Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  June 10, 2021

Today is final day to enter the PALMY Advertising Contest!

Today is the final day to enter submissions into the 2021 PALMY Advertising Contest!
The PALMYs recognize the Palmetto State's best, brightest and most enterprising advertising professionals and advertisers, and the impact they have made in their communities.
Thanks to the SCPA Foundation's Smoak Fund, all member newspapers will receive five free entries in this year's competition.
Contact us if you need your newspaper's login information or if you have any questions about entering the contest.

SCPA members invited to free webinar on tips to maximize community reporting with minimal staff

Thursday, June 17 | 10 a.m. 
Community newspapers have big shoes to fill. Surveys show that they connect with readers by providing the news they need and are regarded as highly valuable and vital local information sources. It can often be a challenge for small newsrooms to produce and maintain a wealth of local content; however, it can be done. During this session, editorial experts from the Society of Professional Journalists will provide practical information on best practices, skills and innovations to increase your efficiency. View more details including panelist bios and register here.

Upcoming PNA Community Newspaper Forum sessions:

There is no charge for SCPA members to attend these PNA Community Newspaper Forum events, thanks to support from the SCPA Foundation Smoak Fund. A confirmation with log-in instructions will be sent to each registrant one or two days prior to the session. If you cannot attend the live event, a recording will be made available following each event. Let us know if you have any questions.

"Right of Way" by Robert Ariail

If you can't get enough of award-winning Camden cartoonist Robert Ariail, enjoy his new strip featured every week in the Charleston City Paper, which has granted us ongoing permission to republish it. Called "Lowcountry," the weekly feature, which is available for syndication in South Carolina newspapers, focuses on politics, human nature, the environment and public policy. More: Contact publisher Andy Brack.

FOI Briefs

911 calls reveal chaos in Mother's Day shooting of cyclist, suggest residents knew gunman

Emergency calls and witness statements from the Mother's Day shooting death of Greenville cyclist Whit Oliver support previous statements that residents around Legacy Park had previous interactions with the man who shot Oliver.
A flurry of 911 calls from bystanders, along with incident reports and dispatch records, help piece together a chaotic timeline of the May 9 fatal shooting in which the man fired at Oliver 10 to 12 times, according to witnesses.
The documents, obtained via the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, show how residents scrambled to help police track down Jeffrey Mark Murray just minutes after Oliver was killed. ...
The police department did not release Oliver's own 911 call. According to state law, recordings of a deceased person's last statements do not have to be released by public agencies.
By Daniel J. Gross, Greenville News | Read more

NFOIC Presents FOI Bootcamp for Journalists of Color

The National Freedom of Information Coalition, in partnership with the Society of Professional Journalists, is launching a new training program for journalists of color in accessing government information.
The FOI Bootcamp for Journalists of Color will provide online training in finding, acquiring, and visualizing government records and data, and will connect mentees with an expert in their states for long-term assistance.
“The FOI community has traditionally been dominated by white men, and proactive initiatives are critical for bolstering diversity and inclusion,” NFOIC President David Cuillier said. “Freedom of information means freedom of information for all.”
Bootcamp attendees also will receive a free registration for training sessions held virtually during the NFOIC annual summit, Sept. 28-30, 2021, and follow-up assistance in acquiring public records and overcoming denials.
The program, funded through a $5,000 grant from the SPJ Foundation, is open to professional journalists of color, as well as student journalists of color.
Click here to apply. For questions about the bootcamp, contact Erika Benton.

Beaufort cop invited kids to lunch. Then he showed them family’s criminal records

When Officer Coley Hebrard called two students into his office for lunch at the end of March, he said he intended to talk to them about changing their behavior.
Instead, Hebrard, a member of the Beaufort Police Department assigned to Beaufort Middle School as a school resource officer, looked up several of their family members on a police-only search system, showing them criminal records and evidence of a relative’s suicide attempts.
“SRO Coley Hebrard had good intentions, but poor judgment,” Lt. Charles Squire said in an April 15 disciplinary investigation, according to records obtained by The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette newspapers under the Freedom of Information Act. The newspapers requested records of citizen complaints at local police departments.
By Sofia Sanchez and Rachel Jones, The Island Packet | Read more

Attorney: Blythewood Mayor has not complied with MPA Strategies’ FOIA request

Blythewood Mayor Bryan Franklin has continued to publicly criticize two town council members for, according to Franklin, not complying with an FOIA request submitted by The Country Chronicle.
The request is for documents from all council members and the mayor that pertain to MPA Strategies dating back to Oct. 1, 2020, including documents from all their personal devices.
But it is Franklin who is not complying with another FOIA submitted by MPA Strategies, according to attorney Joseph Dickey, who represents MPA Strategies.
Council voted 3-2 on Feb. 22, 2021, to contract with MPA Strategies for promotional and grant writing services for the town.
Following a contentious lead-up to the Feb. 22, vote, Donald Brock, Sloan Griffin and Larry Griffin voted to contract with MPA Strategies. Voting against were Franklin and Councilman Eddie Baughman, both of whom expressed their desire to award the contract to the Greater Blythewood Chamber of Commerce instead of MPA Strategies.
By Barbara Ball, The Voice of Blythewood | Read more

