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APME Newsletter for March 11, 2011
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APME Update

The electronic newsletter of the Associated Press Managing Editors for March 11, 2011

In this issue:

APME Membership Drive: $99 New Member Discount Until April 15
NewsTrain: Last Day to Register for Washington, DC, NewsTrain;
Join NewsTrain on Facebook and Twitter
Broken Budgets: AP-APME National Reporting Project
March Madness: APME's New Online Auction with Beach Condo, Sports Tickets
2011 APME Journalism Excellence Awards: Deadline May 16
Call for Nominations for McGruder Diversity Leadership Awards
New York State AP Association Offers Free Spring Workshop
Innovator of the Year: February Winner is Victoria (Texas) Advocate

Watchdog Reporting: Summary of Recent Impact Reporting
AP Beat of the Week: Reno's Martin Griffith
Editors in the News: Anthony, Froke
Industry News
Catching up on Credibility Topics: Order the Full Set
APME Forums: Discuss Good Ideas With Colleagues
In Memoriam: Kramer
And Finally … To LOL, or not LOL? That is the question




Save the Date

- March 17-18 -- The Freedom Forum's Diversity Institute will host NewsTrain/Washington, D.C., at the Newseum

- April 5-6 – SNA-APME Symposium: Impact of Economic Crisis on American Families

- April 15 – Last day to sign up for $99 membership discount for new members

- April 29-30 – NewsTrain Workshop in Madison, Wis.

- May 16 – Deadline for 2011 APME Journalism Excellence Awards

- May 16 – Deadline for 2011 McGruder Diversity Leadership Awards

- Sept. 14-16 – APME annual conference in Denver



APME MEMBERSHIP DRIVE: $99 New Member Discount Until April 15

APME President Hollis Towns is offering a special one-time membership deal for first-time members. Become a new member by April 15 and pay just $99. That's a savings from the regular annual rate of $150. Editors who have already joined for the first time at the higher rate will receive a discount on their conference registration. Members also receive discounts on contest entry fees and conference registrations.

Take a minute and go to, and join APME's ranks. New members must use the promo code Newdiscount to sign up. Editors who sign up as a new member by April 15 will receive a free 2010 Great Ideas thumb drive and an AP "I am not a paper cup" mug.

To read Town's membership letter, please go to



WASHINGTON: The D.C. NewsTrain will be held at the Newseum on March 17-18. Content is geared to both reporters and editors. This workshop has two tracks: "Planning and Creating Multimedia Content" and "Watchdog Journalism in the Digital Age."

Every registration includes a complementary ticket to the Newseum, to be used anytime within a year. Registration for the workshop is $50 for one or both days. NOTE: We will close registration on Friday, March 11.

  • Click here for workshop information and a link to registration:
  • On the information page, you can also find a downloadable agenda that includes detailed course descriptions.


Midwestern reporters and editors: Register for Madison, Wis., workshop

MADISON: By the end of April, won't you be ready to visit Madison for something other than the political dispute about collective bargaining? Come to NewsTrain's workshop on Friday-Saturday, April 29-30.

This workshop has one track designed specifically for reporters and one track for editors -- something NewsTrain is offering for the first time. Participants may attend the full workshop or any portion of it for $50 registration fee, which includes lunches and coffee breaks.

NOTE: The deadline for making reservations at the conference hotel is April 18. See information page for details.




Have you attended one of the many NewsTrain events Associated Press Managing Editors have hosted over the years? Just generally interested in good training material? Then become a fan of NewsTrain's new Facebook page and Twitter feed. You'll find relevant news about upcoming training events, best practice training tips and be able to connect with NewsTrain alumni through this social media outreach.




Broken Budgets, the yearlong reporting initiative of The Associated Press and APME, has gotten off to a strong start with national stories that are getting front page play around the country and with localized reports that are enriching papers.

Broken Budgets is examining the fiscal crisis facing U.S. states and cities, how state and local governments are dealing with this crisis, and how Americans' lives will change because of it.

There's even a statewide Broken Budgets project planned in Pennsylvania that has attracted great member participation. The stories in that project will run in April. A 50-state interactive should be available to members soon.

We're planning to offer free training webinars, perhaps as early as April, for reporters working on budgets. We willoffer introductory sessions and sessions for seasoned reporters. I may soon send a note to the board for ideas on topics for these. APME can publicize them.

