Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  July 8, 2021

RSVP for Bill's party today

Don't forget that SCPA's retirement party for Bill Rogers is next Thursday, July 15, from 5-7 p.m. at The River Center in Saluda Shoals Park in Columbia.
If you plan to attend, please let us know  today.
In lieu of retirement gifts, Bill has requested that donations be made to SCPA’s FOI Fund, which helps newspapers fight open government battles. This is a fitting tribute to honor his more than three decades as a leading force in the fight for open government in the Palmetto State. If you'd like to make a gift in Bill's honor, you can donate online or mail a check to SCPA at 106 Outlet Pointe Blvd., Columbia, SC 29210.

"Heard Impunity" 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: On doing things best way

A rather substantial embarrassing moment, yes, but we think credit should be given where it’s due. And a thumbs up.
Abbeville County’s school board had to put its budget adoption on hold earlier this week because the district neglected to post a public hearing notice in the newspaper at least 15 days ahead of Tuesday’s meeting. By law, the district was obligated to notify the public that it was having a second and final reading of the proposed budget, along with a public hearing.
The school board perhaps could have held to its original agenda, which listed the final reading and public hearing on the budget in hopes that all would be fine. After all, it was not a deliberate omission of the public notice, but rather good old-fashioned human error. A mistake.
Instead, once aware that the public notice process had been bypassed, the board revised its agenda and was forced to take a vote to adopt a continuing resolution that essentially lets the district use last year’s operating budget for now. That too is by law, if a board hasn’t approved a budget by June 30.
From Index-Journal | Read more

Legal Briefs

Judge jails NC editor over reporter's use of recorder in court

A North Carolina Superior Court judge put a small-town newspaper editor behind bars last month after one of his reporters used an audio recorder for note-taking purposes at a murder trial — a punishment the paper and media rights groups consider excessive.
Judge Stephan Futrell sentenced Gavin Stone, the news editor of the Richmond County Daily Journal, to five days in jail before having the editor hauled off to jail. Stone was released the next day but still faces the possibility of more time in lockup.
Brian Bloom, the paper's publisher, acknowledged that his reporter shouldn’t have had the recorder in court because it was not allowed but criticized the judge’s move to imprison an editor for a minor infraction committed by a colleague.
“The penalty does not fit the crime,” he said. “Let’s put this in perspective: You stop a murder trial not once, but twice, because a guy had a tape recorder sitting next to him on a bench at a courtroom. Let’s put our priorities in place here.”
Futrell did not respond to a request for comment.
Superior Court rules allow electronic media and still photography coverage of public judicial proceedings, but grant judges the authority to prohibit the technology.
By Bryan Anderson, Associated Press/Report for America | Read more

Two justices say Supreme Court should reconsider landmark libel decision

Two justices last week called for the Supreme Court to reconsider New York Times v. Sullivan, the landmark 1964 ruling interpreting the First Amendment to make it hard for public officials to prevail in libel suits.
One of them, Justice Clarence Thomas, repeated views he had expressed in a 2019 opinion. The other, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, offered fresh support for the view that the Sullivan decision and rulings extending it warranted a reassessment.
They made their comments in dissents from the court’s decision not to take up a libel case brought by the son of a former prime minister of Albania.
Both justices said the modern news media landscape played a role in their thinking about the actual malice doctrine announced in the Sullivan case. That doctrine required a public official suing for libel to prove that the offending statements were made with the knowledge they were false or with serious subjective doubt about their truth — a stricter standard than is applied to cases brought by ordinary people. The doctrine was expanded in later court rulings to cover public figures, not just public officials.
By Adam Liptak, New York Times | Read more

Federal Shield Bill introduced in the House and Senate

Last week, Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) introduced the Protect Reporters from Exploitative State Spying (PRESS) Act in the House, which establishes reasonable ground rules for when the government can obtain confidential source information from the media and their third-party service providers. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a similar bill in the Senate.
Groundbreaking investigative stories of government corruption and other wrongdoings would remain unknown – both to the public and to Congress – without information gathered from confidential sources by investigative journalists. Actions by the government to learn journalists’ confidential sources undermine the ability of the press, as outlined in the First Amendment, to provide important information to the public about such transgressions.
The legislation introduced now in both the House and Senate would prevent government overreach in obtaining confidential information that would expose anonymous sources and jeopardize the public’s right to know, while at the same time enabling law enforcement officials to get the information they need to investigate and prosecute crimes to keep the nation secure.
From News Media Alliance | Read more
If you ever have a question about the S.C. Shield Law, call SCPA's FOI/Legal Hotline at 803.750.9561.

