Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  July 30, 2020

SCPA seeks suggestions about 2020 News Contest

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Virtual Annual Meeting & Awards survey last week. We are compiling results and will make an announcement of our plans later this week.
Now is also the time to start preparing for the 2020 News Contest, which will go live on Oct. 2, and deadline on Dec. 4.
Our contest committee will collaborate digitally to review and tweak the rules in late August, but we'd like to collect feedback from the full membership in advance. If you have suggestions or concerns for the committee about the rules or new categories, let us know.
We're specifically interested in getting your thoughts about how COVID coverage could affect the contest. We've gotten several calls over the past week from members who are concerned that COVID will dominate the contest. Because COVID touches so many areas of the news (and for the majority of the contest period), stories could be entered in most reporting categories and beats. We will likely offer a COVID body of work contest, but we recognize that individual articles would also be allowed in any other categories. 2020 has been a busy news year (protests, elections and lots of good non-COVID community news coverage come to mind). We want to make sure that all good work is recognized, and understand the concern that COVID coverage could overshadow other topics in a variety of categories. If you have suggestions or thoughts on how we should deal with this, please email or call Jen Madden.
Also, PALMY ad contest entries were sent off to Missouri for judging on Monday. Winners will be announced for proofing purposes on Aug. 19. Awards and a digital presentation of winners will be available in September.

Free cotton face masks available to member newspapers 

SCPA has secured 250 free cotton face masks for S.C. newspaper employees to use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The S.C. Broadcasters Association recently received a shipment of masks from FEMA that they chose to share with SCPA member newspapers.
Masks are available first come, first served and can be ordered in batches of 10 by emailing Jen Madden. They are reusable and can be washed up to 15 times. You can pick them up for free at our office in Columbia or we can ship them to your newspaper for $10 (regardless of quantity).
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. 

New survey data looks at how consumers feel about coronavirus issues

By Reba Campbell, Chernoff Newman
Vivid storytelling overlaid with hard data often combine to make for the best news stories. Excellent stories about today’s coronavirus world abound in newspapers around the state. But good sources of state-specific data about the behaviors and motivations of the people in those stories may not be as common.
A series of consumer insight studies is gathering data about how North and South Carolinians feel about issues raised by the pandemic. Chernoff Newman, an integrated marketing agency in Columbia, put the first study in the field in April and followed up with a second in July. Fifty questions address issues ranging from health concerns to travel fears and racial justice issues to participation in various activities. Some questions track with the April study while others address new issues that came up in the subsequent weeks.
These studies can be a useful source of data to complement the stories newspapers are telling daily. The data can also be segmented to dig deeper into geographic and demographic specifics. Charts and graphs are available for many of the topics. A few of the July study’s highlights include:
  • Masks: Eighty-two percent of respondents say they would support businesses requiring masks while 81 percent say they support local governments passing mask ordinances and 79 percent would support a statewide requirement.
  • Level of concern about the virus: In April, 70 percent of respondents indicated they were concerned about coming in contact with or becoming sick with the virus. That number remained steady in July, despite the rapidly rising number of cases
  • Returning to normal activities: Twenty-one percent of respondents in South Carolina said they are currently comfortable with sending children to school, daycare or camp. Thirty-one percent of those polled say they are comfortable with eating inside at a restaurant.
  • Working from home: The number of respondents indicating they would continue to work from home once the pandemic ends jumped 50 percent from April to July.
Read the press release
July results
April results
Survey website that includes graphics for many of the questions
Media kit

The survey’s total sample size is 1,000, 500 per state, and a corresponding sampling error of +/- 4.4 percentage points at the 95-percent confidence level

Contact Reba Campbell at 803.587.0246 or with questions.
SCPA hosted Attorneys Taylor Smith (above) and Jay Bender last week for a lively virtual discussion on dealing with police. If you'd like to watch a recording, please email Jen Madden. Our next installment of LegalEase will be Thursday, Aug. 27, at 2 p.m. We'll discuss open government matters related to COVID-19.

Member Spotlight: Rhonda Overbey

Overbey with Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence
Publisher and Advertising Director, Aiken Standard and The Star in North Augusta
What do you like best about your job?
Creating a brand new product every day and the immediate gratification that comes from seeing important information we worked on today delivered to mobile devices instantly or thrown on front porches tomorrow morning.

What's the most exciting thing going on at your paper?
We have two new reporters in the newsroom and a new production director. I think watching their enthusiasm gets us all excited! They joined the Aiken Standard in June when three treasured employees with more than 100 years’ experience retired.

What’s your favorite SCPA member service?
Publisher roundtables are vital. Oftentimes the job puts you in a silo so it’s nice to hear how the other silos are doing.