Some recent and upcoming stories:

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – While budget deficits threaten to cripple government services across the country, a handful of states with billions of dollars socked away in "rainy-day" funds for troubled financial times are discovering they cannot use that money to offset their cuts. Amid the worst financial crisis facing states in decades, stringent rules governing the use of reserve funds have tied the hands of lawmakers in nearly a dozen states even as they consider raising taxes, slashing health and social services and shuttering education programs. By Melinda Deslatte.


DENVER (AP) – At the Ohio Department of Mental Health, Christy Murphy's days are filled with calls from people seeking help she can't seem to give. They plead with her, but budget cuts have trimmed services so much – more than $1 billion in the current state budget – that she is not sure where to send them. The desperation on the other end of the line hits painfully close to home for Murphy. Her 19-year-old son, Christopher, suffers from a range of mental problems. Although he has coverage through Medicaid, he can't get the services he needs. His mother says he has no psychiatrist, no case manager, no medication: "I think it's 100 percent about money," said Murphy, who lives in Columbus with her son. An onslaught of budget cuts has hit mental health services in states struggling to weather economic woes. Even in better times, help could be hard to find. Now, just as demand is soaring, billions of dollars in cuts have shuttered facilities, prolonged waiting times to get services and purged countless patients from the rolls. By Matt Sedensky and Kristen Wyatt. For use Monday, March 14.


BOSTON (AP) – A sign welcomes visitors to "historic" downtown Gardner, Mass., but history is one of the few things this city of about 20,000 residents has going for it these days. While it still calls itself "Chair City," its heyday of fine-furniture manufacturing has long past and unemployment is at 11 percent. The town about 60 miles west of Boston is struggling on two fronts: A sinking local economy that is generating less tax revenue for basic services and a state government drained by the Great Recession with less money to spread to its municipalities. Like countless cities and counties around the country, Gardner has compensated by cutting services. Children in grades 7-12 no longer have school buses, public library hours have been slashed, city public works employees have been laid off and a summer program that paid teenagers to clean up parks and playgrounds has ended: "I'm supposed to be doing more, with a heck of a lot less," said Mayor Mark Hawke, whose city now is receiving less state money than it got a dozen years ago. His lament is a familiar one in cities and counties across the country. Gardner's woes come amid a fiscal squeeze unlike any in modern history and are emblematic of the rough road ahead for local governments in nearly every state. By Bob Salsberg and David A. Lieb. For use Sunday, March 20.

And a few links to Broken Budgets stories:

There's room for more – much more – member involvement in this reporting initiative that is taking place in all 50 AP statehousebureaus and sports its own logo.

The fight over the cost to states of public employee benefits in Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee and other states proved to be a perfect example of how the Broken Budgets initiative can respond to spot news. Several stories that were planned for longer-range movement were beefed up with real-time examples of the issues states and workers were dealing with and moved spot.

Broken Budgets works like this: Advisories of majorstories produced by AP staffers are sent to member papers 7 to 10 days in advance, giving time for localizing. Stories in the initiative can be jointly produced by AP, member papers and journalism organizations. If your organization has an idea for this series,a story you'd like to produce jointly, or even a statewide project you'd want to participate in, please contact your state's AP bureau chief.

A few ideas for localizing stories from Gatehouse News Service:

Look to APME Updates and for updates in this initiative.

For further information, please contact Bob Heisse at or Sally Jacobsen at



Visit next week forMarch Madness, APME style.

Up for bids will be great items in our first APME online auction. Packers fan? There's good stuff for you. Looking for a beach vacation soon? You'll have a shot. Want to see an early season baseball game in the southwest? Look for a ticket package.

Check out these and othergreat items and bid quickly. The March Madness auction will start Monday, March 14, and run for two weeks.

To see the goodies and bid, go to: or


2011 APME Journalism Excellence Awards: Deadline Monday, May 16

The 2011 APME Journalism Excellence Awards honor superior journalism and innovation among newspapers 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.

Categories include:

  • Fifth Annual Innovator of the Year Award. The winner will be awarded $2,000.
  • Second Annual Gannett Foundation Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism. The winner in each of two circulation categories will be awarded $2,500.
  • 41st Annual Public Service Awards
  • 41st Annual First Amendment Award and Citations
  • 10th Annual Online Convergence Awards
  • 10th Annual International Perspective Awards

All awards are presented for journalism published or launched between July 1, 2010, and May 16, 2011.

