Come Fly with Me to Toronto

As we prepare to pack our bags and board a jet plane for Toronto, I wanted to send you my best wishes for a wonderful trip and ask you to be prepared for an amazing ALA Annual Conference experience. Be prepared for compelling content that goes beyond learning.

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” -Anthony J. D’Angelo

As you get ready to fly out to Toronto, take these thoughts and tools with you…

Conference Schedule: The first day of the 2014 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Toronto has been shifted from Monday to Tuesday. Check it out at Then be prepared to be inspired with our Keynote Session on Tuesday morning that will feature Captain Mark Kelly, a retired combat pilot and former Commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, and his wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords.

ALA Conference Web App: The Conference App is in a NEW location this year, so don’t use the 2013 Annual Conference App site! Access the new ALA Annual Conference Mobile Web App to help you customize and optimize your schedule. Visit, and create a new account. To get the app up and running, we have developed a quick start guide for your convenience. Smaller and older devices with less memory may have longer load times. After you create your account, you can begin to plan your schedule, check out exhibitors and schedule your tour time for ReDesign-Law: The Legal Office of the Future and more – all at your fingertips.

Tech Docs: Need tech help with the App? We’ve got you covered. Thanks to the generosity of our ALA volunteers, we will have approximately 65 Tech Docs on site in Toronto in the Hive, at the Toronto Hospitality Booth and walking the halls to help anyone who has questions about the Annual Conference App. These Tech Doc volunteers can be identified by the red arm band they will be wearing.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman

Networking: Build upon the strength of your ALA relationships and friendships starting with the Welcome Reception on Monday evening. Enjoy the inaugural IDEA and Association Awards event and the Grand Finale: VIP Treatment will be an incredible night with dinner, a fabulous concert by REO Speedwagon and afterglow dessert and dance party. If you think about it, pack a red or white shirt/blouse for the concert. Some of us on the Committee thought it would be cool to be seen from the stage in these Canadian colors.

The Legal Marketplace: We will welcome approximately 200 of the industry’s very best business partners under the new banner “The Legal Marketplace.” Learn about the latest products and services that may help you and your firm. Connect with experts at the Hub, learn the latest tech at the Hive, and refresh your mind, body and portable devices in the Recharge Lounge.

CLM Clout: NEW! All CLMs will enjoy exclusive benefits such as breakfast Tuesday morning with keynote speakers Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords as well as a private CLM Lounge.

There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” -Nelson Mandela

The Legal Office of the Future: Re-Design Legal – Innovation Lab: Take a guided tour of your future office of 2035 through this amazing one-time event, presented by ALA in partnership with Gensler. Schedule your appointment for a tour directly on the App. See groundbreaking technology and trends FIRST with ALA and Gensler!

First ever Hive– Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Be sure to start off in the Social Media Hive on Monday with Mary Abraham, a lawyer and leader in social and legal knowledge management. This learning opportunity will be in addition to multiple Hive events scheduled throughout the conference. There will also be a few laptops available on tables in the Hive if you need to take care of something that has come up back at the office.

If you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it with much conviction or passion.” -Mia Hamm

Experience Toronto and Surrounding areas: Your family will be able to experience Toronto and enjoy the Memorial Day holiday while you are attending professional development sessions and you can join them on the back end. Ripley’s NEW Aquarium of Canada is a few steps from the conference centre and is expected to be amazing.

Tours – Gather your colleagues, and take a peek at what is available in and around Toronto and what the surrounding area has to offer! Please also check out the following group tour opportunities.

Niagara Falls Day Tour

Hop-On-Hop-Off Toronto City Tour

How to Pack: Be sure to check the local weather, and as with all ALA conferences, we will be in business casual dress. No jeans, shorts or flip-flops please.

Please Remember the Important Cell Phone and Other Devices Reminder:

Data and Roaming: Remember to update your cell phone and data plan for international service to minimize your international cell phone charges. For more information on this subject, see the blog posting about this at

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” -Alan Kay

I have been looking forward to this week for the last 16 months. Not only to see all of you, but to showcase many of the components of ALA’s new strategic plan. I have a feeling that you will enjoy this annual conference experience as we explore the opportunities to lead our firms and businesses into the future…and, of course, have some good old fashioned fun in the process!

