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APME Update for Thursday, May 24, 2012
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APME Update
APME Update for Thursday, May 24, 2012

Save the Date
• June 1, Deadline for Nominations for McGruder Awards for Diversity Leadership
• June 7,
Webinar: The Twitter Beat
• July 16-17, Community Journalists Symposium
• Sept. 13-14,
NewsTrain, Toronto
Sept. 19-21, 2012 - APME Conference, John Seigenthaler Center, Nashville, Tenn.


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We want your Great Ideas!

We are now accepting submissions for APME's 2012 "Great Ideas" book.

What's a great idea? It can be a new concept for print or online, or a major improvement to something we do every day. This is a chance for your newspaper to show off great work and to help fellow editors by providing ideas that might work in their markets. APME is again focusing on watchdog stories – big and small – because of the difference they can make in the community.

Our "Great Ideas" website allows you to quickly submit entries and upload images that accompanies the Great Idea.

If you have questions, contact David Arkin, GateHouse Media vice president of content & audience, at


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, broadcast and college education 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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4 Good Reasons to Attend APME's Annual Conference in Nashville
  • A panel of four of this year’s Pulitzer winners, including Sara Ganim, who broke the Jerry-Sandusky-Penn-State sex scandal.
  • A performance by Freedom Sings, which teaches about free expression through a rock ’n’ roll prism.
  • A panel of political experts on the presidential campaign.
  • Social Media Friday, a daylong exploration of social media as they pertain to newspapers. Keynoter will be Liz Heron of the Wall Street Journal.

Those are among the highlights of the APME annual conference Sept. 19-21 in Nashville.

APME program chair Mark Baldwin, editor of The Republic in Columbus, Ind., says the program will be interactive, informative and fun.

For more information on the agenda and to register, go to the APME website.


Nominations open for McGruder Awards for Diversity Leadership – Deadline June 1!

The Associated Press Media Editors, in partnership with the American Society of News Editors, is accepting nominations for the 11th 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.

Announcement of the winners will be made at the annual APME conference Sept. 19-21 in Nashville, Tenn. The recognized honorees each receive $2,500 and a leadership trophy.

Who is eligible? Individuals, newsrooms or teams of journalists from U.S. daily newspapers are eligible. A nominee's newspaper must participate in the American Society of News Editors' annual employment census.

The awards recognize achievement for the past 12 months or contributions over a number of years.

What are the criteria? The Diversity Leadership Awards honor an individual, a newsroom or a team of journalists for significant leadership in diversity through:

Recruitment: by providing opportunities for journalists of color to learn about news careers and to enter the newspaper industry in internships and full-time jobs.

Development: by offering opportunities for journalists of color to grow in their current roles and to receive mentoring and training to advance to positions of greater authority, responsibility or expertise.

Retention: by ensuring that journalists of color want to remain in the news industry by providing an inclusive work environment that offers opportunities to contribute and advance.

Content: by reflecting a diverse community accurately and in a way that demonstrates community and industry leadership. The definition of diversity in content includes ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious background, political bent and physical ability.

Nominations can be made by individuals, newspapers, professional organizations, schools of journalism and others.

Rules for entries: Send a letter (no more than three pages) outlining specific information about the achievements and how they benefited the community, the industry and journalists of color. The letter should include the name of the person making the nomination and his/her signature and telephone number.

You may supplement an entry with electronic clips, but please send no more than four. Send copies no larger than 11 by 17 inches.

Send material by email to:

Sally Jacobsen,
The Associated Press
450 West 33rd Street
New York, N.Y. 10001

Deadline: Material must be received by close of business on Friday, June 1.


Wanted: Sports & entertainment tickets, vacation getaways, booze

The Associated Press Media Editors Foundation needs your help to make our auctions successful.

The silent and live auctions will be held at the opening night reception at the annual conference in Nashville. We'll party at the Frist Center for Visual Arts on Wednesday, Sept. 19. As always, auction proceeds will go to support the APME Foundation and valuable programs, such as NewsTrain.

In August, we will feature some of the great items on the slate in September and allow folks to place an opening bid. We'll also have some online-only items, such as tickets to activities in Nashville, as well as an APME memberships conference registrations. This is a great way to give tickets to events or travel either before or after the conference

Right now we need donors – editors and friends of APME who can contribute items for the online, silent and live auctions. We're looking for anything newspaper or Web-related such as award-winning photos, umbrellas, signed comics and autographed books. Jewelry, art, wine and other libations are always popular sellers. Sports tickets and trips are big-ticket items that bring in the cash. A round of golf at a great course or a weekend stay at a resort hotel would be wonderful donations.

