, she said, the ring is a token of that person's love and life with another.

She had three pieces of information from a CarFax report and the back of the car: It had only one prior owner, it was from Texas, and it originated from Crawford Auto Plaza, which she subsequently found out was in El Paso.

"I called the dealership and they were supposed to call me," said Shannon Callahan, "I waited for two weeks and never heard back."

She said she became increasingly agitated.

"I kept the ring in my jewelry box, and every day I would walk past it thinking this ring belonged to somebody," she said.

Finally, she couldn't wait any longer and called the El Paso DMV. She said they did not give her any information because of privacy laws but directed her to county records, where employees' only helpful advice was to contact the media.

Thinking that the car owners must be in El Paso, Shannon Callahan contacted the El Paso Times with her story, hoping it would reach the owner who would know the full date of the inscription. The story was distributed nationally by the Associated Press.

The Bee contacted George Woolard, chief operating officer of Crawford Autos, with the vehicle identification number, and he helped the newspaper track the car's original owners - the Kings - to Auburn.

Thomas King, a Korean War veteran, died in January due to complications from a fall. The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in April 2011.

Darlene King told Shannon Callahan that if her husband were alive, he would be tickled to know that his ring had been recovered.

"I guess I'm going to give it to my son," King said. "It'll be a gift from his father."


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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