Blogs » Your Advocate: an editor's blog » What's the difference between newspapers in 1982 and 2010?

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I came across an article with a colorful reference to newspapers of 1982 while trying to warm up from a chilly walk up and down 7th Avenue in Manhattan. The article caught my eye because I started my newspaper career that year at my hometown paper, the Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal.

In what he acknowledges as some colorful hyperbole, renowned journalist Tim McGuire wrote that "newspapering in 1982 is to 2010 newspapering, what you are to a gerbil!.” A variety of smart editors offer their responses to this proclamation in his blog, and I certainly can't add much to their wisdom.

Their insights set the stage well for my trip this weekend in the Big Apple, where I'll be attending my first meeting as a board member of the Associated Press Managing Editors. I was deeply honored to be elected by my peers to this position last fall. I heard the good news while on a trip to Hawaii with my wife to celebrate our 20th anniversary, so this has been quite a year for me.

I had about as much idea as a gerbil on a wheel that I'd end up here 29 years later. On the board's agenda for APME directors is a discussion about keeping the organization relevant and essential in the 21st century. This is the 78-year-old national organization's mission, updated in 2000: "To work with The Associated Press to foster journalism excellence and to support a national network for the training and development of editors who will run multimedia newsrooms in the 21st Century."

I've benefited from many APME activities, including training, conferences and credibility projects. The Advocate's online credibility project of 2009 was made possible by APME.

I'm not sure what I'll bring to this weekend's conversation, but I hope to help in some small way. I consider this to be an exciting and challenging time for journalism, and APME can lead the way.

What were you doing in 1982? How much has your work changed since then?