Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Applications sought for NewsTrain project manager

Job description

The Associated Press Media Editors seeks a project manager for its signature NewsTrain Project.

NewsTrain provides regional training workshops for news leaders, especially frontline editors who are leading rapidly changing digitally focused newsrooms. NewsTrain has provided leadership and journalism skills training to more than 6,000 frontline editors in the United States and Canada since its inception almost 11 years ago.

The project manager plans and produces NewsTrain training workshops for the APME in locations throughout the United States and Canada. This is an independent contract position that reports to a committee of the APME board. The position is funded through grants and donations secured annually by the board for the following year. The initial term is for one year, with renewal dependent upon funding.


1. Plan and produce workshops based on the NewsTrain process/model. This includes:·

-- Selecting sites and workshop dates (currently up to four a year);
-- Assembling and leading a planning committee at each site;
-- Holding a planning meeting at each site to create the program, plan logistics and divvy up tasks;
-- Recruiting and coaching faculty members on their seminar material;
-- Building an agenda that meets the stated needs of the planning group and can be effectively run in the available room space;
-- Supervising and working with the NewsTrain program assistant (another contract position), to ensure the timely and accurate completion of logistical, financial and administrative tasks;
-- Managing workshop registration on the APME website; and
-- Running the workshops successfully (in person) for hosts, faculty or participants.

2. Work with the APME board committee to select workshop sites.

3. Conduct workshops within a process/model that has been approved by funders and donors and is overseen by a committee of the APME board.

4. Collect and evaluate feedback from participants and hosts after each workshop. Strive to continually improve or adapt workshops to the changing needs of the industry.

5. Manage the NewsTrain portion of the APME website.

6. Attend APME board meetings and report to the APME board about each workshop.

7. Contribute information for reports that the APME board committee prepares for funders.

The successful candidate will be a seasoned newsroom veteran with 10+ years of experience, and experience operating successful newsroom training programs. Must be able to work independently and flexibly; demonstrate an understanding of the learning needs of newsrooms; demonstrate an understanding of how to create effective training seminars; manage oversight of the program overall; manage every content and logistical aspect of each workshop; travel to sites around North America; and work within a budget.

How to Apply:
Applicants should submit a cover letter and resume detailing credentials, qualifications and experience to apme@ap.org.  

Deadline for applications is Jan. 15, 2014

Monday, December 9, 2013

Applications sought for journalism fellowship on resilience and recovery

   Stories about natural and manmade disasters have become, sadly, an all-too-familiar element of the news. While there is ample coverage of them while the disaster is unfolding — Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, mass shootings, and the Gulf oil spill are just a few examples — in most cases coverage fades when the immediate disaster is past.
   With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, which has a long-standing commitment to support work on the issue of resilience, the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research will sponsor a 9-month fellowship in which a journalist will receive special training and a significant opportunity to do high-impact journalism on issues related to economic, psychological, and social resilience.
   The fellowship is designed to provide time to explore community resilience in all its forms. The daily workflow of most newsrooms often prevents reporters from taking the time they need to acquire the skills and background needed to synthesize and interpret the scope of the story, how it ties one community to another, and what might be learned so that policy makers can take action.
   In addition, there is a wealth of cutting edge information about resilience and recovery that is being collected and analyzed at research institutions around the world on resilience and its definition and measurement that is never delivered into the public domain. Journalists too often lack the time and the tools to uncover these sources for stories that illuminate what is known about resilience.
   The AP-NORC Journalism Fellowship on Resilience and Recovery will train a person in the skills needed to do research-based enterprise journalism about community resilience in all its forms. The fellowship will have an impact that will reach far beyond the fellowship term.
   The journalist will return to the newsroom with new skills and background to continue to report on resilience and recovery issues, and share that knowledge with colleagues. It is anticipated that over time other journalists will receive the same training, leading to a cadre of experts skilled in the use of research to tell some of the most important stories of the day.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

APME-ASNE protest White House photo restrictions

The Associated Press Media Editors and American Society of News Editors, along with a coalition of other press organizations, today formally expressed concerns about the Obama administration's policies regarding photographic access to the president while he performs official duties.The letter to Press Secretary Jay Carney expressed the groups' concerns about the White House practice of instead issuing handout photographs of official activity.

Below is the letter that APME President Debra Adams Simmons and ASNE President David Boardman jointly issued to their members.

