Building Databases of Sources

Under a new program through the Associated Press Managing Editors’ (APME) National Credibility Roundtables, dozens of papers are compiling e-mail addresses of readers and sources that can be used for any number of stories and opinion reports. The 17,617-circulation Norfolk Daily News, for example, so far has 150 names and addresses in a database of people agreed to respond to e-mail inquiries at a moment’s notice. Ken Sands, managing editor for online and new media at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., instituted the idea at his paper in 1997 and has been training editors at many papers involved in the APME program. Sands says APME hopes to build the effort into a national database that newspapers can share. “There could be a national story written about an issue with comments from 50 or more cities,” he told Editor & Publisher. “It would be kind of like AP in reverse.” Boy, wouldn’t that be neat.

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