You can indicate the auction to which you wish to donate – maybe you will choose both – on the pledge form. We’ll need donations for the online auction by July 15, and for the silent and live auctions at the conference by Aug. 31.

Follow this link to the pledge form, which should be sent to Kim Meader of the Arizona Republic, NM19, 200 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, AZ 85004 or e-mail

Once you've made a pledge, we will coordinate with you about where to mail the donation.

Your donation is tax-deductible and much appreciated by APME and its foundation.

Please be creative and generous.

Thank you, Hollis Towns, APME Foundation president.


We want your Great Ideas!

We are now accepting submissions for APME's 2012 "Great Ideas" book.

What's a great idea? It can be a new concept for print or online, or a major improvement to something we do every day. This is a chance for your newspaper to show off great work and to help fellow editors by providing ideas that might work in their markets. APME is again focusing on watchdog stories – big and small – because of the difference they can make in the community.

Our "Great Ideas" website at allows you to quickly submit entries and upload images that accompanies the Great Idea.

If you have questions, contact David Arkin, GateHouse Media vice president of content & audience, at


The Twitter Beat: Tweet Credibility of Government Agencies

Wednesday, June 7, at 2 pm Eastern Time

Sign up today for the final webinar in the seriers on social media credibility topics presented jointly by APME and Poynter’s NewsU.

This one-hour webinar will help your news organization learn how to verify information from government sources that increasingly share information with journalists – and directly with the public – via Twitter feeds.

How do journalists get to the real sources to make sure information is conformed, accurate and clear? How does a newsroom decide what to report?

This webinar will help you navigate the landscape of social media credibility within government agencies. Learn:

  • The social media strategy of government agencies
  • Your readers’/followers’ expectations
  • How to develop source relationships with agency tweeters
  • How to engage your newsroom in discussions on whom to trust on Twitter, and how to enhance the credibility of your own Twitter streams
  • Questions and issues to address in your newsroom's social-media guidelines

Managing Editor of the Seattle Times, Suki Dardarian, discusses the results of the APME Social Media Credibility Project about the credibility of government Twitter feeds.

APME members may register for $9.95 by using a code. Watch for an email from Sally Jacobsen at AP, then go to this URL to sign up:



AP: Evacuations and drills pared down near U.S. nuclear sites
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Politics disrupt access to tutoring
Arizona Daily Star: Lack of vaccinations in Arizona’s leaves children vulnerable
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Fewer environmental checks under Gov. Walker
Houston Chronicle: Fraud and theft plague disabled veterans program in Texas
Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Minnesota’s overcrowded day care centers a danger
Arizona Republic: Sheriff distributes donated military surplus to non-police agencies
Wilmington News Journal: Fracking wastewater dumped into Delaware River

Read about these and more by clicking here


BEAT OF THE WEEK: Jeff Donn, Phil Holm, Michelle Minkoff

While most of the rest of the country was focused on the December holidays last year, the nation's nuclear power regulators quietly overhauled community emergency planning for the first time since the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in the 1970s, taking none of the lessons of Japan’s recent crisis with its Fukushima accident after the tsunami. The new plans required fewer exercises for major accidents, recommended that fewer people be evacuated right away and added new exercises that do not include drilling for an accident with a release of radiation.

But the general public was unaware of the news plans, as were many nuclear energy activists who usually monitor such changes closely, until Jeff Donn disclosed it.

Donn, a member of the National Investigative Team, built up numerous sources in government and the nuclear industry, as well as a good deal of credibility, during the reporting for his four-part series, "Aging Nukes.” Those contacts paid off, leading to this major scoop for Donn and interactive producers Phil Holm in New York and Michelle Minkoff in Washington.

Months after that series was published, a federal employee reached out with the tip that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Federal Emergency Management Agency had overhauled their standards for accident planning by local communities. The employee, who insisted on speaking off the record, was worried that major changes in how local communities plan for nuclear disasters had weakened the program and had gone unreported.

Donn checked FEMA and NRC regulatory records, which revealed that state and local emergency planners nationwide had raised similar concerns during the rulemaking process. Many are usually reluctant to go on the record challenging the very regulators who evaluate their preparedness exercises. But Donn ultimately found several planners who were willing to go on the record because they were so concerned.

The industry's Nuclear Energy Institute and NRC both responded quickly and aggressively to Donn’s story, defending the program changes via Twitter, a blog and a news release. As part of its effort, the NRC reprinted a press release it issued in August announcing rules changes in emergency preparedness. But the critical point behind Donn’s story was that only some aspects of the rule changes were promoted by the two federal agencies in August, and reported then by AP and other news organizations. No one had reported the very important changes that Donn’s tipster had pointed out - fewer exercises for major accidents, fewer immediate evacuations and new exercises for accidents that do not include a release of radiation. And there were no stories in December, when the key changes took effect.

