Posts Tagged ‘Associated Press Managing Editors’

The St. Petersburg Times is planning to rebrand itself as the Tampa Bay Times.

Here’s the primary reason I think you shouldn’t waste time, energy, focus and money rebranding a newspaper: Print newspapers are a declining business, and news organizations should spend time, energy, focus and money on building a successful digital business for the future, not trying to rebrand the product of the past.

I’m a longtime fan of the St. Pete Times and the Poynter Institute, the non-profit organization that owns it (and depends on Times profits for its prosperity). I wish the Times well in its rebranding effort. I hope it reaps in great profits that fund growth of Poynter’s programs.

However, I think MediaNews Group (my colleagues in Digital First Media) made the right decision in reversing a move toward a regional brand, retaining the established local brands, including the Oakland Tribune, a name with a long and distinguished history. (more…)


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When the Nieman Lab tweeted yesterday that it had published my journalism predictions for 2011, I couldn’t recall what all I had predicted. I had sent my forecast a couple weeks earlier, in response to a request from Lois Beckett. I remembered predicting a few things off the top of my head, but didn’t immediately recall what I had forecast.

One of the predictions made a stronger impression with some of my tweeps:

We will see some major realignment of journalism and news-industry organizations. Most likely: the merger of ASNE and APME, mergers of some state press associations, mergers of at least two national press organizations, mergers of some reporter-beat associations. One or more journalism organizations will close. (more…)

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I can be a bit of a scold to colleagues, exhorting editors to move more boldly and swiftly into the future.

As an industry, newspapers have been slow and clumsy at innovation. But a lot of editors do outstanding, innovative journalism (as well as outstanding traditional journalism) and I would like to recognize some of them. I was honored today by Editor & Publisher, named Editor of the Year. As I explain in a separate post, I was surprised by the honor, not out of false humility but because I truly am no longer an editor.

While I am honored by this recognition, I do want to make the point that many editors are deserving of such recognition. Dozens, if not hundreds, of editors serve their communities honorably, elevate the journalism of their staffs and pursue innovative solutions, even in these trying times. (more…)

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Looking back over the past year or so, in many ways it was the most frustrating, disappointing period of my career. I normally would avoid looking back on it at all. I am a positive person and have been looking forward to a new job that has taken me out of the newspaper business.

But I sort of had to look back, mostly in surprise, when I learned in January that Editor & Publisher magazine, which boasts that it is “America’s oldest journal covering the newspaper industry,” was naming me Editor of the Year. The magazine announcing the honor arrives in newspaper offices this week, the week after I left the industry.

A year before I received the news, I was preparing to do two of the most difficult things of my career: (more…)

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I first posted Twitter time management tips in February 2010. I updated them Sept. 4, 2012 as part of my #twutorial series. 

As I visit newsrooms and since I started my #twutorial series of Twitter advice for journalists, people often ask how they squeeze Twitter into their busy days.

At one level, the answer is simple: You make time for what’s important. In my last post I noted why Twitter is valuable for journalists. If something is valuable, you prioritize and figure out how to fit it into your workday.

But I also understand the question and the challenge. Twitter can easily suck up big chunks — or lots of little chunks — of your day. And busy journalists face so many demands in shrunken newsrooms that we have to manage time carefully even with the tools that are valuable.

The tips specific to Twitter are coming shortly. But first a caveat: You need to invest some time learning to use Twitter, especially mastering advanced search and connecting with people in your community. I’m not going to pretend you don’t need to spend some time to learn and to develop a helpful network.

Learning and connecting take some time, but keep in mind that Twitter also saves you time. I’ve already noted how Twitter helps you connect with sources quickly in breaking news stories. You also can use Twitter (once you’ve developed a large, engaged following) to save time in other ways, getting quick answers to questions and finding sources for routine stories. (I’ll do a separate #twutorial post sometime on crowdsourcing.)

Now for the tips on Twitter time management: (more…)

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My Sunday post about the APME board’s use of Twitter drew a detailed, thoughtful response from APME board member Carole Tarrant.

