November 08, 2021

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Good Monday morning on this Nov. 8, 2021,
We lead today's Connecting with a profile of our colleague Jill Lawrence, who is a columnist for USA Today after work earlier in her career with the AP. 
She started her 16-year AP career in 1979 in Harrisburg, where she was among the staff covering Three Mile Island, and moved to the Washington bureau three years later, initially as a regional reporter and then onto the national desk. She covered congressional and White House campaigns as well as battles over health reform and many other issues and in 1992 became the first woman to have the "AP Political Writer" byline. She left for USA Today in 1996. 
Jill is a former columnist for U.S. News and World Report and Creators Syndicate, and is the author of the 2017 book "The Art of the Political Deal: How Congress Beat the Odds and Broke Through Gridlock." She has covered or chronicled every presidential campaign since 1988, as well as historic events such as the 1998 Clinton impeachment, the 2000 Florida recount and the health reform battles of the Clinton and Obama eras. 
ON AP EQUIPMENT DESTOYED DURING JAN. 6 RIOT: Noted in an AP story from late last week, on suburban Dallas real estate agent Jennifer Leigh Ryan, who flaunted her participation in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol on social media and later bragged she wasn’t going to jail because she is white, has blond hair and a good job and was sentenced on Thursday to two months behind bars. “…Ryan posted another tweet about a crowd damaging equipment belonging to news organizations, including The Associated Press. She tweeted it was a “cool moment” when rioters “went to town on the AP equipment.”
ARE YOU A VETERAN? Connecting plans to publish on Thursday - Veterans Day 2021 – a listing of Connecting colleagues who have served in the military. If that’s you, please send me your name, branch of service, and years served - and briefly, please, the biggest life's lesson learned from your service.
Have a great day – be safe, stay healthy!
Connecting Profile
Jill Lawrence
What are you doing these days?  
I am dreaming up writing projects and writing a weekly column for USA Today. It's mostly about politics but can wander in many other directions and, in my first couple of months, already has (including personal takes like why I'm still on Facebook and the summer vacation you never want to take).   
How did you get your first job with the AP? Who hired you? What were your first days like?   
I was in Charleston, W. Va., with UPI when I applied to the Harrisburg, Pa., AP bureau. The idea was to get closer to my goal of Washington, D.C., or at least closer to a main road that led there.   
There was a strike threat at the time. When I realized that George Zucker, the Pennsylvania Chief of Bureau, wanted to hire me, I got nervous and told him I would not be a scab and cross a picket line. Fortunately, he said he did not expect that and, also fortunately, in the end there was no strike.   
I started in early 1979. I was the only woman in a bureau of five reporters, and the youngest, so there were some adjustments all around. Also, as the newest person, I had one of the most boring beats: utilities. If you haven’t guessed where this is going, here it is: A few weeks after I arrived, there was an emergency at a nearby nuclear plant named Three Mile Island.   
It was a very frightening time. I remember driving toward the plant with the car windows open (it was unseasonably warm) when a radio announcer broke in to report that TMI was emitting “bursts of radiation.” I remember interviewing evacuees at the Hersheypark Arena. I remember that when emergency equipment arrived for our staff, George told me I’d be on the first helicopter out in order to preserve my ability to have children.   
What were your different past jobs in the AP, in order? Describe briefly what you did with each? And tell about your jobs post AP? 
I started in Harrisburg and covered TMI, the legislature and Dick Thornburgh, the new Republican governor. Then I went to Washington as the Pennsylvania regional reporter. I had learned covering TMI how to explain complicated things in clear language and that has always served me very well – starting right then in Washington with steel, coal, nuclear power, trade policy and campaign finance.  
AP Harrisburg bureau in front of the Capitol circa 1979-80. Among those in the photo: Bob Dvorchak, the bureau chief; Paul Vathis, Pulitzer-winning photographer; Rich Kirkpatrick, who went on to become bureau chief and a spokesman for PennDOT; Gene Grabowski (my predecessor regional in DC); Tim Pettit, who was first into the office on 3/28/1979, got first inkling of a crisis at TMI, followed up and wrote first story. (He later became a pastor in Nyack, NY.); Paul Carpenter. Not pictured, he came to Harrisburg after this photo was taken, is my good friend John Daniszewski, now AP's Vice President for Standards and Editor at Large.
I went to the national desk as an overnight desk editor and then as an education reporter, but was so conspicuously miserable on the beat that I was quickly reassigned to my lifelong love, politics. I covered congressional and White House campaigns as well as battles over health reform and many other issues. In 1992 I was the first woman to have the "AP Political Writer" byline.  
