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APME Update for Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011
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APME Update
APME Update for Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2011
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Sept. 19-21, 2012 - APME Conference, John Seigenthaler Center, Nashville, Tenn.


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

To receive APME Update by e-mail notify APME is an AP-member group of newspaper and broadcast leaders 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 Media 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 and news directors, news managers or other senior positions at AP broadcast outlets in the United States and Canadian Press publications in Canada. It is also open to administrators, professors, instructors, leaders or advisers of journalism studies programs at recognized colleges and universities and to editors or leaders at newspapers, radio stations, websites or other news outlets at recognized universities and colleges.

Mailing address: Associated Press Media Editors Association, c/o Sally Jacobsen, The Associated Press, 450 West 33rd Street, New York, NY 10001. Phone: (212) 621-7007.



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Join APME: Special Offer During Holiday Season

We’re making it easier than ever to become a member. The cost is only $150, and during December you can pay $75 now and pay the other $75 in the first quarter of 2012. A few editors have asked us to set up a payment plan, reasoning that they could expense a smaller amount two times; we’re pleased to offer this over the holiday season. Just visit to sign up.


Letter from APME President Bob Heisse

Dear editor/news leader,

Last fall, I had the opportunity to work with a number of Associated Press bureau chiefs in planning the start of the AP-APME Broken Budgets reporting initiative.

Our goal in this first joint national reporting effort was to tell the stories of fiscal challenges in statehouses and local governments across the country, and to involve AP members in the coverage. Our hope was to spark major statewide projects involving members and the AP, while breaking news regularly on the budget woes that would impact taxpayers.

We soon generated consistent, strong stories from coast to coast, some of which perhaps ran on your front pages or were featured in your broadcast reports. And major projects in Pennsylvania, Illinois and other states shined as members worked with state bureaus, producing dramatic results.

Broken Budgets, which continues today, has raised the bar in APME’s national reporting efforts and is just one example of how we’re delivering for you and your newsrooms.

We’re now the Associated Press Media Editors, expanding to welcome AP broadcast news leaders, college educators, and student media editors. Our new logo reflects our name change and bolstered mission.
I’m honored to serve as president of this organization as it moves into its 79th year. We’re well positioned to lead in journalism for years to come, and I hope you decide to join us.

We’re making it easier than ever to become a member. The cost is only $150, and during December you can pay $75 now and pay the other $75 in the first quarter of 2012. A few editors have asked us to set up a payment plan, reasoning that they could expense a smaller amount two times; we’re pleased to offer this over the holiday season. Just visit to sign up.

A membership will lead to savings in many ways. For example:

• Our signature training program, NewsTrain, now led by Michael Roberts, is strong as it enters its ninth year with plans for four major on-site stops around the country. New are NewsTrain webinars, which began in November with a session on mobile reporting. We’ll offer these throughout 2012, with major discounts for APME members.

• Our prestigious APME Journalism Excellence Awards will expand in 2012 to include broadcast and college categories. The contest committee is working on details, but the goal is to honor more work from across the U.S. and Canada. As in the past, APME members will receive a significant discount when submitting entries in the spring.

• We’ll meet again at the beautiful John Seigenthaler Center on the campus of Vanderbilt University for APME Nashville 2012. Mark your calendar for Sept. 19-21, 2012, and remember that APME membership brings you a large registration discount.

These are just some of our initiatives; just visit our website and join us on Facebook to find out about more.

We’ve all been through some rocky years and many challenges remain for journalism. We’ll stay strong together. Consider joining us now, and help us achieve our goals of expanding in 2012.

Bob Heisse, APME president


APME50: Reaching Out to All 50 States

The first emails are going out this month to active editors in the country, as part of APME50.

APME50 was launched in December as a way to reach out to active editors and broadcast news directors on state boards across the country.

Our goal is to connect with more editors and let them know about APME training opportunities, the AP-APME national reporting initiatives, innovative work and more.

"We'll reach out in a personal way to the newspaper and broadcast editors' boards in each state and offer a helping hand,” said APME president Bob Heisse.

For more information or to get involved contact APME50 co-chairs Laura Kessel at or Jon Broadbooks at


Looking for Your Ideas: 2012 APME Annual Conference

Let us know what you’d like to see on the program at next year's annual conference Sept. 19-21 at the John Seigenthaler Center on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

Among the highlights: a performance by Freedom Sings, the group that tells the story of the First Amendment through music that has been banned or censored or sounded a trumpet for social change.

