Nov. 2, 2023

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Good Thursday morning on this Nov. 2, 2023,

Highlights of today's Connecting - with a reminder note to add our colleague Carl Robinson to the Connecting 80s List.

Carl, a photojournalist whose AP career included coverage of the Vietnam War, dropped me a note overnight from his home in Australia, noting: “Still crazy as ever! A friend made this as I headed home after lunch in Saigon where I turned 80 in September. My age is often the first question Vietnamese ask me. And many are very surprised.”

Those highlights:

AP news site takes apparent denial-of-service attack;

A blank front page makes a point;

A call to colleagues to share an AP story on news disinformation.

And more...

Here's to great day - be safe, stay healthy, live it to your fullest.


AP news site hit by apparent denial-of-service attack




The Associated Press news website experienced an outage that appeared to be consistent with a denial-of-service attack, a federal criminal act that involves flooding a site with data in order to overwhelm it and knock it offline.


Attempting to visit the site starting Tuesday afternoon would load the home page, although links to individual stories failed in various ways. Some pages remained blank, while others displayed error messages. The problem was resolved by Wednesday morning.


AP’s delivery systems to customers and mobile apps were not affected by the outage.


“We’ve experienced periodic surges in traffic but we’re still looking into the cause,” said Nicole Meir, a media relations manager at the company. When engineers thought they had a handle on surging traffic from one source, she said, it would resurface elsewhere.


A hacktivist group that calls itself Anonymous Sudan said on its Telegram channel Tuesday morning that it would be launching attacks on Western news outlets. The group subsequently posted screenshots of the AP and other new sites as proof they had been rendered unreachable by DDoS attacks.


“The propaganda mechanism is rather simple,” said Alexander Leslie, an analyst with the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future. “The actor conducts a temporary attack, screenshots ‘proof’ of an outage that often lasts for a short period of time and affects a small number of users, and then claims it to be a massive success.”


AP has not been able to verify whether Anonymous Sudan was behind the attack.


Click here for link to this story.


Local Non-Profit Newspaper Makes a Statement--by Saying Nothing

Marblehead, MA – The non-profit Marblehead Current published and delivered its weekly free broadsheet today with a surprise twist: under the newspaper’s masthead, the front page was completely blank:


The 11/1 edition of the Marblehead Current ran with a blank front page, demonstrating the importance of supporting local non-profit news.


“As a guy who has ink running through my blood, publishing a blank page of newsprint wasn’t easy,” said Current founder and co-chairman Ed Bell, who retired as chief of the Boston Bureau of the Associated Press after 50 years in print and broadcast news. “But it’s time to make the point of how urgent it is that we support local journalism.”


Facilitated by the Institute for Non-Profit News, the Marblehead Current is participating in NewsMatch, an annual campaign in which donations are matched one-to-one up to $1000. The blank front page marks the beginning of the fundraising effort which runs through December 31, 2023.


“Two newspapers close every week in this country on average,” said Virginia Buckingham, President of the board of the Marblehead News Group, which publishes the Current. “It’s a tough time for community news, but there’s hope. The non-profit model can reverse the negative trend, but only if people support us with donations, much like they do non-profit TV and radio stations.”


News misinformation


Lyle Price - I encourage those who still have the Wednesday Nov. 1 editing of Connecting to forward it to their alma mater's journalism department or any other that you might choose with attention to the copy of the excellent AP article about misinformation being transmitted by fake or doubtful sources in the current Hama-Israeli War.


I intend to do so to the two professors at my old college the U of Washington who teach a class that originally had the title close to: "BS in the modern technological age." The BS initials were completely spelled out including when it was described in the Seattle Times as "wildly popular." Initials currently are used but the UW site states that students etc. commonly still utter the original word in the title.


One week of the course is entirely devoted to "Feak News." Another week to "Spotting BS" and one week to "Refuting BS" (In both cases on the UW site BS is spelled out fully."


I take it that the course is the offspring of a J-class I had at the UW in the 1960s with the title of "Propaganda." I consider that class along with logic and semantics to be the most valuable college classes I ever took.   


