Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  July 6, 2023

Editor's Note: The eBulletin will be on vacation next week and will return to your inbox on July 20.

SCPA to host editor roundtables in August

Weekly and daily editors are invited to attend SCPA's annual editor roundtables next month. Both events will be held at SCPA Offices in Columbia from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. This will be a great time to meet with your peers for robust discussion on topics including: FOI issues, motivating and training staff, special projects, multimedia reporting, social media opportunities and issues, stories that get traction and more. We’ll also have plenty of time for open discussion. The cost to attend is $25, which includes lunch.
Register for the Weekly Editors Roundtable  |  Register for the Daily Editors Roundtable

PALMY winners will be live Friday; July 14 is deadline for corrections

2023 PALMY Ad Contest winners will be live for proofing on Friday. We hope to have all winners posted by early afternoon. Visit to view the winners.
Please let us know by July 14 if you have corrections.
Winners are not for release until July 20.
On July 20, the digital awards presentation will be made available on the SCPA website and promoted as a resource for all members to use throughout the year. That's also the day that judges' comments, Best of Show, Designer of the Year and the President’s Awards for Best Overall Advertising will be announced.
Awards will be presented in person or mailed to winners in mid-July. Please tell us if you'd like to have a recognition event at your newspaper or if you'd prefer us to mail your awards.

CBS Sunday Morning segment features S.C. newspapers

CBS News “Sunday Morning” profiled The Post and Courier-led “Uncovered” project on July 2, highlighting the newspaper and its partner efforts to expose corruption and questionable government conduct throughout South Carolina.
The Post and Courier launched the project in 2021 with a handful of print media partners. It has since grown to include a network of 19 community newspapers from every corner of the Palmetto State. ...
Venerable journalist Ted Koppel, a senior contributor for “Sunday Morning,” traveled to South Carolina this spring to interview people involved with the effort, including Pierre Manigault, chairman of the board of directors for Evening Post Publishing, Inc., the parent company of The Post and Courier.
Also interviewed were senior projects reporter Tony Bartelme and watchdog editor Glenn Smith of The Post and Courier; Publisher Barbara Ball of The Voice of Blythewood and Fairfield County; and Chester News & Reporter Editor Travis Jenkins.
“We are so pleased that CBS is highlighting the work of The Post and Courier,” P.J. Browning, president and publisher of The Post and Courier, said. “We have the same struggles as other newspapers as we reinvent our business model in a digital world. What sets us apart is the unwavering support of our owner and the importance of local journalism in the communities we serve.”
Watch the segment, which aired on July 2, below.

FOIA Briefs

Editorial: Graziano should save taxpayers’ money, release Komoroski tapes

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is certainly not the first S.C. government agency that either doesn’t understand or simply chooses to violate our Freedom of Information Act, and with it South Carolinians’ right to know what their government is up to.
It just as certainly won’t be the last.
That’s why we welcome the decision by Gray Media Group, parent company of WCSC-TV, to file suit after the department refused to turn over recordings of a high-profile inmate’s conversations — recordings it had already, appropriately turned over to The Post and Courier.
As much as we dislike using lawsuits to settle disputes involving public policy, the fact is that judges routinely rule against government agencies in FOI lawsuits, and for good reason: The S.C. Supreme Court respects the law, state and local agencies and school districts routinely violate it, and the only way to make them obey it is to sue. Well, unless Attorney General Alan Wilson would be more aggressive about enforcing the law on behalf of the public, as we urge him to do.
The reason violations of our open records and open meetings law are so routine despite governments’ high loss ratio in court is that too few individuals and even news organizations file suit, because they know government agencies have practically unlimited resources to run out the clock, driving up the cost of forcing compliance. So it’s always good news when someone is willing to challenge such clear violations of the law.
From The Post and Courier | Read more

