By: Joe Strupp

Editors Await Speech By Harris

WASHINGTON – Attendance at the annual American Society of
Newspaper Editors conference this week is down by more than 100
people, according to organizers who blame the dropping attendance
on newsroom budget cuts.

“People are a little bit restricted in their spending this year,”
said Richard Oppel, outgoing ASNE president and editor of the
Austin American-Statesman. “It’s down in the number of
multiple members coming from the same newspaper, but the number
of small newspaper attendees is up.” Oppel said attendance
overall had dropped from about 700 people last year to 570 so far
this year.

“Most people are cutting expenses and they have to pick and
choose where to spend,” said The Dallas Morning News’
Gilbert Bailon, who sits on the ASNE board of directors. “That is
the most broad reason.”

But while conference organizers lament the dwindling audience,
they are anxiously awaiting Friday’s speech by Jay Harris, former
publisher of the San Jose Mercury News. A late addition to
the lineup, Harris agreed to speak before the group on his
reasons for departing the Mercury News last month in
protest of expected newsroom budget cuts.

“I hear that many people are changing their travel plans to stay
through Friday in order to hear Jay’s speech,” said Bailon. “Jay
is having a star pull,” Oppel added.

Joe Strupp (jstrupp@editorandpublisher.com) is an associate editor for E&P.

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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