Michael Rouse, former AP reporter and editor, dies at 82

J. Michael “Mike” Rouse, a former Associated Press reporter in North Carolina who helped bring the news cooperative into the computer age through vote tabulation and data transmission. stories, passed away. He was 82 years old.

His son, David Rouse, said Friday that his father died Thursday night at a Wilmington hospice after years of poor health.

Rouse started in 1959 as a reporter for the Goldsboro News-Argus but left to join the AP in Charlotte in 1961, according to his 2005 retirement announcement.

As an AP reporter, Rouse helped cover the civil rights movement. After two years in the military, he returned to Charlotte and became the AP’s editor for the Carolinas, leading coverage of the civil rights movement and other stories involving North Carolina and North Carolina. South.

During his early years as the Carolinas news editor for the AP, Rouse oversaw vote collection in South Carolina’s fall election with a reporter in each of the 640 precincts. It was the first time for such a company.

Rouse and his office manager, Carl Bell, hired the South Carolina Education Association to have teachers in each precinct to call precinct votes as soon as they were counted. He installed telephone banks in the basement of a municipal auditorium in Columbia and borrowed a computer from the Richland Technical Institute.

The project was carried out on behalf of the then newly formed News Election Service, a consortium of cable news services and broadcast networks.

The AP selected Carolinas personnel in the late 1960s to test and introduce computerized news transmission. Rouse was part of the team that pioneered the replacement of old teleprinters on which stories were retyped for transmission over low-speed leased telephone lines.

Rouse declined a transfer offer to Chicago and instead left the AP in 1971 to become editor of the Durham Morning Herald. During its 13 years there, the Herald won three public service awards from the North Carolina Press Association.

He would later become managing director and editor of the Washington Daily News for five years, then editor of The Fayetteville Observer in 1989. Rouse took on the task of combining the news operations of the Observer, the morning paper and the Fayetteville Times. , the afternoon paper, into a morning paper.

Rouse returned to Goldsboro in 1994. As editor of the News-Argus, he managed news, sports and photo operations and wrote most of the newspaper’s editorials.

A memorial ceremony is planned.

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