November 21, 2013

Dear Members of the American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors:

For decades, American news photographers have captured iconic moments in and around the White House: President Kennedy, from behind in silhouette in the days before the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Carter, triumphantly joining hands with Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin at the signing of the Camp David Accords. President Reagan, walking out of the Oval Office for the final time. President George W. Bush, taking counsel from President George H.W. Bush along the White House Colonnade.

These presidents have recognized that photographic access by the public's press to their leader is essential to Americans' trust in the workings of government.

But not this president. The administration of President Obama is routinely denying the right of independent journalists to photograph or videotape the president while he is performing official duties. Instead, the White House is issuing visual press releases – handout pictures taken by official government photographers – and expecting news outlets to publish those.

These are not instances where national security is at stake, but rather, presidential activities of a fundamentally public nature. In recent months, these restricted events have included President Obama meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with African-American clergy, and with Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.

In each case, the White House deemed the events "private,” but then sent its own photographs to the press and directly to the public over social media. This is, we are sure you will agree, unacceptable practice, raising both constitutional and ethical concerns. These photographs are, in essence, government propaganda tailored to serve the president's interests and not the public's.

Today, a coalition of press organizations, including ASNE, APME, the White House Correspondents Association and many others, delivered a letter to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney expressing our concerns about this practice and asking for an immediate meeting to discuss those concerns.

In the meantime, we must accept that we, the press, have been enablers. We urge those of you in news organizations to immediately refrain from publishing any of the photographs or videos released by the White House, just as you would refuse to run verbatim a press release from them. We urge those of you in journalism education to highlight this issue in your classrooms. And we urge those with editorial pages to educate and activate the public on this important issue.


David Boardman         Debra Adams Simmons
ASNE President         APME President

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's a holiday mugging

APME wants to mug you. 

Give $80 this holiday season to support APME in its 80th year, and we’ll send you one of these stylish mugs. 

Tax-deductible donations to the APME Foundation assist newsroom leaders by providing training and ideas, protecting First Amendment rights, safeguarding Freedom of Information and fostering innovation and watchdog journalism. 

Another way to help: Become a NewsTrain Ambassador with a donation of $100 or more. The low-cost, high-impact NewsTrain traveling short-course program is 10 years old and remains wildly popular. The ’Train will make four stops in 2014. 

And consider joining APME or renewing your membership heading into a momentous year that includes an unprecedented joint conference with the American Society of News Editors Sept. 15-17 in Chicago. Memberships are $150 a year, with $50 student memberships available. Also offered are $75 for associate members and retirees.
Or, for $800, you can become a lifetime member in recognition of the 80th anniversary.

Members receive discounts on APME Journalism Excellence Contest fees and annual conference registration, which more than pays for your membership.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Roberts Receives 2013 APME President's Award

Veteran journalist Michael Roberts was honored Wednesday by the Associated Press Media Editors for his leadership with APME’s signature program, NewsTrain.

Roberts, who received the APME President’s Award, has been involved with NewsTrain from its inception in 2003. After starting as a featured speaker for the low-cost, national traveling journalism workshop, he became a crowd favorite and remained a staple of the program. Roberts became the program’s director in 2011.

"We are indebted to Michael for his service and dedication to NewsTrain,” said APME President Brad Dennison. "He’s passionate about the program and protective of its quality, and we’re fortunate to have him. It’s time to say ‘thank you’ in a public way.”

The President’s Awards are given at the discretion of the organization’s president, and this recognition comes as NewsTrain celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Roberts received the award during the 80th APME conference, which was held in Indianapolis.

Roberts is overseeing four NewsTrain workshops in 2013 – Springfield, Ill.; New York; Colorado Springs and Seattle.

Sponsors of NewsTrain 2013 include The Associated Press, the APME Foundation, the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Gannett Foundation, the Scripps Howard Foundation, GateHouse Media Inc., Medicare News Group, Athlon Sports, and The World Company.

Outside of his work with NewsTrain, Roberts is a newsroom trainer and consultant who works with news organizations in the United States and Canada. He was deputy managing editor of staff development at The Arizona Republic from 2003 to 2010, where he was responsible for all newsroom training, served as writing coach and edited major projects. Previously, Roberts designed and taught the American Press Institute's first online seminar for copy editors, and has presented programs for the Poynter Institute, American Press Institute, the Maynard Institute, Freedom Forum and various National Writers Workshops. Before the Republic, Roberts was a senior editor, including 10 years as training editor/writing coach at The Cincinnati Enquirer. He has also held writing and editing positions at the Midland (Mich.) Daily News and the Detroit Free Press, and worked as an editor at two magazines. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and holds a master’s degree in training and human resource development from Xavier University in Cincinnati.

