Texas Managing Editors

AP Texas Newsletter, Vol. 1, Issue 3

A search for bodies that became a wild media goose chase

PhotoThe story certainly sounded compelling: Authorities in Liberty County were investigating a tip that multiple bodies had been buried at a rural Texas farmhouse.

It was enough to send some news organizations over the edge — several of them reporting as fact the discovery of 20 to 30 bodies.
Trouble was, it turned out not to be true.

Yes, there was a tip to law enforcement officials that multiple bodies — up to 30 in a Reuters report — would be found at the house. The caller, who claimed to be a psychic, knew details about the inside of the house that made her seem credible. Traces of blood and a foul smell coming from inside were enough to trigger a search warrant.

But there were no bodies. Just some rotting meat in a broken freezer and a few embarrassed reporters.

Members relying on the AP’s coverage had no reason to worry. While the AP advised members that it was aware of the reports and had sent reporters and a photographer to the scene, we also made clear the source of the reports was unknown. The AP never reported that any bodies had been found.

The Houston Chronicle was just as cautious.

George Haj, senior editor for news at the Chronicle, said the Chronicle was immediately skeptical of the initial television report about the discovery of bodies.

“We pushed hard to answer a couple of questions – what exactly did police know vs. what they were told by a source/tipster, and where did the original tip come from,” Haj wrote.

The Chronicle was first to reach the owner of the house, a long-haul trucker who explained the blood and insisted he’d not been involved in any killings.

May Photo of the Month


Joe Gamma of the Amarillo Globe-News is winner of the May Texas Photo of the Month contest for this image from a Randall County wildfire. The Globe-News also won the state Photo of the Month contest in April.

2011 Stylebooks available with discount for members

The 2011 Associated Press Stylebook launched in May with about 500 new and updated listings since the 2010 edition. We update our spiral-bound Stylebook every year, adding new listings and updating existing ones. Of special interest this year is the addition of a food chapter, as well as an expanded social media section. Other style updates include email, cellphone, smartphone, earthquakes, CPR and bedbug.

AP members receive a discount on the Stylebook, paying $12.75 per book instead of our regular price of $19.95. We also offer a member discount on the Web-based Stylebook Online, which is updated throughout the year and which offers the ability to add your own entries and add notes to AP’s listings. Online-only features include an Ask the Editor function with archives of past answers, a pronunciation guide with phonetic spellings and audio pronouncer files and Capital IQ profiles of publicly traded companies.

Rates are based on the number of users, with pricing available either for individual named users or for concurrent users. Contact Dale Leach or Barry Bedlan for information on pricing or place your order at apstylebook.com.

Relief fund established for Joplin Globe staff members affected by tornado

The Missouri Press Association has established a disaster fund within the Missouri Press Foundation to assist Joplin Globe employees affected by last month’s tornado. All of the proceeds will go directly to affected employees.

The homes of at least 26 employees of The Globe were heavily damaged or destroyed by the tornado. A page designer at the newspaper, Bruce Baillie, 57, was killed.

Tax deductible donations to the relief fund may be made online at tinyurl.com/44szw5r. Checks can be sent to the Missouri Press Foundation, 802 Locust Street, Columbia, MO 65201.

AP Exchange/Summer School: Training focuses on business

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, June 15, from 4:30-5:30 p.m., when The Associated Press will offer specialized training on business content through “AP Exchange: Summer School.”

AP’s global business report is available to Member Choice Complete subscribers. This training class will demonstrate how to create a custom feed of content for your newspaper. We’ll also show you how to take advantage of premium financial content available to you only through AP Exchange.

Please join us for the 60-minute WebEx training session by using the call-in and Web information provided here. Join us for as much time as your schedule allows.

  • Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2011
  • Time: 3:30 pm, CDT
  • Meeting Number: 767 828 471
  • Meeting Password: biz
  • To join the online meeting: click here
  • Call-in number: 1-866-699-3239
  • Access code:767 828 471

Submit convention registration fees here.