While I am about it, I would like to see AP contact journalism schools and interview professors who study/teach about propaganda and in order to get their take and perspective about how persuasive the examples cited in the splendid AP articles may be on the public. My all-time favorite is one I ran across by accident neither in a history or journalism class in which HItler's propaganda minister Goebels announced over radio to German audiences that they had been attacked by Poland in 1939-- instead of the fact that it had been the other way around!


News Leaders Association Cites Financial Pressures


The News Leaders Association, the leading journalism organization for news editors and whose predecessor group for more than four decades monitored diversity progress at newspapers through its annual survey, is asking members whether it should call it quits.


On Monday, the NLA Board approved ballot language for NLA’s members to vote in mid-November to dissolve NLA by June 2024.


 “Journalism and democracy are at a critical juncture. Unfortunately, financial pressures continue to challenge news organizations of all sizes, whether legacy newspapers, digital news sites or broadcast newsrooms, in either for-profit or non-profit models, and NLA has been unable to grow its crucial programs at a time when they are most needed,” NLA President Alison Gerber (pictured) said in a message to members Tuesday.


“NLA was formed in late 2019 as a result of the merger of two iconic organizations – the American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors. From the beginning, the new NLA has faced obstacles, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic combined with the vast challenges facing the news industry and the financial markets. These headwinds created a perfect storm, making it difficult for NLA to expand and flourish.”


Moreover, Gerber said, “The NLA board also uniquely faced a combination of issues that forced the organization to look for new homes for its long standing programs. Those issues included a drop in the value of the organization’s endowments and shrinking newsroom budgets that made it difficult for members to attend leadership conferences – historically a large source of NLA’s revenue. Economically, it is very difficult for these organizations to continue even in the face of widespread need and support.”


Gerber added, “The board believes the organization’s goals — empowering journalists with the training, support and networks they need to lead diverse, sustainable newsrooms — is more important than ever. With that mission in mind, we ask for your vote in support of dissolving NLA and continuing its work through other respected non-profit journalism organizations. . . .”


Read more here. Shared by Mark Mittelstadt.


Second careers


Rick Cooper - I saw Jim Hood's Second careers post and it brought back a memory.


Just before we pulled up stakes to move to Florida, I was introduced to Al Primo, the creator of the "Eyewitness News" television format at the public library in Old Greenwich Connecticut.


In the course of our conversation we talked about Roy Steinfort and the AP's Broadcast News operation. Al mentioned the guy at AP Broadcast who most impressed him was Jim Hood.


So Jim should realize he left his mark.


My Halloween grandson

Owen Ullmann - Say boo to 2-month-old Jayson Javier Frey, my first grandchild.


Colorado sunrise - 1st day of November

Shared by Marc Wilson.

Connecting wishes Happy Birthday

Jamie Aron


Peter Leabo

Stories of interest


A media freedom group accuses Israel and Hamas of war crimes and reports deaths of 34 journalists (AP)




THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Thirty-four journalists have been killed in the war between Israel and Hamas, an international media freedom group said Wednesday, accusing both sides of committing possible war crimes.


Reporters Without Borders called on International Criminal Court prosecutors to investigate the deaths. The organization said it already filed a complaint regarding eight Palestinian journalists it said were killed in Israel’s bombardment of civilian areas in the Gaza Strip, and an Israeli journalist killed during Hamas’ surprise attack in southern Israel.


“The scale, seriousness and recurring nature of international crimes targeting journalists, particularly in Gaza, calls for a priority investigation by the ICC prosecutor,” Christophe Deloire, director-general of the group also known by the French abbreviation RSF, said. The organization is headquartered in France.


It’s the third such complaint to be filed by the group since 2018 alleging war crimes against Palestinian journalists in Gaza. Israel says it makes every effort to avoid killing civilians and accuses Hamas of putting them at risk by operating in residential areas.


Read more here.




Newspaper publisher and reporter arrested and accused of revealing grand jury information (AP)


ATMORE, Ala. (AP) — A smalltown newspaper publisher and reporter in Alabama were arrested after authorities accused them of publishing an article that revealed information about a grand jury investigation involving the local school system.


Court records show Sherry Digmon, an owner of the Atmore News and a member of the local school board, and reporter Donald Fletcher were both arrested, along with a bookkeeper at the school system.


