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APME Update for Friday, Dec. 2, 2011
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APME Update
APME Update for Wednesday, Dec. 2, 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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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

APME50 will be 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


NEWSTRAIN: Interested In Hosting a 2012 Workshop?

Would you like to have a NewsTrain workshop in your area next year?

Check the APME web page on what it takes to have a NewsTrain in your area. Then contact NewsTrain project director Michael Roberts with your thoughts.

NewsTrain workshops are changing to better meet specific needs in each location.

Planning now includes a local needs assessment to identify where and how training can have a significant impact. Work with Michael Roberts on training for print, online, and broadcast journalists, from frontline staff to department heads and senior managers.

Locations for 2012 will be selected soon to begin the planning process. Please consider your needs and how a NewsTrain workshop might help.


Stay in touch with what other newsroom leaders are talking about and doing on the APME blog

Take a look at the new 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 IMPACT: More kids skip school shots in 8 states
• Dayton Daily News: 26,000 Ohioans abuse free cellphone plan
• Minneapolis Star Tribune: U.S. citizenship no defense against deportation threat
• Las Vegas Review-Journal: Police shootings, 142 fatal, in Las Vegas Valley since 1990
• Houston Chronicle: Buy Houston’s water with no strings attached
• Denver Post:
Homelessness growing in Denver with no solutions in sight
• Cleveland Plain Dealer: County takes obese eight-year-old from family
• Arizona Republic: Rarely used Mexico-U.S. border post costly but useful to a few

• Read all watchdog reports at:


AP Beat of the Week: National Security Writer Bob Burns

The invitation was too good to pass up: Be the only reporter to accompany Marine Corps Commandant James F. Amos on a weeklong trip that included four days in Afghanistan.

A week on a small military plane or in a helicopter with the general who had been the loudest voice against repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military but who had not commented on how it was working on the frontlines since taking effect in September.

National Security Writer Bob Burns seized the opportunity and reported exclusively that Amos now acknowledges his concern had proven unfounded that repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy would undermine the war effort. Amos said that Marines had actually embraced the change and that repeal had been "a non-event."

The general's mea culpa was the payoff for extraordinary access. Burns shadowed Amos as part of an extremely small group _ or "package" as the military calls the traveling party.

He interviewed Amos each day of the trip, including multiple sessions daily in Afghanistan, and accompanied him to nearly every event in a jam-packed schedule.

Burns was in the room during sensitive, unvarnished briefings intended to give the visiting general "ground truth." Details of those sessions were off the record, but they provided invaluable context.

Knowing that Amos would field questions from not-shy Marines at nearly every stop, Burns also was curious how the new policy was playing with the troops.

The subject never came up.

On a single day in Afghanistan, Amos traveled to nine separate frontline Marine combat outposts across Helmand province and took questions about a range of issues, including the future of the Marines _ but nary a word about gays.

The issue also never arose when Amos fielded questions from Marines on board the USS Bataan warship in the Gulf of Aden.

In Bahrain, one Marine broached the topic gently. He asked whether Amos planned to change the Marines' policy of letting local commanders decide how to handle complaints about "homosexual remarks or actions." Amos said no.


AP Best of the States: Jeff Roberson, Mike Conroy, Kathy Matheson

Two days after an Egyptian court ordered the release of three American students who had been accused of throwing firebombs at security forces fighting with protesters, the race was on to speak with the students as they flew home to the U.S. Their arrivals came late at night, at three different airports, and each bureau involved could devote only one journalist to each student.

After covering three state high school football championships on Saturday, photographer Jeff Roberson of St. Louis waited for the arrival of student Derrik Sweeney at the St. Louis airport, capturing with his camera the emotional reunion with Sweeney’s family. But he didn’t stop there: He also called the Central desk to dictate quotes and color for the text story, earning a shared byline, and filed six minutes of audio to AP Radio. The story Sweeney had to tell was certainly dramatic. "The first night was probably the scariest night of my life ever,” he said. "I was not sure I was going to live. They said if we moved at all, even an inch, they would shoot us. They were behind us with guns."

