Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Oct. 6, 2022

News Contest entry platform and rules go live Friday

The 2022 News Contest rules and digital entry platform will go live Friday. 
Contests include the News Contest, Associate and Individual Member Contest, and the Collegiate Contest. 
The site will accept entries until Friday, Dec. 2.
A few categories including Photojournalist of the Year, Sports Enterprise Reporting and Community Service have been revised for the new contest year. We've also added a contest for newsletters. 
On Friday, each member editor will receive an email with log-in credentials for the site and a copy of the rules. Reporters, photographers, designers and other staffers should get the log-in credentials from their editor.
The contest period is for work published between Nov. 16, 2021 through Nov. 15, 2022.
We'll also host a brief Zoom session on Oct. 20 from 2-2:30 p.m. where we'll share an overview of the News Contest rules, walk you through a quick demo on how to enter using the digital platform and answer your questions. Let us know if you’d like to attend!
Good luck and remember to contact us if you have questions about the rules or need help using the digital entry platform.
Finally, special thanks to SCPA's Contest Committee, who has worked on the rules over the past month to get them ready for the new contest season!

SCPA launches updated guide to S.C. public notice laws

SCPA recently reviewed and updated the Guide to S.C. Public Notices, which is a free digital resource created to help S.C. newspapers navigate public notice and legal advertisement laws. The guide is an easy-to-understand compendium of South Carolina public notice/legal advertising laws. Each entry contains the exact wording from the Code of Laws, as well as a plain language explanation on when and where an ad has to run. The guide is organized by topic, but is also searchable by keyword.

IRE data journalism workshop rescheduled for Feb. 10

Last week's IRE Data Journalism Workshop was canceled due to Hurricane Ian, but plans are in the works to host the training in early 2023. Mark your calendar for Friday, Feb. 10, from 9:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. in Columbia. If you registered for the Sept. 30 event, your registration has been carried over to the new date. If you'd like to sign up, roughly 10 seats are available

Add your delinquent tax sale notices to public notice site

A friendly reminder that all delinquent tax sale notices should be uploaded to the statewide public notice site. You can add the PDFs to or email the files to SCPA  with run dates and we will upload the notices to the site for you. 
Mayor Foster Senn and the City of Newberry recently presented staff of The Newberry Observer with a proclamation recognizing National Newspaper Week in the City of Newberry! Pictured with the Mayor are Dylan Francis, advertising sales representative; Andrew Wigger, publisher; and Rubi Flores, customer service representative.

Quote of the Week

"This National Newspaper Week is a good time to point out just how important the local newspaper is to an informed community. Some say newspapers won’t be around eventually in the information age. They are wrong. There is a need more than ever for local journalists devoted to gathering credible local news. The way that news is presented continues to evolve, but it is important to people no matter how they receive the news."

"A Florida monster" 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

Crowded field mostly in agreement at Lexington 1 School Board forum

Nine candidates for the three at-large seats on the Lexington County District 1 school board gathered Sept. 26 to answer questions from the League of Women Voters.
Though all 11 candidates running in the Nov. 8 election were initially reported to be attending, Beth Shealy and Mary Price didn’t attend. Both were given the option to send in a closing remarks video, which Shealy did. ...
Dealing transparently with the public and specifically within the scope of Freedom of Information Act requests was also a hot topic.
When answering a question on transparency, two candidates brought up possible plans. Rice mentioned bringing in an internal auditor who reports to the board and can post information directly online, while Coker mentioned inserting a transparency tab on the website.
The candidates were mostly unanimous on creating more transparency, putting personal feelings aside, making all information available for all board members, and following the Board of Trustees handbook.
By Kailee Kokes, Lexington County Chronicle | Read more

'This family won't rest': Family of man killed in deputy-involved shooting demand answers

The family of Terrance Maurice Sligh, the man who was killed in last week's officer-involved shooting at 4307 Edwards Rd in Taylors, held a press conference Monday, demanding more answers and evidence, including body and dash camera footage from the Greenville County Sheriff's Office. ...
An Oct. 4 request by the Greenville News for the number of shots fired, both those directed at and those that struck Sligh, was denied by SLED, which cited an ongoing investigation.
The family said its requests to the Greenville County Sheriff's Office for dashcam footage within 45 days from the date of the incident and bodycam footage were also denied.
A request was also denied by the Greenville County Coroner’s Office to provide the number of gunshots that Sligh sustained, Wilson said. A copy of the Case Report by the Coroner's Office did not contain any narrative or medical details other than Sligh died from "multiple gunshot wounds."
By Chalmers Rogland, Greenville News | Read more

Richland County let jail director start work knowing he was fired from last job, attorney says

Former jail director Tyrell Cato told a top Richland County official he had been fired from his last job before he started in his new position this summer, Cato’s attorney said.
That contradicts Richland County Administrator Leonardo Brown, who said he did not know about Cato’s termination from Kershaw County for allegations of sexual misconduct until July 26, three weeks after Cato had started work at the Columbia jail. ...
The Post and Courier’s initial request for Cato’s letter of termination under the Freedom of Information Act was denied Sept. 21 because the county said there were “no responsive documents.”
After being told the letter existed Oct. 4, the Richland County Ombudsman’s Office, which handles records requests, said the original response was an error and provided the document.
By Skylar Laird, The Post and Courier Columbia | Read more

Legal Briefs

Lawsuit dismissed against Voice, Ball

Legal proceedings against The Voice of Blythewood and its publisher have ended.
A Notice of Dismissal filed Aug. 25 by the plaintiff removes The Voice and its publisher Barbara Ball as defendants in a libel lawsuit filed by a Richland Two administrator last May.
Richland County parent Zachary Johnson was also named in the suit. He was still listed as a defendant in the Richland County Public Index as of Sept. 27.
The administrator filed suit in May, asserting in court documents that The Voice libeled the administrator by publishing stories about Johnson, who stated that his first grade daughter was strip searched.
His daughter was disciplined for threatening another student with scissors, court papers state.
Johnson aired his accusations in a Richland Two school board meeting open to the public and also in an interview with The Voice, according to the lawsuit.
Richland Two and Richland County Sheriff’s Office investigations later found no evidence of any misconduct, according to the suit.
The plaintiff acknowledged in court papers that The Voice did not name the administrator in news stories, but also said the newspaper published other details the suit said “effectively publicly identified Plaintiff,” the suit states.
By Michael Smith, The Voice of Blythewood | Read more

People & Papers

One-time Moultrie News and Summerville Journal Editor Bill Walker held court at the Sept. 22 meeting by relating loads of historical information. He did this mostly from memory without the aid of handouts or PowerPoint visuals. Photo by Ralph Mancini.

Former Charleston newsman recounts his fantastic journey: Bill Walker visits with the Summerville Preservation Society

Former Post and Courier newsman Bill Walker entertained a packed and sultry room of attendees at the Sept. 22 Summerville Preservation Society meeting held at the Old Town Hall building by regaling the crowd with a historical account of the daily newspaper, starting from its birth as the Charleston Courier in 1803 through more recent times and blending in amusing anecdotes from his long and storied career.
Way back at the start
Introduced as a one-time cub reporter of The News and Courier (a Post and Courier predecessor), a former news editor of The Summerville Journal (predecessor to The Summerville Journal Scene) and erstwhile editor of the Moultrie News by Summerville Preservation Society President Heyward Hutson, Walker rattled off several names from the distant past, including Massachusetts-born Aaron Smith Willington (1781-1862), who founded the Charleston Courier and immediately made his mark by gaining the upper hand on his competitors with his resourcefulness.
“This guy would get on a rowboat and go into Charleston Harbor, he would row out to the ships there. They could be from London, the Netherlands or New York. He’d row to the ship and get whatever news he could ... he was a go-getter, there was no doubt about that,” said Walker about one of the founding father of local news media, who had also hired a translator to help decipher reports emanating from seamen on Cuban vessels.
The 77-year-old Summervillian mentioned how the Charleston Courier was eventually seized by the Union Army at the close of the U.S. Civil War before reemerging as the Charleston Daily News under James McMillan in 1865. Two years later, Londoner Francis “Frank” Warrington Dawson (1840-1889) purchased the operation and in 1873 combined the Charleston Daily News with the subsequently acquired the Charleston Courier to form The News & Courier.
By Ralph Mancini, The Summerville Journal Scene | Read more
The People-Sentinel entered the Rotary Club of Barnwell County's scarecrow contest this week. The theme of their entry is "Sniffing Out the Truth." The dogs are named "Scoop" and "Bark Kent." Staffers
Jessie Howell, Alex Whitbeck and Shirley Elmore did a great job creating the pieces. 
Ojore Brown, a Lakewood High School senior, visited The Sumter Item this week to shadow the newsroom. He expanded his interests in the sports department, learned about multimedia projects like Sumter Today and The Grind, and even practiced his interview skills with Sumter's mayor. Brown plans to study communications in college and one day create his own sports network. He's pictured here with Sports Editor Tim Leible.

