April Executive Report

FSNE Note

A series of regular updates that appear in upcoming Bulletins about Florida Society of Newspaper Editor activities.

April 25, 2008

FSNE is in the home stretch of the vigorous and productive 2007-08 administration of President Jeanne Grinstead of the St. Petersburg Times. Upcoming are the fourth multimedia skills workshop in Tampa May 17 (sign up now at www.Flpress.com), more testimony to the Governor’s Commission on Open Government Reform May 20-21 and the June  FPA/FSNE convention highlighting presidential politics and economic challenges facing our industry.

The drive-in, drive-out workshop at USF-Tampa is designed for frontline journalists who must employ new skills in their work. The cost is a nominal $25 per participant, including lunch. It’s open to FSNE, FPA and SNPA member papers and online organizations. FSNE is grateful to SNPA for its ongoing financial support of the workshops and to FPA’s Thelma Givens for her Herculean, administrative support work.

Course offerings include writing online (Marty Merzer, Miami Herald), audio slide shows (Poh Si Teng, AP), headlines for the web (Jeff Kleinman, Miami Herald), story planning for the web (Vidisha Priyanka, TBO.com), video for photographers (Jack Rowland, SPTimes), audio reporting/editing (Suzette Laboy, AP), reporters planning video stories (Bill Ward, Tampa Tribune), introduction to flash (Crystal Lauderdale, NY Times), using social networks in reporting (Stephanie Horvath, Sun-Sentinel), blog writing (Shelley Acoca, Miami Herald), managing digital change (Terry Eberle, Florida Today), and online ethics (Tom Huang of Poynter).

FSNE plans to continue the workshops under incoming president Mark Tomasik, editor of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, and will seek guidance from member editors about updating course offerings.

FSNE members have testified before the three previous Open Government hearings on cost, secrecy and access problems with Florida’s Sunshine laws. In May, Lucy Morgan of the St. Petersburg Times, Robyn Tomlin of the Ocala Star-Banner and Manny Garcia, Mike Sallah and Jack Dolan of the Miami Herald will testify in Ft. Lauderdale about issues including access to public documents, legislative secrecy and the lack of Sunshine laws applicability to Web sites.

FSNE revamped its contest categories and classification system this year to recognize, even more prominently, new media and Spanish-language journalism. Past President John Bartosek and Robyn Tomlin drove the contest process, whose out-of-state judges were vocal in their praise of the work they reviewed.

A new FSNE initiative is a series of  forums involving Department of Children and Families officials and state news media. The purpose is to open communications channels between DCF and reporters. Two sessions have been held, one in Orlando in February and a second in Palm Beach in March. Initiative leader Bartosek reports positive results, especially  greater DCF openness to news organizations. Additional forums are planned in other areas of the state.

Sunshine Sunday, government accountability reporting efforts were led by Cory Lancaster, managing editor of the Daytona Beach News-Journal and Mike Connelly,  executive editor of the Herald-Tribune. Incoming President Tomasik has as one of his priorities intensive, early planning for Sunshine Sunday in 2009.

Gil Thelen
Executive Director
FSNE

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