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Council offers ear of other journalists.

An added benefit from my year as president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers has been the chance to serve as president of the Council of Presidents.

Before you write me off as hopelessly mired in journalism bureaucracy (or presidentially fixated), let me explain. The Council of Presidents consists of the elected heads of 28 of the largest journalism organizations from the American Society of Newspaper Editors to the National Association of Black Journalists to the Society of Newspaper Design. I think it's important for NCEW to stay involved in the Council of Presidents.

Here are my top three reasons:

1. Diversity

In July of next year, four minority-journalist organizations will host Unity '94 in Atlanta. This joint convention will focus on diversity goals in broadcast and print journalism. It will offer all journalism organizations, including NCEW, the opportunity to press for more diversity in the profession.

Thanks to Mary Ellen Butler, chair of NCEW's Minority Participation Committee, and Rick Horowitz, who heads our Public Relations Committee, NCEW has plans to play significant role at Unity '94. With Joe Geshwiler, our 1994 president, based in Atlanta, NCEW's effort can only be strengthened.

The Council of Presidents focused on Unity '94 at its session in Minneapolis September 18. We'll discuss it again at the April meeting in Washington.

2. Circulation, readership, listenership

At one of our Council of Presidents meetings, I overheard another member saying something like this: "You can't really believe most of the survey data out there. For instance, loads of people say they read the editorial page regularly, but we know they don't."

We do?

Like it or not, the editorials-are-for-eggheads attitude is out there among our journalistic colleagues. We need to make the pragmatic case for why opinion writing is healthy - even for those bean-counters whose focus is on the bottom line.

Susan Albright of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis is heading a NCEW task force that will pull together existing data, and come up with a game plan for getting the word out.

The Council of Presidents is another important option for us. As they only representative of opinion editors on the Council, NCEW's president can make sure that our perspective is not overlooked by those on the news side.

3. Useful economies

The Council of Presidents was born not out of idealism, but out of financial concern.

Though NCEW has rebounded strongly from tough times, all journalism organizations are looking for ways to cut expenses and to make more efficient use of available resources.

The council helps its members reach that goal by distributing updated information on conventions, seminars, and projects. By staying more closely in touch, the council members are more aware of the opportunities for working together and avoiding duplication.

NCEW has made steady progress this year in extending its influence beyond its members. More and more, NCEW is being looked to as the authority on the business of opinion writing.

The Council of Presidents can help us perform that function even more effectively.
COPYRIGHT 1993 National Conference of Editorial Writers
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Council of Presidents and the National Conference of Editorial Writing
Author:Jones, Ed
Publication:The Masthead
Date:Dec 22, 1993
Words:502
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