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APME Newsletter April 7, 2011
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APME Update
The electronic newsletter of the Associated Press Managing Editors for April 7, 2011

In this issue:

Don't Wait: APME $99 New Member Discount Until April 15
AP-APME Broken Budgets: Massive state-wide projects debuts
NewsTrain: Register for Madison Workshop April 29-30

Join NewsTrain on Facebook and Twitter
APME and SNA seek your ideas for webinar series
2011 APME Journalism Excellence Awards: Deadline May 16
2011 McGruder Diversity Leadership Awards: Deadline May 16
March Innovator Winner: The News & Observer with `Frontiers of Fat'
Watchdog Reporting: Summary of Recent Impact Reporting
AP Beat of the Week: David Bauder
Editors in the News: Shinkle, Proctor
In Memoriam: Lomax, Skidmore, Smetana
Industry News and Business of News
Catching up on Credibility Topics: Order the Full Set
APME Forums: Discuss Good Ideas With Colleagues



Save the Date

- 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 at the Embassy Suites in Denver

DON'T WAIT: APME MEMBERSHIP DRIVE: $99 New Member Discount Expires 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


Pennsylvania newspapers have joined forces for the first statewide Broken Budgets project, as part of the Associated Press-APME yearlong reporting initiative.

The Pennsylvania project, prepared by the AP and 33 member newspapers, will run for three straight Sundays, beginning this week. It will detail the $300 million annual cost to taxpayers to fund the General Assembly, which includes 253 full-time members and3,000 legislative employees working in more than 400 offices around the state, in addition to the Capitol in Harrisburg.

It's one of the costliest legislatures in the country. Yet Pennsylvania's new Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has not called for significant funding cuts, while he wants to slash higher education funding by 50 percent and refuses to tax gas drillers working the lucrative Marcellus Shale.

The AP-APMEBroken Budgetsinitiative has seen numerous national stories get front-page play around the country andlocalized 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.

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.

Please send links of stories to Bob Heisse at or Sally Jacobsen at for posting at

These stories will move in advance for the following dates:

BC-US- BROKEN BUDGETS-THE BIG 5, moving in advance for use in newspapers of Thursday, April 14.

BC-US--BROKEN BUDGETS-LAVISH BENEFITS?, moving in advance for use in newspapers of Sunday, April 17.

BC-US--BROKEN BUDGETS-TEACHERS IN TROUBLE, moving in advance for use in newspapers of Tuesday, April 26.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - California's governor wants to maintain temporary tax increases to keep $9 billion a year flowing to the state treasury. Low-tax Texas is considering tapping its rainy day account to soften the effects of deep spending cuts. New York's governor pushed through budget cuts while keeping a campaign pledge to avoid tax increases. And residents of Illinois and Florida are getting a very different take on taxes: Illinois passed a massive increase, while Florida is giving its taxpayers a big break. The five states are the nation's most populous and account for about a third of state spending but are taking very different approaches to solving their respective budget deficits, illustrating that the priorities of the majority party play as much a role in budgeting decisions as a state's fiscal health. If those states are a guide, there is no single model for how to close a deficit. And so far, it's too early to tell which approach will be most successful. By Brendan Farrington.

Eds: Moving in advance for use in newspapers of Thursday, April 14.


ALBANY, NY - A prosecutor in California collects $118,000 in unused sick days. A police officer in New York rings up $125,000 in overtime the year before retiring and "spikes" his pension payments. An Ohio school superintendent is hired for the same job from which he just retired and takes in more than $100,000 annually. The headlines feed a stereotype of fat-cat public workers with the kind of cushy benefits that most private-sector workers can only dream about. With the economy still wobbly, governors are looking hard at employee pay and benefits, and taxpayers are asking whether state and local governments can remain so generous to public workers. The issue has risen to national prominence as Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio have sought not only to make public employees pay more for their benefits but also prohibit many aspects of collective bargaining for the unions that represent them. Just how accurate is the portrayal of lavish compensation and benefits for public workers? Interviews with experts and reviews of numerous reports on the topic give a mixed answer, and one that can vary greatly from state to state. By Michael Hill.

Eds: Moving in advance for use in newspapers of Sunday, April 17.


OAKLAND, Calif. - The torrent of pink slips hitting the nation's public schools has reached every classroom on this small elementary campus in the hardscrabble flats of East Oakland. All 16 teachers at Futures Elementary have been warned they could lose their jobs this year because of California's budget crisis. They're among 540 teachers in Oakland and more than 20,000 statewide who received preliminary layoff notices last month. Schools districts around the country are preparing for large-scale layoffs of teachers and other school employees as states slash education spending to plug massive holes in their budgets. But as an era of austerity moves governors and lawmakers in many states, others wonder what effects such deep cuts will have on the next generation and on America's ability to compete pace with emerging competitors around the world. By Terence Chea.

Eds: Moving in advance for use in newspapers of Tuesday, April 26.

