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APME Update: Nov. 3, 2011
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APME Update
APME Update for Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011
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• Nov. 10 – NewsTrain Webinar on Mobile Reporting
Sept. 19-21, 2012 - APME Conference, John Seigenthaler Center, Nashville, Tenn.


APME Expresses Concerns About Proposed FOI Changes

The Associated Press Media Editors has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder registering its concerns over proposed changes to the Freedom of Information Act.

The letter, signed by APME president Bob Heisse, calls on Holder to drop revisions to the FOIA that would essentially allow federal agencies to deny even the existence of certain federal documents.

There is no need for any change, the letter notes, and APME said it views this action as a step toward making government unaccountable.

Here is the letter in its entirety:
"The Associated Press Media Editors is strongly opposed to the Justice Department’s proposed change to Freedom Of Information Act regulations (OAG Docket No. 140). A modification to the FOIA that would allow federal agencies to essentially deny even the existence of certain federal documents would make a travesty of the United States’ claim to have an open and fair government.

"If implemented, the rule change would gut the intent of the FOIA and make any claims of transparency by any government agency or official a complete sham.

"You work for and should answer to citizens.

"The FOIA was conceived as a way for average citizens — as well as media — to gain information from and about their government. When you propose a change that would allow any government agency to deny the existence of official documents, you are intentionally misleading those citizens.

"There is no need for this revision. The courts already assess whether documents qualify for FOIA exclusions.

"APME views this action as a step toward making government unaccountable. It is bad policy, and we urge you in the strongest possible terms to drop this change to the Freedom of Information Act.”


APME’s Online Holiday Auction Is Under Way

Looking for hard-to-get tickets to the upcoming Nebraska-Penn State Big Ten showdown in Happy Valley? Or maybe AP’s iconic images from 2011? Or just looking for that perfect present for someone on your gift list?

Well, check out our first-ever Associated Press Media Editors online holiday auction. It’s a great way to give gifts that help journalism, APME and can even help you at tax time, since donations to APME are tax deductible.

Visit and find books, photographs, tours, sports tickets, journalism gifts and more. Start the bidding. The auction will continue until Dec. 1, except for the Nov. 12 football tickets. That deadline is Nov. 10.

Good luck.



NewsTrain Webinar on Mobile Reporting on Nov. 10

Mandy Jenkins, social news editor of The Huffington Post, will lead a webinar in November on mobile reporting and free desktop publishing tools.

The webinar is part of the NewsTrain webinar series, APME’s successful training program, which has offered training to more than 5,000 journalists over its 10-year history.

The webinar will be held on Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. Central Time/2 p.m. Eastern Time.

Register for the webinar here:

Call-in information and a link to the webinar will be sent a few days before the event.

Jenkins' session will delve into how journalists can use their phones to report news and what free web tools are out there for stories you're writing from your desktop.

Jenkins has a wealth of experience in mobile reporting. Prior to her role with The Huffington Post, she was the social media editor for Washington, D.C., local news startup TBD and the Cincinnati Enquirer. Mandy has also worked in online news at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and as a newsroom producer for WKSU, an NPR affiliate in Northeast Ohio.

The webinar costs $9.99 for APME members and $19.99 for non-APME members.


NEWSTRAIN: Last workshop of the year: Planning for 2012

Our final NewsTrain of 2011 took place this week in Salt Lake City, with 100 journalists, educators and students in attendance.

Connect with NewsTrain on Facebook and Twitter to read posts about the sessions.

We’ll soon start planning 2012 on-site sessions.

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.


APME50: Reaching Out to All 50 States

APME50 is our new initiative, reaching 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.

Nearly every state is covered in this effort that will start in November, but a few are missing in action. We're looking for lead editors in New York, Nevada, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine. If you can help please contact our co-chairs.

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 Meeting

Planning is under way for 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 of the program: 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.

Is there program content you'd like to see in Nashville? Send your ideas to us by Twitter @APMEsings2012.


Check It Out: APME’s Blog

• Have you heard about APME board member Carole Tarrant's outstanding award?

• Have you heard an update on our new APME50 program and our list of a few states yet to get involved?

You would have read about these -- and more -- by checking out the new APME Update blog at or

The blog offers daily 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: New York Police Department shadows Muslims who change names

Newark Star-Ledger: New Jersey fails to collect $14 million in fines

Cleveland Plain Dealer: County chief asks police to adopt common sex-crimes policy

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Glock claims get close attention from local police

Austin American-Statesman: Regents invest in firm tied to ex-chancellor and governor

Boston Globe: Judges go easy on drunk drivers in Massachusetts

Chicago Tribune: Breakdowns in law enforcement let fugitives flee country easily

Denver Post: Private audits for food safety lack punch

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: No standards for police accused of domestic violence

Commercial Appeal: Muslim truck driver has livelihood taken away by TSA

The Oregonian: Your privacy is dead. They know who you are. Get used to it

• Read all watchdog reports at:


AP Beat of the Week: Brussels’ Don Melvin, Gabriele Steinhauser

In the world of financial news, beats are measured not in minutes, but often in seconds. Ten minutes? An eternity. Fortunes can be made and lost in less. And to score such a global scoop in the midst of blanket coverage by hundreds of journalists representing every major news organization? Extraordinary.

