Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Feb. 24, 2022

March 2 is deadline to RSVP for Awards Celebration

The deadline to register for SCPA's Awards Celebration Banquet is fast approaching! We hope you'll join us at this special luncheon on Friday, March 11, at the Cooperative Conference Center in Columbia. The event, presented by AT&T, will honor winners of the 2021 Daily, Weekly and Associate/Individual Member Contests. 
The final day to register is Wednesday, March 2. The cost to attend is $45. 

Schedule

Awards Luncheon | 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Winners' Exhibit Open | 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Remote work space available | 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
Limited space is available in the program for congratulatory ads. Camera-ready ads will be accepted through March 7. Rates start at just $20. View sizes and availability and reserve your space by March 7.

Read more about the Awards Celebration Banquet and register soon. We look forward to seeing you and honoring your winners on March 11!

SCPA Annual Business Meeting to be held March 16 on Zoom

The Annual Business Meeting of the South Carolina Press Association will be held Wednesday, March 16 at 10 a.m. SCPA members are encouraged to participate in this meeting, which will be held via Zoom. An agenda and Zoom details will be provided prior to the meeting. During this brief event, we will provide legal, membership, lobbying and financial reports. The full membership will vote on the slate of officers (listed below).
If you have questions or comments, please contact Jen Madden.

Nominations for 2022-23 SCPA Officers, Executive Committee

The Nominating Committee proposes the following slate of officers and Executive Committee members for consideration by the full membership at the 2022 Annual Business Meeting.
OFFICERS:
  • President: Charles Swenson, Coastal Observer, Pawleys Island
  • Vice President – Dailies: Richard Whiting, Index-Journal, Greenwood
  • Vice President – Weeklies: Nathaniel Abraham Jr., Carolina Panorama, Columbia
  • Treasurer: Steve Bruss, Greenville News; Independent Mail, Anderson; Herald-Journal, Spartanburg
  • Immediate Past President: Don Kausler Jr., Index-Journal, Greenwood
NEW MEMBERS:
For Executive Committee, daily representatives:
  • Cliff Harrington, The Herald, Rock Hill
  • Autumn Phillips, The Post and Courier, Charleston
  • Hal Welch, The Journal, Seneca
RETURNING MEMBERS:
For Executive Committee, weekly representatives:
  • Andy Brack, Charleston City Paper
  • Chase Heatherly, Evening Post Publishing Newspaper Group, The Post and Courier Columbia/Free Times
  • Abbie Sossamon, The Gaffney Ledger

Last call to apply for a Foundation summer internship or scholarship

The deadline to apply for the SCPA Foundation's internship and scholarship programs is March 4.
Our Foundation’s internship program provides a meaningful, hands-on training experience for students interested in news reporting, copy editing, photojournalism, advertising or visual communications. Rising juniors and seniors, and recent college graduates are eligible. Each internship is eight weeks long and pays $4,000.
We also award a scholarship each year to a S.C. college student interested in pursuing a newspaper career. The premier scholarship, worth $1,000 per academic year, is named for the Foundation’s first president, the late Frank R. Mundy of the Greenwood Index-Journal.
Learn more and apply by March 4.

"Nothing But Scowl" 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

Editorial: Commerce is SC’s most notorious secret keeper, but settlement could change that

The good news is that the agency that doles out tax incentives to recruit jobs to South Carolina has agreed to stop hiding so much public information from the public.
Henceforth, the S.C. Commerce Department will not redact the names of company executives and lawyers involved in incentive negotiations.
It will let us know, in most cases, whether companies are paying on average less than $15 an hour for the jobs we incentivize them to provide.
And when companies don’t live up to their end of the deal — for instance by not creating the jobs they promised in return for incentives — it will even start enforcing the clawback agreements that it has taught companies aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
From The Post and Courier | Read more

Too transparent? Horry Schools fired longtime spokeswoman for telling truth, she alleges

Horry County Schools fired its longtime public information officer for being too transparent with information it preferred to keep hidden, she’s alleging in a wrongful termination lawsuit. Teal Britton, who worked in the district’s communications department from 1993 until being terminated in 2020, connected her dismissal to the closely scrutinized $220 million building projects that prompted a state law enforcement investigation. First Floor Energy was awarded the contracts to build five new “energy-positive” schools despite being the most expensive bidder, and only after conversations with district officials and board members led them to rewrite their Request for Proposal to fit the company’s pitch.
By David Weissman, The Sun News | Read more
Related: Former HCS spokeswoman sues district, alleging she was fired for releasing information (By Christian Boschult and Charles D. Perry, Myrtle Beach Herald)

Why did LR5 superintendent Melton resign? New affidavit provides behind-the-scenes details

More details have emerged on the controversial exit of a Midlands superintendent last year.
In an affidavit filed in Richland County court Feb. 11, former Lexington-Richland 5 school board member Ed White laid out new details of the tense and often hostile relationship between some school board members and former Superintendent Christina Melton.
In the sworn statement, White sheds new light on his previous allegations of how he feels his fellow board members mistreated Melton in her final months on the job as the district’s top administrator. He also documents the closed-door meeting that ultimately ended her tenure and spawned an open-meetings lawsuit. ...
White’s comments were filed as part of a lawsuit filed by The State’s senior editor Paul Osmundson. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of The State Media Co., challenges the legality of board members agreeing to end Melton’s contract and pay Melton $226,368 without a public vote.
By Bristow Marchant, The State | Read more

Editorial: School board paid Postlewait $500,000 to go away. We deserve to know why.

