Joe Strupp’s ‘ASNE Confidential’ for Wednesday

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By: Joe Strupp

Ken Bunting, associate publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, officially welcomed attendees to the American Society of Newspaper Editors conference in Seattle by offering praise for his home state, while also skewering a certain identically-named Eastern site.

Offering a story of Michael the Archangel visiting God, he told the crowd during his opening remarks Tuesday of the Almighty?s lesson that balance exists in the world. He then described God?s description of creating a wonderful land. It went something like this: ?Ahh,” said God, “That is Washington State, the most glorious place on earth.”

“But God,” Michael said, “you said there would be balance?”

“I also made another Washington,” God told him. “And wait until you see the idiots I put there.”


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It?s nice to see that Pulitzer Prize winners and judges are regular people.

Stan Tiner, whose Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss. copped the Public Service Pulitzer for Hurricane Katrina, looking for new cuff links near a hotel gift shop. Better find them, Stan, that Pulitzer lunch is coming up.

Then there was Clark Hoyt, the former Pulitzer winner and outgoing Knight Ridder Washington editor whose foreign correspondents just grabbed a prestigious Overseas Press Club award. Going to an ASNE Foundation gathering, Hoyt couldn?t help but ask which dated photos were being used for a major upcoming E&P profile on him. Don?t worry, Clark, those wide-framed glasses you wore in 1973 are still ?the bomb.?


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If Rick Rodriguez, the outgoing ASNE president and editor of The Sacramento Bee needed any sign that his bosses at McClatchy were planning big things with their new Knight Ridder purchase, an ad in the ASNE Reporter — the daily convention newspaper distributed here to members — made it clear.

?Congratulations Rick,? the full-page message with a smiling Rodriguez proclaims. ?Now get back to work.? Further, it adds, ?Don?t get us wrong, we?re all very proud of you. … But seriously, there?s a lot more stories out there. So get busy.?


***

If you think the election for ASNE?s board of directors is a mild-mannered affair, think again. As part of each convention-goers ?goody bag? is the six-page printout of the 14 candidates? campaign statements. In vying for seven open seats, the board hopefuls are not shy about their promises for action and demands that the industry move ahead forcefully.

?We need to be more nimble and far more brave,? declares Susan Goldberg, executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News, in her statement. Adds Andrew Alexander, Washington bureau chief for Cox Newspapers, ?we need to fight like hell for open government.?

Then there?s Janet Weaver, executive editor of the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune, who claimed ?our industry is in crisis? and ?ASNE is in crisis, too.? Weaver writes that ASNE has to ?separate the practice of journalism from the noise of unfounded speculation and plain old gossip that flood our lives. … we need to make some noise.?

So far, that sounds pretty noisy.

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