In 1996 I moved to USA TODAY, where I covered national politics for 13 years and also wrote a heartbreaking investigative piece on a family torn apart by Hurricane Katrina. Then, in a very fateful move, I went to an online AOL startup called Politics Daily. There I learned to write a strongly argued column. I also learned about branding, social media, search engine optimization – everything I needed to thrive in the current media environment despite being a person of a certain age. PD lasted two years before AOL shut it down.   
I wrote for The Daily Beast for a year after that (campaign analysis along with assignments like an Iowa trip to the 2011 Republican straw poll and a weekend gig to baby-sit debt ceiling negotiations). Late that year I went to National Journal as managing editor for politics, and ran coverage of the 2012 presidential campaign. After that I was a columnist for Creators Syndicate and U.S. News; co-wrote (with Walter Shapiro) projects on governors and the presidency for Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute and on the House primary process for Brookings; contributed a chapter to “The Surge,” a 2015 book about GOP prospects for 2016; and wrote four case studies on political negotiation for Brookings that I turned into a book used in some college classrooms. In January 2016 I returned to USA Today, this time as the commentary editor, a member of the editorial board and an occasional columnist. I left the board in September and now write a weekly column. 
John Kerry with Jill Lawrence and Martin Kasindorf (both from USA Today) on 2004 campaign trail.
What was the biggest story or stories you covered or handled?  
You'd think Three Mile Island would have been the major story of my career, but history has just kept happening. I covered the 2000 campaign and its deadlocked finale, ultimately decided by the Supreme Court. I also covered Barack Obama’s campaign and win, another history-making moment for America.   
Starting around then, and not unrelated, was the devolution of the Republican Party into its present terrifying state, culminating with the reign of Donald Trump and his loyalists' deadly attack on the Capitol to try to keep him in power. Handling op-eds during this period was the challenge of a lifetime. I’ve never been so familiar with the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the criminal code and the unique angst of fact-checking in the Trump era.   
Who played the most significant role in your career and how?  
I'd have to say two adjunct professors at New York University in 1976, the first year it had a masters program in journalism. The late Maurice "Mickey" Carroll, then at the New York Times, taught a government reporting class and managed to convince me – a very insecure young woman at a time when hardly any women covered politics – that I had what it took to make it as a political writer. The other was the late Gerald Nachman, at the time a humor columnist for the New York Daily News. After I had sent letters to a couple of dozen newspapers in Connecticut and New Jersey and received zero replies (see above, “hardly any women”), he asked me, “Have you tried the wires?” “What are the wires?” I said.     
And thus began my life in professional journalism. The AP refused to let me take its test! But UPI said yes, and I was soon moving from Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village to UPI in Charleston, W.Va. (Believe it or not, I was the SECOND person in four months to make that exact move.)   
Would you do it all over again- or what would you change? 
I would definitely do it all over again. Maybe not in every specific, but overall, this is the career I was born to have. I know both politics and writing make some people miserable, but I love them. Politics has been a consuming passion since high school. And writing not only makes the world disappear, it is therapeutic. I’m never happier than when I’m writing. I should add that the intensive reporting I did at AP and USA Today was the most solid grounding possible for a future opinion writer.  
What’s your favorite hobby or activity?   
Mysteries and thrillers are my go-to for escapism. Louise Penny’s Three Pines books are wonderful (and the novel she just wrote with Hillary Clinton was pretty darn good, too). Right now I’m halfway through C.J. Box's nearly two dozen books about Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game warden who is dogged, compelling and always underestimated.  
What’s the best vacation trip you’ve ever made?   
To England in 2016 with my husband. We did a loop from London to Cornwall (I cannot tell a lie, “Poldark” made us do it) to Bath and the Cotswolds (where we took a series of pub-to-pub trail walks so beautiful there is a video of me somewhere on the internet singing “The hills are alive …”)   
Names of your family members and what they do? 
My older son, Alex Martin, is a violinist in the Utah Symphony. My younger son, Greg Martin, is a composer and screenwriter in Los Angeles. My husband, John Martin, is an editor. In fact he was my editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette when I was the AP Pennsylvania regional reporter. That’s how we met. He condensed a three-part series I had written about Sen. Arlen Specter into one part, and it read beautifully. So I married him.   
Jill Lawrence’s email - [email protected]