Donn’s story spurred ferocious debate over nuclear safety on Web forums like Huffington Post. Participants peppered their comments with links or quotes from the AP story and Donn’s original "Aging Nukes” series, which was a Pulitzer finalist for national reporting. One commentary on the 17,000-word series: "Well worth the time to read IMHO."

Within hours of the story’s publication, the exclusive AP IMPACT found its way to at least 3,220 websites. It appeared on at least nine front pages, including two newspapers that localized the story. It was accompanied by a highlights sidebar, especially for iPad use, and interactive producers Phil Holm and Michelle Minkoff created a zoomable map system that tallied 2010 population data for 50-mile emergency zones around all 65 commercial nuclear power sites in the U.S. The 4-level map system, used by the AP for the first time, allows for panning and zooming. A second element of the system allowed the producers to plot Donn’s population data on the color-coded map as well as use popups when hovering over a plant site.


BEST OF THE STATES: David Lieb, John Hanna

For years, the two Kansas Cities on opposite sides of the Missouri-Kansas border have waged a bitter fight for new business, typical of the national desperation of cities and states struggling to create jobs and new tax revenue. But what makes this particular competition different from other multi-state metropolitan areas is that the two states are divided in the Kansas Cities by State Line Road and are sometimes competing for businesses literally across the street.

Like many state bureaus, Missouri and Kansas have turned job creation into a beat. And David Lieb and John Hanna, correspondents in each state, wanted to know more about this border war, particularly how much money had been spent luring businesses at a time when each state was slashing the budgets for education and other social services.

By using FOIA requests and more than a little persistence, Lieb and Hanna came up with the forehead-smacking answer: The two states had committed a combined $750 million in incentives and bonds to attract business from each other, while cutting their budgets for other needs. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was unapologetic. "You’ve got to go out and compete and hustle,” he said. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon took a similar tack: "I’m going to compete for jobs. I’m not backing off on that.”

In Missouri, Lieb had earlier submitted a Sunshine Law request for a spreadsheet detailing all the state’s incentives in a particular economic development program, producing a NewsBreak on its own. So the state already had a form to follow when he returned with a fresh request seeking information on all incentives offered since 2000. Kansas officials weren’t so cooperative, first claiming that they didn’t collect the data, so Hanna used Missouri as an example of how they could fulfill his request. "He kind of shamed them into it,” said news editor Chris Clark.



Don Detore is the new executive editor of The Repository, and GateHouse Ohio Media, publisher Kevin Kampman announced. Detore has served as a sports writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and most recently as managing editor. He joined The Repository in 1985. He succeeds Jeff Gauger, who left in February after 4 1/2 years as executive editor. Detore had served as interim executive editor since Gauger’s departure. "I am really excited about the opportunity to lead our newsroom and serve the needs of readers across all of our platforms,” Detore said. "We have an outstanding, award-winning staff that will continue to provide great journalism.” The Repository has been named the top newspaper in its circulation division in Ohio every year since Detore became managing editor in November 2007. "Don has been an integral part of leading our newsroom during an exciting and challenging time for our industry,” Kampman said. "He demonstrates the highest level of professionalism in journalism and exhibits solid, steady leadership to our editorial department.” Detore will supervise all editorial functions at The Repository and its sister newspapers — The Times-Reporter in New Philadelphia, The Independent in Massillon and The Suburbanite in Green and Jackson Township. All are owned by GateHouse Media. Detore, 52, is a graduate of Walsh University.

A longtime news manager at The Tampa Tribune has been chosen as the new executive editor.

The newspaper ( ) reported the appointment of Richard "Duke" Maas. The 59-year-old Maas has been managing editor of the Tribune since 2005. He's been the top-ranking editor there since Executive Editor Janet Coats resigned in December 2009.

In addition, LeRoy Emerson has been named vice president of advertising and sales, and Bob Geiger will become the general manager of community and niche publications.

The announcements come as the Tribune's parent company, Media General, says it has agreed to sell all of its 63 newspapers to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. — except the Tribune and smaller newspapers in the Tampa-area market. Media General says it's in talks to sell those newspapers to other buyers.

The Abilene Reporter-News is promoting former managing editor Doug Williamson to be the new editor of the newspaper.

Williamson will succeed Barton Cromeens, who left the Scripps Newspaper Group-owned daily earlier this year.