Town of Blythewood not transparent with legal fees

Some Blythewood council members and an attorney don’t think town residents should know how much of their money is being spent on costly legal bills.
On Monday night, council members voted 4-1 on second reading of the $5.06 million annual budget. Councilman Donald Brock dissented.
Brock and Councilman Sloan Griffin voiced concerns about ballooning legal costs without seeing a suitable breakdown of legal fee line items.
Blythewood budgeted $200,000 for legal bills this fiscal year, but the budget doesn’t illustrate how that money is being spent with any specificity.
“I’m in the dark. All I know is we got litigation,” Griffin said. “The attorneys work for us. The council hired the attorneys. What I’m hearing is I can’t even see what we hired them to do.”
Other council members shrugged off transparency concerns, fearing greater openness might hamper the town in ongoing legal cases.
Mayor Bryan Franklin directed Town Administrator Carroll Williamson to consult with town attorneys to “figure out a plan to release whatever information they deem appropriate or, if it’s not appropriate, tell the council why so we can move past this.”
Jay Bender, an attorney and media law expert, said only line items containing confidential information can be shielded from view.
“An entry such as ‘filed documents’ would not be privileged,” he said.
By Michael Smith, The Voice of Blythewood | Read more

Behind closed doors in SC, Ramaswamy pushed private services during ‘anti-woke’ crusade

Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy made a name for himself as someone who wanted to separate politics from investing.
But in October, just four months before mounting his Republican bid for the White House, Ramaswamy tried to inject politics into the process for investing South Carolina’s pension coffers.
He met privately with both S.C. Statehouse Republican lawmakers and the state’s pension managers to rail against “woke” investment strategies that consider green energy as well as social issues. And Ramaswamy used the occasion to pitch the services of the right-leaning investment firm he co-founded. Details of the Oct. 27 session, arranged by S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis, have not been previously reported. ...
Loftis told The Post and Courier there was “nothing improper” about the private October meeting.
“There were talks about what Strive’s services did or were trying to do … but those conference doors were open,” Loftis told the newspaper. “Anyone could have come in … y’all could have come, had I known.”
Loftis’s office did not invite journalists to the meeting. It also was not publicly advertised or announced on the treasurer’s office website.
Jay Bender, a longtime attorney for the S.C. Press Association, said the gathering hardly met the spirit of the state’s Freedom of Information Act. 
“Calling it an ‘open meeting’ that you don’t tell anybody about seems to be twisting the meaning of ‘open meeting’ into a pretzel shape,” said Bender, who also taught law for many years at the University of South Carolina.
By Clare Fieseler, The Post and Courier | Read more

Lack of fiscal reports stymies Calhoun Falls council business

CALHOUN FALLS — Officials want real numbers. They are hampered as they have received no concrete fiscal information since December 2022.
This situation apparently has gone on for years, Mayor Terrico Holland said after Monday’s Town Council meeting. Regarding financials, the city is waiting on its accounting firm to update paperwork. One of the items of discussion scheduled for the meeting was the financial reports from December to May. Holland declined to identify the firm the town works with out of concern it would result in a delay. Another city official said Cox Accounting Solutions of Greenwood is the firm that handles the town’s financials.
The city has sent the firm emails and made telephone calls, sometimes every other day, Holland said. ...
The Index-Journal requested a copy of the town budget Tuesday. Wendi Alewine, town clerk, said a Freedom of Information Act request would be required in order to release the town’s budget.
A FOIA request is not required for public documents, said Taylor Smith, an attorney with the South Carolina Press Association. Any information taken from an account that deals with receipt or expenditure of public funds is public information, he said Tuesday.
By Robert Jordan, Index-Journal | Read more

People & Papers

By Ryan Gilchrest,
Greenville Journal

Up front: Human first, journalist second

Editor's Note: Ryan Gilchrest has been named managing editor for the Greenville Journal and Upstate Business Journal. He oversees the reporting staff and plans news and business coverage for both print and online editions. A journalist since 1998, Gilchrest has been a managing editor for news organizations in South Carolina and Virginia for the past decade.
Ask me how to be an editor. You’ll get equal parts critique and mantra.
Over the course of a 25-year career in journalism, much of it spent running reporting teams and newsrooms, I have spouted and espoused a spectrum of work-related platitudes.
Most range from helpful to corny, a series of blunt tools for broad application. A dozen or so have been honed with experience to a useful edge, and a few sharp truths have emerged over time.
One in particular guides my daily decisions: Always put humanity before profession. In simpler terms, be a good person first and a great journalist second.
Depending on your opinion of “the media,” the statement might surprise you. After all, aren’t reporters and editors meant to be dispassionate pursuers of fact, unconcerned by the discomfort created by work or word? Read more