The deadline for entry is Monday, May 16.

The awards will be presented at the APME annual conference Sept 14-16in Denver and linked on the APME website.

Entry fees are $75 for APME members and $100 for non-members.

For more information: Please go to:



The Associated Press Managing Editors, in partnership with the American Society of News Editors, is accepting nominations for the 10th 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. The deadline to make a nomination is Monday, May 16.

Announcement of the winners will be made at the annual APME conference, Sept. 14-16 in Denver. The recognized honorees each receive $2,500 and a leadership trophy.

For more information:



The Victoria Advocate in Victoria, Texas, is the Februarywinner of APME's innovator of the month contest.

The paper is honored for "A Father's Strength,” an online section that educates readers about ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

APME's Innovator of the Year, now in its fifth year, is expanding in 2011 by naming an innovation of the month. Each monthly winner will be invited to enter the annual contest, which is open to all newspapers in the U.S. and Canada and is awarded at the APME conference in Denver in September.

"Victoria's project is incredibly powerful and moving and worthy of recognition," said Bob Heisse, APME vice president and Innovations Committee chairman. "We're pleased at APME to put a spotlight on innovations at newspapers."

Here's how the entry submitted by Editor Chris Cobler described the innovation: "Our entry is a special Web section named, ‘A Father's Strength.' This series combines the power of print and online to better educate the public about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

"The idea for ‘A Father's Strength' was developed after one of our interns, Drew Stewart, and a reporter, Erica Rodriguez, worked together on a story about Craig Fox and his battle with ALS. After working on this story, they brought back the idea for a documentary and print series. Several more stories about Craig Fox's struggle and the support provided by his family were printed and also featured online.

"After the documentary was produced, we wanted a way to present the documentary, the stories written about ALS, as well as any additional information about the disease, all in one place, hence the creation of the online web section, ‘A Father's Strength.'”

Read and view the innovative work at Cobler can be reached at

Applications for APME monthly innovation recognition are being accepted at



The New York State AP Association is again offering a free spring workshop for member editors and reporters. The topic is watchdog journalism and the latest tools for "digging deep.”

It will be held at the student activities center of Marist College in Poughkeepsie 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday, March 26.

Need some pointers on how to organize a project for print and online? Rick Pienciak,national investigative editor for the AP, and Mary Beth Pfeiffer, investigative reporter at The Poughkeepsie Journal, will speak. Two Marist faculty members, Lyn Lepre and Kevin Lerner, will provide an update on digital resources. Sean Lahman of The Democratand Chronicle in Rochester will discuss digging into Census data. Lee Miringoff, director ofthe Marist Institute for Public Opinion, will discuss vetting surveys for reliable numbers.

Registration deadline: March 18. For questions, contact New York COB Howard Goldberg at



AP: 'Rainy day' funds sit unused in handful of states

Arizona Republic: Newspaper analysis questions Arizona student test scores

Press of Atlantic City: Police, fire layoffs paid for rush of retirements

Democrat and Chronicle: City 911 worker rakes in $80,000 in overtime

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Lax regulation of property tax exemptions costly

Denver Post: Developers on "agricultural land” get tax breaks intended for farmers

Plain Dealer: Prosecutor has long list of relatives in public service

Read all 14 watchdog reports at:



A 28-year-old father of five lay severely injured, but barely breathing, after falling 190 feet down an abandoned mine shaft in a remote area of Nevada.

Rescuers couldn't reach him without risking their own lives. The mine was so unstable that walls crumbled and rocks hit rescuers on the head. After two attempts to descend into the shaft, authorities called off efforts to save the man, even though rescuers could see on a video camera was still breathing. A priest gave last rites. The man would be entombed inside.

The story could have ended there. But Martin Griffith in Reno wrote a follow-up examining a universal question of morality: How do you balance the desire to save a human being with the equally important priority of keeping emergency workers safe and alive to rescue another day?