Mark B.

Mark Bridgeman, CLM, is the Chair of the 2014 Annual Conference Committee. He has also served as the Region 3 Projects Officer, was on the 2011 Annual Conference Committee and spent three years on the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. Bridgeman has been a regular speaker and presenter at ALA events since 2003, including the 2008 and 2009 ALA Annual Conference & Exposition. In 2010, he received ALA’s Outstanding Association Volunteer Award. He has recently served on the Annual Educational Conference Planning Committees for both the Greater Chicago and Wisconsin Chapters. He has served in various Board positions for the Greater Chicago Chapter and in several Vice President positions for the Wisconsin Chapter, as President, President-Elect and Director of Membership of the Orange County Chapter and is ALA Director-At-Large-Elect for 2014-2017.



ALA’s 2014 Annual Conference in Toronto – What Do I Need to Know?

We’re sending a “Know Before You Go” email to all attendees and exhibitors on Monday, May 12, but wanted to give our blog followers a bit of a preview. There will be more information in the email on Monday, so please review it carefully.

Don’t forget your passport if you are traveling into Canada from outside the country and be sure to check with your cell phone company regarding international calling and data plans. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Airport Express Shuttle Service from Pearson International Airport offers a 5% discount on your round-trip airport transportation travel from Lester B. Pearson International Airport to select Toronto downtown hotels. Purchase your tickets online to receive a 5% discount off the face value of the regular fares.

Upon arrival at Lester B. Pearson International Airport, collect your baggage and proceed to the Arrivals Level:

• Terminal 1: Arrivals Level, curb side, Area C
• Terminal 3: Arrivals Level, curb side, Area 25

Schedule information and hours of service is available on the Toronto Airport Express webpage.

Please note that Toronto Airport Express no longer provides service to the Renaissance Hotel.

Shuttle Service from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is complimentary to Union Station, across the street from the Fairmont Royal York and near the InterContinental. Learn more.

Taxi Service from Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport is approximately CAD$50 plus gratuity, each way. From and to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is approximately CAD$15 plus gratuity, each way.

Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 600 Level
• Monday, May 19……………..7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
• Tuesday, May 20…………….6:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
• Wednesday, May 21…………7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, May 22……………7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Speaker handouts will not be distributed in session rooms, but they are accessible on ALA’s website and on the mobile web app. You can start viewing them now and you are strongly encouraged to download individual handouts to your laptop or tablet in advance of the Conference.

ALA is committed to advancing the business of law today – and tomorrow, and is pleased to bring you ReDesign-Law: The Legal Office of the Future. Don’t miss out on this one time only event, built exclusively by Gensler for ALA 2014 Conference attendees.
• Take the interactive guided tour through the 5,000 square foot exhibit by following the LOOTF link on the main menu of the mobile app; space is limited
• Explore how space planning and technology will be reinvented to take efficiency, communication and profitability to the next level
• See technology innovations from Microsoft and Thomson Reuters
• Experience prototype furniture from companies such as Steelcase, Bernhardt and Herman Miller
• Discover technological solutions that allow for knowledge-sharing, real-time collaboration and harnessing big data – globally
• Additional contributions from Knoll, Interface, Creative Wood, POI Business Interiors and Waveguide complete your peek into the Legal Office of the Future

We have almost 200 exhibitors in the Legal Marketplace and new, experiential areas such as the Hub and the Hive. Learn about the latest in legal management products and services from your partners in business. See who’s joining us in Toronto.

Wondering if a colleague, friend or fellow chapter member is already registered? Check out the list of attendees. You’ll be able to email attendees from a link in the new ALA web app to stay connected.

In support of ALA’s new strategic plan that positions ALA as the undisputed leader in the business of law, your 2014 Annual Conference Committee is asking attendees to make a conscious choice to raise the bar by “dressing for success” so that we will be seen as professional ambassadors for our employers and ALA. As befits this unique, valuable, professional experience, the Committee asks that attendees dress in business/sharp casual or professional attire for all official daytime Annual Conference events. No old jeans, shorts, or flip-flops please. Nice jeans are welcome for evening events, including the Grand Finale, during which we encourage you to wear red and white apparel in salute of Canada during the REO Speedwagon concert.