USC J-school names new director

Orangeburg native Damion Waymer has been selected as the next director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in USC’s College of Information and Communications.
“The thing that excites me most is the energy,” says Waymer, who will start in early July. “I see active, engaged students winning awards and alumni being recognized for their excellence. I’m joining an organization that has clear momentum and a clear track record for excellence.”
He joins the University of South Carolina from the University of Alabama, where he served as the senior associate dean for the College of Communication and Information Sciences. In that role, he managed four academic units and oversaw the college’s information technology and facilities management.
Waymer also served as the department chair for advertising and public relations at Alabama and as the department chair for liberal studies at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State, among other teaching and administrative roles.
Dean Tom Reichert says he is eager for Waymer to join the College of Information and Communications ahead of the school’s centennial celebration.
“Dr. Waymer will set the tone for the J-school’s next 100 years of success,” Reichert says. “His energy and administrative experience will be vital assets in guiding the school’s evolution to meet student and industry needs.”
Waymer says his first priority is to build relationships with faculty, staff and students. Developing the school’s ties with alumni and industries leaders is another important goal.
By J. Scott Parker, USC College of Information and Communications | Read more

Smith named Sumter Item's assistant editor

Change is inevitable. The staff of any local newspaper knows that much.
As The Sumter Item continues to evolve, it will soon do so minus one familiar face but with the addition and promotion of two more.
Shelbie Goulding, news and newsletter editor for The Item, is set to take her next step in life as she moves to join her husband, Yuri Morin, who is serving in Europe for the U.S. Air Force. They met while he was stationed at Shaw Air Force Base. ... 
In her place, The Item welcomes the promotion of Melanie Smith from copy editor and page designer to assistant editor and the addition of Bryn Eddy as reporter and newsletter editor.
In some way, The Item has always been a part of Smith's life. She was born on Shaw Air Force Base, and her parents are decades-long subscribers. She began working for The Item in high school as an intern editor and designer and continued while studying journalism at USC in Columbia and Sumter. She has been with the paper full time for 14 years.
Her design of The Item has won numerous S.C. Press Association awards, including being named best in the state in 2022.
She said she enjoys helping reporters polish their stories and designing pages that give readers information they need quickly. In this role, she will do just that.
Eddy returns to Sumter after working as a reporter in Myrtle Beach. Hailing from the Fort Mill area, she was introduced to The Item as the recipient of the SCPA Foundation's Hubert Osteen Memorial Internship in the summer of 2021, during which time she wrote feature and lifestyle stories on topics such as the Sumter County Museum, local teachers and the Carolina Shag Club.
From The Sumter Item | Read more
Blair received the William Light Kinney, Jr. Community Leader Award during the 2023 Marlboro Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. Watching is Chamber Director Jessie Evans.

Blair honored with award named after Bill Kinney at Marlboro Chamber Annual Meeting

Sully Blair was humbled to receive the William Light Kinney, Jr. Community Leader Award on Tuesday during the 2023 Marlboro Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.
“This is a true honor,” said Blair, owner of Sully Blair State Farm. “I think we all agree that nobody gave their love in this community much as Bill Kinney.” He added to get the award meant so much to him.
“I love this community,” Blair said. “It is very special. We are special people, and my wife and I love being a part of this community, and we will continue to.”
He ended his remarks with the last words Kinney said to him during their first meeting.
“He said, ‘Sully, give to your community, and it will give to you,’ and he was spot on.”
Last year, Kinney was honored by the Marlboro Chamber of Commerce for his years of “unfailing service” to the community by renaming the Community Leader Award to the William Light Kinney, Jr. Community Leader Award.
Earlier this year, Kinney died.
By Jacqueline Hough, Herald-Advocate | Read more
Staff of The Lexington County Chronicle celebrated "Lexington's Best" winners on June 29 at Riverbanks Zoo's Ndoki Lodge. 