Read more at:



Ted Anthony has been promoted to Assistant Managing Editor/Deputy Head of AP's Nerve Center in New York. The appointment was announced by Tamer L. Fakahany, Deputy Managing Editor/Head of the Nerve Center. Anthony, who was the Nerve Center's Weekend AME , has been with the AP for 19 years. He has reported from 47 states and more than 20 countries as a national writer, foreign correspondent and China news editor. He reported extensively from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the months following 9/11, and in 2003 reopened the AP's Baghdad bureau as supervising news editor after the U.S.-led invasion. He was also the founding editor of asap, AP's groundbreaking multimedia storytelling service, and has helped pioneer new forms of storytelling and social-media projects throughout AP since then. He was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 and 2001, and is a winner of the National Headliner Award for feature writing.

Paula Froke, a manager at the AP's Nerve Center in New York and former deputy national editor, has been named assistant managing editor overseeing afternoon and evening operations at the center. Froke will coordinate late-day content for subscribers in the Middle East and Europe and early content for Asia, in addition to late-breaking coverage from North and South America. The appointment was announced by Lou Ferrara, the AP managing editor who oversees the Nerve Center. Froke has been with the AP for 27 years. She joined the AP in Minneapolis in 1984 and served as news editor there from 1989-1990. She then moved to Detroit as Michigan news editor until transferring to New York in 2000. At AP headquarters, she served as deputy national editor, leading hiring, training and staff development of National Desk staff.





Long Remembered: The Associated Press with Lincoln at the First Inaugural and Gettysburg, An exhibit in honor of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's inauguration



Judge: Media must reveal IDs of online posters

Judge to weigh rival plans in Tribune Co. bankruptcy case

Illinois could remove public notice from newspapers

Albany (NY) Times Union closing Saratoga Springs office

NY Times Co. gives improved outlook on print ads

Find these reports at:



Online Journalism Credibility webinars presented by NewsU and APME are available online. If you missed a webinar or want to watch them again, register for the Training Package, which enables you to view (and re-view) all six seminars.

Here is the link to the Training Package: APME Online Credibility Series



A great place to talk about what's working in your newsroom is our forums on Check out the forum and "good ideas" and help start a conversation on a topic.



Gene Kramer, who covered many of the Cold War's hot spots during almost a half-century with The Associated Press, died at age 83. During his long career, Kramer faced interrogation in a Polish police station, dodged incoming Chinese shells on the disputed island of Quemoy and braved the turbulent streets of Seoul when a student-led revolt ended Syngman Rhee's 12 years as South Korea's first president. He immersed himself in his assignments and spoke passably at least three languages besides English: Japanese, German and Polish. Professionally, Kramer's colleagues considered him a consummate newsman. He was an accomplished and fearless reporter and writer who used plain English to convey the news. The Cold War was never far from Kramer's beats, whether in Europe or Asia. He was born in Nebraska, but moved as a child to Montana. After attending classes at the University of Montana, he spent two years in the post-World War II U.S. Navy, then graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined The Associated Press' San Francisco bureau in 1950.



To LOL, or not LOL? That is the question


AP National Writer

CHICAGO (AP) – There was a time when LOL – "laughing out loud" – was so simple.

If I thought something in a casual online conversation was funny, I typed it. If I wanted to let someone know I was kidding in an e-mail or an instant message, same.

I might've even felt a little cool, using inside lingo that, at one time, was exclusive to the online world. (You know I'm not the only one who thought so.)

Today, though, I'm sensing a shift, even in my own thoughts about LOL. Certainly, it's as ubiquitous as ever. Just search for it on Twitter or Facebook to see how often people use it. Not exactly deep and meaningful stuff, mind you, but there sure is a lot of it.

Perhaps that's why, at least in some circles, LOL has lost its cachet. And at its worst, it's making people a little cranky.

Read more at:



ABOUT US: APME Update is published regularly by the Associated Press Managing Editors Association. APME Update is edited by Sally Jacobsen. Send submissions by e-mail to or call Sally at (212) 621-7007.

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To receive APME Update by e-mail notify APME is a newspaper editors association 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 Managing 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 in the United States and Canadian Press publications in Canada. APME Supporting Memberships are $100 a year. Mailing address: Associated Press Managing Editors Association, c/o Sally Jacobsen, The Associated Press, 450 West 33rd Street, New York, NY 10001. Phone: (212) 621-7007. Fax: (212) 506-6102. E-mail: Web:

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