A Virtual Race for Nick
Sean Thompson during a route-planning run along the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y., Oct. 29. (AP Photo/Julia Pananon Weeks)
Sean Thompson (Email) - My wife and I were going to run the 50th TCS New York City Marathon. She did the New York Road Runners (NYRR) 9+1 program consisting of nine certified races and one volunteer event, earning her a guaranteed entry. I won an entry through the NYRR lottery on February 26, 2020 (our daughter's 5th birthday). I had turned 50 in July and we would both be running our first marathon – and it was the 50th anniversary of the marathon. It seemed perfect. An AP co-worker, Nick Jesdanun who was an avid marathoner, having completed 83 marathons on all seven continents, used to joke with me about my being an athlete but never having run a marathon.
“Come on Sean, you have to run the NYC Marathon. It’s the greatest experience. You’ll love it.” Shortly afterward the Coronavirus pandemic changed the world, and in-person activities and events were canceled worldwide. That April, Nick died due to complications from the coronavirus at the age of 51. In June, NYRR cancelled the TCS NYC Marathon.
I was peripherally aware of virtual racing before the pandemic but with the new way of life my social feed began to fill up with advertisements and messages from friends about virtual races. People couldn’t get together to run but could enter virtual races, upload their times and distances and interact with friends near and far as well as get medals, running bibs and shirts.
What is a virtual race? How does it work? How do we know someone actually ran the time and distance they claim?
For me virtual races fall into two categories, formal and fun. There is a lot of cross-over, but I consider formal races to be based on established races such as the TCS NYC Marathon, and tend to be longer, either half or full marathons. In 2018 NYRR in partnership with Volvo and Strava created a Virtual Racing Series so runners from around the globe could all take part in the same race—in new and exciting ways. Since the launch in January 2018, there have been more than 300,000 total virtual racing finishers from 155 countries. Proceeds support NYRR’s mission to help and inspire people through running and benefit NYRR’s free youth and community programs.
Fun runs such as those organized by Gone For A Run can be for anything such as “Run Now Gobble Later” for Thanksgiving, “Running Is My Happy Place” and over 100 other established runs they present. They will also create a run to fit your needs, be it for your company, school, birthday or reunion and they’ll make medals and shirts and other swag. There is a fun feeling to their events and a portion goes to charity.
How does it work? A virtual race can be run at your convenience during a specified period of time. Sign up for a race and run or walk the distance on a course you create wherever you are. Races are recorded using GPS activity trackers such as Strava, an American internet service for tracking human exercise which incorporates social network features. It is mostly used for cycling and running using GPS data. For the TCS NYC Marathon all runners must complete the full 26.2-mile distance in a single run activity during one 24-hour period and upload the activity to Strava. This must be a GPS upload. Manual uploads, treadmill runs, and activities where friends have "tagged" you are not supported and will not be counted toward the result. For the NYC Marathon the main sponsor, TCS has created an app linked to Strava to record and submit the virtual and in-person races. It allows you to share your progress during the race with two friends in case they want to meet you along your route to cheer you on.
A virtual race is not the same as running the race “in-person.” In New York, two million people line the streets along the course cheering and encouraging the runners. The atmosphere of running with other people is uplifting and generates an energy not found in solo running. The exhilaration and sense of completion and crossing the finish line in Central Park are things I want to experience. Over 54,000 people ran in the 2018 marathon, making it the largest race in the world. There were 16,031 finishers in the 2020 Virtual TCS NYC Marathon and nearly 160,000 finishers across all NYRR virtual races in 2020. This year they have limited the in-person field to 33,000. As of October 15th there were more than 8,500 runners registered for the virtual marathon and with the sign up window open until the end of the race period on November 7th, the number will likely increase. 
We chose a refund for our registration instead of deferring our guaranteed spot (a choice we now regret) and were not able to make the limited field so we have registered for the virtual race. The race - which took place Sunday - is considered the 50th Anniversary of the Marathon since it was not run in-person in 2020. 
This one’s for you Nick.
Connecting mailbox
Pam Collins honored by Texas managing editors
(Photo by Marci Caltabiano-Ponce)
AP-Dallas sales planner Pam Collins (Email) was honored Oct. 16 with the Jack Douglas Award from The Texas Association of Managing Editors in San Angelo, Texas. The award is the Texas Association of Managing Editor’s highest honor, recognizing significant contributions to the statewide organization and/or to Texas journalism. It was created to honor the memory of the late associate editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Other AP employees honored with the award include John Lumpkin (2002), Mike Cochran (2008) and Dale Leach (2016).
Dave Tomlin's patriotic run
Chris Sullivan (Email) - Tip of the hat to Dave Tomlin, always a very smart, straight-shooting class act at the AP and never more than in his run for school board in New Mexico. Sadly, his description of the narrow-minded, uninformed opposition, which apparently had nothing to do with what he actually represented as a candidate but only reflected a social-media-driven trend that is crippling the constructive politics that we’ve always known in our country, leads me to one conclusion: Dave should next run for governor or Congress. 
Organ snatches
Henry Bradsher (Email) - Marc Wilson’s incredibly graphic account of his splendid work with Dr. Thomas Starzl involving “snatch organs” (in Friday’s Connecting) brings to mind organ snatching in Moscow in the 1960s, when organ transplants in the Soviet Union were still often experimental and unsuccessful.
My AP bureau there heard reports that during afternoon rush hours teams of Soviet medical personnel stood by for deaths in traffic accidents. Rumors said still-warm bodies were rushed to hospitals for cutting out usable organs to transplant – before relatives of the dead were even notified of the accidents or asked for permission to snatch organs. Drivers’ licenses did not have boxes to check for organ donation.
Natasha was left to wonder why Ivan hadn’t come home on time. All she learned later was that he’d been in an accident, and a decimated corpse had been dressed up enough for a funeral.
Obviously a story worth reporting. But we needed to pin down these reports, to get some Soviet authority to verify them. That we never could do. In those days when information was tightly controlled and access to official entities strictly limited, no one would answer questions about this. The practice apparently was too sensitive to confirm. So, although we believed the reports, we never filed a story.