Here are recent stories:


As lawmakers around the country debate their states' budgets, they're staring over the edge of a massive fiscal cliff – the point where about $100 billion in federal stimulus money for education will run out. The end of that money will compound states' severe budget woes and likely lead to thousands of layoffs and the elimination of popular school programs around the country. By Sean Cavanagh and Heather Hollingsworth

DES MOINES, Iowa _ Superintendents at some of Iowa's largest school districts predict Gov. Terry Branstad's plan to replace the state's current preschool system with a scholarship program based on financial need would cause fewer children to enroll, forcing districts to lay off teachers and other staff. By Andrew Duffelmeyer.

Member sidebars:



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.


ATLANTA _ As the costs to house state prisoners have soared in recent years, many conservatives are re-examining a tough-on-crime era that has led to stiffer sentences, overstuffed prisons and bloated corrections budgets. Ongoing deficits and steep drops in tax revenue in most states are forcing the issue, with law-and-order Republican governors and state legislators beginning to amend years of policies that were designed to lock up more criminals and put them away for longer periods of time. Most of the proposals circulating in at least 22 state Capitols would not affect current state inmates, but only those who have yet to be charged. By Greg Bluestein.

And some 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 statehouse bureaus and sports its own logo.

Broken Budgets works like this: Advisories of major stories 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.

To find Broken Budgets in AP Exchange, click on Politics and then Broken Budgets.

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


NEWSTRAIN: Just two more weeks to register for the Madison, Wis., NewsTrain

The last spring NewsTrain will be held in Madison, Wis., on Friday-Saturday, April 29-30. Registration deadline is April 21. The deadline for making reservations at the conference hotel is April 18 (hotel info at

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 the $50 registration fee, which includes lunches and coffee breaks.



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.





The SNA Foundation has teamed up with APME on a number of projects including a series of webinars. We would like your input on future topics for upcoming webinars.

Please complete this very short survey (should take three minutes to complete) so that we can be sure to meet your most pressing needs.

The SNA Foundation and APME have been working on other projects as well, and were recently awarded a grant by The McCormick Foundation to conduct a specialized two-day reporting workshop. The symposium, part of McCormick's Specialized Reporting Institutes program, educated community journalists on how to uncover local stories on the impacts of the current economic crisis on the American family. Twenty journalists were selected to attend this unique training experience in Chicago.

We will announce our next webinar series soon after we evaluate these survey results.

SNA/APME Future Webinars Survey:

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 News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. is the March winner of APME's Innovator of the Month contest. The paper is honored for Frontiers of Fat, a series on the science of obesity and an initiative that involves staffers and readers in losing weight.

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 Sept. 14-26 at the Embassy Suites in Denver.

"Raleigh's project will give ideas to many newsrooms," 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 Carole Tanzer Miller, features editor, described the Raleigh innovation:

"On Jan. 1, Raleigh started a five-part, front-page series on the science of obesity, ‘Frontiers of Fat.' Scientists at UNC, Duke and East Carolina University are doing some of the deepest research in the world into the causes of obesity.

"Each day, in addition to the front-page science stories, Raleigh's features sections included practical information, including tips from its restaurant critic on how to eat out often and maintain a healthy weight; how to look stylish as you lose the pounds; and how to find a workout routine that works for you.

"Staffers are blogging about their efforts to lose weight,” wrote Miller, who lost 65 pounds while working on the project. "They've been joined by several readers, who are also blogging about their battle of the bulge. Another online component featured readers' success stories.”

You can read the innovative work at can be reached at

Applications for APME monthly innovation recognition are being accepted at

Applications for APME's Innovator of the Year are accepted until May 16 at The annual award winner, as determined by editors attending the APME conference in Denver, will receive $2,000 courtesy of sponsors GateHouse Media Inc. and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.



AP: Synthetic drugs send thousands to the ER

AP: Long blackouts pose risk to US reactors

Sunday Oregonian: State treasurer pushes travel reform but shields staff

Buffalo News: School enrollment down, but per student costs up

Orlando Sentinel: Privatized child welfare brings top pay for execs

Milwaukee Journal: Research group received millions from pharmaceutical firms

Albuquerque Journal: Source of school money due to dry up soon

Read all watchdog reports at:


AP'S BEAT OF THE WEEK: TV Writer David Bauder


Katie Couric's future as anchor of CBS' "Evening News" had been the subject of speculation for months, and the rumors had picked up that she was indeed leaving. No one, though, had been able to report it definitively, with the details kept tightly under wraps until the deal was final.

AP Television Writer David Bauder spent weeks working his sources until he found a network executive willing to give him the story. The two had known each other for years and had a relationship of mutual trust between two straight shooters. The source confirmed that Couric was leaving, but the situation was complicated by the fact that several networks were still negotiating with her for a syndicated talk show.

The source got cold feet, but Bauder continued to work him for three days before going to Binghamton, N.Y., for the weekend. He kept close watch on email, and finally, on Sunday evening, came a message from the contact: "You should do it."

