As APSE celebrates its 50th anniversary, we asked former presidents to discuss the past and the future of the organization. In today’s spotlight is Vince Doria, who was president from 1983-84.
What did you do as president of APSE?
“Our biggest accomplishment, a project I continued with after my presidency expired, was the drafting of a code of ethics for APSE, which was sent to all the professional leagues to make them aware of the journalistic standards that APSE aspired to. This led quickly to what became annual meetings with the various league commissioners.”
“Our first year, as I recall, included Pete Rozelle of the NFL, Peter Ueberroth of MLB, David Stern of the NBA, and John Ziegler of the NHL. These meetings put a group of about 20 APSE members into face-to-face annual meetings with the commissioners, a chance to air various issues and concerns, and for the commissioners to develop personal relationships, and see APSE as the aggregate face of hundreds of newspapers around the country. It’s a practice that continues through today, and has expanded to the NCAA, NASCAR, and others.”
What advice would you give to APSE and its presidents for the next 10 years? 50 years?
“My advice for the next 10 years, and the next 50 years, would be, despite how platforms may change from print to digital and beyond, to maintain the bedrock standards of journalism — fairness, accuracy, thoroughness — regardless of how those platforms evolve.”
Should APSE meet once or twice a year?
“I would hope APSE continues to gather twice a year. I know resources are not what they used to be, and funding travel is a serious issue for most organizations. I found the greatest value at APSE was the in-person contact we had, the chance not only to exchange ideas, but to get to know other folks in the same profession, to see how they thought, what motivated them. The more opportunities for that, the better.”
Should the contest judge writing only or continue as is — writing and sections?
“The contest was a hot topic for debate 40 years ago, and it seems that hasn’t changed much. Like all contests, the winners are happy, those who don’t win are disappointed and often believe there is reason for change.
“At The Boston Globe, where I was the sports editor from 1978 to 1989, we were lucky enough to win all three section categories two years running. It led to the widespread perception that we were the best sports section in the country. That, of course, was unfair to dozens of other papers.”
“There is no way, in viewing a handful of sections, that anyone can have a real sense of the impact a section has on a daily basis in the community, how it is faring against the competition, how thorough and innovative it is in its coverage of the local scene. Eventually, the contest was changed to simply honoring 10 sections in each category”
“Writing, of course, is much easier to judge and compare, than a handful of sections to represent a daily challenge. That said, I would hope the section judging continues. For those who win, it’s an affirmation that they are doing good work, and creates a sense of pride among editors, the copy desk, the agate clerks and others who are rarely recognized.”
“For those who don’t win, I would hope they would understand that a contest like this is hardly a definitive arbiter of how well a section is performing. Put it behind you, and continue to do the best job you can, with the resources you have. There is always another contest coming down the road.”