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Membership to elect three new directors.

CANDIDATES FOR two-year terms on NCEW's board of directors are Mindy Cameron, Diane Clark, Suzanne Fields, Alf Pratte, Chuck Stokes, and Jack Zaleski. Three directors will be elected.

Mindy Cameron has been editorial page editor of The Seattle Times since January 1990. Before that she was Times city editor for eight years.

Previous experience includes two years as managing editor of the Lewiston Morning Tribune in Idaho, two stints with public television (in Boise, Idaho, and Rochester, New York) and reporting for the Idaho Statesman.

She has conducted a variety of workshops for the American Press Institute, including sessions on editing, newsroom management, zoned and community coverage, and rethinking editorial pages. She also is an in-house management trainer at The Seattle Times.

She recently was named to the board of trustees of her alma mater, Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore.

Cameron said NCEW must adapt to the changing realities of newspapers. "Those changes are financial -- my budget is shrinking; isn't yours? -- and technological. Our communities are changing, too," she said.

The result of all this change is that most editorial writers are trying to do more with less, she said. As we struggle to preserve the core value of the editorial page as the heart and soul of our newspapers, we also look for new and appropriate ways to connect with an increasingly distracted readership.

NCEW is vital to its members and attracts new members only as long as it remains a valuable resource to all editorial and op-ed editors and writers from papers of all sizes, Cameron said. Annual conventions are great, but on-going attention to service as a clearinghouse of ideas, a generator of feedback, and a promoter of small-scale regional conferences is equally important.

Diane Clark is editor of the opinion pages for The San Diego Union- Tribune. She had been op-ed page editor for three years at The San Diego Union when it merged in February 1992 with its afternoon sister paper, The Tribune.

Immediately prior to that she was senior deputy editor of U.S. News & World Report in Washington, D.C., where she coordinated coverage of education, social, cultural, legal, science, and consumer issues for the magazine from 1985 through 1987.

Clark was a panel speaker at NCEW's Salt Lake City convention and has been a member of NCEW for four years.

She received her master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and worked for several years at The San Diego Union as a reporter, columnist, and editor. In 1979 she won the Penney-Missouri award for consumer reporting. She has co-written two books and, most recently, authored a third on travel.

Clark is the immediate past president of the Association of Opinion Page Editors and is former editor of AOPE's newsletter. She feels strongly about the importance and role of the opinion pages. She believes readers crave strong, well-researched opinions beyond syndicated offerings, from diverse sources outside the newspaper, and that efforts of both AOPE and NCEW in this direction are welcome and valuable.

NCEW's emphasis on an annual op-ed conference has been excellent, Clark said. NCEW further could be instrumental, for instance, in setting up an opinion piece exchange or clearinghouse, a type of mini-syndicate, in which various newspapers could provide pieces they feel their colleagues might be interested in publishing.

Clark said NCEW also could collate and publish listings of experts from around the country, identified by area of expertise. That would serve as a handy guide to those soliciting informed analysis on breaking news as well as a sourcebook for editorial writers. These and similar types of services would be useful, especially to those who can't afford to attend the conferences in tight budget times.

Suzanne Fields has been a columnist at The Washington Times since 1983 and is syndicated by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. She is a regular commentator on CNN & Co. and Fox Morning News.

Fields is the author of Like Father, Like Daughter: How Father Shapes the Woman His Daughter Becomes. She was the editor of Innovations, a mental health magazine, for eight years. She is a graduate of George Washington University, where she got her master's degree, and has a doctorate in English literature from Catholic University of America. She has been a member of NCEW since 1989.

Fields said her passion is newspapers, and her immigrant grandparents learned English by reading them. She joined NCEW because she wants to meet men and women who she believes share her passion. "But some editors seem more concerned with partisan politics than with their responsibility to provide alternative points of view, favoring stuffiness to robust argument, who imagine diversity refers only to race or sex, not ideas," she said.

Fields said she believes editorial writers have a responsibility to stir controversy, to require readers to think again, to re-arm, rediscover, and react. Editorials and columns should argue, entertain, and confront.

Fields said that when she asked a member of the Nominating Committee why she was chosen, he said she was "energetic" and "nice," and provided diversity as a "conservative woman." (Some people think this is an oxymoron.) But she said there is more to her than that.