What adjustments have you made during COVID-19?
We’re making the same adjustments as most community businesses. Safety of our staff and our community is a top priority. Whether we’re in our cars, homes, desks or at a picnic table, the news doesn’t stop; meetings need to be covered, articles written and ads sold because Aiken and North Augusta depend on us. At our last staff meeting, I was so impressed to see the reporters and sales staff, who’d been working remotely, sincerely applaud and thank the production staff and press operators who continue coming to the plant, printing and delivering the news. That was a genuine display of teamwork and gratitude.

When it’s safe to get out and about again, what are some area attractions/restaurants in your community we shouldn’t miss?
I miss meeting friends in beautiful downtown Aiken for dinner or shopping, a concert at the Etherredge Center at USC Aiken, or brunch at The Willcox. We didn’t have a spring Steeplechase this year and that’s always a great event. Depending on how things go the rest of this year, I believe a ticket to the 2021 Masters tournament will be incredibly hard to find.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’m ready to get a dog! It’s been three years since my perfect 15-year-old yellow lab passed and I said I’d never have another pet. Ha! I take pet ownership seriously so it hasn’t been an easy decision but I’m ready!

What do you like to do outside of work?
I’m a reader and like simplicity outside of work. But one thing I love is the Dallas Cowboys. I was thrilled to discover the Cowboys defensive end and highest paid Cowboy DeMarcus Lawrence is from Aiken. He was in town visiting family over July 4th and asked to use the Aiken Standard parking lot to give out free masks, hold a voter registration, and give away Cowboys merchandise. Of course I said, YES!

Know someone that you’d like SCPA to spotlight? Email us your recommendations.

FOI Briefs

Surfside Beach council infighting moves to lawsuit over construction of new fishing pier

Surfside Beach’s mayor and two council members say their colleagues acted unlawfully when they voted to appoint a company to restore Surfside Pier.
It’s the latest in a string of infighting between the council in the small, Horry County community.
Mayor Bob Hellyer, Councilwoman Cindy Keating and Councilman Michael Drake filed a lawsuit against council members David Pellegrino, Debbie Scoles, Paul Holder and the Town of Surfside Beach in Horry County on Monday afternoon. The trio claims the council violated S.C. Freedom of Information Act law when they retreated into executive session during a July 1 meeting, and subsequently awarded Orion/FBi, Joint Venture the pier job.
By Anna Young, The Sun News | Read more

People & Papers

Daniel Island News hires reporter

Thanks to a grant from Google’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund, [The Daniel Island News is] happy to welcome Lee Wardlaw to the paper as a general assignment reporter. The fund’s aim is to support the production of original journalism for local communities worldwide in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. ...
A native of the Columbia, South Carolina, area, Lee was one of several dozen applicants from an impressive pool of journalists from around the country. A recent graduate of the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism, Lee already has an extensive reporting background, having been published in the Carolina News and Reporter and the Carolina Gamecock, with stops at S.C. Public Radio and Cola Daily.
By Suzanne Detar, The Daniel Island News | Read more

Post and Courier to expand into Greenville, Myrtle Beach

After delivering news to the Charleston area for more than 200 years, The Post and Courier will launch a modern news operation in Greenville and Myrtle Beach. The targeted launch date for both is Aug. 1. ...
The Post and Courier decided to go into Greenville with a digital-only presence, while Myrtle Beach will publish a Wednesday print edition.
The main goal is to stay “committed to local,” Publisher P.J. Browning said.
The Greenville news site will include a staff of one digital editor, one local editor and four reporters. The new Myrtle Beach publication will include four reporters and a local editor. All positions are full-time. The Greenville digital editor and local editor will operate out of a shared office space in downtown Greenville, while the reporters will have the ability to work remotely. In Myrtle Beach, reporters will also work remotely, and the local editor will have an office in the Georgetown operation and run both the Georgetown and Myrtle Beach operations.
By Evelyn Mateos, Editor & Publisher | Read more

With COVID-19 still looming, USC’s Daily Gamecock cuts weekly print edition

With a national pandemic leaving the University of South Carolina in a time of uncertainty, many campus hallmarks are facing budget cuts — including student-led newspaper The Daily Gamecock.
The publication recently announced it would cease producing a once-weekly print edition, shifting to an almost entirely online approach.
“We receive student activity fees that typically makeup about 45 percent of our operating budget,” explains Sarah Scarborough, USC’s director of student media. “Our allocations for the upcoming year have been reduced and we are anticipating a significant loss in revenue.”
But the reasoning isn’t all financial. Erin Slowey, The Daily Gamecock’s editor-in-chief, says it also reflects logistical concerns.
“We had to consider a situation where the university goes online mid-semester again and there may not be students on campus to pick up the print edition,” she offers.
By Hallie Hayes, Free Times | Read more

