ASNE’s Bosley: Editors Under More Pressure, Job Changes

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By: Joe Strupp

In the 10 years since he became executive director of the American Society of News Editors, Scott Bosley says the biggest impact on members has been the increased frequency of their job changes and the increased pressures.

Now that he is leaving the post, announcing earlier this week that he will depart at the end of 2009, Bosley, 66, says the future challenges are also greater, but not the entire reason for his decision.

“There is a realization that we are in a tough spot,” he said of ASNE and the industry it represents “But ultimately there is a lot of faith in a lot of great people in journalism. It will be difficult in terms of how it is produced and distributed.”

Asked how ASNE changed under his leadership, Bosley says, “we’ve very much mirrored the industry’s problems. We’ve seen editors change [jobs] more frequently and the time demands on editors, their stresses, increase tremendously. It has been a time when everything happening to newspapers wound up weighing more on editors — some of them had less time to give to outside things and we are one of those outside things.”

Some of the biggest changes under Bosley occurred in just the past few months when ASNE — formerly the American Society of Newspaper Editors — replaced the Newspaper in its name with News. It also opened membership to web-only news outlets and academics.

“We have hopefully set the table for the next stage of ASNE,” he said. “The future of ASNE is to be the leading voice of editors as the industry continues to evolve. It is important that it be an independent voice that stands for journalism as these changes occur.”

Although ASNE cancelled its 2009 conference, Bosley said plans are already starting for the 2010 gathering in Washington, D.C, with hopes of drawing a broader audience beyond the traditional newspaper editors.

“There are a lot of interest groups out there, we will try to attract a larger audience of people involved in journalism,” he says. “Academics, online, and there is more being done through the Knight Foundation.”

Bosley says he is not leaving due to the tougher challenges ahead, adding he did not plant to be in the job for so long when he took it in 1999.

Bosley had spent about 30 years at various Knight-Ridder papers before joining ASNE: “It is just time in my personal life to have a different pace. What is going to happen in the industry does not frighten me, but it does require someone who is able to devote high energy to it for five years or so.”

He adds: “I want to do something else, have more freedom and time to do some other things and spend time with my wife and family.”

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