Vic Bowers of The McClatchy Company says SNPA offered him practical application as opposed to theory during his 2016-17 NEX GEN year. "How to work in a changing environment. How to adapt. How to manage up as well as manage down."
The year-long NEX GEN program offers newspaper professionals with executive potential the opportunity to develop their industry knowledge, analytical skills and aptitude for innovation.
Bowers' assigned mentor was Nancy Solliday, vice president/advertising sales for The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla.
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When 5-year-old Noah Thomas disappeared in rural Pulaski County, Va., in 2015, a massive search ensued, accompanied by intensive news coverage. Four days later the body of the child was found in a septic tank with an unsecured lid, 10 feet away from the basketball hoop outside his home.
The boy's mother, Ashley White, said she was taking a nap and Noah was gone when she woke up. The home situation was less than ideal, and instead of community sympathy for her loss, White was the object of a backlash of condemnation fueled by gossip, rumor and social media.
"She didn't grow up with a silver spoon in her mouth," said Lee Wolverton, managing editor of The Roanoke Times. "She struggled like a lot of people in that area have. People are pretty quick to judge people like her."
By the time she was convicted of child abuse leading to an injury as well as two lesser charges of neglect, White had been in jail for more than a year. Released on time served, she appealed the main conviction. It was overturned by an appeals court and the Virginia Supreme Court allowed that ruling to stand.
This spring The Roanoke Times released a multi-part podcast, simply called "Septic," that told the story with a focus on the mother. Much of it is audio based in large part on courtroom recordings that were released to the newspaper. It also includes recorded interviews, photos, documents and some video.More