A notice posted on the Reporter-News ( website said Williamson would assume his new duties this week.

Most recently, Williamson has directed niche publications at the newspaper.

Other Scripps Newspapers in Texas are the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, San Angelo Standard-Times and Wichita Falls Times Record News.



• Private equity firm buys 4 newspapers in Midwest
• Honolulu paper to print local edition of USA Today
• Freedom Communication sells off 6 Texas newspapers
• Honolulu newspaper to argue against sealing motion
• Frattura resigns as Traverse City publisher
• Buffett's Berkshire to buy Media General papers
• New media guru Rob Curley leaves Las Vegas Sun

Read about these items and more by clicking here


And Finally … Romney keeps media at bay as he sticks to script

Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Mitt Romney is trying harder than ever these days to stay on script — and keep his traveling national press corps at arms' length.

The latest clash came last week when aides to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee blocked the reporters who cover Romney daily from asking him questions at the "rope line" separating him and his supporters.

It all began after Romney delivered brief remarks to Florida supporters gathered in an auditorium-like space that also hosts weddings and other events. The former Massachusetts governor then walked over to where supporters are cordoned off and wait to shake his hand, get an autograph or take a photo. A group of reporters left an area designated for the media and tried to get within earshot of Romney.

That's when a campaign staffer, Kristin Warren, put her arms out to prevent reporters from walking past her, saying: "We're not going to do this." Romney spokesman Rick Gorka also warned reporters not to attempt to approach Romney, and a Secret Service agent told reporters that the campaign was prohibiting them from approaching without a staff escort.

After a brief standoff, reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, CBS, NBC, CNN and several other outlets circumvented the staffers and eventually moved close enough to hear Romney. Some shouted questions to him.

A few hours later, Romney's campaign acknowledged a mistake.

"This was an error on the part of the campaign staff and volunteers. We have reminded them that press is allowed on the rope line to record the governor's interactions with voters," spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said: "The Secret Service does not restrict movement of the press into a general public area or their movement within the general public area."

Later, before the inaugural flight of his campaign plane, Romney did something he hardly ever does. He walked to the rear of the plane to speak casually with reporters and alluded to his team's nervousness about him speaking to reporters in unscripted situations.

"Rick is about to pass out. Gorka is. 'What are you doing?'" Romney said, laughing and referring to his traveling press secretary who was several rows behind Romney. Gorka then waved his hand in a "wrap it up" motion.

For as impromptu as the moment seemed, Romney didn't respond when pressed about the vice president's speech in Ohio, where Joe Biden attacked Romney's record at Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney helped found.

Rope lines are a staple of political campaigns, but a candidate's presence there can lead to some memorable moments.

In 2008, Barack Obama was approached by Joe Wurzelbacher, an Ohio man who told Obama he would pay more taxes if Obama were elected. "When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody," Obama responded. The exchange was captured on video and widely replayed.

Earlier this year, Romney was on a rope line during the Daytona 500 when an AP reporter asked him about his familiarity with the sport. "I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners," he said, a comment that later drew criticism from Democrats trying to cast him as out of touch.

White House reporters traveling with Obama sometimes are limited in how they can approach the president on a rope line. Typically, photographers and TV sound engineers have more freedom to move. Still, reporters are able to observe Obama interacting with voters on airport tarmacs when he walks over to greet waiting crowds.

Obama often doesn't answer questions on rope lines, though he sometimes will chat with reporters. He recently told some that he won a basketball game he played with actors George Clooney and Tobey Maguire. The president prefers taking questions in formal interview settings.

The rope-line incident was the latest dust-up between the press and Romney's campaign, which frequently limits access to a candidate known for making awkward, if not politically troublesome, statements during unscripted moments.

Romney rarely does interviews with print media. He prefers conservative broadcast outlets, appearing regularly on Fox News Channel and talking with conservative radio hosts. He also regularly tapes interviews with local TV and radio reporters when he visits different states. But he doesn't often allow himself to be grilled by the reporters who know him and his record best and who tend to ask the toughest questions.

His aides also are tight-lipped on even the most mundane issues, like travel logistics.

His campaign insists that almost all interactions between reporters and campaign staff be either anonymous or completely off the record. And he's only just now starting to allow his traveling press corps to share his campaign plane regularly. News organizations that travel with presidential candidates pay their own way, including plane fare, meals, hotels and other necessary expenses, often thousands of dollars per day.

The campaign also limits opportunities to watch Romney interact with voters. It says he regularly meets with middle-class families before events but those meetings are always done in private, with reporters not allowed to witness them. The campaign does not release the names of the attendees.


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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