Photographer Mike Conroy of Indianapolis rushed to the Indianapolis airport after the bureau received a tip from a member two hours before Gates’ arrival. He also made images and called in a solid description of the scene to go with Roberson’s material. The story was written off the Central desk with their feeds and with material from Philadelphia’s Kathy Matheson, who had been tracking the students through their lawyer and had quickly confirmed that the three would be released. Matheson scored the first interview with student Gregory Porter.

AP’s ownership of the story was clear, both on worldwide websites and in the states involved.


Editors-in-the-News: Clonts

The St. Paul Pioneer Press announced it has promoted Chris Clonts to managing editor.

Clonts, 43, will lead the newsroom's "digital first" efforts, part of a companywide initiative to grow its online presence. A 20-year veteran of newspapers, Clonts has reported, edited and led newsroom teams over a career at the Detroit Free Press, the Savannah Morning News and the Star Tribune. Clonts joined the Pioneer Press in 2008 as a senior editor for online content and more recently took on oversight of the business and photo desks. Senior Editor Mike Burbach announced the promotion in a staff email.

"He's earned a reputation as a smart, plain-speaking, decisive leader with a deep interest and expertise in digital news gathering, dissemination and consumption," Burbach wrote.


In Memoriam

After decades as a reporter and editor at The Detroit News, Herb Boldt found a new office: Michigan's outdoors.

Boldt, a hunter and fisherman, wrote "Woods & Water," a column distributed for 18 years to member newspapers of The Associated Press in Michigan. He had Alzheimer's disease and died on Nov. 22 at age 84, according to an obituary posted online by the Martenson Family of Funeral Homes in Allen Park.

Boldt, a Cleveland native, spent 38 years at the News, half of that time as the police reporter. He also was an editor on the city desk and executive sports editor.

"A guy with ink in his veins — that was Herb," said Mike O'Hara, a former News sports writer.

After retiring from the News in 1987, Boldt began writing a weekly column for the Michigan AP on his experiences outdoors, especially in northern Michigan. He lived in East Tawas and Livonia.

In his final column in 2005, Boldt called it the "greatest job in journalism — a mix of writing and the great outdoors. I was getting paid to fish and hunt the great outdoor state of Michigan."

Charles Hill, bureau chief for the AP in Michigan, said Boldt's work was popular.

"He used his outdoors knowledge and considerable journalistic skills to provide entertaining stories and solid information for people to use on their own hunting and fishing trips," Hill said. "Even if you couldn't get out to the lake or to the woods that week, you knew that Herb and his storytelling writing style could take you there."

An award-winning photographer who worked for several New Jersey newspapers has died.The Asbury Park Press announced that Michael Sypniewski died following a long illness. He was 47. Sypniewski, a married father of three who lived in Brick, had worked at the Neptune-based newspaper for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked at the Home News in New Brunswick and the Star-Ledger of Newark. Sypniewski's work was recognized numerous times by the New Jersey Press Photographers Association and the National Press Photographers Association.

Wilson retired in 2005.




Industry News

• NYPD orders officers not to interfere with press
• Israel apologizes for treatment of NYT journalist
• Pennsylvania exhibit showcases legendary black photographer
• 'Couponer' found with 19 Sunday newspapers in Tennessee

Read more at:


And Finally … UK tabloid reporter: Phone hacking a regular tool

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — A former reporter at Britain's News of the World made a rare, robust defense of phone hacking last week, telling Britain's media ethics inquiry that eavesdropping on voicemails was a "perfectly acceptable tool" to help journalists uncover stories.

Paul McMullan said hacking was common at the now-defunct tabloid, describing how reporters traded the phone numbers of celebrities and accessed their messages by entering factory-set passcodes.

