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APME Newsletter April 14, 2011
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APME Update
The electronic newsletter of the Associated Press Managing Editors for April 14, 2011

In this issue:

Friday Is the Last Day for the $99 New Member Discount
AP-APME Broken Budgets: Massive State Project Under Way
NewsTrain: Register for Madison Workshop April 29-30

Join NewsTrain on Facebook and Twitter
Monthly Innovator Award: Applications Being Accepted for April
APME and SNA Seeking Your Ideas for Webinar Series
2011 APME Journalism Excellence Awards: Deadline May 16
2011 McGruder Diversity Leadership Awards: Deadline May 16
Watchdog Reporting: Summary of Recent Impact Reporting
AP Beat of the Week: Gillian Wong
Editors in the News: Flachsenhaar
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



APME President Hollis Towns' offer of a special one-time membership deal for first-time members expires Friday. Become a new member by Friday 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 Friday 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, is running for three consecutive Sundays. It will detail the $300 million annual cost to taxpayers to fund the General Assembly, which includes 253 full-time members and 3,000 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-APME Broken Budgets initiative has seen numerous national stories get front-page play around the country and 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.

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-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.


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 10 more days 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 25. 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.




Innovator of the Month

The Associated Press Managing Editors' Innovator of the Year contest has expanded to highlight newspaper innovations all year long.

Associated Press-member newspapers are now invited to enter their innovative work at any time. Judges will recognize one paper per month. Entries now are being accepted for April.

Find details and the entry platform at Every entry will also be considered for APME's annual Great Ideas book.

Monthly winners will be recognized on Each monthly winner will be invited to enter the annual Innovator of the Year contest, which is open to all newspapers in the U.S. and Canada and is awarded at the APME conference Sept. 14-16 at the Embassy Suites in Denver.

"We're pleased to take another big step in recognizing innovative work in our newsrooms,” said Bob Heisse, executive editor of the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., and APME vice president. "By putting a spotlight on journalism innovations monthly, we'll acknowledge top work more often and it might spark ideas at other papers.”

The Seattle Times was named APME Innovator of the Year in 2010. Previous winners are the Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Oklahoman of Oklahoma City

The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. was the March winner. It was honored for Frontiers of Fat, a series on the science of obesity and an initiative that involves staffers and readers in losing weight.

You can read the innovative work at Miller 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.



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:



AP IMPACT: BP buys Gulf Coast millions in gear

AP: Gas drilling's promise, perils rile townsfolk

Press Democrat: Federal program ensnares "noncriminals” in deportation net

Democrat and Chronicle: Audits reveal failing of city schools

News & Record: Charity still fundraising despite tie to SEC probe

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Many patients pick up infections in Wisconsin hospitals

Arizona Republic: Sheriff's claims about county drugs and trafficking unsupported

Read all watchdog reports at:


AP'S BEAT OF THE WEEK: Beijing's Gillian Wong

The appeals started popping up on the Internet seven weeks ago, calling for peaceful protests to get China's ruling Communist Party to move toward democracy. But who was behind them? The voices were anonymous.

Beijing newsperson Gillian Wong risked the wrath of Chinese authorities and overcame the fears of dissidents to reveal the voices behind protest calls in the world's largest authoritarian country.

Read more:



The Daily Record of Parsippany, N.J.,has named Executive Editor James A. Flachsenhaar as its new editor/general manager. A newspaper industry veteran and longtime Morris County resident, Flachsenhaar is in his second stint with the Daily Record. He served as its managing editor from 1984 to 1987, then returned as executive editor in June 2007. He started his career with The Record of Woodland Park and has served as executive editor of two other New Jersey newspapers and produced specialty magazines for a third. As the Daily Record's executive editor, Flachsenhaar has launched a magazine, two websites and seven "real-life" community weeklies. He succeeds Joseph Cavone, who had been the newspaper's president and publisher since 2007. The newspaper said Cavone has left the company to pursue other interests.



Lee Enterprises to refinance debt with note issue

Settlement ends suit by former Mobile publisher

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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