Read more:



Kevin Shinkle, an assistant business editor who joined The Associated Press at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 and has directed AP's coverage of the financial markets since then, has been promoted to deputy business editor. The appointment was announced by Business Editor Hal Ritter. In his new role, Shinkle will shape the daily business report and work with the department's assistant business editors to deliver even more exclusives and ambitious enterprise stories. Before joining the AP in November 2008, Shinkle, 45, was business editor of The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. He joined the newspaper in 2000 as deputy business editor. Before that, he was a reporter for Bloomberg News for seven years and The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune for three years. He also worked for The Chapel Hill Newspaper in North Carolina. While he was at The Star-Ledger, the business section was honored five times by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in its Best in Business contest. A native of Tucson, Ariz., Shinkle graduated magna cum laude from Hillsdale College in Michigan with majors in political theory and history.

The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch's executive editor, Glenn Proctor, plans to retire June 1, the newspaper announced. He started as the newspaper's executive editor and vice president for news in November 2005. Before joining the Times-Dispatch, Proctor worked at several editing positions at The (Newark) Star-Ledger. The 64-year-old Proctor also was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team at the Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal for its coverage of the takeover of tire-maker Goodyear. He also has worked for United Press International, the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal and other newspapers. Under Proctor, the Times-Dispatch won the 2008 National Headliner Award for Breaking News for its coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre as well as Virginia's top journalism award for public service and freedom of information.



Almena Lomax, a civil rights activist and noted black journalist who covered the Patty Hearst kidnapping and the Alabama bus boycott and founded the Los Angeles Tribune newspaper, has died at 95. Lomax died March 25 in Pasadena, according to an obituary from the United Negro College Fund where her son, Michael Lomax, is president and chief executive officer.

Hallie Almena Davis was born in Galveston, Texas, and moved with her family to California, where she studied journalism at Los Angeles City College but was unable to get a job at a major daily newspaper. "They were taking them out of there as fast as they learned who, what, when, where and how," but "nobody would hire me," she said in an oral history recorded for California State University, Fullerton in 1967. Lomax went to work for a local black weekly, the California Eagle, then later had a radio news program. In 1941, Lomax borrowed $100 from her future father-in-law to found the Los Angeles Tribune, which operated for two decades and at its peak had a circulation of 25,000. The newspaper had a reputation for feisty and fearless reporting, with articles about the movie industry and Los Angeles police racism.

As an activist, Lomax served as a 1952 delegate to the Democratic convention and led boycotts of the black-themed movies "Porgy and Bess" and "Imitation of Life," because she believed they misrepresented African Americans. In 1956, Tribune readers donated money so she could travel to Montgomery, Ala., to cover the black bus boycott, a 13-month desegregation effort that ended with the U.S. Supreme Court declaring the segregated bus system to be unconstitutional. Lomax stayed with Martin Luther King Jr. and his family.

Following a divorce, Lomax closed the Tribune in 1960 and moved with her six children to Tuskegee, Ala., in the midst of the civil rights struggle. Her writings appeared in such magazines as Harper's and The Nation. She later returned to California, where she worked for the Chronicle and the Examiner newspapers in San Francisco. She covered the kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst and the search for Angela Davis.

Longtime Helena, Mont., newsman Bill Skidmore, who worked at the Independent Record for 38 years chronicling the city's events and people, has died at 64, the newspaper reported. Skidmore started at the newspaper in 1971 after graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin. Known as "Skid" to friends, he eventually became an award-winning opinion page editor before leaving the paper in 2009.

"Skid was one of the truly best community journalists this city has known," said the newspaper's editor, John Doran. "Not only did the Independent Record lose an esteemed member of our family, but Helena, too, lost a trustworthy name that delivered to readers many significant stories and editorials over three decades."

Skidmore covered the 1973 raid and closure of "Big Dorothy" Baker's house of ill repute, urban renewal through the 1970s, battles concerning the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, and a story about a man who spent 55 years in an institution after being improperly diagnosed as developmentally disabled.

The long-time night city editor at the Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal has died the age of 68. John Smetana was a career newspaperman and decorated Vietnam veteran who was known as gruff but also kind. In reporting his death, the Gazette-Journal described him as "an ink-stained newsman straight out of central casting."

Born Oct. 8, 1943 in Melrose, Ill., Smetana was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1965. He served in the 11th Armored Cavalry "Blackhorse" Regiment and was awarded a Bronze Star. He began his news career in Illinois and later became city editor for the Hollywood, Fla., Sun-Tattler. He joined the Gazette-Journal in 1990, working on the sports desk, the copy desk and the city desk. He survived a double lung transplant in 2005.




Seattle Times publisher wins news leadership award

Virginia project to post Civil War-era newspapers online

Terzotis named president and publisher of the Fort Collins Coloradoan

McClatchy Operations VP Frank Whittaker to Retire

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.


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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