Complimentary Wi-Fi, sponsored by ALA’s 2014 Technology Partner CDW, is available in all session rooms and in the ALA Booth, Hive, Hub and Recharge in the Legal Marketplace. Simply connect to the network ALA2014 and enter passcode toronto14. We will have charging stations so you can keep power to your devices, but please bring your cord to plug in!

HIVE, Booth 1129, the place where you can get answers to your technology and social media questions, and learn about the hottest tech topics from Tech Docs who will be available to you, identified by their “Tech Doc” armbands. Hive social media sessions can be found in the conference app: session code HIVE. Laptops (and a printer for your boarding pass!) can be found here as well.

HUB, Booth 109, is YOUR meeting place. Continue the conversation with ALA Annual Conference speakers and network with your peers. The speakers appearing in the Hub can be found in the app (session code HUB) and on signage in the Hub.

RECHARGE, Booth 429, is where you can go to recharge your mind, body and electronic device. Relax in comfort, have a snack or just get away from the hustle and bustle. While you’re here – bring your cord to plug in your device so you’re “connected” the rest of the day.

Be sure to follow ALA online throughout the Conference. We will post daily updates and photos on the Annual Conference website. We’ll also be making announcements on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We invite you to tweet about the Conference using #ALA2014.

Rooms are still available at the Renaissance and Westin Harbour Castle for you to stay with ALA. Make your hotel reservations now.

Parking at the south building at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is at 222 Bremner Blvd., Toronto. View rates and parking information. Need parking information for ALA hotels? Click here for details.


Olejnik_Patty_2013-01Patty P. Olejnik, CMP, has been with the Association of Legal Administrators since 2010, starting as the Meeting Manager and promoted to Senior Manager, Conferences & Meetings in 2013. A part of ALA’s Member Experience team, reporting to Jeanne Schehl, the Director of Professional Development & Meetings, Olejnik leads the Conferences & Meetings team planning ALA’s Annual Conference & Exposition, the fall Business of Law and specialty conferences, and Board of Directors, Foundation of ALA Trustee and committee meetings. She manages two staff; Chris Kirbabas, Meeting Planner, and Kara Hill, Meeting Coordinator.

Join Us for ALA’s New IDEA Awards (Innovation, Development, Engagement and Advancement) and Association Awards Ceremony

I invite you to attend the IDEA & Association Awards ceremony held on Tuesday, May 20 at 5:15 p.m. in conjunction with ALA’s Annual Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In this awards ceremony we will present the Quest Award, the Outstanding Association Volunteer award(s) and the Presidents’ Award of Excellence, as well as the IDEA awards to the inaugural recipients. Summaries of the concepts being recognized will also be shared, so that people can better understand the recipients’ achievement.

What is the rationale behind the IDEA Awards? This is the first year that the IDEA Awards will be presented at ALA’s Annual Conference. Over the past few years the ALA Board of Directors had been discussing the role of our organization and where we fit in the legal world. As part of our strategic plan, we decided on the following for our vision: “ALA is the undisputed leader for the business of law, focused on the delivery of cutting-edge management and leadership products and services to the global legal community.” Part of becoming that undisputed leader is to always assess what we do as an organization. We decided that the Chapter Awards had been a very useful tool in the early years of the organization and helped us build the strong chapter system we now have in place, but those awards had run their course.

Thus, the Board decided to end the Chapter Awards, which focused inwardly, and replace them with a program that looked outwardly to honor new and innovative concepts in the business of law. That program is the IDEA Awards. ALA chapters, committees, regions, individuals, firms, business partners and organizations are eligible for recognition. Recipients are selected based upon their development of unique and innovative programs, services and events that improve ALA chapters and/or the legal community. ALA’s IDEA Awards recognize new practices that deliver great value and transformational impact through innovative achievement.

Nearly sixty entries were received for consideration in this year’s contest, each of them describing high-caliber programs. The IDEA Awards Committee, comprised of eight volunteers with varying backgrounds and experience in the legal field, spent a great deal of time both individually and as a group evaluating each entry. We are confident that the submissions we are honoring this year will be of interest to all ALA members.


DempseySteve Dempsey, CLM, is the Director of Administration for Sidley Austin, LLP in Washington, D.C. He is ALA’s 2014 IDEA Awards Committee Chair and is currently serving his third year as an At-Large Director. Since joining ALA in 1994, he has chaired both the ALA Diversity Task Force and its successor, the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. Dempsey also served on an ALA Webinar Advisory Group, the Region 2 Nominating Committee and the 2009 Annual Conference Committee. He has held a number of positions for the Capital Chapter, including President, President-Elect and Treasurer, as well as serving in many positions for the Dallas Chapter, including President and Treasurer. He has given presentations at numerous ALA Annual and Regional Conferences on the topic of diversity.

What’s All the Buzz About Tech Docs? Check out The Hive!

What are Tech Docs?

If you’ve heard people talk about Tech Docs, it may be because we asked for members to volunteer during the 2014 Toronto Annual Conference to help others navigate technology (the hardware) and the Annual Conference App (the software). About 75 brave members have willingly volunteered by answering the plea for help. Thank YOU! The rest of you will have help at your disposal. These Tech Docs will be valuable and available to us all.

Why would I need a Tech Doc?

Good Question! Well, you probably know by now that ALA has gone paperless. Therefore, unless you want to spend a lot of time and paper doing pre-conference printing, you will need to bring a device on which you can access the session handouts and reference the conference schedule. There will be so many offerings happening simultaneously that you will need to use the Conference App to organize your schedule. You will want to master the Conference App in order to take advantage of its many offerings such as an interactive floor plan map of The Legal Marketplace (exhibit hall), the ability to schedule appointments with vendors, etc. So, feel free to seek out the assistance of our Tech Docs. They will be there to help.

Where do I find a Tech Doc?

You can find the Tech Docs in The Hive located inside The Legal Marketplace. We have scheduled them to be there during Hive hours. Just check the handy interactive Conference App so you know exactly where to go. Tech Docs also will be roaming around the conference halls and located at the Toronto Hospitality Booth. There may even be some near registration! You just don’t know where you might find one of them, but you won’t have to look far–there are many of them.

How do I find a Tech Doc?

Tech Docs will be wearing red arm bands throughout the conference so they can be easily identified. Please don’t hesitate to walk up to one to ask for help. They’re there and have volunteered to help ensure everyone gets the most out of their conference experience.

How can you show your appreciation to these volunteers? A simple thank you will work. Or sharing with them something you have learned about the App that they haven’t yet discovered would be appreciated too. Above all, you can show your appreciation by allowing them to be an attendee once in a session room. These Tech Doc volunteers are your colleagues and peers and conference-paying attendees of Conference. They’ll be there to help, but we have assured them they get to enjoy the sessions just like the rest of us.

Download the App to plan out your conference. Review the more than 90 educational sessions at so you’re ready to maximize your conference experience by creating your very own day-at-a-glance.

Download the conference app today at!



Lorri Salyards, CLM is Executive Director at Doerner, Saunders, Daniel & Anderson, LLP, a 50-ish attorney firm in Tulsa, OK with branch offices in Oklahoma City and Norman. She is a member of the 2014 Toronto ALA Annual Conference Committee and Chair of the 2015 Annual Conference Committee.


Announcing the All-New ALA Annual Conference App!

Opening Screen ShotThe new ALA Conference Mobile Web App is ready to access. Visit and create a new account. After you create your account, you can:
• Build a personalized schedule of events
• Reserve your time slot to tour ReDesign-Law: The Legal Office of the Future
• Add your contacts
• Add sessions to your schedule
• Book time to meet with exhibitors

A quick start guide is available at Smaller and older devices with less memory may have longer load times. For those of you who attended any 2013 conference, DO NOT USE LAST YEAR’S APP!