She wants to expand NCEW membership to get a greater diversity of new members from big papers and small ones, liberal ones, conservative ones, timid ones, and bold ones. She promised to be as dogged in pursuit of members as in seeking newspapers to run her column.

Alf Pratte continues to practice journalism while working as a full-time professor of communications at Brigham Young University, where he teaches classes in reporting, media history, and opinion writing as well as in the graduate school. In addition to being a stringer and editorial page contributor for The Salt Lake Tribune, he does free-lance work for newspapers and magazines in Utah, Hawaii, and Canada, where he was born and raised.

Before going into full-time teaching in 1981, Pratte worked for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, The Deseret News in Salt Lake City, The Salt Lake Tribune and Lethbridge Herald in Alberta. His scholarly and popular articles have appeared in numerous publications.

A member of NCEW since 1985, Pratte served as chair of the critique sessions at the Salt Lake City convention in 1990. He also has spoken at other NCEW conferences.

For the past two years he has been writing a textbook on the relationship between opinion pages and the credibility of print and broadcast journalism. While in Hawaii he was a member of the Honolulu Community Media Council. He is one of the founders of the American Journalism Historians Association.

As a candidate for the board of directors, Pratte seeks to foster greater relationships between the professional and academic worlds through research and other projects relating to readability, relevance, the law, and ethics.

"A great deal of this research is already being conducted in colleges around the country," Pratte says. "The problem is to develop faster and better methods of communicating such findings to a broader audience so opinion writers are not just talking to ourselves."

To do this, Pratte would like to see additional means of communicating to NCEW members through newsletters and with the public through columns that focus on the history of journalism in America and particularly the role of editorial writers.

Pratte would also work to increase NCEW membership from the academic community and smaller newspapers so that NCEW could increase its diversity as well as its financial and philosophical base.

Chuck Stokes is the editorial and public affairs director for WXYZ-TV in Detroit. He has been a member of NCEW since 1991 and currently serves on the Minority Affairs and Membership Committees. Prior to joining NCEW, he was a member of NBEA. He has attended the NCEW conventions in Orlando and Lexington.

In 1981, Stokes joined WXYZ-TV as executive producer of special projects for news. He was promoted to his current position in 1987.

Before joining WXYZ-TV, Stokes worked at WTVF-TV in Nashville, where he served at various times as on-air reporter and producer. Last year he editorialized and produced public affairs specials from the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Last February he co-produced President Clinton's first presidential town meeting. In 1990 he traveled to South Africa to report on that country's apartheid system of government.

He has received first-place editorial awards from the Michigan Associated Press and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Under his direction, WXYZ-TV also has captured the state Emmy Award for editorial reporting for five consecutive years.

Stokes is a 1976 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta and a 1978 graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He also studied at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and the University of Detroit School of Law.

During the next couple of years, Stokes would like to help NCEW increase its number of broadcast editorialists and minorities. He also wants to concentrate on expanding and strengthening NCEW's professional critiques for broadcasters.

Jack Zaleski has been editorial page editor of The Forum in Fargo, N.D., since 1987. Prior to that, he was reporter, editor, and general manager for The Devil's Lake Daily Journal in North Dakota and was a reporter for the Office of Public Information at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

A graduate of the University of Connecticut, he served from 1967 to 1968 as a VISTA volunteer at the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in Belcourt, N.D.

Since moving to The Forum, Zaleski said he has been able to focus his energy on his first love in journalism, the opinion pages. He writes a Sunday personal column in addition to being responsible for the editorial and op-ed pages. He has won awards for editorials and column writing. Most recently, The Forum won top honors from the state newspaper association for editorial writing and overall content of the editorial page.

Zaleski has been a member of NCEW for almost six years. He has been a co-chair of the Regional Conferences Committee.

He said NCEW's emphasis on professional development is the organization's greatest strength. Conventions are fun, but the critique sessions and panel discussions are invaluable to the serious editorial page editor. In order to get this message to more potential members, Zaleski wants to put more emphasis on regional meetings. Once editorial writers are exposed to what NCEW has to offer, membership will follow.

Without diminishing the programs at the national convention, NCEW should develop a mechanism to put more resources into regional meetings. Zaleski said, "The more writers we reach, the greater the chances of increasing membership and attendance at the national conference."
COPYRIGHT 1993 National Conference of Editorial Writers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Convention '93; National Conference of Editorial Writers directors
Publication:The Masthead
Date:Sep 22, 1993
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