Send us your ideas by Twitter @APMEsings2012 or through our comment form at


Follow the APME Blog to stay up-to-date

Take a look at the APME Update blog at

The blog offers regular updates on APME activities, industry news and more. It’s the latest way the Associated Press Media Editors are keeping in touch.

Enjoy this email update weekly, and then visit the blog for even more.


Watchdog Reporting

• AP: Welfare debt in California is passed to children
• Detroit News:
County exec’s 187 employees eclipse other counties, state
• Oklahoman:
Travel charges by city officials draw questions
• Columbus Dispatch:
When do tax breaks become corporate welfare?
• Cincinnati Enquirer:
Policing big events offers big overtime pay
• Montgomery Advertiser:
House speaker receives PAC money after ban
• Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Squatters claim more than $8 million in county properties
• Denver Post: Dental business shut by state returns as nonprofit

• Read all watchdog reports at:


AP Beat of the Week: West Africa’s Rukmini Callimachi, Martin Vogl

Mali's "red zone" is one of the most dangerous parts of West Africa. The group Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates there, has kidnapped more than 50 Europeans since 2006. Many embassies have ruled the area off limits.

Understanding how Al-Qaidi operates is certainly a high priority of the AP’s west Africa team. But talking to actual al-Qaida members in Mali was impossible, so bureau chief Rukmini Callimachi and stringer Martin Vogl set out to do the next best thing: talk to the people who live in contact with the terror group.

It took more than a little courage and a lot of careful planning.

Foreigners like Callimachi, an American, and Vogl, who is British, are particularly vulnerable.

Still, they wanted to know more about what al-Qaida was doing, and they weren’t satisfied with relying on diplomats and security experts. They were determined to get as close as possible.

The perfect place to go was the tiny village of Sokolo, where shepherds took their animals to graze in the same area inhabited by al-Qaida.

With the help of Africa security manager Des Chetty, the reporters studied the map and came up with a plan, a sort of journalistic hit-and-run. They would drive to Sokolo early in the morning and leave just after noon, before word could get out that they were there.

The next catch: lining up villagers to interview without letting out the word that they were foreigners

They hired a Malian journalist and told him he would be going to Sokolo with a local photographer. They told the journalist to set up the interviews in advance – a difficult undertaking because the herders often leave for days or weeks at a time to graze their animals.

The reporters didn't tell the drivers about the trip until the morning of their departure. Even then, they did not reveal their actual destination, lest the drivers alert someone via cellphone. Throughout the trip, they gave the drivers only general directions.

Chetty's planning proved crucial. He insisted the reporters take two all-terrain vehicles instead of one. When one car had a flat tire on the way, the reporters left the driver behind to fix it and went on in the second car. From his base in South Africa, Chetty texted or called the reporters every two hours to make sure that they were on course and that he knew exactly where they were.

In Sokolo, they interviewed seven locals, including herders, a hunter and employees of the Malian Ministry of Husbandry. After they got out, they filled out the story with interviews with experts and hostage negotiators.

The result: An intimate look at how al-Qaida is trying to use charm and good will instead of intimidation to win the hearts and minds of the local populace.


AP Best of the States: Tamara Lush

It had the elements of a song Mindy McCready might record – a mother and child on the run, accusations of abuse, heartache and a family feud.

When Tampa’s Tamara Lush noted a brief in the Naples (Fla). Daily News that the country singer and her 5-year-old son were missing, she sprang into action, knowing McCready’s complicated background, including a suicide attempt the year before. As it turned out, McCready had taken her son from the Florida home where he legally lived with his grandmother back to Tennessee because, she said, the boy had accused his grandmother of abusing him. And thus began yet another court battle, one of many in McCready’s life.

Lush picked up the brief from the Naples paper, but knew she had to make the story one the AP owned.

She called a local police lieutenant, who responded, "There’s a lot more questions than answers at this point.” She emailed McCready’s publicist, who she’d dealt with the year before. She made a few calls to the lawyer handling McCready’s child custody case, and contacted the lawyer handling her libel suit against the National Enquirer and her mother. She also emailed the agent for Dr. Drew Pinsky of television’s "Celebrity Rehab,” which had featured McCready’s troubles.