Industry Briefs

Beaufort County paper carrier assaulted. ‘All we were doing was delivering a newspaper’

Wanda Boatright’s early-morning paper route takes her 230 miles through northern Beaufort County — winding through Seabrook, Sheldon, Port Royal and Brays Island — but the pitch-black commute never scared her until Sunday morning, she says.
Shortly after 1:30 a.m., Boatright and her husband were delivering the Beaufort Gazette and Wall Street Journal to porches in Port Royal’s Shadow Moss neighborhood. As he turned the car around on Kiawah Drive, they spotted a “big man” blocking the roadway.
“I figured he was wanting to talk to me, kind of introduce himself,” Boatright told The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette. “But that’s not the way he went.”
The man began yelling at the couple, saying they had “no business” in the neighborhood as he edged toward the car’s open window. When Boatright’s husband told him to step back, the man reached into the car, punching him in the face and trying to pull him from the vehicle, according to Capt. John Griffith of the Port Royal Police Department.
Police arrested the man soon after, identifying him as 46-year-old Port Royal resident Percival Davis. He was charged with third-degree assault and battery and released Sunday morning on a personal recognizance bond. 
By Evan McKenna, The Island Packet | Read more

News/Media Alliance, NNA, America’s Newspaper coordinating fly-in to meet with Congress members on passage of JCPA

The News/Media Alliance, National Newspaper Association and America’s Newspapers are coordinating a “Support Journalism Parade/Fly-In” September 26-27 in D.C.
Publishers and editors from across the country will have the opportunity to meet with members of Congress to reinforce the need for legislation compensating news publishers for our valuable content. Learn more and register.


By Martin L. Cahn,
Editor of the Chronicle-Independent


Last week, the Protect Reporters from Exploitive State Spying Act — the PRESS Act — was reintroduced in Congress by a bipartisan group of U.S. representatives and senators. According to CNN, the PRESS Act passed the House last year, but did not get a vote in the Senate.
Such legislation is offered referred to as a shield law.
Keep in mind, this is a federal law proposal. South Carolina has a shield law of its own, but it is considered “qualified” because there are — as the S.C. Press Association explains on its website — “circumstances under which the person [journalist] may be required to disclose the information.” In other words, there are still times when a journalist in South Carolina has to give up its otherwise anonymous sources.
I avoid anonymous sources like the plague. Kershaw County is not Washington, D.C., or even Columbia. Something has to be a pretty big deal for me to rely on an anonymous source and, even then, I usually use what they’ve provided to obtain the same information on the record, usually through documents I can obtain through normal channels.
If I were to use an anonymous source, however, I would certainly want to protect them.
The exceptions to our state’s shield law include where a party — usually the government — can show that the testimony and/or documents (which can be electronic in nature, including audio and video) are “material and relevant to the controversy for which (they are) sought;” “cannot be reasonably obtained by alternative means,” and are “necessary to the proper preparation or presentation of the case of a party seeking the information, document or item.”
As the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) points out, recent cases where South Carolina journalists have argued for their rights under the shield law have been successful. Most of the disputes have actually had to do with who is a “journalist,” and whether or not the search for alternative sources for the information have been exhausted.
On the federal level, the PRESS Act would prevent the government from compelling reporters to disclose their sources, and ensure that third-party data — phone or internet company records, for example — can’t be seized without notice and allowing such attempts to be challenged in court. Read more

Compelling Writing by Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune, Writing Coach

Read like a writer

Sounds simple, doesn’t it. You are already a writer.
But think about it.
Whenever you read – and it should be daily – think like a writer.
Pay attention to what the writers are doing, how they hold your attention and keep you reading. You can do that, too.
Writing coach Susan DeFreitas advises us to make notes.
Even if we never look at the notes again, the simple act of jotting down ideas tends to fix it in memory.
It may be a headline or a lead sentence.
It may even be the closing of the story.
I often read only opening and closing paragraphs.
After that I conclude I got all I might get.
Why read the entire article, story or book.
Does this sound heretical? Not to me.
You’ll never have time for all of the books you’d like to read. 
Don’t waste time.
If an opening sentence grabs you, consider how the writer captured your attention.
Writers use certain techniques to lure you in, to engage and enchant you.
How did these writers get you to stay with them to the end? 
Was their closing satisfying?
Do you feel that you had a worthy reading experience? Read more

Upcoming Events

Thanks to funding from the SCPA Foundation, "Earn Your Press Pass," a self-paced online training course is now available to SCPA members at no charge. Sign up to start learning! SCPA will also host a demo/Q&A on Tuesday, July 25 from 2-2:30 p.m. Let us know if you'd like to attend.
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