Jerry Ceppos


When Competition Isn’t Healthy: Time for APME and ASNE to Merge

We all know that the Newspaper Association of America represents our country’s publishers and lots of other business-side people just below them. But imagine that there’s a competing organization, the National Newspaper General Managers Association, representing GMs and some publishers.

Editors would be the first to skewer both groups for diluting their power and adding to costs during the most precarious time in the history of the American newspaper business.

Of course, the National Newspaper General Managers Association doesn’t exist—because there’s no need for it. In fact, NAA 16 years ago brought together the work of seven business-side organizations to avoid duplication and produce a stronger voice for that part of the industry.

Such clarity of thought doesn’t exist on the news side of the business, though. Read more


Educating Readers:Explaining why Diversity Matters

An entirely unforeseen consequence of the war in the Middle East may be reader skepticism about one of American journalism’s proudest achievements — the increase, albeit slow, in the diversity of our staffs.

I called a friend a few weeks ago to warn her that I was working on an op-ed piece about our contentious conversation a few days earlier about coverage of the Middle East. As this second conversation also turned edgy, she grabbed that day’s San Jose Mercury News, leafed through the war coverage and then said, to my amazement, “What’s with the Arab names on articles?”

With those few words, she turned diversity on its head. A huge positive suddenly became a gigantic negative.

The “Arab” byline she referred to belonged to Anthony Shadid of The Washington Post, who won a Pulitzer in international reporting two years ago. Read more


Muhammad Caricatures Should be Published

Maybe it’s because I’m a person now and not a newspaper editor that I’m bothered by the blackout in almost all mainstream U.S. media of the cartoons that have incited much of the Muslim world.

Images often provoke controversy more than words do.

When I was a newspaper editor, I probably spent the equivalent of six months of my life debating whether to publish one or another controversial photograph, political cartoon or comic strip. The photograph of a dead American soldier being dragged through the streets of Somalia. The photo of Richard Allen Davis, Polly Klaas’ killer, making an obscene courtroom gesture. A “Doonesbury” comic strip in which a TV commentator tours Ronald Reagan’s brain, pointing out deficiencies. The (San Jose) Mercury News published the first two on my watch. Read more