Carole, editor of the Roanoke Times, had prompted the Sunday post with a tweet from a meeting of the Associated Press Managing Editors. She responded in a comment to the original blog post. But, recognizing that the comment will not receive as much attention as the original post, I wanted to call attention to it in a separate post. She put a lot of thought into her response and I thought it deserved more attention than blog comments sometimes get. I also wanted to respond to it. (more…)

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I was delighted to read the news in a tweet from Carole Tarrant this morning: All APME board members are on Twitter now.

Tarrant, editor of the Roanoke Times, was tweeting from an APME board meeting and reported:

We just surveyed which #apme board members are on Facebook and Twitter. All 27 have accounts on both, I’m happy to report.

I was happy myself and ready to claim a piece of credit. Less than a year ago, I documented how few newsroom leaders were using Twitter, specifically checking the board members of both APME and the American Society of News Editors (then the N in ASNE stood for Newspaper). I could find Twitter accounts last March for only eight APME board members (more, actually, than on the ASNE board). I have been trying to educate colleagues on the value of Twitter for journalists. I led a webinar on Twitter for ASNE shortly afterward.

I almost retweeted what Tarrant had said right away, adding my praise for these busy editors taking the time to master a new tool. But then I paused. I was pretty sure every editor on that board has probably repeated the old journalism cliché: If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out. So I decided to check it out before retweeting Mom’s love for Twitter. I planned to document that newsroom leaders are using Twitter regularly and effectively, and how much their Twitter use has grown since last year. I planned to claim a little success in my Twitter evangelism efforts among newsroom leaders.

My plans didn’t quite work out. Actually, my quick research shows that most APME board members still are not actively engaged with Twitter. In fact, I could not find eight of them on Twitter. Most board members had not tweeted this year. (more…)

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I encourage editors to follow live coverage of the Associated Press Managing Editors convention starting today in St. Louis.

The digital-only coverage of APME09 by University of Missouri students might help you in four ways:

  • If you’re attending the convention, it will enhance your understanding of the events and issues.
  • If you’re not attending the convention, it will allow you to follow the discussions.
  • Either way, it might help you rethink how you cover big events in your community.
  • It might help you think differently about what “Web-first” coverage means. (more…)

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Updated to add @carolynwashburn to list of Twittering editors.

I’m pleased that the American Society of Newspaper Editors is proceeding with a virtual convention.

I suggested such an alternative in a post I wrote Feb. 27, the day ASNE canceled its Chicago convention scheduled for late April. I can’t take credit for the ASNE decision because President Charlotte Hall, editor of the Orlando Sentinel, told me in an email right after I sent her a link to the post that plans were already under way. But I applaud the decision. Tough times are exactly when leaders of news organizations should be sharing ideas and helping each other meet difficult challenges.

ASNE took me up on two offers I made in that Feb. 27 post. I will be leading webinars to teach my fellow editors how to lead their staffs into the Twitterverse (April 7) and how to use liveblogging to cover events as they unfold (April 21). 

 (A couple recent comments on this blog asked who I write for — my peers or the community. The truth is that I write about community issues as well as journalism issues. This particular post is focused on journalism issues. Community members are welcome to read it, but if my focus on journalism issues and my frequent discussions of Twitter annoy you, this would be a good time to click over to some more community-focused content at GazetteOnline.)

I’ll blog soon about liveblogging and seek some advice from editors and from the community on how to use that tool effectively. But right now I want to explain how urgently my colleagues need to learn about Twitter.

I’ve never known a top newspaper editor who didn’t work too hard and love his or her job.

Editors work long hours and then take work home, worrying about matters as diverse as ethics, grammar, revenue and investigative reporting. They believe to their core that they are performing public service and upholding a right so precious that our nation’s founders protected it in the First Amendment. They are working hard at innovating, but they and their staffs are so rooted in what they know that change is slow and difficult.

Only time will tell whether Twitter is a fad or a revolutionary information source whose importance will grow. But for right now, its value for journalism is clear, growing and easily demonstrated. And most top editors don’t use it at all. And most who have Twitter accounts rarely use them.

This is the truth about being a newspaper editor today: The things you learned over decades on your path to the top are not the things that will help you innovate and thrive in the future. Twitter is only an illustration that editors are moving too slowly on the path to innovation.