People & Papers

Post and Courier to relocate news, business, press operations

The Post and Courier newspaper will begin relocating its business and editorial offices in mid-July in preparation for development of the second phase of the Courier Square office, residential and retail project.
The move from 134 Columbus Street will mean a more modern and efficient work arrangement for the newspaper’s newsroom, advertising, marketing and circulation departments. Those operations will relocate to 148 Williman St. in Charleston’s NoMo District of offices, technology firms and restaurants.
The Williman Street property is managed by Raven Cliff Company, which has redeveloped and currently owns nearly 250,000 square feet of formerly industrial space in the district named for its North Morrison Drive location. ...
The newspaper’s pressroom, packaging, distribution and transportation departments will move later this fall to the World Trade Center development on Leeds Avenue in North Charleston. That facility will house The Post and Courier’s recently purchased 2008 Goss Magnum single-width press.
By David Wren, The Post and Courier | Read more

McClatchy hires Trudi Gilfillian as SC Opinion Editor

Editor's Note: Gilfillian will serve as Opinion Editor for The State, The Beaufort Gazette, The Island Packet and The Sun News. She is a reporter, editor, columnist and college media adviser who has worked for newspapers in Texas and New Jersey. She enjoys mentoring young journalists and has taught students at Penn State and Oregon State universities. She can often be found with a dog or two by her side.
First, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room.
I am not from South Carolina, but I am the daughter of a U.S. Army veteran (AKA a military brat), so I learned at an early age to appreciate moving to new locales, meeting new people and calling new places my home.
My elementary school days included time spent at Schofield Barracks, Oahu, middle school at Fort Hood, Texas (which included my first foray into journalism on the school paper), and all four years of high school in Neu-Ulm, Germany. Adapting is in the blood.
South Carolina is home now.
With that in mind, the opinion content of The State, The Beaufort Gazette, The Island Packet and The Sun News should be focused on what matters to the more than 5.1 million other people, according to the Census Bureau’s 2020 count, who also call the Palmetto State home.
In an ideal world, all 5.1 million would be able to attend every school board and city council meeting, to stay abreast of the latest breaking news and have hours each day to monitor their elected officials and pore over tons of public documents. The world isn’t quite ideal, just yet, so in the meantime our talented reporters and editors work hard to cover your communities for you and keep you informed.
The opinion pages are the places to share your concerns, learn from others, hear differing points of view and evaluate how all of that information will affect you. I have long believed editorial pages are prime real estate in the journalism world. Here, we can urge you and your elected leaders to act, encourage our neighbors to pay attention to the world around them and get beyond our personal bubbles.
By Trudi Gilfillian, The State | Read more

Post and Courier launches Education Lab to focus on SC public school reform

In 2018, The Post and Courier undertook the daunting but important task of cataloging the many reasons why South Carolina’s public education system was failing to prepare students for college and beyond.
We didn’t mince our words. The first story in the multi-part series titled “Minimally Adequate” began like this:
“Divided by race, mired in inequities and hobbled by its history, South Carolina’s public school system is among the worst in the nation, saddled with a legacy of apathy and low expectations that threatens the state’s newfound prosperity. South Carolina’s schools trail other states in nearly every measure, leaving students unprepared for the world that awaits them as businesses struggle to find qualified workers to fill skilled jobs.”
This series of stories and forums held throughout the state garnered significant attention and seemed to galvanize lawmakers, educators and the public to do something about it. After a promising start, the most aggressive reform efforts ultimately went nowhere. Today, South Carolina’s public education system is in much the same place it was when our series first published.
That’s why The Post and Courier is partnering with funders and other organizations in our state to launch our own Education Lab. Over the next three years, and hopefully longer, we are going to bring our focused efforts to bear on this important issue.
The Post and Courier Education Lab will support one editor and two full-time reporters focused on education with a clear focus on South Carolina education reform. It is being founded on the principle that all children in South Carolina deserve equal access to quality education.
By Mitch Pugh, The Post and Courier | Read more