Plan Now!
With more than 90 educational sessions and Business Matters! sessions to choose from, it is recommended that you pre-plan your conference experience by building your schedule before you leave for Toronto. View sample schedules to get an idea of what your day can look like and then populate your app with your conference schedule. Can’t decide which sessions to attend? Many sessions will be recorded. Log in to the Online Registration Form to pre-order your package, or stop by the ALA Booth or the Bookstore at Annual Conference.

Looking for a specific session or topic? Type the keywords or phrase into the search box. You may also select “Email Handouts to Me” and the session’s handouts link will be emailed directly to the email address you used to register for conference. You will also have access to the list of conference speakers and their bios.


Who’s Exhibiting?
The mobile web app includes an alphabetical list of business partners along with booth numbers, company descriptions and contact information.

Email or call any member of the marketing department at 847.267.1252.

Pay Attention to HIPAA – or Else!

The news media love to report stories on companies that have failed to protect the personal health information (PHI) of their employees. In the wake of these headlines, employers are understandably concerned about “avoiding the spotlight” and doing PRECISELY what is required to keep their PHI safe and secure. And that begs a question:

What is the letter of the law on HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)?

It’s surprising to me that most fully insured employers believe they are “compliant” because they do not have access to PHI. In many cases, that “might” be true – but in other cases, employers are putting themselves at significant risk. Employee enrollment forms for small group carriers in particular (depending on the carrier) often include health questions. News alert: the answers to these questions are PHI! The information available to employers from many self-insured health plans also constitute PHI – which opens the door to potential compliance issues.

Last year, new regulations added attorneys to the list of professionals who can be considered “business associates” of a health plan. HIPAA rules require business associates to have policies and procedures in place for the protection of PHI. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing HIPAA provisions, and the OCR can perform audits to confirm compliance. Although OCR staff have been more focused on health care providers rather than employers, there is a clear uptick in the number of audits. OCR’s primary focus has been on electronic PHI, and this remains the area of biggest risk to employers. Stolen laptops and memory sticks, particularly from employee vehicles, is an all-too-common source of electronic data breaches. (A little common sense would go a long way toward preventing these breaches!) But media reports of breaches always seem to cite the lack of a thorough risk analysis by employers who failed to properly secure electronic PHI.

Recently, OCR fined a small dermatology practice $150,000 for failing to properly conduct a thorough risk analysis prior to a PHI breach. The issue was (you guessed it!) a thumb drive with PHI that was stolen from an employee’s car. (We need to remember that most car trunks are no longer a “safe haven” for laptops and other items, since anyone who gains access to the INSIDE of a car can simply trigger a button to open the trunk!)

OCR is one of three U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies involved with HIPAA regulation and enforcement. (The others are the Office for the National Coordinator for Health IT and the Office of the General Counsel.) This trio of agencies recently released a new security risk assessment tool to help small to mid-sized organizations that are subject to HIPAA requirements and struggling to satisfy their security risk analysis requirements.

What are those requirements? For the complete story, I hope you will attend our HIPAA session on Tuesday afternoon at ALA’s Annual Conference. We will look at these requirements from the employer’s perspective and will cover a complete slate of potential remedies. If you have ANY concerns about meeting HIPAA security requirements, this session is one that you need to attend. See you there!


Kneppler, RobertRobert Kneppler is the Managing Director of Wortham & Son’s benefits division in Houston. He has worked in health and welfare benefits for 28 years, including 13 years with carriers and 15 years as a consultant. Kneppler’s expertise covers the entire spectrum of the health and welfare benefits industry and centers on health care coverages such medical, prescription drugs, dental and vision. He and his team counsel and work with a wide range of clients on plan design, funding arrangements, data analysis, compliance assurance and plan administration.

Social Media… A Personal Strategy for Professional Use

Aliah Wright will be speaking at this year’s Annual Conference about social media and, along with Mary Abraham, she will be presenting in the first-ever HIVE at an ALA Annual Conference on “Finding Your Entry Point into Social Media”, as well as “Refining Your Personal Social Media Strategy”. Wright brings these topics to light in her Q&A discussion with Mark Bridgeman below:

Question: First, why do you think attorneys were and are hesitant about social media use?