As promised in a recent post, I searched for leaders of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Associated Press Managing Editors who use Twitter. My search might have omitted some who don’t use their actual names or locations in their profiles or some with common names who created a profile but didn’t update more than a few times. I’m confident I found every leader of ASNE or APME who uses Twitter in any significant way under his or her real name. Also, the numbers of followers and updates listed below might be a few days out of date, because I checked a few editors here and there over the last several days.

Of 20 officers and directors of ASNE, only three even had a Twitter presence:

  • Ellen Foley has 33 followers. But I should note that all 21 of her updates came after she resigned in October as editor of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.
  • ASNE President Charlotte Hall wrote her first Twitter post Monday. She has 52 followers. When I started writing this, she had 29 followers but had not yet given them a single tweet to follow. She’s moving in the right direction. I hope she’ll be in my April 7 audience.
  • John Temple, who was editor and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News when it folded Feb. 27, has 55 followers and one update: one word, “test,” tweeted last July 23. I have not seen a news report that he has a new job yet.

In other words, of 20 ASNE board members, not a single active editor had posted a single tweet at the time they canceled their convention.

Of 16 ASNE committee chairs (including some board members), George Stanley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Jennifer Carroll of Gannett (a corporate executive with a digital emphasis who doesn’t lead a newsroom) were the only ASNE committee chairs who were active on Twitter. (I will be collaborating with Stanley in a regional American Press Institute New Newsroom workshop in Eau Claire, Wis., next Friday, March 27.)

Of ASNE board candidates, only Anthony Moor, an online editor for the Dallas Morning News, is active on Twitter. Carlos Sanchez of the Waco Tribune-Herald has 24 followers and no updates. But if he ever does update, you can’t read it unless he lets you follow him because he has protected his updates.

APME’s board is more active on Twitter, but its only members with more than 100 followers or tweets are an editor and a former editor with primary focus on the digital platform. Of 31 APME board members:

  • Jack Lail, news director of innovation at the Knoxville News Sentinel, has 1,066 followers and 2,527 updates (I follow him and recommend following him).
  • Jim Brady, former executive editor of washingtonpost.com, has 550 followers and 107 updates.
  • Randy Lovely of the Arizona Republic has 35 followers and 22 updates.
  • Kathy Best of the Seattle Times has 18 followers, five updates and protects her updates.
  • Bob Heisse of the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., has 18 followers and 53 updates.
  • Carole Tarrant of the Roanoke Times has 87 followers and 21 updates.
  • APME Secretary Hollis Towns of the Asbury Park Press has 34 followers and five updates.
  • Andrew Oppmann of the Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Daily News Journal, an executive committee member, has 45 followers and 56 updates.

These aren’t the only top newsroom leaders using Twitter. I will repeat the list from last week’s post at the end of this post.

I should add here that Twitter is far from the only way that an editor can learn about innovation. An editor focused on mastering video or link journalism or user-generated content might feel too swamped to take on Twitter (though it would be helpful in those pursuits). And the leaders of ASNE and APME have taken on national leadership responsibilities in addition to their responsibilities in their newsrooms. They may be the busiest of the busy.

But on some level, Twitter has value as a barometer of how editors are embracing innovation and learning valuable but uncomfortable new tools and techniques. And the simple, undeniable fact is that the leading newsroom leaders are barely using it, let alone learning its value and leading the way in this change.

If you’re an editor who knows you need to catch up in the social media world, please join me for the April 7 webiner “Leading your staff into the Twitterverse.” It’s free for ASNE members. I will try to give you simple and helpful advice. If you’re an editor (or any journalist, but I especially want to hear from top newsroom leaders) who’s already Twittering, please read last week’s post and answer some of the questions I posed there. (Thanks to Andria Krewson of the Charlotte Observer for a detailed, thoughtful response that I will quote in the webinar and in a later blog post.)

ASNE likes panel discussions at its conventions and I am going to try to convene a panel discussion by Twitter. I will recruit some active Twittering editors to tweet some advice to their peers during my webinar, using hashtags. Your advice will show up in my Twitter stream and I will show the participants how to use Twitter search and we will find your advice there, too. I’ll also feed your streams into a CoverItLive liveblog. I will be contacting some editors directly, but if you would like to help, direct-message me on Twitter or email me. 