Senior birdmen
Former Denver COB and foreign correspondent Joe McGowan Jr. (right) and photojournalist (retired) Neal Ulevich caught up with each other at a meeting of the Colorado Pilots Association on Saturday. Joe, who has some stick and rudder time and Neal, who returned to flight after a 50-year absence, are both members of the CPA. Joe's wife, Babette André, accomplished pilot and flight instructor, snapped this photo at Rocky Mountain Metro.
Connecting sky shot - Colorado sunrise
Photo by Marc Wilson.
My patriotic pet…Bianca
Photo by Dennis Conrad.
Best of the Week
Distinctive AP photo project depicts Israelis, Palestinians sharing summer on distant shores
Three Palestinian men, left, pose for a photograph while enjoying a summer day on the beach of Gaza City, July 30, 2021, and at right, three Israelis spend a day on the beach in Tel Aviv, Aug. 8, 2021, right. AP PHOTOS / KHALIL HAMRA, LEFT; ODED BALILTY
For years, AP’s Khalil Hamra and Oded Balilty have captured the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through their award-winning photography. This summer they turned their lenses away from the violence and onto a place of refuge for both sides: the stretch of beaches along the Mediterranean Sea.
With Balilty making images from Tel Aviv and Hamra from Gaza, the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers produced an evocative essay showing Palestinians basking in the sun, free of the fences and guard towers that define their lives, and Israelis relaxing in the sand some 70 kilometers (40 miles) away, free from fear of the next eruption of fighting.
Hamra, like most Palestinians from Gaza, has never been to Tel Aviv. Balilty, like most Israelis, has not been to Gaza since Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers in 2005. While they’ve covered the conflict for decades, they met in person just once, at a photo exhibition in Europe in 2003. Communicating via Zoom, they talked about what they were seeing, made pictures, shared them and then set out to find similar ones from the their respective sides.
The pair, collaborating with global enterprise photo editor Enric Marti and Mideast photo director Dusan Vranic, aimed to capture a shared reality — the humanity of the people on both sides — as well as the differences.
Read more here.
Connecting wishes Happy Birthday
Mike Gugliotto – [email protected]
Paul Webster - [email protected]