The Associated Press Media Editors is an association of top newspapers, digital and broadcast editors, as well as journalism educators and students in the United States and Canada. APME works closely with The Associated Press to foster journalism excellence and to support a national network for the training and development of editors who will run multimedia newsrooms in the 21st Century. APME is on the front line in setting ethical and journalistic standards for newspapers and in the battle for freedom of information and the First Amendment.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Buffett expert: Newspapers still valuable community assets

By Matt Holden | Ball State University

            Warren  Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Media Group has purchased 28 newspapers for $344 million in just the last two years, signaling that one of the world's richest men and his company's shareholders believe local news - the printed kind - remains a valuable community asset and can turn a profit.
            "It is an exciting time in the industry," said Terry Kroeger, president and publisher of The Omaha World-Herald, just days before making similar remarks at the 2013 Associated Press Media Editors Conference in Indianapolis. He noted he isn't the only one who shares enthusiasm for the medium, pointing to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who purchased for $250 million in early August.
            "I reached out to Jeff after I heard, and I told him I was rooting for him," Kroeger said. "We are sort of in this together in not knowing what is going to happen over the next several years."  
            The BH strategy is focused on small newspaper markets and the local franchise each represents at a time when print journalism is struggling to develop new business models that don't involve cutting pages or employees.
            "Print will still be an important part of the business, while digital will continue to have a growing market share," Kroeger said.
Earlier this year Buffett was quoted in Forbes magazine: "Wherever there is a pervasive sense of community, a paper that serves the special informational needs of that community will remain indispensable to a significant portion of its residents."
            The concept of hyper-local news coverage is nothing new. Kroeger pointed out that The Omaha World-Herald still publishes seven days a week (bucking a recent trend of papers reducing frequency or even going all digital) while they offer a metered-approach online.
            What remains unknown is how advertising will evolve. Kroeger admits that making money digitally is still a challenge. "We're always trying new things in advertising, but print advertising is still very effective and very important to us," said Kroeger.
            Kroeger said uncertainty isn't a reason to stop innovating but doing the basics well is equally important.  In order to make money through advertising, newspapers have to continue to create quality content that is worth paying for, he said.  BH Media Group believes that communities want local content, and that they are willing to pay for it.
            In order to get great content, Kroeger says he wants to hire people who are energetic and talented, who have skills in all areas of journalism.
            "We aren't looking for one specific type of skill set, we want people who want to do the work and are comfortable writing stories on any platform," said Kroeger.
            This is especially true when print is leveraged as premium paid content to supplement digital news. Kroeger says that his newspaper's most active digital readers are the same ones who subscribe to the print paper, so they have to be ready to tell stories in different ways in order to give the audience a well-rounded and diverse selection of news.
            The Omaha World-Herald is starting to do this by diversifying its products, with the addition of apps for the Apple and Android devices. Apps such as the NE Prep Zone and Big Red today are sports-focused applications that provide readers with extra content exclusive to their region. While free right now, these soon will be paid apps that add another revenue stream to the OWH's media packages.
            These sorts of additions are part of Kroeger's plan to tell stories on as many platforms as possible. "If there is a technology that has public acceptance, we need to embrace that technology," said Kroeger. "I tell my staff that if it is a hologram on a table, we need to figure out how to tell a story using it."
            Whether it's a hologram on a table or a printed newspaper delivered to the driveway, the one Berkshire Hathaway constant is to produce the best possible local content for that local audience - a commodity they cannot get anywhere else.



Berkshire Hathaway newspaper chief sees long future for newspapers


By Alan Miller

Associated Press Media Editors

The leader of Warren Buffett's newspaper group told newspaper editors today that he sees a long future for newspapers, especially if they are thoughtful and creative in adjusting to changes in the media landscape.


"We will do very well in this business if we make good decisions, not just cut," said Terry Kroeger, chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Media Group and publisher of the Omaha World-Herald. He spoke during the Associated Press Media Editors conference in Indianapolis.


He said recent reports that BH Media is interested in some Tribune properties is accurate and old news. While BH Media is interested, he said, he is not in any talks with anyone at Tribune about its papers.


