AUBURN — Two distinguished Maine journalists will be inducted into the Maine Press Association (MPA) Hall of Fame at the group’s annual conference in October.
This year’s honorees are the late Robert Crocker, a long-time Associated Press state house reporter and Richard Dudman of Ellsworth and Islesford, retired St. Louis Post Dispatch correspondent and editorial writer for the Bangor Daily News.
“We are proud to be inducting such superbly-qualified candidates into this year’s Hall of Fame,” said MPA President Kelly Morgan of The York Weekly.
Mr. Dudman has been a lifelong newspaperman.
A high point of his reporting career was his capture in Cambodia while covering the Vietnam War for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He wrote an account for the newspaper and later expanded it into a book, “40 Days with the Enemy.” He wrote an earlier book, “Men of the Far Right.”
In 1978, he escaped death again in Cambodia when a terrorist fired at him.
In his 31 years with the Post-Dispatch, as a reporter and Washington and foreign correspondent, he covered the takeover of Cuba by Fidel Castro, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, secret preparations for the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, the Watergate scandal and President Richard Nixon’s resignation, the Iran-Contra scandal in the President Ronald Reagan’s administration, and numerous other wars and revolutions in Latin America, the Middle East and the Far East.
After retiring from the Post-Dispatch and moving to Maine, Mr. Dudman went back to work for the newspaper on brief special assignments. For nine years, he worked every winter as a managing editor for South-North News Service in Hanover, N.H.
In 1993, after learning the identity of the Vietcong officer who had captured him and later released him, Mr. Dudman visited the retired general in his remote village in the Vietnam delta for several day of interviews.
Honors include the 1993 George Polk career award, the New York Press Club’s award for best reporting from Asia, the Edward Weintal award for diplomatic reporting, and two fellowships in 1994 and 1996 as a media adviser under the Knight International Press Fellowship Program.
In recent years, he has written more than 750 editorials for the Bangor Daily News.
During his distinguished career, Bob Crocker proved to be the consummate professional both in the service of journalism and the American Newspaper Guild.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bates College in 1938 and later he joined the Lewiston Evening Journal as a reporter the following year.
Two years later he left Lewiston to join the Worcester, MA, Evening Gazette and returned to Maine in 1947 as the State House Correspondent for the Associated Press.
During his Augusta years, he was active as a member of the Wire Service Guild, a nation-wide local of the American Newspaper Guild, and served as its president. He also served as president of the Maine State House Newsmen’s Association.
He was prolific, filing several thousand stories each legislative session.
As a researcher, he was unparalleled. Most of it – legislative history, members, and controversial issues – was in his head, the product of more than 20 years covering Maine government.
When the Legislature issued its joint proclamation honoring him in 1967 it was fellow State House journalists who had started the ball rolling.
Governor Kenneth M. Curtis praised Mr. Crocker for his accounts of State House proceedings, and “his uncanny eye towards public impressions and public service…. He symbolizes those men of the Press who have given Maine citizens a light so they can act on governmental matters with some confidence when they enter their polling places.”
Mr. Crocker continued to serve the AP as its State House correspondent for two more years, after which he was elected in 1969 Secretary-Treasurer of the American Newspaper Guild in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Dudman and Mr. Crocker will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame at a luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch.

We understand it’s been tough for MPA members to make decisions about who should attend the Fall Conference when we still have Better Newspaper Contest Judges yet to be heard from.

In the hopes of securing the majority of Judges decisions, we’re extending the Registration deadline for the Fall Conference to Friday, 10/3.

If you’ve already sent in your registration–thank you–but note you can add to it next week if necessary.

With regards to room reservations, the latest you can register is 10/1. The MPA has a special group rate of $129 a night, good for the nights of Oct. 17-18. To make reservations online, go to and use group/convention code: MEPRSS or call the hotel directly at 207-784-4433 and ask for the ME Press Association group rate.

All MPA member newspapers have now been contacted with the results of the 2014 Better Newspaper Contest. We’re still awaiting comments from Judges on a number of categories, but the majority of notifications have been received and forwarded on to the applicable Contest contact at your newspaper. We’ll be sure to update newspapers with additional results as they become available.

A full day of events is planned for the MPA’s Fall Conference on Oct. 18, including editorial round-table discussions, a photo & video Help Desk, and advertising sessions focused on keeping it fresh and what’s hot in digital. Full session descriptions are below:

Keeping it Fresh Roundtable (editorial)
How many times can you cover the same meeting, annual event, or similar events, without boring yourself and your readers to tears? Do you cover the 4th of July fireworks with just a photo or do you ask some folks what they think is so special about the occasion? Been to your 100th Baked Bean Supper? Who there will share the secret family recipe? Town council fighting over the budget again? Hard to make readers care when the reporter obviously doesn’t. This session will collect concerns and frustrations from participants and share ways others have found to keep the pages of our papers and websites fresh and interesting. Moderated by Earl Brechlin, Editor, Mount DesertIslander

Photo & Video Help Desk
The doctors are in! Have a nagging question about the best way to approach a visual assignment? Do wish you knew what all those buttons on your camera did? Do you need a better digital workflow? Wondering what’s the best way to get rid of ‘camera shake’ in your videos? Do you just want to talk shop and pick the brains of Maine’s best photojournalists? Now you can. Maine Press Associating Vice President Troy R. Bennett has assembled a crack team of the Pine Tree State’s best shooters. They’ll be on hand all morning to answer questions, brainstorm solutions and shoot the breeze. If they can’t guide you to an answer, nobody can.

Going Digital: Managing Change in a 21st Century Newsroom (editorial)
Editors and journalists: Do you sometimes find yourself saying, “there’s got to be a better way, I just don’t know what it is? Newsrooms, and the way news is produced, is changing at a rapid rate. It’s no longer enough to create excellent journalism on a deadline. Considerations must also be made for print, web, social media, mobile apps and multimedia tie-ins when assigning and crafting a story—sometimes simultaneously. How are you navigating this change? Who is responsible for what? How has this changed the production process and what resources have you found to help you? What HAS worked in your newsroom—or better yet—what HASN’t worked? Come and share your experiences and learn from others who are also grappling with these issues.

Keeping It Fresh (advertising)
Tired of that same old special section? Can’t bear the thought of gearing up to sell another county fair bannered page? Come to this session to hear and share ideas on how to freshen up your approach to selling advertising. Bringing new ideas to customers is the best way to position yourself as a marketing expert and someone who cares about the results you generate for your customer.

What’s Hot in Digital (advertising)
Mobile optimized websites, SEO, SEM, retargeting – what digital products are advertisers buying? What’s working and what’s next? Also tips for creating cross-channel packages and experiences for your customers.

A full day of events is planned for the MPA’s Fall Conference on Oct. 18, including editorial round-table discussions, a photo & video Help Desk, and advertising sessions focused on keeping it fresh and what’s hot in digital (see accompanying article).
The conference registration form can be downloaded from the MPA’s website: Registration deadline is September 26.
We’re compiling the last of the judges’ comments for the 2014 Maine Press Association Better Newspaper contest and plan to begin notifying winners later this week.
Meanwhile, The Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch is taking room reservations for MPA members and guests. The MPA has a special group rate of $129 a night, good for the nights of Oct. 17-18. The deadline for room reservations is September 26.
To make reservations online, go to auburnriverwatch.hgi.comand use group/convention code: MEPRSS or call the hotel directly at 207-784-4433 and ask for the ME Press Association group rate.



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