Stories of interest
UN draft condemns attacks on journalists, urges punishment (AP)
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A proposed U.N. resolution would “unequivocally” condemn all attacks, reprisals and violence against journalists and media workers and urge governments to take action to end the prevailing impunity and punish these crimes.
The draft General Assembly resolution circulated Friday also urges “the immediate and unconditional release of journalists and media workers who have been arbitrarily arrested, arbitrarily detained or taken hostage or who have become victims of enforced disappearances.”
The resolution was drafted by Greece, France, Austria, Costa Rica and Tunisia, according to U.N. diplomats, and lists 34 co-sponsors including the United Kingdom, Germany and many other European and Latin American countries as well as the Ivory Coast and Lebanon.
The United States was not included on the list, but an official at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations told The Associated Press the Biden administration has signed on as a co-sponsor. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly,
Read more here. Shared by Adolphe Bernotas.
Meet the Miami Herald’s Newest Writer: A Robot! (Miami New Times)
Journalist Rene Rodriguez announced on October 10 that he had published his final byline at the Miami Herald, where he's worked since 1989 in a variety of roles, most recently covering real estate.
It's unclear who will replace the veteran reporter, but there appears to be at least one new writer on the Herald's real estate beat: Miami Herald Bot.
At 1:55 p.m. on October 15, Bot published its first article on the site: "North Miami Beach, Florida house sells for $2.4 million." Just two minutes later, it impressively published two stories at once: "Miami, Florida condominium sells for $5.4 million" and "Sunny Isles Beach, Florida home sells for $2.6 million," both at 1:57 p.m.
Before its first day on the job came to a close, Bot notched another byline, at 3 p.m., with "Coral Gables, Florida home sells for $5.1 million."
Read more here. Shared by Paul Albright.
This newspaper is cutting back on print and training readers to use iPads instead. Will it work? (Washington Post)
By Elahe Iza
In 2018, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette had a big problem. The state’s largest newspaper, based in Little Rock, was projected to lose money for the first time in 25 years.
Publisher and owner Walter Hussman considered his options. “Maybe we ought to cut back from being a statewide newspaper, maybe pull in our horns," he remembered thinking. But he just wasn’t ready to curtail the paper’s journalistic ambitions.
Hussman’s alternative — eliminating the daily print newspaper to save on publishing and delivery costs — is one that an increasing number of local papers have attempted in an era of rapidly declining advertising revenue. But instead of simply telling readers to switch to the paper’s website, the Democrat-Gazette gave every single subscriber an iPad — and then sent out a fleet of tutors to show them, one-on-one, how to use the devices to read a digital replica of the newspaper.
The labor-intensive logistics behind this unusual strategy underscore the challenge facing all news organizations adapting to the digital era — their dependence on a loyal if shrinking customer base that happens to be the demographic most in need of tech support.
Read more here. Shared by Michael Rubin.

The Final Word
Shared by Charlie Monzella
Celebrating AP's 175th

AP store for 175th, vintage merchandise
The AP has created a store with 175th anniversary merchandise available for purchase, as well as items branded with some of AP’s most historic logos.