Here’s that list of top newsroom leaders I know of who are using Twitter (additions welcome; I don’t pretend to know them all). I took out the numbers of followers and updates because the figures I used last week are a week old. The top three are the most active. After that, they are in no particular order. 

  • John Robinson of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C.
  • Chris Cobler of the Victoria Advocate in Texas.
  • Kirk LaPointe  of the Vancouver Sun.
  • Valerie Casselton of the Vancouver Sun.
  • Gerry Kern of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Melanie Sill of the Sacramento Bee. 
  • Monty Cook of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Rick Thames of the Charlotte Observer.
  • Jeff Thomas of The Gazette in Colorado Springs.
  • Steve Fagan of The Monitor in McAllen, Texas.
  • Marci Caltabiano of the Brownsville Herald.
  • Cyndi Brown of the Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C.
  • Glen Faison of the Porterville Recorder in California.
  • Lyle Muller, my Gazette colleague and successor as editor.
  • Robyn Tomlin of the Wilmington Star News in North Carolina.
  • Alexandra Hayne of the Daily Tribune in Ames, Iowa.
  • Mitch Pugh of the Sioux City Journal in Iowa.
  • Steve Thomas of the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa.
  • John A. Nelson of the Danville Advocate in Kentucky.
  • Bill Watson of the Pocono Record in Pennsylvania.
  • Steve Mullen of the Bakersfield Californian.
  • Bob Davis of the Anniston Star in Alabama.
  • Carolyn Washburn of the Des Moines Register, who started March 25.
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    While I’m suggesting a way to save this year’s American Society of Newspaper Editors convention, I’ll go a step further and suggest how to save two organizations of editors: ASNE and the Associated Press Managing Editors should join forces.

    I don’t know the details of the history of the organizations, but ASNE and APME have been redundant for as long as I can remember. From where I sat, editors who vigilantly stamped out redundancies in newspaper copy have carefully protected it in their organizations because that meant both the editor (or executive editor) and the managing editor both got to have a convention junket during the year.

    ASNE, formed in 1922, was once so exclusive that you had to answer a series of questions that verified that the buck stopped with you in your newsroom. APME came along 11 years later, also for senior editors but accepting those on the next-to-top rung. So for decades the top two editors in most newsrooms each had a convention to attend each year and everyone ignored the obvious fact that both conventions were dealing with the same issues: journalism ethics, public service, diversity, training, changing technology and timely issues that came and went.

    That was great when newspapers were making high profits. I enjoyed gatherings of both organizations, four ASNE conventions and APME meetings in at least four states (APME has a stronger presence at the state level; I was president briefly in North Dakota and I think I just agreed to serve on the Iowa APME board, though the conversation was pretty informal). Over time, the organizations became hardly distinguishable at all to those of us in newsrooms across the country.

    ASNE’s current membership requirements are nearly the same as APME’s. Both organizations serve mostly the same purposes for mostly the same people. And both organizations have too many members looking at our budgets and our to-do lists and deciding we can’t afford the money or the time to attend their expensive conventions.

    So here’s a suggestion: Merge the two organizations. Follow my suggestion for a virtual ASNE convention this year. Find some foundation support to subsidize registration and travel for this year’s APME convention in St. Louis (not yet canceled, but stay tuned). Plan a low-cost joint convention in 2010 (maybe a weekend instead of nearly a full week). Continue those state meetings that really help far more editors than either organization’s national meetings.

    And continue helping us be better leaders for our news staffs. ASNE and APME should show us how to adapt and survive, not how to die.

    Update: Tim McGuire supports this call for a merger and provides first-hand knowledge about background, including links to a 2008 Jerry Ceppos piece for Poynter (I’ll be seeing Jerry this weekend at an API ethics seminar in Reno) and a 2000 ASNE reporter piece on discussions then, as well as a Steve Smith blog post on ASNE’s convention cancellation.

    Seriously, put aside the rivalries and obstacles. Join forces and help this industry adapt.

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