He said Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is interested in continuing to buy papers in mid-size and small markets. A paper with a circulation of "30,000 to 100,000 is our sweet spot," he said. And he said Buffett is looking for a return on investment of about 10 percent.


He said that short-term financial difficulties at any of its properties won't lead to a sale or closure, but that the company won't buy or keep a paper that has long-term losses for which there appears no end. An example, he said, was in Manassas, Va., where the paper was losing money when BH Media acquired Media General papers.


"We sent in our best thinkers and couldn't come up with a way to save it, so we closed it," he said. "It had sustained losses we couldn't overcome."


Kroeger said his philosophy of newspapering is to develop trust between publishers and editors and allow editors to do good journalism without interference. Editors build trust, he said, by holding fast to core journalistic values of accuracy and fairness.


He said consolidated copy and design desks – including advertising design – "make him nervous" and he prefers to see those functions done locally at each newspaper to reduce the chance for errors by someone editing a story for a paper and audience that could be a state away.


"Media General papers had those when we bought them, and we have fewer of them now," Kroeger said.


Too many nuances can be lost in the miles between newspapers and consolidated desks, he said. And he said repeatedly that while BH Media editors meet occasionally to share ideas, news markets and consumers are so different that Kroeger says it is vital to allow local autonomy in decisions about coverage and display.


And local advertising is too important to turn over to someone in another state or overseas. When it comes to print versus digital advertising value, Kroeger said that "print is very critical to our business. Our advertisers will tell you that print is their most effective form of advertising."


BH Media paper websites are now using metered paywalls "or will be."


He said the newspaper industry blundered by giving away valuable content for years and now is trying to recover, and metered paywalls carry less risk than some other models of alienating readers.


"The last thing we want is for people to think we're an exclusive club they can't get into," he said. "We want them to come in and look around, and hopefully they like us and want to stay."











Q&A with APME President-Elect Debra Adams Simmons

By Devan Filchak| Ball State University



 "Critical to my career has been having mentors, people both within the newsrooms where I've worked and in other parts of the news industry, were there to support me and to help direct me," Simmons said.


Q&A with APME incoming President Debra Adams Simmons


Debra Adams Simmons joined The Plain Dealer in Cleveland as managing editor in 2007. She was named editor in 2010. Previously, she worked as the editor and vice president of news at the Akron Beacon Journal for four years. Other stops included the Detroit Free Press and The Virginian-Pilot.

Simmons earned her bachelor of arts degree from Syracuse University. She says networking and mentors have been keys to her success.


Q: What drew you to journalism?


A: Really wanting to make a difference in the world is what drove me to this profession. My original plan after college was that I was going to take a year off to travel the world and go to law school. During that year, I was offered …  a nine-month internship at the local paper in Syracuse, N.Y. I was going to do that nine-month postgraduate internship and then I was going to go to Africa and Europe. And then I was going to start school in September. Two weeks into my post-graduate internship, I was offered a full time permanent job. That was in 1986 and I'm still in the industry, all of these years later.


Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing APME this coming year?


A: I think APME has a unique opportunity this year to innovate and collaborate. As you know, the industry is changing dramatically and APME is an organization of leaders who are trying to lead through a period of dynamic change. I think anything that we can do that helps our members develop tools to be successful as we navigate changes would be a key calling for us. Certainly, we are celebrating APME's 80th anniversary. APME was founded 80 years ago in French Lick, Ind. And I think it is important to celebrate the past 80 years and the work that has come before us, as well as to plot of course for the future.


Q: What do you believe is in the future of print?


A: Based on the readers that I hear from every day, I think print will continue to have a future. I don't think print is going away tomorrow. There are many people who continue to like words on paper. I would also say though, based on the feedback I have received as we've gone through substantial change here in Cleveland, the response is generational. Many of the readers of our content under 40 really prefer digital content. Many of those people say, 'I never pick up a paper. I read the e-edition of the paper. I read your website, but I'm not a paper person." The 40- to 70-year-old age group knows digital is where the future is moving. They don't love it, but they have kind of resigned to the fact that this is the direction we are moving in. The 70 and over crowd is angry. They want print; they want it every day, and they want it to be the way it used to be. The challenge for newspaper editors is figuring out how to navigate all of the ways our audience likes to access our information. Print continues to be a huge part of that. For most news organizations, print revenue continues to pay the bills, even as their digital audiences are expanding exponentially. So we're going to have to figure out how to do it all. But print is still alive and well and making a huge difference in communities across America. 