Legal Briefs

RCFP statement on Justice Department policy change barring seizure of source information from reporters in leak hunts

Following revelations last week that the Justice Department under Presidents Trump and Biden had sought to secretly seize the email records of four New York Times reporters in a leak investigation — a legal battle that included an extraordinary gag order on Times lawyers and senior executives — the Justice Department said Saturday it would, going forward, prohibit the seizure of source information from reporters in leak cases.
The White House said it agreed with the move, which will allow reporters to protect their confidential sources in these investigations.
Bruce D. Brown, Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, made the following statement:
“We welcome the Justice Department’s commitment to no longer seek source information from reporters in leak investigations. But serious unanswered questions remain about what happened in each of these cases. To ensure it does not happen again, we look forward to pursuing additional policy reforms with the Biden administration to further safeguard these essential rights.”
Since 2013, the Reporters Committee has led a group of media organizations in working with the Justice Department to strengthen and preserve the federal guidelines that protect journalists and news outlets from being forced to disclose their confidential sources or other newsgathering records in the course of leaks probes or other federal investigations.
The events Friday and Saturday follow a series of disclosures by the Biden administration that President Trump’s Justice Department authorized secret phone records seizures from reporters at the Times, the Washington Post and CNN. The department also sought email records from the Post and CNN, and was successful in obtaining those records in CNN’s case.
In its Saturday statement, the Justice Department confirmed that it had reviewed all pending demands for records from journalists in leak investigations, and that all affected reporters had been notified.
From RCFP | Read more

People & Papers

Sumter Item creates Local News Advisory Board to strengthen coverage, bonds in community

For Sumter to thrive, it needs all hands on deck working together.
From government and education to business, health care, arts and culture, advocacy, faith and everything in between, each organization, every community leader who stands up for the silenced and ensures our children have access to the brightest future plays a part in whether our community grows or fades.
We at The Sumter Item know that and appreciate our relationship with the community members who help make that happen. To help promote that vision, we formed our first Local News Advisory Board.
Made up of 24 members from across communities, organizations and departments, the board met for the first time on May 12 and will continue to meet monthly on Zoom to share what is going on in each member's organization and community and pitch any coverage ideas they want The Sumter Item's newsroom to explore. Discussion topics can range from ensuring we know about an upcoming event to spotlighting a trend or telling us about someone who should be in the spotlight.
Our team at The Sumter Item believes we can all work together to ensure the right stories are being told in Sumter, the right voices being heard for the benefit of all. Local news is critical to the wellness of a community. There are 200 counties across the U.S. that do not have a local newspaper. South Carolina saw a 14% decrease in newspapers from 2004 to 2019.
By Kayla Green, The Sumter Item | Read more
Pigg

Cheraw publisher named to PalmettoPride Board

PalmettoPride, South Carolina’s anti-litter organization, recently announced three new members to their Board of Directors including Jane Pigg, publisher of The Link in Cheraw. 
Pigg is a Past President of SCPA and also owns the local Cheraw radio station MyFM 93.9/1420 WCRE.
Pigg and her staff took home SCPA's First Place Weekly Public Service Award in the 2019 News Contest for a series about litter collection in Chesterfield County. 
PalmettoPride is authorized by the State of South Carolina to coordinate and implement statewide and local programs for litter control. It operates a litter reduction platform of Education, Enforcement, Awareness and Pickup. 
Browning speaks Tuesday at Aiken Chamber's Women in Business Luncheon. (Colin Demarest/Aiken Standard)

P.J. Browning urges women to be bold, supportive in Aiken address

P.J. Browning, publisher of The Post and Courier in Charleston and president of the Evening Post Industries newspaper division, in a speech Tuesday emphasized the importance of women supporting women in the workplace and addressed the lopsided challenges so often faced by women throughout their careers.
Browning was the guest speaker at the Aiken Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business luncheon.
“I will tell you that while I’m very passionate about what I do, the journey’s not always been an easy one,” Browning said at the beginning of her remarks. “That probably puts me on track with most of you in the room.”
The audience comprised dozens of women representing a breadth of industry, business and politics in the greater Aiken County region.
“Historically, our paths have been different than men; our compensation and our opportunities have been different, as well,” she continued. “We’re making very positive strides, but we’re not quite where we need to be, and I think the best way to get there is together. It’s time that we start building on our strengths and we build each other up.”
Browning – who has worked intimately with a handful of accomplished newsrooms and has the accolades to prove it – on Tuesday urged attendees to be courageous in their actions, bold in their choices, warmhearted in their openness and invested in their cooperation.
By Colin Demarest, Aiken Standard | Read more
Koch
Winn