The claim that it was Gerrita Postlewait’s idea to suddenly leave never was believable, and newly released documents make it clear that the Charleston County School Board paid the superintendent to go away, for reasons that remain shrouded in secrecy.
We already knew that the School Board was paying Dr. Postlewait more than $160,000 plus health, disability and life insurance in return for staying on as a “consultant” through the end of June. That’s odd for a sudden and unexplained departure, but not unheard of.
From The Post and Courier | Read more

Legal Briefs

SC bill requires citizens to be 12 feet away from police when filming arrest

South Carolina lawmakers are weighing legislation to place restrictions on where people can film the police before being charged with obstruction of justice.
Called the “HALO Act,” the bill would create a 12-foot perimeter around law enforcement where bystanders would be prevented from filming officer interactions with the public when conducting an arrest.
The bill’s sponsor, former chaplain for the Columbia Police Department and Democratic state Rep. Ivory Torrey Thigpen, told lawmakers he has been at incidents where questions arose over whether individuals were putting themselves or officers in danger. ...
In South Carolina, proponents of the First Amendment believe the HALO Act could not just chill the rights of bystanders but also of the working press.
“It’s highly concerning that we’re considering legislation which would take court-recognized, expressive conduct covered under the First Amendment and make it something subject to criminal punishment,” said Taylor Smith, an attorney for the S.C. Press Association.
Smith said the ambiguous language of the bill also leaves significant potential for the law to be abused. 
By Nick Reynolds, The Post and Courier | Read more

Industry Briefs

Senate vote on Postal Service reform bill delayed

The U.S. House of Representatives made a clerical error on the Postal Service Reform Act bill, H.R. 3076, which caused the U.S. Senate not to be able to vote on the bill last week. However, the Senate would like to move this quickly when they return to session. They return the week of Feb. 28. The Majority Leader filed a Rule 14 petition for the bill to bypass Committee and go straight to the Floor. 
By Holly Lubart, News Media Alliance | Read more

Newsletters attract more readers, advertisers and revenue

It may be too dramatic to say newsletters are taking the newspaper industry by storm, but they are certainly a freshening breeze for readers and advertisers and publishers’ revenues. Across the country, in large newspaper groups and small local publications, newsletters have evolved into a new method to package and deliver the news. Those benefiting the most are forward-leaning publishers utilizing multiple tech tools and applications.
Newsletters have also become a prime driver of print and digital subscriptions, filling email databases with a wealth of valuable opt-in customers and attracting new advertisers while retaining current ones.
By Bob Sillick for Editor & Publisher | Read more

Twenty-Somethings share what would get them to pay for news

The group of twenty-somethings comprising Generation Z grew up with the Internet and get their news primarily on social media. However, findings from qualitative and quantitative research from the News Media Alliance, released today, indicate that there are opportunities for news outlets – especially local news outlets – to position their products with Gen Z consumers to attract them as readers and potential subscribers.
About half of Gen Z consumers (51 percent) report reading news daily. The majority (60 percent) say they would be likely to use local news products, while one-third (33 percent) say they would be likely to pay for local news. Not surprising, twenty-somethings prefer to get news online via social media apps and web searches rather than in print, and they want to “snack” on news that has been customized to their preferences throughout the day. Motivators to subscribe to local news outlets include free trials and special content targeted to them.
From News Media Alliance | Read more

Columns

By John Foust,
Advertising Trainer

Advertising’s blast from the past

In order to look ahead to a new advertising idea, sometimes it helps to take a look at the past. When an advertiser has been in business for a number of years, there are plenty of possibilities. 
Let’s take a look at a few idea-starters. Although there’s some natural overlap, it helps to examine each one separately: 
1. Years of experience: This is a good starting point. You can either talk about the number of years the company has been in operation, or you can emphasize the cumulative years key members have been on the team. For example, “We have been in business for 75 years,” or “Our service team has a total of 312 years of experience.” 
By themselves, these facts don’t mean much – and in fact, could indicate that the company is outdated and out of touch with today’s consumers. The secret is to connect an age-related statistic to a specific benefit: “Our service team has 312 years of overall experience. This means we have encountered – and successfully diagnosed – just about every plumbing problem.” 
This kind of information could become the main subject of an image ad campaign – or be shortened to be used as a tagline throughout that company’s marketing. Read more

Upcoming Events

As a service to its member newspapers, SCPA lists employment opportunities on our site upon request. There is no charge for this service to SCPA member newspapers. Please email openings to Kassidy Wright.
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