Industry Briefs

Experts share how journalists can stay ahead of disinformation

Journalists are amid a perfect storm of disinformation, threats to their work, and lagging resources to support local news outlets. Add in the essential role of journalism to defend against the erosion of our democracy, and practitioners face a critical moment to find solutions to the disinformation crisis.
Psychological scientists and journalists covering the rampant spread and impacts of disinformation shared tips and tools for journalists ahead of the midterm elections during a panel discussion hosted by the National Press Club Journalism Institute on Sept. 23. Here are some highlights.
By Beth Francesco, National Press Club Journalism Institute | Read more

Percent change versus percentage-point change: What’s the difference? 4 tips for avoiding math errors

When you’re reporting on changes in numbers such as state funding, crime rates and opinion poll results, it’s important to tell audiences how much a number has risen or fallen over time. Before you can do that, though, you need to know the difference between “percent change” and “percentage-point change.”
“Percentage change and percentage-point change get mixed up all the time,” says Jennifer LaFleur, a senior editor at The Center for Public Integrity who has taught classes and workshops on using statistics in news stories for more than a decade. She also teaches data journalism at American University.
That’s why we created this tip sheet, with LaFleur’s help. Together, we came up with four tips to help journalists master these key mathematical concepts.
By Denise-Marie Ordway, The Journalist's Resource | Read more



Cecile Holmes, longtime UofSC J-School instructor and religion reporter, dies at 67

Cecile S. Holmes, a veteran religion reporter, editor, journalism professor and interfaith champion, died in Columbia Sept. 29 after an illness. She was 67.
Holmes was a longtime correspondent for Religion News Service and served as religion editor for The Houston Chronicle. She later taught journalism at the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Earlier in her career she was the religion and food reporter for the Greensboro, North Carolina, News and Record.
Holmes was dedicated to her craft and an inexhaustible source of cheer for her colleagues, friends, sources and students. ...
A celebration of her life will be held at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 5, in Columbia. A location has yet to be determined.
By Yonat Shimron, Religion News Service | Read full obituary


By Tom Silvestri,
The Relevance Project

YAWN: Tiresome Newspaper Arguments

It's been more than two years since I received my last paycheck from a newspaper company. In that time, I've had the opportunity to advocate for local newspapers that remain Relevant to their communities. That advocacy keeps running into tiresome arguments that are as yellow as old faded newsprint. No matter what facts you use to extinguish them, they find a way to flare up later. During National Newspaper Week, consider the following collection of statements that numb the mind, along with a suggestion: When you encounter them, just turn the page, click to the next story, or call timeout to replenish the beverage. Don't waste your time arguing.
Newspapers are dead. Not if you are reading this in print. Not if you get your news from a local newspaper online. Not if you support trusted journalism. 
Newspapers face tough challenges. And so does everyone. That's called life.
Nobody reads newspapers. Latest research annihilates this one. Check out for data compiled by the research firm of Coda Ventures, for example.
Newspapers must act with urgency. Embraced a long time ago. Yawn.
Print vs digital. It's not an either/or argument. Newspaper media understand it's an "and" strategy -- print AND digital. Move on.
Only Metros are Pulitzer Prize newsrooms. Consistent, thorough beat coverage over the course of a year merits better recognition and appreciation. Local newspapers are the lifeblood of a community.
Governments should be required to place legal notices in local newspapers. It's more than tradition. It's demonstrated transparency by responsible government. Newspaper readers are the best voters, by the way. Read more

Compelling Writing with Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune,
Writing Coach

The power of smell

You undoubtedly know that using the five senses will make your writing more compelling.
Smell is one of the most powerful senses, says writing coach Amanda Patterson.
It can send us back in time. 
Our sense of smell is more closely linked with memory than any other sense.
Smell evokes emotions.
It is one of the reasons people are attracted to each other.
It is important to survival. 
Bad smells like smoke or rotten food warn us of danger.
Here is an example from an article on crime and the courts by Henry Allen of The Washington Post.
He sets up the opening scene with a sense of smell.
The Superior Court cafeteria where a lot of criminal law gets practiced in the District of Columbia has a warm, used smell like a pay phone that somebody just hung up, somebody with a cough – a smell like a wet bathing suit you left in the car, a compost smell, a smell like the inside of an old Halloween pumpkin with sanitary overtones provided by the wall-mounted deodorizers pumping out a smell like a space station where they have replaced the air with something that is supposed to be as good as air except it isn’t.
Allen’s editor calls him the “Karl Wallenda of writers. He takes his readers on a literary tight rope.”
Think about how can you use a sense of smell in your own writing?

Next: Is it good enough?

To make your own writing more compelling, order writing coach Jerry Bellune’s The Art of Compelling Writing, available for $9.99 at

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