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 www.apme.com 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.
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
Click here to join APME or renew your membership.