That's exactly what Brussels News Editor Don Melvin and Business Writer Gabriele Steinhauser did on one of the biggest and most competitive financial stories of the year: the Greek debt crisis.

At the EU summit, the question was whether leaders would succeed in reaching agreement to provide an overall solution. As the summit wore on into the early hours, the key issue was whether banks holding Greek debt would take a cut voluntarily, and how big that cut would be.

Both reporters were pushing hard. Melvin was texting three sources with access to the leaders. Sometimes they ignored him, but one confirmed late in the night that the holdup was the cut. Around 3 a.m., Steinhauser heard that a deal might have been reached.

But what was it? Melvin knew exactly what to ask. "There's a deal on the haircut?" he texted one of his sources. "On background, how big? Voluntary?"

At 3:18, well before the summit meeting adjourned, the answer came back: "50% deal, voluntary." That was enough for the APNewsAlert. Then Steinhauser got partial confirmation of a voluntary deal from a second source, in time for the urgent.

European and U.S. markets were closed, but Hong Kong’s main stock index rose 100 points during those 10 minutes. The euro, which was trading just below $1.3900, jumped half a cent within the 10 minutes that AP had the beat, and kept rising through the next day to trade above $1.4240, near a two-month high.


AP Best of the States: Boise’s Jessie Bonner

In August, a University of Idaho professor shot and killed a 22-year-old graduate student he was dating and, hours later, killed himself. In the days after the shooting, Jessie Bonner and colleagues in the Boise bureau filed an exhaustive records request with the university to learn more about the professor, his violent relationship with the student, how university administrators responded to the student’s complaints about him, the shooting and its aftermath.

University officials fought the request, contending state law protected them from releasing employee records. So Correspondent Todd Dvorak talked to four Idaho newspapers who agreed to join with the AP to take the university to court, arguing that the professor’s death rendered that protection moot. It worked: The media organizations prevailed, and the university agreed to release a daunting 4,200 emails, records and other documents.

The AP coordinated with the member newspapers to divide the workload and share both notes and stories. The data-dump happened to come to the AP first on Thursday morning, so all four Boise staffers combed the documents, unearthing enough to file a story in less than an hour, well before members posted anything. That story set the news agenda in Idaho for the day: The Idaho Statesman and Lewiston Tribune immediately posted it and stayed with it, and TV stations in the Boise market also went with the AP’s lead.

By mid-afternoon, the AP’s head start and decision to throw all resources at the breaking story put the bureau in position to be the go-to authority on the records for members, including helping them find and decipher the documents, which came via a DVD. Staffer Becky Boone distributed at least four updated emails to members cataloging document notes and where to find them on the disc.

Another big advantage for the AP: Bonner’s deep familiarity with the story, which had been hers from the beginning. So as her colleagues fed the wires with details they’d found in the first hour, Bonner was able to step back and divine what the most meaningful story was -- what was new, what was interesting, what was provocative, and what was important:

"It was really a great day to be in the bureau,” Dvorak said. "Everyone was on the same page, we were working together, and it was one of those days that made you feel good about what we do.”

Members praised the AP’s coverage and the amount of copy the bureau was able to produce within hours of the documents’ arrival, including a sidebar by John Miller on the university’s reaction to the shooting. Also praised was the lead role the AP took in organizing the unprecedented member cooperation in the run-up to the document release and the days that followed.

For making AP the undisputed leader of enterprising journalism in the state on a big story and coordinating with her colleagues to underscore to Idaho’s newspapers the added value of AP membership, the $300 Best of the States prize goes to Boise newswoman Jessie Bonner.


In Memoriam: Larry Allison, Paul Cloos

Larry Allison, a veteran Long Beach journalist who worked as a reporter and editor during his 54-year career, has died. He was 77. The Long Beach Press-Telegram said Allison died Sunday night after a two-week battle with pneumonia. As a journalist, Allison worked in nearly every department of the Press-Telegram, atarting as a reporter and working his way up quickly to serve as the paper's executive editor. Allison is also a former president of the Associated Press Media Editors. He was the Press-Telegram's editorial page editor when he died. Allison is survived by his wife Patricia, son Larry Jr., four brothers and one sister. A public memorial is being planned.

Veteran Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register editor Paul Cloos has died from complications from injuries sustained when another vehicle pulled out in front of his motor scooter as he rode to work. He was 47. The newspaper reported that Cloos died at the University of South Alabama Medical Center. He had been treated there for broken bones and internal injuries since the Oct. 13 crash. Cloos grew up in Rochester, N.Y. He began his newspaper career in 1986 at The Saratogian in Saratoga Spring, N.Y., where he covered city hall and worked as an assistant city editor. He also worked for the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., as an assistant metro editor.

Cloos joined the Press-Register in 1994 and had served as city editor and assistant managing editor. He led the newspaper's coverage of major stories including hurricanes and a 193-vehicle pileup on the Interstate 10 Bayway in 1995, the largest chain-reaction wreck in U.S. history. He was the lead editor on several investigative journalism projects.

He became the newspaper's first Web editor in 2008. In that job, he helped improve the newspaper's online presence and started Web training for staff.

Survivors include his wife, Liliana; his father, Edward Close Jr.; and daughters Maria Cloos, of Fairhope, and Tallulah Rose Cloos and Carol Lily Cloos, both of North Carolina.


Industry News

• Justice Department criticized over proposed FOIA regulation
• Salt Lake prosecutor sues newspaper for libel
• Indiana judge rules KKK newspaper wasn't litter
• No immediate FOIA changes expected after Arkansas ruling
• What earnings reports have revealed about ads
• Cox Media to combine jobs at AJC, other newspapers
• Bo Jones leaving The Washington Post Co. for PBS
• Newspaper owner pays Saints for Twitter promotion
• Meadville publisher tabbed to head Sharon paper

Read more at:


And Finally … "The Rum Diary”

Film review: The birth of Gonzo in 'The Rum Diary'
AP Entertainment Writer

If Batman and the X-Men get prequels, why not Hunter S. Thompson?

He was certainly a superhero of a kind, just one whose powers mainly consisted of consuming copious amounts of alcohol while still, somehow, churning out wildly colorful, raging dispatches from the road.

"The Rum Diary" is based on Thompson's heavily autobiographical novel by the same name, which he wrote as a 22-year-old in the early 1960s after a stint as a newspaper reporter in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It wasn't published until 1998. Since then, Thompson's friend Johnny Depp (who also played Thompson in 1998's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas") has been trying to adapt "The Rum Diary" to the screen.

"The Rum Diary" – which is dedicated to Thompson, who died in 2005 – is essentially a portrait of the Duke as a young journalist. The stand-in for Thompson, the young novelist-reporter Paul Kemp (Depp), is trying to find his way and his writing voice: It's the birth of Gonzo.

Criminally exaggerated resume in hand, Kemp has gone to Puerto Rico to try his hand as a reporter. He lands a job at the San Juan Star, whose editor-in-chief, Lotterman (the excellent Richard Jenkins), is at his wit's end running a failing, diminishing daily. As he interviews a hung-over Kemp, he quizzes him on what kind of drinker he is, to which Kemp deadpans that he's at "the upper-end of social."

Kemp is befriended by staff photographer Sala (Michael Rispoli, in a deservedly big part for him), a burly, genial newsman who is nevertheless not once seen with a camera in hand. Kemp moves into Sala's dilapidated dump of an apartment, which he shares with crime reporter Moberg (Giovanni Ribisi), a horse-voiced, over-drugged oddity who listens to Hitler broadcasts and sets some kind of record for caustic reporter-editor relations.

Kemp catches the attention of American businessman Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart), a smooth manipulator who is trying to push through an enormous development of a nearby, pristine island that's pushing locals out in favor of American investors. Sanderson recruits Kemp to spin the development favorably in the Star.

This picture of American corruption of Puerto Rico is one of the more compelling aspects of "The Rum Diary." A combative atmosphere between poor locals and rich Americans hangs in the air, as do the Navy bombing tests on Vieques. Depp is again in the Caribbean among pirates.

Sanderson's slick, wealthy appeal is tempting to Kemp, who isn't finding the constricting Star to be an especially noble pursuit, either. Even more alluring is Sanderson's beautiful fiancée Chenault, played by Amber Heard. Kemp immediately falls for her ("Oh God, why did she have to happen?" he mutters after meeting her) and it's no wonder: Heard is a stunning presence.

This builds slowly for Kemp into a moral crisis and, finally, an artistic tipping-point. "I don't know how to write like me," he says, but by the end of the film, it's clear that Kemp/Thompson has found his legs. The guiding principle is a furious distrust of authority (we glimpse him cursing Nixon), and a key ingredient is hallucinogens (we also get an early encounter with LSD).

You might expect a tribute such as this to be sycophantic, but director Bruce Robinson (famous for the brilliant cult film "Withnail & I") keeps a realistic tone. Robinson, who also wrote the screenplay adaptation, doesn't present the cartoonish Thompson we have come to expect. It's a refreshing, grounded view of the writer.

Depp, at this point, would seem to not be aging. This more low-key performance as a Thompson alter-ego feels truer than the manic derangement of "Fear and Loathing," but the role is also lacking yearning and real energy.

Thompson went on to find his voice, but "The Rum Diary," entertaining and well-intended, comes just shy of discovering its own.


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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