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APME Update Nov. 22, 2013
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Nov. 22, 2013


• Sept. 15-17, 2014, ASNE-APME Conference, Chicago


APME and ASNE Issue Call on White House Photo Access

November 21, 2013

Dear Members of the American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors:
For decades, American news photographers have captured iconic moments in and around the White House: President Kennedy, from behind in silhouette in the days before the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Carter, triumphantly joining hands with Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin at the signing of the Camp David Accords. President Reagan, walking out of the Oval Office for the final time. President George W. Bush, taking counsel from President George H.W. Bush along the White House Colonnade.

These presidents have recognized that photographic access by the public's press to their leader is essential to Americans' trust in the workings of government.

But not this president. The administration of President Obama is routinely denying the right of independent journalists to photograph or videotape the president while he is performing official duties. Instead, the White House is issuing visual press releases – handout pictures taken by official government photographers – and expecting news outlets to publish those.

These are not instances where national security is at stake, but rather, presidential activities of a fundamentally public nature. In recent months, these restricted events have included President Obama meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with African-American clergy, and with Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.

In each case, the White House deemed the events "private,” but then sent its own photographs to the press and directly to the public over social media. This is, we are sure you will agree, unacceptable practice, raising both constitutional and ethical concerns. These photographs are, in essence, government propaganda tailored to serve the president's interests and not the public's.

Today, a coalition of press organizations, including ASNE, APME, the White House Correspondents Association and many others, delivered a letter to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney expressing our concerns about this practice and asking for an immediate meeting to discuss those concerns.

In the meantime, we must accept that we, the press, have been enablers. We urge those of you in news organizations to immediately refrain from publishing any of the photographs or videos released by the White House, just as you would refuse to run verbatim a press release from them. We urge those of you in journalism education to highlight this issue in your classrooms. And we urge those with editorial pages to educate and activate the public on this important issue.


David Boardman Debra Adams Simmons
ASNE President APME President

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APME wants to mug you.

Give $80 this holiday season to support APME in its 80th year, and we’ll send you one of these stylish mugs.

Tax-deductible donations to the APME Foundation assist newsroom leaders by providing training and ideas, protecting First Amendment rights, safeguarding Freedom of Information and fostering innovation and watchdog journalism.

Another way to help: Become a NewsTrain Ambassador with a donation of $100 or more. The low-cost, high-impact NewsTrain traveling short-course program is 10 years old and remains wildly popular. The ’Train will make four stops in 2014.

And consider joining APME or renewing your membership heading into a momentous year that includes an unprecedented joint conference with the American Society of News Editors Sept. 15-17 in Chicago. Memberships are $150 a year, with $50 student memberships available. Also offered are $75 for associate members and retirees.

Or, for $800, you can become a lifetime member in recognition of the 80th anniversary.

Members receive discounts on APME Journalism Excellence Contest fees and annual conference registration, which more than pays for your membership.

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NewsTrain is a national touring workshop sponsored by APME that serves journalists in their own cities. Programs are designed to provide training in the skills, knowledge, and information needed in a rapidly changing media setting, at an affordable cost. NewsTrain’s core audience includes frontline editors, department heads, and senior editors – people who edit and manage print and digital news platforms. Reporters, copy editors, visual journalists, online producers, and college journalism educators are also welcome and find NewsTrain programs valuable.

Here’s how:

In order to hold a NewsTrain workshop in your city, a few basic requirements need to be considered.

Host Committee: Each workshop is developed by NewsTrain staff and a local host committee. The host committee consists of 6-10 representatives from local or regional news organizations, regional AP bureaus, state press groups, journalism association chapters, and college journalism schools.

Attendance: Our target for attendance is 85 to 100 people. Host committees are responsible for promoting the workshop and recruiting participants.

Costs: Registration is $75 per person. Host committees are responsible for providing the venue and food service. Host committees receive $35 from each $75 registration fee to cover or help offset venue and food costs. NewsTrain covers all other costs.

Planning: The host committee works with NewsTrain staff to plan the workshop, manage registrations, and run the workshop. Host committees work closely with the NewsTrain Project Director through all phases.

Once your area has been selected to host a NewsTrain workshop, the host committee will receive a packet of planning tools and begin working with the NewsTrain Project Director. Planning begins six months before the workshop.

To download an application:

For more details or to request a NewsTrain workshop in your area, contact Michael Roberts, NewsTrain Project Director,


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