Click Here.
AP Through Time: A Photographic History
AP Through Time: A Photographic History” - created by Director of Corporate Archives, Valerie Komor, is a keepsake commemorating AP’s 175th year. Small in size (6 ¾ x 6 ¾ in.), it is organized chronologically in eight segments that trace the broad outlines of AP’s development from 1846 to the present: Beginnings, Evolution, New Century, Modernity, Expansion, One World, Speed, and Transformation. Click here to view and make an order.
Today in History - Nov. 8, 2021
By The Associated Press
Today is Monday, Nov. 8, the 312th day of 2021. There are 53 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Nov. 8, 2000, a statewide recount began in Florida, which emerged as critical in deciding the winner of the 2000 presidential election. Earlier that day, Vice President Al Gore had telephoned Texas Gov. George W. Bush to concede, but called back about an hour later to retract his concession.
On this date:
In 1793, the Louvre began admitting the public, even though the French museum had been officially open since August.
In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln won re-election as he defeated Democratic challenger George B. McClellan.
In 1889, Montana became the 41st state.
In 1923, Adolf Hitler launched his first attempt at seizing power in Germany with a failed coup in Munich that came to be known as the “Beer-Hall Putsch.”
In 1950, during the Korean War, the first jet-plane battle took place as U.S. Air Force Lt. Russell J. Brown shot down a North Korean MiG-15.
In 1960, Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy defeated Vice President Richard M. Nixon for the presidency.
In 1966, Republican Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California, defeating Democratic incumbent Pat Brown.
In 1972, the premium cable TV network HBO (Home Box Office) made its debut with a showing of the movie “Sometimes a Great Notion.”
In 1974, a federal judge in Cleveland dismissed charges against eight Ohio National Guardsmen accused of violating the civil rights of students who were killed or wounded in the 1970 Kent State shootings.
In 2002, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1441, aimed at forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm or face “serious consequences.” President George W. Bush said the new resolution presented the Iraqi regime “with a final test.”
In 2010, former kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart took the stand in Salt Lake City on the first day of testimony in the trial of Brian David Mitchell, the man accused of abducting her in June 2002 when she was 14.
In 2012, Jared Lee Loughner was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the January 2011 shootings in Tucson, Arizona, that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Ten years ago: An asteroid as big as an aircraft carrier zipped by Earth in the closest encounter by such a massive space rock in more than three decades. Voters re-elected Kentucky’s Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, and picked a new governor in Mississippi, Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant. Bil Keane, 89, creator of the comic strip “Family Circus,” died in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Rapper Heavy D, 44, died in Los Angeles.
Five years ago: Republican Donald Trump was elected America’s 45th president, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in an astonishing victory for a celebrity businessman and political novice. Republicans kept their majorities in the Senate and House.
One year ago: World leaders cheered Joe Biden’s election as U.S. president as a chance to enhance cooperation on climate change, the coronavirus and other problems after four years of President Donald Trump’s rejection of international alliances. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency and ordered a statewide mask mandate in an attempt to stem a surge in coronavirus patient hospitalizations that tested the state’s hospital capacity. Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek died at his Los Angeles home after battling pancreatic cancer for nearly two years; he was 80.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Alain Delon is 86. Singer-actor Bonnie Bramlett is 77. Singer Bonnie Raitt is 72. TV personality Mary Hart is 71. Former Playboy Enterprises chairman and chief executive Christie Hefner is 69. Actor Alfre Woodard is 69. Singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones is 67. Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro is 67. Rock musician Pearl Thompson (The Cure) is 64. Singer-actor Leif Garrett is 60. Chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay is 55. Actor Courtney Thorne-Smith is 54. Actor Parker Posey is 53. Actor Roxana Zal is 52. Singer Diana King is 51. Actor Gonzalo Menendez is 50. Rock musician Scott Devendorf (The National) is 49. Actor Gretchen Mol is 49. ABC News anchor David Muir is 48. Actor Matthew Rhys is 47. Actor Tara Reid is 46. Country singer Bucky Covington is 44. Actor Dania Ramirez is 42. Actor Azura Skye is 40. Actor Chris Rankin is 38. TV personality Jack Osbourne is 36. Actor Jessica Lowndes is 33. R&B singer SZA is 32. New York Yankees outfielder and designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton is 32. Singer-actor Riker Lynch is 30. Country singer Lauren Alaina is 27. Actor Van Crosby (TV: “Splitting Up Together”) is 19.

Got a story or photos to share?
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:

- 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?

- 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.

Most unusual place a story assignment took you.

Paul Stevens
Editor, Connecting newsletter