All the news from the conference in St. Louis

Photos up from last day

As everyone heads home check out photos from the Innovator of the Year Awards, a talk on Social Media by Kurt Greenbaum and Jack Lail, a presentation of photos by Robert Cohen and the APME Member awards lunch.  Enjoy!


Photos by Kyle Spradley


Filed under: Awards, Workshops, , ,

Goodbye from St. Louis. See you in St. Petersburg

By Andrew DeWitt

Good bye from the Hyatt Hotel under the arch in St. Louis. The final lunch has been served and the awards are announced. Congratulations to everyone who won awards and thanks to all for inspiring young journalists like ourselves.

On behalf of the entire Gazette Staff who brought you this Web site and coverage, thank you for reading and following our work. It’s been a great three days in St. Louis learning from some of the best in the business.


Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the 2010 APME Conference.

Oct. 20-22

The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Filed under: Misc., Workshops, , ,

10 a.m. Session: Social Media


By Andrew DeWitt

Here on the final day of the APME 2009 conference in St. Louis.

Kurt Greenbaum, director of social media at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Jack Lail, director of news innovation at the Knoxville News Sentinel are here to catch everyone up on Facebook, twitter and RSS Feeds.

I will attempt to not go on a Twitter rant, 160 characters at a time.

The future of the audience aka my generation uses Facebook non-stop. If you’re in any class, you can just see everyone jamming away on facebook while they should be learning about the principals of journalism. Facebook is a binkie for young adults.

10 Things every journalist should know in 2009

Link to all of the Nieman Foundation’s reports on Social Media

Another Web site to check out is www.commoncraft.com

The Knoxville News used links from all across the country to keep everyone up to date on the University of Tennessee head coaching search for a new head coach. This is known as aggregation or “link” journalism.

Jack says this is really effective for sports, politics and stories that continue to evolve.

Moving onto RSS feeds. We’re doing a social experiment where Jack Marsh of the Freedom Forum has to go collect news. While another member of his table had to sit there representing a “Reader” such as Google Reader.

My advice is that if you’re still jumping around bookmarks searching for new content, sign up for Google Reader. It’s really simple. Just Subscribe to your favorite Web sites in the top left corner and everything will pop in.

Basically, Google will now make a newspaper for you every few seconds. It’s really simple to read and it is even easy to read on a mobile device. Instead of being delivered a newspaper every morning, pop open Google Reader in the morning to get caught up on all my news.

Looking around the room, this is a BlackBerry room. Everyone has a smart phone to keep in touch with their newsrooms. In my experience, Google reader works great on my mobile device.

Another Web site recommended by the presenters is http://tinyurl.com/tonymess. Tony works for the STL Post-Dispatch in their Jefferson City office and he is a Twitter success story.

We’re now discussing different ways of following Twitter such as the TweetDeck.

Someone is asking about keeping personal and business things separate. Personally, I don’t facebook or tweet things that people don’t need to know but I’m a lot more private than a lot of my classmates.

Moving onto more complex things about Twitter. We’re now talking about hashtags. “#” is a hash.  It is a way to indicate that a specific tweet is about a topic and a way to get more followers.

My buddy David Ubben who covers Oklahoma basketball for the Oklahoman has shown me a cool new thing they are doing for certain big events. It’s called a Story Wall. This one is from the Red River Shootout earlier this month.

One thing that we don’t know of where it’s going is Google Wave. It will effect journalism in some way but we’re not sure how yet.

Should your newsroom have a social media policy?

“The Common theme that runs through these edicts is that they were written by top managers, with the input of lawyers, who seem to have little understanding of how social media can benefit journalism and news orgs. by building community.” –J.D. Lasica, CEO, Socialmedia.biz

Filed under: Changing times, Discussions, Workshops, , , , , , , , , ,

Workshop: What structure works best

by Mary Poletti

No one structure fits all, and no single best structure exists, Rockford (Ill.) Register-Star executive editor Linda Grist Cunningham said at the outset of the workshop “What structure works best.”

What matters is that a structure exists for journalists’ chaotic work — and what matters in that structure, Cunningham said, is who’s doing the work, whether they understand who’s doing the work, and whether they’re doing it well. The workshop’s three editor-panelists largely echoed that sentiment.

Tom Callinan

Callinan, the editor and vice president for content and audience development at the Cincinnati Enquirer, described his restructuring modus operandi as “all about the work” and his attitude toward restructuring as “stop playing newspaper.Most of the content is now hard news.