Her persistence paid off: The publicist called Lush and said that because she had been so thorough in trying to hear McCready’s side of the story, the singer had decided she wanted to talk to Lush and to Lush alone.

The two spoke for about a half-hour and McCready then emailed Lush a slew of documents from the custody case. And she kept emailing, providing Lush several exclusives in the first 24 hours of the week-long saga, which ended when McCready, her son and a man not the boy’s father were found in an Arkansas vacation home that didn’t belong to them. "I'm doing all this to protect Zander, not stay out of trouble," she had written Lush in one email. "I don't think I should be in trouble for protecting my son in the first place."

AP’s ownership of the story was so solid that NBC’s "Today” interviewed Lush to tell the tale.

To Lush, the reason for her success was simple: "The entire experience was a reminder that doing basic reporting can really pay off.”


Editors-in-the-News: DeVarenne, Hillkirk and Weiss

The Tennessean of Nashville announced that Maria DeVarenne has been named executive editor and vice president/news. DeVarenne comes to The Tennessean, owned by Gannett Co. Inc., from The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif. She was vice president/news at that A.H. Belo newspaper, which posted growth in its digital and print audiences during her 10 years there. "I'm excited and honored to be joining The Tennessean, given its legacy for great journalism," DeVarenne told the newspaper ( "There is a strong, award-winning foundation to build on in the Nashville newsroom as we expand further with digital media to provide news and content any time on any device for the region and foster a greater connectivity throughout the community with social media." The Tennessean's coverage of the 2010 Nashville flood was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news this year.

DeVarenne is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and a 2009 Fellow of the USC/Knight Digital Media Center. She succeeds former editor Mark Silverman, who moved to the Gannett corporate staff in September. Before joining The Press-Enterprise, DeVarenne worked for Gannett newspapers, including the San Bernardino Sun.
DeVarenne starts her new job Dec. 26.

USA Today said it is moving two of its top executives to new jobs. John Hillkirk, the top editor of the second-largest U.S. newspaper, is stepping down to help oversee USA Today's investigative reporting projects as a senior editor. USA Today, which is owned by Gannett Co., is looking for his replacement. In the interim, Susan Weiss, USA Today's executive editor, will run the newsroom. In another announced transfer, Rudd Davis is moving from vice president of business development to the newly created position of president of USA Today's travel media group. The division will try to help USA Today reach more readers while they're traveling and sell more advertising aimed at people on the go. The changes come as USA Today and other major newspapers cope with declining revenue as more advertising shifts from print pages to the Web. USA Today, based in McLean, Va., has eliminated jobs and cut other expenses to cope with the downturn. The newspaper's print edition was losing paid circulation until it posted a slight increase earlier this year. USA Today's circulation averaged nearly 1.8 million during the six months that ended Sept. 30. It ranked behind The Wall Street Journal, whose circulation of nearly 2.1 million includes hundreds of thousands of digital subscribers. Unlike the Journal, the USA Today doesn't charge fees to access its website and mobile devices. Hillkirk, 56, has worked at USA Today since the newspaper started in 1982. He ran USA Today's Money section for nine years before being named executive editor in 2004. He was promoted to editor-in-chief in 2009 when Dave Hunke became USA Today's publisher.

Davis, 31, came to Gannett in 2008 after the company bought his "extreme" sports website, He will be based in Los Angeles.


In Memoriam: Silverstein and Heminger

Former New York Times art director Louis Silverstein, who helped modernize the Times and was credited with influencing newspaper design nationwide, has died at age 92.

Silverstein's daughter, Anne Silverstein, told the Times that her father died last week of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Brooklyn.
Silverstein was charged with transforming the so-called "Gray Lady" into a more visually appealing newspaper that could attract readers in the age of television.

Former Times managing editor Arthur Gelb said Silverstein responded with a vision for opening up the newspaper's design. Gelb said Silverstein made more creative use of typefaces, enlarged photos, added graphics and ran fewer stories on a page.

"He wanted the paper to breathe," Gelb said.

Many of Silverstein's contributions remain evident. He enlarged the typeface to make it more comfortable to read and engineered the reconfiguration of the front page to six columns from eight in 1976.

When the Times expanded to four daily sections from two, adding SportsMonday, Science Times, Living, Home and Weekend, Silverstein oversaw the look of the new sections.

"Every time you pick up the paper, you have in your hands a reflection of Lou's sparkling talent," former Executive Editor A.M. Rosenthal once said.

Before becoming the newspaper's design director, Silverstein was an abstract painter, an art director for advertising agencies and the corporate art director for The New York Times Company.

He retired in 1985 but stayed on as a Times consultant, redesigning 35 of the company's regional newspapers. He also redesigned newspapers in Kenya, Brazil and Spain.

In addition to his daughter, Silverstein is survived by his wife, Helen, and two grandsons. His son, Jamie, was hit by a car in 1964 and died.

Ed Heminger, board chairman for the Findlay Publishing Co. in Ohio and a former member of The Associated Press board of directors, died unexpectedly last week at his home near Findlay, The Courier newspaper said. He was 85.

He was in the third of five generations to work at the local newspaper, rising from a paperboy in the 1940s to the top jobs in the company during a long career that also included positions at several industry associations and foundations.

Heminger followed in the footsteps of his father and brother when he became the company's president in 1983. He was named board chairman in 1989. He was The Courier's publisher from 1965 to 2000 and editor from 1977 to 1989.

His deep involvement in the industry included stints as AP board member from 1984 to 1994, chairman of the Newspaper Association of America Foundation from 1980 to 1988 and trustee of the Ohio Newspaper Association from 1979 to 1988, The Courier said.

Edwin L. Heminger grew up around the business. After joining the Navy, he received a bachelor's degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1952. That year, he returned to the newspaper as assistant business manager.




Industry News

• Pulitzer journalism entries to be submitted online
• Newspapers log new setback in quest for warrants
• Pennsylvania law backs up Penn State's fight for secrecy
• SC newspaper apologizes for vulgar word in print
• Berkshire paying $150M for Omaha newspaper company
• News Corp spent $1.39 million lobbying in 3Q
• Calkins Media names former Scripps exec as new CEO
• Washington Daily News publisher McKeithan leaving

Read more at:


And Finally … Don't arrest journalists for doing their job

(Editor’s Note: John Ensslin, a reporter at The Record in Bergen County, N.J., and previously a reporter at Denver's Rocky Mountain News, is the 2011-2012 national president of the Society of Professional Journalists.)


Across the country, there's been an alarming trend lately of journalists being arrested, detained or restricted from doing their jobs at various "Occupy" demonstrations.

Some were covering the story for mainstream media. Some were freelancers. Others were students.

The arrests occurred in places including Atlanta, New York City, Oakland, Calif., Rochester, N.Y., Richmond, Va., Chapel Hill, N.C., Nashville and Milwaukee.

The details and circumstances of the arrests varied widely, but there was one common denominator: These were journalists doing their job covering a news event of public interest. They were practicing journalism, not civil disobedience.

While it's outrageous to see reporters and photographers being led away in handcuffs for doing their jobs, I am not without some degree of empathy for the police officers who find themselves in the middle of demonstration. It has to do with my background. My brother was a police officer in New Jersey. And for 12 years, I covered the police beat in Denver for the Rocky Mountain News.

During those years, my brother and I would sometimes talk about our respective work. Watching my brother do his job and talking to him about mine taught me a profound respect for the often difficult and chaotic situations in which police officers sometimes find themselves.
But journalists also frequently find themselves dealing with chaotic situations because that's where news happens.

I've covered a few riots. Believe me, they are no fun. I've been tear-gassed. I've been hit in the shoulder with a fist-sized chunk of ice. I narrowly dodged a rock hurled my way. In one instance, a Denver detective came to my rescue at a crime scene where an angry crowd had formed.

So I understand how in the heat of a confusing moment, mistakes are made. I suspect and hope that's what happened to most of the journalists swept up in these recent arrests.

We always encourage ethical journalists and news outlets to own up to mistakes and run a public correction when warranted.

It was in that spirit recently that the Society of Professional Journalists called upon the authorities in the cities where these arrests occurred and asked them to own up to mistakes and drop the charges against these journalists.

We also offered to host a series of public forums where journalists and law enforcement officials can have a frank and candid discussion of what happened in their city.

I'm hoping the mayors and police chiefs in these cities take us up on this offer.

Police and journalists both have jobs to do. However, no one in a democracy is served when reporters and photographers are improperly arrested or otherwise restricted for doing their jobs.


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