The American Society of Newspaper Editors began its annual meeting last night in Washington. Herewith, the news: Front Page



"We feel very happy the president has agreed to speak to us," American Society of Newspaper Editors President Robert Clark said last night at the opening cocktail party at the National Press Club. "He has not before, except as a candidate."

Highly placed sources could not be reached for comment on Reagan's decision to speak before the editors today. At the party, amid several hundred of the nearly 1,000 editors and publishers attending the meeting, Clark would only raise his eyebrows.

"I don't know why," he said over the din. "We've asked every year, and finally someone on the staff said okay. If there's any secret in the case,sw,-2 it's that the program chairman this year is Seymour Topping, the managing editor of The New York Times. He knows Don Regan. I think I made a good choice when I made him program chairman." Foreign News


"I have 12 Japanese editors here," said Richard Leonard, associate editor of The Milwaukee Journal, from the middle of a pack of gray-suited journalists. "But I haven't been able to find them."

Leonard will be retiring from the Journal on May 23, to become editor in residence at the East-West Cultural Center in Hawaii, a nonprofit education and research institute.

But before retirement and departure for Honolulu, there was the matter of the 12 Japanese editors, here for three days of meetings on such subjects as "National Security and the Press" with CIA Director William Casey, "Coping With Drugs in the Newsroom," "Today's the Day: A Close Look at Halley's Comet" and "What Editors Should Know About Sex," with Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

"They are all famous editors in Japan," said Leonard. "For most of them it's their first time in America."

Leonard was not sure just how these newcomers to American culture will take to Dr. Ruth.

"When we were in Japan, we had a speaker on sex in Japan," he said, a smile creeping through. "She said things weren't going too well because the men worked too hard." Financial


"Perhaps the idea was to have speakers who would bring people to the business meeting tomorrow," speculated Katherine Fanning, editor of The Christian Science Monitor and incoming society vice president. "Our business meeting, which is usually poorly attended, is sandwiched in between Ruth Westheimer and the president." Fashion


"Credibility," Clark said, "is not dead."

Last year, the press' credibility was much discussed after an ASNE study that showed it didn't have much. This year, other fashionable topics include press-Defense Department relations, minority recruitment and advancement,and the ever-popular libel. Editorial Page


"Those of us who live in Wabash think we live in the real world," said Raymond Moscowitz, publisher of the Wabash, Ind., Plain Dealer, not to be confused with the paper of the same name in Cleveland. "We like to come here to see what's happening in the loony bin."

Moscowitz's paper has a circulation of 7,400. Although his readers are just as concerned about Gramm-Rudman (ASNE discussion today) as readers of larger papers, there are some problems he does not need to worry about.

"We don't have the credibility problem I think you find in a larger town because we're so goddam close to the people," he said. "If Ray Moscowitz writes a column and he writes something erroneous, he's not only going to hear about it as he walks down the street, he's going to be fined a dollar at the Rotary Club." Food


"Scotch and bourbon, some wine, not much beer, Perrier's a good seller, as all yuppie drinks are," an anonymous bartender offered as he mixed. "These people are very dull. You don't get any Cape Codders or Harvey Wallbangers. Scotch. Bourbon. Easy drinks."