Click here to learn about the Associated Press’ three-day byline strike, which is to protest “the news agency’s proposals that would threaten job security, dramatically raise medical costs, and freeze wages.”
Turns out that Washington, D.C. played a crucial role in this strike. Although there is near unanimous participation in the strike here in Washington, sources tell FishbowlDC (DC has one of the AP’s strongest union shops in the country) that they almost didn’t participate…but not because they didn’t want to.
When the union decided to organize the protest last week, the D.C. bureau was initially reluctant, simply because the bureau’s size, coupled with the fact that reporters are hardly ever in one place at the same time, made it difficult to coordinate. As a result, they thought about taking action in a different way, but there was an outcry from union workers around the country: In order for this to work, Washington has to be on board for this to work.
And so, via email, the DC bureau got its act together and joined the protest.
Side note: Despite the protest, you may still notice that some bylines will appear on some articles. Why? If a story has source material, they are required to have a byline.
FishbowlDC has obtained an internal Associated Press memo, which outlines the wire service’s full reporting assignments here in DC. The list was sent to staffers today and goes into effect on Jan. 1.
Join us after the jump…
From the release:
The Associated Press announced today that it would restructure its regional reporting team in Washington to provide every state with regional representation in the nation’s capital by the start of the new Congressional year.
Under the plan, AP’s current corps of regional reporters will be reorganized into teams from four regions. They will be responsible for spot news from the Congressional delegations they cover and broader Washington issues affecting their region. The restructuring will provide AP regional Washington coverage for 28 states that now are not represented.
“Every state will soon have coverage from an AP Washington regional reporter,” said Michael Oreskes, AP managing editor for U.S. news. “Just as important, they’ll have a team focused on regional issues of vital relevance to them and, with the team structure, they will also have back-up.
“We believe this move will appreciably help our members at a time when many are hungry for news of their delegates in Washington. Where once we had no ‘local’ coverage, now we will.”
The teams will correspond geographically to the four regional editing desks now being established by AP across the U.S. and answer to news managers in each of them. The first desk, in Atlanta, was established earlier this year, followed by the East Desk, in Philadelphia. Locations of the two other regional desks have not been announced yet. Until they are, the Washington regional teams for the West and Midwest will report to regional managers to be named.
The new structure will allow the regional teams to prioritize needs for all the papers in their area and increase coverage of the most relevant and important news in their region. The reorganization will involve the reassignment of about 12 reporters into the four regions.
Reporters have been assigned to the regions. Beats and specific state responsibilities will be refined in the next few weeks.
AP reports that “Newhouse News Service, a supplemental wire service founded in 1961, will close on Nov. 7, after the election.”
“The decision to close followed the direction of our clients, the editors of our papers,” said Linda Fibich, editor and Washington bureau chief. “They felt they could not afford to pay for a central Washington bureau at a time when they were steering all available resources to local coverage back at home.”
Ron Fournier says he regards Sandy Johnson, his predecessor as head of The Associated Press’s Washington bureau, as “a mentor.”
Johnson, though, regards Fournier, who replaced her in a hard-feelings shake-up in May, as a threat to one of the most influential institutions in American journalism.
“I loved the Washington bureau,” said Johnson, who left the AP after losing the prestigious position. “I just hope he doesnâ€™t destroy it.”
The Associated Press Managing Editors (APME) and some 25 daily papers have teamed up with AP’s Washington bureau for an unusual joint project that investigates congressional earmarks.
The project, set to be unveiled this weekend, includes a four-story package produced by the AP and a congressional earmarks database that will be available to all AP members.
The package, centered on a 2,200-word story, includes content supplied by 25 daily newspapers that have been reporting on the earmarks of their local congressional delegations since April. Earmarks are those federal budget items procured by local representatives specifically for local entities.
Michael Oreskes, executive editor of the International Herald Tribune in Paris and the former Washington bureau chief for the New York Times (1997-2001), has been named the AP Managing Editor for U.S. News.
“In the newly expanded position, Oreskes will oversee all U.S. news from The Associated Press, from state bureaus to national political coverage, for both U.S. and world audiences,” said the release.
Oreskes is 53 and has served as executive editor of the International Herald Tribune since 2005. Previously, he was deputy managing editor of The New York Times, supervising television and Internet content. …
“Oreskes will oversee the work of AP’s bureaus in the 50 states, which will be reporting up to him through four regional operations being created in 2008 and 2009,” says the release. “He’ll also supervise the work of the Washington bureau, the news service’s largest domestic bureau, and AP’s national feature, beat and investigative reporters.”