City, Metro Editors Look to Get Them SOME

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By: Joe Strupp

For years, the top editors at America’s newspapers signed up for ASNE, managing editors joined APME, and reporters — from gays and lesbians in NLGJA to military writers at MRE — have each had their own niche associations.

But what of the middle and lower-tiered editors? They were lucky to share a few gripes during a smoke break or maybe sound off at the local tavern after deadline.

No longer. Meet the Society of Metro Editors, a newly launched organization that promises to represent nearly all lower-level newsroom leaders, including metro, city and news editors, according to a release sent out Monday from the American Press Institute, which helped create the group.

Several editors who attended an API seminar for city and metro editors in early 2005 formed SOME earlier this month, the association said.

“It started as an off-hand comment walking out the door of API, and the more we talked about it, the more we thought a forum for ongoing conversation with people who do what we do would be useful,” Monica Markel, SOME’s president and deputy metro editor of the San Antonio Express-News, said in a statement.

The seminar moderator, API’s associate director Mary Glick, pushed the idea by suggesting the need for such a group, pointing to two other professional organizations — the Society for News Design and the American Society of Sunday and Feature Editors — both of which came out of API seminars.

SOME promises to “focus on examining trends in local news coverage and readership, and providing a professional forum to serve frontline local news editors,” the release said.

Markel contends that city, metro, and news editors have the most stressful jobs in the newsroom. These editors, she said, are “managing up and down and dealing with the daily news rush. Many are senior writers who have been promoted into editing jobs without much management training.”

SOME promises to provide an interactive online community at its Web site, www.metroeditors.org, where editors can post questions and receive responses.

“It doesn’t have to be weighty journalist issues,” said Michael Griffin, a SOME vice president and former city editor of the Orlando Sentinel. “Some of the biggest problems managers face can be daily issues such as vacation policies.”

SOME will advise API in the development of editor training seminars, such as its City and Metro Editors seminars, Feb. 19-24, 2006 (for metro markets) and Sept. 17-22, 2006 (for community markets), API said.

Down the line, SOME plans to set up a job listings exchange on its site, said Markel, adding that “the city and metro editor positions are some of the hardest newsroom jobs to fill with experienced help.” She added that SOME also would like to establish awards to recognize outstanding metro section content so editors can see how their coverage stacks up against others.

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