Aiken Standard hires two new reporters

The Aiken Standard recented hired two UofSC journalism graduates as reporters.
Alexandra Koch will join the newsroom as a crime and courts reporter and Samantha Winn will cover the City of North Augusta.
Koch lived outside of Chicago for most of her life and moved to Wilmington, N.C., during her high school years. Koch interned at the Wilmington Star News while still in high school and served as the yearbook editor-in-chief during her senior year.
She graduated UofSC with honors in journalism and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity.
Koch also has bylines with Cola Daily, InterCom and Columbia-based nonprofit Serve and Connect.
In her free time, Koch spends her time with her 1½-year-old miniature dachshund, Hudson. She started a side business creating embroidered pet apparel, which is available for purchase on Etsy.
Winn, who is from Mount Pleasant, graduated cum laude from UofSC in May. She is coming off a whirlwind of a senior year,  winning the NDA National Championship with the USC Dance Team. She also participated in Kappa Tau Alpha and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and interned with the USC College of Engineering and S.C. Press Association. 
Outside of work, Winn spends her free time at the gym or watching “Law & Order” on Netflix.

Industry Briefs

While its finances improve, USPS seeks to squeeze more revenue out of mailers

It has been standard practice for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to announce bad news right before a holiday, and this Memorial Day weekend was no exception. On May 28, USPS announced proposed rate increases for First Class, Periodicals and Marketing Mail that, in some cases, are seven times the rate of inflation:
  • Newspapers that mail their editorial product will see the biggest increase, with the overall average increase for Outside County Periodicals coming in at 8.832 percent and Within County Periodicals at 8.311 percent.
  • In Marketing Mail, commercial high-density/saturation mail, which is typically how newspapers’ Total Market Coverage (TMC) products travel through the postal system, the overall average increase is 4.961 percent.
  • With Periodicals and Marketing Mail, the rate design proposed by USPS appears to favor destination entry. For example, the rate for a six-ounce saturation TMC that is entered at a Section Center Facility, the per-piece rate increases by 5.12 percent.  However, the same piece entered at the Destination Delivery Unit – the local post office – the increase is only 1.92 percent.
  • With Outside County Periodicals, which are used by newspapers and regional and national magazines, the rate increases mostly come at the piece rate and appear intended to encourage higher density and destination entry. The new rates continue to encourage mail preparation in trays and especially pallets, which are more efficient to handle.
  • Here is a chart of the newly proposed rates that will be of interest to newspaper publishers.
By Paul J. Boyle, News Media Alliance | Read more

Trends creating a sustainable future for news

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, newsrooms were diversifying their revenue streams in many creative and innovative ways. However, with advertising being a big casualty of the pandemic, the need to do so has never been greater.
In Reuters Institute’s “Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions 2021” report, it states “how important diversification has become, with commercial publishers citing, on average, four different revenue streams as being important or very important to them this year.”
Mark Glaser agrees, telling E&P, “Diversifying revenues is the best way to be sustainable.” Glaser is the founder of MediaShift; innovation consultant at the New Mexico Local News Fund; and associate at Dot Connector Studio, a media strategy and production firm.
Gwen Vargo, director of reader revenue at the American Press Institute, added, “Ultimately, I think we’re going to see more hybrid models. There are going to be opportunities for publications of all sizes and shapes to get money directly from their readers, sponsorships and advertising, events, and from foundations that have an interest in media or their communities. We should never rely on just one stream of revenue.”
Here, E&P explores where some of these opportunities will be heading as we move further into a future post-pandemic.   
By Evelyn Mateos, Editor & Publisher | Read more

6 ways to incorporate Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces in your audience strategy

As the pandemic has forced many publishers to change the way they engage  with readers, one addition to the audience wheelhouse has been the use of audio-based social media platforms. While audio in news media is nothing new, the addition of audio apps and new features has pushed audio beyond public radio and podcasting.
With the creation of Clubhouse in 2019, an audio-based drop-in app that skyrocketed in users during the height of the pandemic, and Twitter’s new Spaces feature, newsrooms have a new way to connect with already existing readers and to attract new ones.
These apps function as a sort of virtual town hall. On each app, users can invite speakers up to share their thoughts on respective topics. Other participants, often referred to as audience members, can listen to the conversation and also request to speak. On Clubhouse, anyone who downloads the app can start a room by themselves or with speakers, while on Twitter, the Spaces feature is only available for those with at least 600 followers. 
Here are six ways that newsrooms, big or small, can incorporate these platforms in their audience strategy.
By Adriana Lacey, Reynolds Journalism Institute | Read more

The News Leaders Association in partnership with NLGJA has invited SCPA members to a free webinar next week on how news leaders can better support their LGBTQ+ journalists. It will be held Friday, June 18, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Here's more info and how to register.

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