Q: How would you describe the importance of social media in today's media environment?


A: I think social media is critical in today's media environment. When I think about some of the biggest stories covered in my community in the past couple of years, social media was in the center both in terms of newsgathering and news dissemination. Engagement is key to the work that we do. We need new sources talking to us, so social media is a great way to access people and information. And we need to spread information on as many platforms as we can. Social media enables us to do both of those things better than we have ever been able to before. For years, our work was a one-way conversation with our audience. Social media has opened up tremendous opportunities to have a two-way conversation or a multiple way conversation with the audience.


Q: What do you believe the future of pay walls will be?


A: I think that the future of pay walls is undecided. Clearly, there are two schools of thought. One is that people should pay to access information, but we also know that young people believe that information should be free. At least in my organization, there's a hesitancy to cut information off from significant numbers of audience members who want to engage with that information. I think there is a lot of experimentation right now, and experimentation is critical for our industry. I think we will assess the results of those experiments before a decision is made about what the future of pay walls will be. I don't think we are absolutely moving toward pay walls or we're absolutely not. Several news organizations have dipped their toe in. Some have had tremendous success; others have backed away. I think pay walls are one of many experiments happening in the news industry. The verdict is still out on what the ultimate outcome will be. 





Tuesday, October 29, 2013

APME elects new leadership

The Associated Press Media Editors organization elected four members to its board of directors and installed new leadership today during its annual conference in Indianapolis.

Elected to at-large positions were Meg Downey, managing editor of The Tennessean in Nashville; and Thomas Koetting, deputy managing editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Autumn Agar, editor of the Twin Falls (Idaho) Times-News, was elected to represent small newspapers; and David Arkin, vice president of content & audience for GateHouse Media, was elected to represent online media.

The new APME officers are president, Debra Adams Simmons, editor, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland; vice president, Alan D. Miller, managing editor/news, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch; secretary, Teri Hayt, executive editor of GateHouse Ohio Newspapers in Canton, Massillon and New Philadelphia; and journalism studies chair, Laura Sellers-Earl, digital development director for the EO Media Group in Salem, Ore. The treasurer is Dennis Anderson, editor of the Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star.

APME wrapped up its annual convention Wednesday.

Its 2014 conference will be held with the American Society of News Editors in Chicago.

APME members are newsroom leaders at newspapers and broadcast outlets, journalism educators and student leaders in the United States and Canada. APME works with The Associated Press to encourage journalism excellence and support training and development of journalists in multimedia newsrooms.

Editors vote for Innovator of the Year


Editors vote for Innovator of the Year


Devan Filchak

Ball State University



APME editors today voted on three finalists for Innovator of the Year and the winner will be announced at the awards luncheon on Wednesday.


Editors from The Arizona Republic, The Columbus Dispatch and WLRN-Miami Herald gave presentations about their latest efforts.


Meg Downey, managing editor of The Tennessean and moderator of the presentation, said this is her favorite session each year.


"The news organization has to be able to offer a new, creative and forward-thinking concept that has long lasting effects and attracts new audiences or dollars," she said.


"So it can be a product, it can be a new technique or a new structure. But it must be able to show a specific goal over a period of time, and it should have the potential to become a industry standard over a period of time."


Keira Nothaft, a deputy managing editor with The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, presented AZ, a semi-weekly newsmag for iPad.


The app focuses on presenting feature stories in a more in-depth and interactive way.


Nothaft said they found a way to do what monthly iPad magazine publications haven't done – be timely and get readers to come back multiple times a week.


Ben Marrison, editor of The Columbus Dispatch, showed how changing the newspaper's format was innovative.


The organization moved from a full broadsheet to a tabloid-style newspaper. Marrison said the newspaper is now easier and more convenient to read and carry.


The Dispatch also began placing ads in the middle of the spreads. That helps open up room for text while forcing the readers' eyes to go across ads between stories.


Kenny Malone, WLRN-Miami Herald reporter, discussed how staffers at his organization started doing something that may sound simple – just listening.


Reporters at the radio news and newspaper partnership have gone out to talk with the public about whatever is on their mind, getting the pulse of the community even when not working on a particular story.


The practice results in telling unexpected stories that truly show the voice of the Miami area, Malone said.