Digmon was also arrested Wednesday on a separate charge of violating state ethics law. The indictment accused her of using her school board position for personal gain and improperly soliciting a thing of value by selling $2,500 worth of advertisements to the school system. Alabama ethics law prohibits public officials from soliciting money and valuables, although it makes an exception for normal business dealings.


Read more here.




Opinion | How a journalism professor helps students understand harassment — and how to protect themselves (Poynter)


By: Dan Kennedy


One of the most vexing, and even dangerous, issues facing journalists these days is harassment, both online and in real life. Among the best-known examples is New Hampshire Public Radio, whose reporter Lauren Chooljian, along with her editor, Dan Barrick, and her parents were the targets of vandalism to their homes, apparently in retaliation for Chooljian’s reporting. Four New Hampshire men have been indicted by federal authorities and face long prison terms and heavy fines if they are convicted.


Harassment has been emerging as an issue in journalism education as well. I’ve been trying to find ways of dealing with it in my undergraduate and graduate ethics classes. A year ago, I devoted just part of one 100-minute class to the subject. Now I set aside a week — two full classes.


Because I know other journalism instructors are dealing with this, I thought I’d lay out how we handled it in my class just recently. This is ever-evolving, of course, so please consider this one instructor’s attempt to wrestle with a difficult issue.


Read more here. Shared by Len Iwanski.




Essential ingredients for launching your pop-up community newsroom (RJI)


By Stacy Feldman

RJI Fellows Class of 2023-2024


5 must haves from a compelling need to tell a story to dedicating one day a week to the project


Pop-up community newsrooms are a tool for small newsrooms to harness local expertise and involve community members in journalism. They unite journalists and non-journalists for a limited time to produce in-depth reporting, allowing small news organizations to create a “capacity surge” or “sprint” to meet pressing information needs.


This tool expands the pool of potential journalism contributors while adhering to traditional journalistic practices. It’s especially beneficial for investigating local pressing issues, where small publishers face constraints. However, it’s not a tool if it doesn’t benefit the community, the newsroom and the pop-up partners.


So how do you determine if this is right for your publication at this moment?


My newsroom, Boulder Reporting Lab, is wrapping up its second pop-up newsroom project. The first was recognized with several local and national journalism honors, including in “best collaboration” categories of both the INN and LION awards.


Read more here. Shared by Len Iwanski.


The Final Word


60 years later, new documentary colorizes JFK’s final hours (The Hill)

Courtesy Photo - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jaqueline Kennedy are pictured after disembarking from Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963.




DALLAS — Nearly 60 years after his shocking death on a November day here in Texas, the story of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination is being newly told in vivid color by some of the figures who lived through it.


The aim of “JFK: One Day in America,” says producer Charlotte Rodrigues about the three-part series premiering Sunday on National Geographic and streaming the following day on Hulu and Disney+, is to experience the moments in time leading up to and following Kennedy’s death by seeing it “through [witnesses’] eyes in a very visceral and a very emotional way.”


The documentary, from the same team that created the Emmy Award-winning “One Day in America” franchise focused on the Sep. 11, 2001, terror attacks, utilizes archival footage from 1963 that was colorized for the first time.


“We wanted to be able to present the theories and the subject matter to a younger audience and bring it to life in a different way that hadn’t been seen before,” said Alex Nicholson, a production executive with 72 Films, which produced the project for National Geographic.


To colorize one minute of film took an average of one to two days — it took 12 weeks to turn 53 minutes of black-and-white images into ones with color, according to its creators.


Read more here. Shared by Byron Yake.

Today in History - Nov. 2, 2023

Today is Thursday, Nov. 2, the 306th day of 2023. There are 59 days left in the year.


Today’s Highlight in History:


On Nov. 2, 1976, former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter became the first candidate from the Deep South since the Civil War to be elected president as he defeated incumbent Gerald R. Ford.


On this date:


In 1783, General George Washington issued his Farewell Address to the Army near Princeton, New Jersey.


In 1861, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln relieved Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont of his command of the Army’s Department of the West based in St. Louis, following Fremont’s unauthorized efforts to emancipate slaves in Missouri.


In 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issued a declaration expressing support for a “national home” for the Jews in Palestine.


In 1920, white mobs rampaged through the Florida citrus town of Ocoee, setting fire to Black-owned homes and businesses, after a Black man, Mose Norman, showed up at the polls to vote on Election Day; some historians estimate as many as 60 people were killed.


In 1950, playwright George Bernard Shaw died in Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, England at age 94.


In 1994, a jury in Pensacola, Florida, convicted Paul Hill of murder for the shotgun slayings of an abortion provider and his escort; Hill was executed in September 2003.


In 2000, American astronaut Bill Shepherd and two Russian cosmonauts, Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, became the first residents of the international space station.


In 2003, in Iraq, insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter carrying dozens of U.S. soldiers, killing 16.


In 2004, President George W. Bush was elected to a second term and Republicans strengthened their control of Congress.


In 2007, British college student Meredith Kercher, 21, was found slain in her bedroom in Perugia, Italy; her roommate, American Amanda Knox and Knox’s Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted of killing Kercher, but both were later exonerated.


In 2016, ending a championship drought that had lasted since 1908, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in extra innings. 


In 2017, authorities in Los Angeles and New York said they had opened new investigations prompted by sexual misconduct allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.


In 2018, the Trump administration restored U.S. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal but carved out exemptions for eight countries that would still be able to import Iranian oil.


In 2020, in the closing hours of the presidential campaign, President Donald Trump charged across the nation delivering a false allegation that the election was being rigged, while Democrat Joe Biden pushed to claim states that were once seen as safely Republican.


In 2021, the Atlanta Braves won their first World Series championship since 1995, hammering the Houston Astros in Game 6.


In 2022, the two largest U.S. pharmacy chains, CVS Health and Walgreen Co., announced agreements in principle to pay about $5 billion each to settle lawsuits nationwide over the toll of opioids.


Today’s Birthdays: Political commentator Patrick Buchanan is 85. Actor Stefanie Powers is 81. Country-rock singer-songwriter J.D. Souther is 78. Actor Kate Linder is 76. Rock musician Carter Beauford (The Dave Matthews Band) is 65. Actor Peter Mullan is 64. Singer-songwriter k.d. lang is 62. Rock musician Bobby Dall (Poison) is 60. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage is 59. Actor Lauren Velez is 59. Actor Sean Kanan is 57. Actor David Schwimmer is 57. Christian/jazz singer Alvin Chea (Take 6) is 56. Jazz singer Kurt Elling is 56. Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is 56. Rock musician Fieldy is 54. Actor Meta Golding is 52. Actor Marisol Nichols is 52. Rapper Nelly is 49. Actor Danny Cooksey is 48. Rock musician Chris Walla is 48. Actor Reshma Shetty is 46. TV personality Karamo Brown (“Queer Eye,” “Dancing With the Stars”) is 43. Country singer Erika Jo is 37. Actor-singer Kendall Schmidt is 33.

Got a story or photos to share?

Connecting is a daily newsletter published Monday through Friday that reaches more than 1,800 retired and former Associated Press employees, present-day employees, and news industry and journalism school colleagues. It began in 2013. Past issues can be found by clicking Connecting Archive in the masthead. Its author, Paul Stevens, retired from the AP in 2009 after a 36-year career as a newsman in Albany and St. Louis, correspondent in Wichita, chief of bureau in Albuquerque, Indianapolis and Kansas City, and Central Region vice president based in Kansas City.

Got a story to share? A favorite memory of your AP days? Don't keep them to yourself. Share with your colleagues by sending to Ye Olde Connecting Editor. And don't forget to include photos!

Here are some suggestions:

- Connecting "selfies" - a word and photo self-profile of you and your career, and what you are doing today. Both for new members and those who have been with us a while.

- Second chapters - You finished a great career. Now tell us about your second (and third and fourth?) chapters of life.


- Spousal support - How your spouse helped in supporting your work during your AP career. 

- My most unusual story - tell us about an unusual, off the wall story that you covered.

- "A silly mistake that you make"- a chance to 'fess up with a memorable mistake in your journalistic career.

- Multigenerational AP families - profiles of families whose service spanned two or more generations.

- Volunteering - benefit your colleagues by sharing volunteer stories - with ideas on such work they can do themselves.

- First job - How did you get your first job in journalism?

Most unusual place a story assignment took you.

Paul Stevens

Editor, Connecting newsletter

[email protected]