Garzilli named editor of Hilton Head Monthly Voice

Anthony Garzilli has been named editor in chief of Hilton Head Monthly Voice, a lifestyle magazine in the Lowcountry. Garzilli joined the magazine in January as managing editor. He previously served as editor of the Jasper County Sun Times, where he won 23 S.C. Press Association awards. Read more

Industry Briefs

McClatchy’s new owner plans to keep all employees but CEO will depart, sale agreement says

McClatchy Co.’s new owner will keep all employees and most senior leaders and honor existing union contracts while continuing to operate news organizations in 30 U.S. markets, according to an agreement filed Friday in federal bankruptcy court.
Chatham Asset Management, a New Jersey hedge fund, will pay $312 million for the nation’s second largest local news company, which has been controlled by the founding McClatchy family for 163 years.
CEO Craig Forman and board chairman Kevin McClatchy, the great-great grandson of the company’s founder, will depart once the sale is final, according to the agreement approved by the McClatchy board of directors and filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
By Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy | Read more

USPS’ Expedited to Street/Afternoon Sortation threatens newspaper delivery delays

A new U.S. Postal Service experiment called Expedited to Street/Afternoon Sortation (ESAS) came to light in mid-July to threaten delays in newspaper delivery.
NNA President Matt Adelman, publisher of the Douglas (Wyoming) Budget, sent a letter to new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy questioning the experiment after learning from publishers around the country that some letter carriers were told not to deliver newspapers in traditional patterns.
The ESAS policy requires carriers to go directly onto their routes rather than sorting mail in the mornings. Some mail that is already in the post offices, such as delivery-sequenced letters coming from central processing plants and parcels, is set for the morning route. But most carrier-route flat mail would be left for afternoon sorting, to go out the following day.
Shortly after USPS notified the National Association of Letter Carriers that the experiment would begin July 25, publishers began to learn from postmasters that newspapers entered overnight or early in the morning would be held for the afternoon sorting. That meant a newspaper bundle dropped on Thursday night would be delivered not Friday, but Saturday. The policy was presumed to be directed at city letter carriers’ routes, where the use of overtime to complete deliveries as USPS package volume has surged, has been a concern for USPS management.
By Tonda Rush, National Newspaper Association | Read more

Race and the newsroom: What seven research studies say

Differing notions of objectivity in Black and mainstream white newspapers, how white reporters see their ethical obligations in covering race, the ways that reporters’ race affects their coverage of political candidates, and more.
By Clark Merrefield, Nieman Lab | Read more

How to understand COVID-19 numbers

Viewed in isolation or presented without context, coronavirus numbers don’t always give an accurate picture of how the pandemic is being handled. Here, ProPublica journalists Caroline Chen and Ash Ngu offer insight on how to navigate the figures.

Learn to write news for mobile audiences in five-minute lessons

A free mobile-microlearning course — The 5 C’s of Writing News for Mobile Audiences — has launched on a mobile learning app, EdApp. Think Babbel or Duolingo for digital journalism.
I created the course as part of my nonresidential Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute fellowship in 2017-18. Thirty-five journalists tested the course, and all said they would recommend it to other journalists. Eighty percent increased their test scores in an efficacy study conducted by the Information Experience Lab at the University of Missouri in 2019.
When asked what they would tell other journalists about the course, here was a typical response: “That it provided excellent tips and insights for writing for mobile in a fun and non-time-consuming format.”
Now, the course has been tweaked and improved based on feedback from the journalists in the study and is available free to the public. ...
To complete the self-paced course — six lessons, two reviews and final test — should take about 45 minutes. You can also download a handout that reviews the course, plus lists free, easy digital-storytelling tools and provides tips on further reading.
By Linda Austin, Reynolds Journalism Institute | Read more


By John Foust, Advertising Trainer

Ten ways to mess up an online presentation

These days, ad professionals are conducting more digital presentations than ever before. While there are some similarities with in-person meetings, there are some significant differences. Let’s take a quick look at ten of the biggest mistakes in online presentations:
  1. Problems with technology. “Can you hear me now?” is more than a line from an old television spot; it’s a reality of many online conversations. As you plan the presentation, be sure to consider the meeting platform, webcams and desktop-tablet-phone differences. It’s better to address those issues ahead of time than to be surprised when things are underway.
  2. Unprofessional appearance. Even if you’re presenting from home or an informal business environment, it’s important to look professional. While a business suit is not necessarily required, be sure to look neat. And don’t forget to smile. Read more

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