Answer: When social media use was in its infancy a few years ago, many attorneys told employers to ban the use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social sites at work. But banning it doesn’t work for a few reasons. It’s not good business practice, it erodes employee engagement, and people will find ways to use it anyway. People often fear what they don’t understand. But every day social media use comes closer to replacing ringing telephones. This is how we communicate now. There is no going back. Just as the Internet in the early 90s was unusual and scary, social media continues to be viewed in that same way, even though today there are literally hundreds of companies the world over that still ban Facebook at work. Some refuse to let their employees bring cell phones on the property because they don’t want them accessing social media sites. But consider this: In just a few short years, most of those working for corporations the world over will be millennials, and they’ll make up most of the workforce. This is how they are used to communicating. It’s a culture shock for them to begin working at their new jobs and be told they cannot use tools they’ve literally grown up on.

Question: How do you find your entry point into social media?

Answer: It’s funny, many of us found our entry point because we had family and friends using social sites. Facebook use exploded in 2009 when many people over 30 began joining the site. The average Facebook user is a female in her 40s. But for those who are hesitant, I always tell them to follow the 90/9/1 rule. Ninety percent of people using social media read everything. They lurk. They don’t write one word. Nine percent of people actually comment, share, like, post, repost and engage with other people’s content. Only one percent of people are actually creating the content online. One percent. You should begin your use by watching and mimicking the behaviors of those whom you have witnessed using social media responsibly. I’ll be discussing some of the egregious behaviors people have committed on social sites, what those consequences were, and how legal professionals can mitigate those circumstances for themselves.

Question: How should someone craft their own personal strategy for how they use social media for professional purposes?

Answer: Here are some things I want people to remember when it comes to their professional online social media use. There is no such thing as “professional” online social media use. There is just “social media use.” The lines between professional and personal are blurred. It happened way before Facebook exceeded its billionth account. Why do I say that? Well, because when it comes to social media use nothing is private, nothing every really dies online, and there is no such thing as anonymity on the web. My motto is always: Take care how you share! Consider, for example, the case of New Orleans U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, who resigned after it was revealed that federal prosecutors in his office created a conflict of interest by posting vitriolic anonymous comments on a website about people under investigation. There’s also the case of criminal attorney John Craft, who posted to his private Facebook page controversial comments regarding stand your ground laws in wake of the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. That caused his biases to be called into question. These cases are why people should be mindful of the things they share online.

Question: Anything else you’d like to share?

Answer: Yes! Toronto is one of my favorite cities — next to Paris (from which I just returned last week)! I’m really looking forward to sharing my expertise and the research I’ve amassed on this topic with ALA Conference attendees.

In our Q&A, Wright touched on just a few of the intricacies of social media. Don’t miss the brief (15-30 minutes each) but insightful HIVE sessions available to attendees on Tuesday and Thursday during the conference.


Bridgeman_Mark-300dpiMark Bridgeman, CLM, is the Chair of the 2014 Annual Conference Committee. He has also served as the Region 3 Projects Officer, was on the 2011 Annual Conference Committee and spent three years on the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. Bridgeman has been a regular speaker and presenter at ALA events since 2003, including the 2008 and 2009 ALA Annual Conference & Exposition. In 2010 he received ALA’s Outstanding Association Volunteer Award. He has recently served on the Annual Educational Conference Planning Committees for both the Greater Chicago and Wisconsin Chapters. He has served in various Board positions for the Greater Chicago Chapter and in several Vice President positions for the Wisconsin Chapter, as President, President-Elect and Director of Membership of the Orange County Chapter and is ALA Director-At-Large-Elect for 2014-2017.


Wright, AliahAliah D. Wright, author of the best-selling social media management book, “A Necessary Evil: Managing Employee Activity on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn … and the Hundreds of Other Social Media Sites,” (SHRM, 2013), is also a journalist, speaker and social communications expert. She has worked in the editorial division of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and has been a political correspondent for The Associated Press and as Gannett News Service’s entertainment editor based out of USA Today headquarters.