"I think I swapped Sylvester Stallone's mother for David Beckham," he said, going on to recount how he failed to hack into Beckham's voicemails on one occasion because the soccer star unexpectedly answered the phone.

McMullan, who now runs a pub in the English port of Dover, made headlines earlier this year when he was secretly taped by actor Hugh Grant claiming phone hacking was widespread at the News of the World and other U.K. newspapers.

He repeated that assertion last week, adding that the bosses at the News of the World, including former top editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, knew of the practice — a claim both former editors have denied.

Both resigned in the scandal — Brooks from a senior role in Rupert Murdoch's media empire, and Coulson from his job as top communications aide to Prime Minister David Cameron.

"I don't think anyone realized that anyone was committing a crime at the start," McMullan said. "Phone hacking is a perfectly acceptable tool given the sacrifices we make, if all we are trying to do is get to the truth."

Cameron set up the media inquiry in response to the scandal that began with the exposure of illegal eavesdropping by the News of the World. Murdoch shut the tabloid in July after evidence emerged that it had accessed the mobile phone voice mails of celebrities, politicians and even crime victims in its search for exclusives.

The scandal has sparked soul-searching across the media — but not from McMullan, who told the inquiry how he'd hacked phones, staked out homes, posed as a drug dealer, a millionaire and a male prostitute, and pursued celebrities through the streets in the years before the 1997 car-crash death of Princess Diana partially curbed the press pack's ways.

"Before Diana died, it was such good fun," McMullan said. "How many jobs can you actually have car chases in?"

He said the tabloids' tactics were vindicated by their large circulations. The News of the World was selling almost 3 million copies a week before it was shut down.

"Sometimes I wouldn't have bought the News of the World, even though I was working for it," McMullan said. "But the British public carried on."

McMullan was one of three journalists giving evidence to the inquiry Tuesday after a week in which both famous and non-famous individuals — from actor Hugh Grant and "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling to the parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann — described how their lives had been upended by media intrusion.

The other two journalists offered a diametrically opposed assessment to McMullan, describing stories driven by ideology and propaganda, and an industry scarred by bullying and the use of unethical "dark arts."

Ex-tabloid reporter Richard Peppiatt, who worked for the Daily Star but has become a critic of underhanded tabloid practices, said "much of tabloid journalism is not truth-seeking primarily. It's ideologically driven and it's impact-driven."

Nick Davies of The Guardian, who broke many of the stories about tabloid phone hacking in Britain, said there was "a culture of bullying in some Fleet Street newspapers." He described some of the "dark arts" he had been told of by tabloid reporters, including burglary, phone and email hacking and "blagging" — obtaining information by deceit.

The trigger for the scandal was the revelation that the News of the World had hacked the voice mails of murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler after she disappeared in 2002.

Her mother told the inquiry last week that she believed Milly was still alive when she found there was space in the girl's previously full voice mailbox. In fact, messages had been deleted by someone working for the News of the World.

Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator working for the tabloid who was jailed in 2007 for eavesdropping on the voice mails of royal aides, has denied deleting the messages.

Davies said the messages were probably deleted by reporters from the paper working under the tutelage of Mulcaire.

"Mulcaire facilitated the hacking by one or more News of the World journalists," Davies said. Mulcaire "does not actually, on the whole, do the listening to the messages himself. Most of that is done by the journalists themselves."

The phone hacking scandal continues to widen.

Davies advocated an independent "public interest advisory body" to judge whether intrusive newspaper stories were in the public interest.

More than a dozen current and former News of the World journalists and editors — including Coulson and Brooks — have been arrested, and two top London police officers and several senior Murdoch executives have resigned.
The inquiry, led by Judge Brian Leveson, plans to issue a report next year and could recommend major changes to Britain's system of media self-regulation.

McMullan rejected in strong terms calls for tougher laws to protect privacy.

"Privacy is evil," he said. "Privacy is the space bad people need to do bad things in."


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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