Through Gannett-mandated restructuring of his newsroom over the last year, Callinan said he had lost 60 reporters in his newsroom — but not a single public interest reporter, having, in fact, hired some of those. He now serves as the managing editor and editorial page manager, with the paper having targeted middle management in its downsizing: “We’ve whacked all of the middle management. They’re gone. …We don’t need it.” Gone, too, are the multiple meetings each day — replaced by one virtual meeting at 9:30 and a check-in at 4:30. Editors now spend much more time with reporters, including Callinan, whose direct reports now sit directly outside his office. “We don’t sit behind that closed door,” Callinan said.

Despite the difficult changes at the Enquirer, the paper is emerging from its funk and growing in its content. Focusing on hard news has helped.

George Stanley

“This has been the toughest year of my career, for sure,” said Stanley, editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which lost a third of its staff this year. But, he said, “We haven’t lost anybody doing accountability journalism…the important stuff… That’s what drives everything we do” and distinguishes them from their competitors.

There are fewer specialists at the paper in design and editing, and assistant editors have now picked up some of those responsibilities, as well as reporting duties. There are only four people in the newsroom (including editorial assistants, librarians, etc.) who are not journalists — “because we saved the journalists.”

Lisa Strattan

Strattan’s paper, the Herald River in Fall River, Mass., is far smaller than the other papers featured in the workshop — 26 people in the newsroom, including Strattan. The most formal reorganization, a year ago, accompanied a redesign and followed a set of downsizings, and the paper lost a few others this year. However, the addition of one person has added “a layer of management” — “an uber-editor who can get everything done,” to pull together the paper’s fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants mentality.

Strattan specifically addressed the paper’s status as a union shop. Apart from the paper’s four managers, everyone else is union — and the managers’ duties are quite separate from the guild members’. Communication between the paper and the guild, she said, is key.

Eliminating Sections & Content

Cunningham said her paper had eliminated features six days a week, replacing that section with a go/do section, and had all but stopped running AP content.

Callinan cited cincymoms.com as a cheap and very popular example of finding and working the source of features content rather than devoting space to features. He pointed to Examiner.com as a direct competitor with newspapers in this area, where the site hires cheap bloggers to directly compete with newspapers.

Stanley said the Journal Sentinel newsroom had stopped zoning their content geographically, with beat reporters now scouring the whole coverage area for the best stories.


If you had known a year ago what you know now, Cunningham asked the panel, what would you have done differently?

Stanley said he would have made reporters stretch their abilities and prove their worth to save their skins.

“Going back further than a year, I think we can all agree that we should have had a stronger evaluation process,” Callinan said, in order to preserve people’s rights beyond simply union-mandated seniority. Cutting middle management had been unavoidable, but the cuts had gone awfully deep.

Managing Stress

So how do these editors and their staff handle the stress level? By keeping purpose in mind.

“Who gets to do what we do?” Strattan said.

Stanley said, “I worry about what the next six months will be like, but if you focus on doing great work” and why you want to come to work every day — “to save the world” — it is a tremendous motivator. Make everyone, including copy editors, part of big projects from the beginning.

Callinan emphasized the desire of young journalists to work in teams and work for purposeful companies. Purpose is a big deal to millennials. “We have that common cause,” he said. He emphasized the individuality of management style as well.

Cunningham touched on delegation, letting go and letting others help. She asked the panel and the audience about restructuring task forces and allowing staff to come up with ideas. Man audience members said versions of those ideas had been effective for them, as long as boundaries were in place: “You still have to know where you’re going,” Stanley said.

Filed under: Changing times, Photojournalism, Workshops, , , , ,

Photos from first session

Paul Anger, publisher of the Detroit Free Press, and Gerould Kern, editor of the Chicago Tribune, led a discussion on how newsrooms are dealing with the pressures of the current market.


Filed under: Workshops, , ,


The APME/APPM Conference has begun.

The first session will include:

2 p.m.:  Welcome by Bobbie Jo Buel, president of Associated Press Managing Editors and editor of the Arizona Daily Star.

2:05 p.m.:  Welcome by president of APPM, Mike Fender, Indianapolis Star.

2:10 p.m.: New directions for News: Two papers. Two different approaches to dealing with the pressures facing metro papers. Gerould Kern, editor of the Chicago Tribune, and Paul Anger, editor of the Detroit Free Press, share their papers approaches and talk about what they see coming for their markets and how that might apply to other markets. The moderator is Alan English, executive editor of the Augusta Chronicle

Filed under: Workshops

Flickr Photos


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