Industry Briefs

3 award-winning strategies for growing digital audience at the local level

Trying to get more “eyeballs” on your news coverage? Consider innovative approaches to audience development taken by these three award-winning local publishers.
Green Valley News, a Wick Communications product in Arizona, decided to start its own social network. That idea earned the newspaper first-place recognition for Best Digital Audience Growth Strategy as part of the 2020 Local Media Association Digital Innovation Awards. The Sheboygan Sun was runner-up, and startup newsletter Raleigh Convergence received third-place honors.
Here is a rundown of best practices and lessons learned from each operation:
1. Connect neighbors and join the conversation
Wick Communications launched its own social media project through third-party tools and platforms over the past year, led and moderated by dedicated journalist product managers. Wick received strong financial support through the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge.
The result is NABUR, short for “Neighborhood Alliance for Better Understanding and Respect,” a platform now hosted by four Wick Communications newspapers — with two more launching in July. The forum helps create a dialogue between readers and reporters, who answer questions to keep the community informed.
By Joe Lanane, Local Media Association Contributor | Read more

Study: Newspaper circulation revenue surpasses advertising

For the first time in 2020, the newspaper industry earned more money from circulation than advertising.
Yet like many of the other benchmarks noted this week by the Pew Research Center in the first of a series of reports on the state of the news media, that's not necessarily good news.
Circulation revenue, from people buying digital or print subscriptions, reached $11.1 billion in 2020, Pew said. The newspaper industry reported $8.8 billion in ad revenue last year.
In 2006, in the early stages of the internet eating away at the industry, newspapers reported $49.3 billion in advertising revenue. Circulation revenue in 2006 was much the same as it was last year.
Pew's estimate of weekday newspaper circulation, which is complicated by the move to digital and some different reporting sources, was 24.3 million last year. Twenty years ago, it was 57.8 million.
From The Associated Press | Read more

How to plan, report and produce a serialized podcast

The Oregonian/Oregon Live has several podcasts, including Beat Check with The Oregonian, which reveals to listeners how news stories are reported on and Peak Northwest, which dives into all things outdoors in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. This year they decided they wanted to produce their first serialized, narrative podcast which is where I come in. This summer I am researching and producing their first podcast of this nature to be launched in August.
A serialized podcast is a series of podcast episodes that connect with one another to tell a story. There are as many episodes as it takes to tell the complete story, and none of the episodes stand alone.
If your newsroom wants to try producing a serialized podcast, here are three tips on how to do just that from what I’ve learned so far:
1. Be prepared
Podcasting essentials include a microphone and recording apps. The Samson USB microphone is a great affordable option that plugs right into your laptop. The set up is simple — put the mic on the stand, plug the mic into your laptop, plug your headphones into the mic and adjust your computer audio settings — but it makes a difference in your quality of interviews and voiceover. If you want, you can even send a microphone to your sources with a return label so they can have good quality audio as well.
By Regan Mertz, Reynolds Journalism Institute | Read more

More people are paying for online news, but resistance continues

As always, the latest Reuters Digital News Report 2021 offers some encouraging and less uplifting news for the news publishing industry.
Let us start with the positives. In 2021, more people are paying for digital news content than over the last year in the form of subscriptions, donations, or memberships. The report shows 17% of people across 20 countries have paid for some kind of online news content (the report has tracked these 20 markets and the willingness to pay for news since 2016). The number of those paying grew 2% from the last year and is up 5% from 2016.
Then, there is the bad news. A large proportion of people continue to resist paying, and “overall progress remains slow.” The report, which covers 46 markets, notes that “most people are not interested enough in news, or do not have sufficient disposable income to prioritize news over other parts of their life.” Others resist paying because they like to scroll news through multiple sites, not just one specific source.
By Dr. Merja Myllylahti, INMA | Read more

Self-care tips for journalists — plus a list of several resources

There are many things journalists can do to improve their mental health. We share some practical tips from Dr. Elana Newman, research director at the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma at Columbia University. ...
Breathe. “When you get tense, simply remembering to breathe helps,” she said.
Take small breaks during your workday. Set up a timer on your phone or computer as a reminder to get up from your desk. Maybe take a walk. Grab a cup of tea or coffee. Studies have shown that small mental breaks can help with focus.
After big stories, take big breaks. Take a day off after finishing a large investigative story and before you move on to the next story or project. “Having a little bit of a break is one of the things that we found is helpful in reducing stress,” Newman said. 
Remember your mission and purpose. Write a short mission statement and post it where you can see it regularly — to remind yourself why you do the work you do and why you’re pursuing the story, