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APME Newsletter March 25, 2011
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APME Update
The electronic newsletter of the Associated Press Managing Editors for March 25, 2011

In this issue:

Deadline Extended: APME's New Online Auction with Beach Condo, Sports Tickets
APME Membership Drive: $99 New Member Discount Until April 15
NEWSTRAIN: Register for Madison Workshop
Join NewsTrain on Facebook and Twitter
Broken Budgets: AP-APME National Reporting Project
Mobile Migration workshop being held in Nashville on April 1
2011 APME Journalism Excellence Awards: Deadline May 16
Call for Nominations for McGruder Diversity Leadership Awards
Watchdog Reporting: Summary of Recent Impact Reporting
AP Beat of the Week: Michigan sports writer Larry Lage
Editors in the News: Paul Schemm
Industry News and Business of News
Catching up on Credibility Topics: Order the Full Set
APME Forums: Discuss Good Ideas With Colleagues
And Finally …A Reporter's First Foray Into War



Save the Date

- 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



It's time for some March Madness, APME style

Support the Associated Press Managing Editor's association and its mission to train and support newsroom leaders through NewsTrain, the annual conference, awards, webinars and other practical tools. Your donation or your winning bid goes directly to help this volunteer organization advance the cause of professional newspaper journalism in practical, meaningful ways. For the first time, APME offers choice items for bid throughout the year in an online auction, all building up to the annual conference and the live Foundation Auction on Sept. 14 in Denver. APME is a nonprofit organization and your donations are tax-deductible.

Bidding ends 5 p.m. EDT, Thursday, March 31.

GREAT value for fans of the Green Bay Packers, Texas Longhorns and Arizona Diamondbacks, among others!

Winners will be notified and will receive their certificates or items after payment is received.

Thank you to our auction donors and to all our bidders!

Now, let's start bidding and have some fun! To see the goodies and bid, go to: auction


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


NEWSTRAIN: 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 seen numerous national stories get front page play around the country and with localized reports that are enriching papers. A 50-state interactive should be available to members soon.

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.

A statewide Broken Budgets project planned in Pennsylvania has attracted great member participation. That project will run in April, and more member-AP collaborations are being conceived.

But to join in on the Broken Budgets initiative, members don't have to engage in a full-blown collaboration. When your staff does a particularly compelling story on the state's fiscal problems, point it out to your AP bureau chief for use as a member exchange; localize one of the upcoming stories listed below (and that localized version can be used on state lines as a member exchange as well). And of course, we welcome ideas for full collaborations.

Here are some upcoming and recent stories:



BOSTON - 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. By Bob Salsberg and David Lieb.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. _ Eager to cut costs in their prison systems, many states are slashing programs that are intended keep inmates from returning to crime after they are released. States that cut addiction counseling, mental health treatment and other services will end up with more people committing crimes, say corrections directors, parole experts and prison reformers. That could mean more people in prison, higher costs and yet more service cuts. By Chris Wills.


ALBANY, NY _ Headlines feed a stereotype of teachers, police officers and other public workers being pampered with cushy benefits that private-sector workers can only dream of. Governors around the nation trying to slice into budget deficits have highlighted the benefit gap as they target state and local worker benefits. But how accurate is the image of lavishly compensated public workers accurate? The question is important to a growing national debate about the role of unions in the public sector in an era of diminished tax revenue and taxpayer anger fueled by perceptions of fat-cat compensation and enviable perks. By Mike Hill.


SAN FRANCISCO _ Schools districts around the country are preparing to lay off what could be record numbers of teachers as state legislatures slash spending on education to close massive holes in their budgets. The shrunken teaching force will lead to larger class sizes, fewer electives and extracurricular activities, and more obstacles to turning around low-performing schools. In many districts, the least experienced teachers will lose their jobs because of union rules that call for layoffs by seniority. In California, education officials expect to districts to issue 30,000 or more pink as administrators prepare for worst-case budget scenarios amid uncertainty over how the governor and Legislature will close a $26 billion budget deficit. Yet the prospect of deep cuts to local school programs may have even Republican lawmakers looking for alternatives and ways to compromise with Democrats. By Terence Chea.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. _ The five largest states are facing budget shortfalls and all are taking different approaches on how to address the problem. California is trying to extend temporary taxes and borrow money to go along with budget cuts. Texas is looking into tapping a rainy day fund to ease the pain of cuts. Illinois is raising income taxes and borrowing money while looking to increase spending. New York is wrangling between simply making the necessary cuts and extending a temporary tax on residents making more than $200,000. But only Florida is talking about cutting to meet the shortfall and then cutting even more to make room for tax cuts. Florida Gov. Rick Scott believes that while it may hurt more in the short run, eliminating the corporate income tax will bring more businesses to the state that relies primarily on sales tax for its revenue. It's an experiment that will be closely watched. By Brendan Farrington.


_ BC-US--Broken Budgets-Glance.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. _ How early is too early to retire? Many public-sector jobs allow workers to retire at 55 _ and sometimes 50 _ with pensions that are almost equal to their final pay. That contrasts with the private-sector, where most workers do not have defined pensions and will have to work until 65 or 67 to get Social Security. In part, it's an issue of fairness: Should retirement ages rise for public-sector employees to be more like those for the taxpayers who fund their salaries and pensions? But it also is a serious financial issue affecting state budgets across the country. In some cases, government workers will receive a pension check longer than they received a paycheck. By Chris Wills and Don Thompson.

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.

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


Mobile Migration workshop being held in Nashville on April 1

A mobile study released this week by the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that nearly half of all American adults (47%) get some local news and information on a cellphone or tablet.

One in 10 U.S. adults is getting news or information via an tablet or smart phone "app," the survey found.

Are you developing strategies for these new small screens? Join us in Nashville on April 1 for the Mobile Migration workshop co-sponsored by the Online News Association and the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute with underwriting assistance from the Scripps Howard Foundation.

You'll learn how to decipher this new disruption is the key to building new competitive business models. You'll hear how the Dallas Morning News is making the mobile web an integral part of its paid-content strategy. You'll learn how magazine publishers are reacting with both wins and humbling crashes. You'll learn how innovations are popping up in Africa and Europe and among non-traditional news start ups.

Registration information:

(For those who want to stay overnight, there is a special $109 room rate at the nearby Embassy Suites Hotel, 1811 Broadway, To get the discounted rate, call Mike Henry, senior sales manager at the Embassy Suites, 615-277-4964.)


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:



AP: Health care overhaul taking root in divided nation

Washington Post: Arlington cemetery struggles with plot bookings

Virginian Pilot: Chesapeake pays millions for water is doesn't use

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State cancels fraud detection system

Detroit Free Press: $30,000 price for safe pregnancy drug sets off firestorm of protest

Read all watchdog reports at:


AP'S BEAT OF THE WEEK: Michigan sports writer Larry Lage

When 16-year-old basketball star Wes Leonard sank a layup to cap a perfect season for Fennville High School, the public celebrations erupted. Seconds later, when Leonard collapsed to the gym floor before dying of an enlarged heart, the public sorrow began. But for the next 11 days, while strangers across the nation mourned the "all-American kid" revered for both his athleticism and his personality, Leonard's parents kept their own heartbreak private.

Then Michigan sports writer Larry Lage headed to Fennville's playoff game in remote Vicksburg, Mich., with something of a dual mission. He carried with him Leonard's AP All-State certificate printed and framed, planning to give it to the player's parents as he'd wanted to do since the votes had been tallied. But he also hoped to talk with them for a story if he got a chance.

Setting up in a janitor's supply room to be away from the mayhem, Lage handed the Leonards the certificate and congratulated them. They started to break down and talk. Lage asked if they wanted him to tell their story, and they said that would be great. He pulled out his recorder and went to work.

Read more:



Paul Schemm, a correspondent for The Associated Press in Cairo, has been appointed the news organization's chief correspondent for North Africa, responsible for coverage of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The appointment was announced by Senior Managing Editor John Daniszewski, who oversees international news and photos.



Court won't stop Fed from revealing loan data

Captured New York Times journalists released from Libya, cross into Tunisia

Washington Post sorry for plagiarized material

Pennsylvania. court: Newspaper can see university's records

Car critic quits over changed Chrysler 200 review

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.



A Reporter's First Foray Into War


The Washington Post

This is a normal day reporting on the ground in eastern Libya:

The cellphone went off at 4 a.m. A photographer and three Libyan interpreters and I were in a spartan worker's apartment in the town of Ras Lanuf. We were desperate for sleep after a full day of nonstop fighting near this oil port.

But the army of Moammar Gadhafi had other ideas.

"Get out of there now," said the Libyan contact on the line. "They are coming."

We were on the road in minutes, unable to confirm the risk but unwilling to take a chance. Other reporters piled into cars in the pre-dawn gloom as the warning spread. Any foreign journalist in that part of Libya had crossed the abandoned border from Egypt illegally. We were all keenly aware that any encounter with Gadhafi forces would mean instant arrest, press card or no.

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 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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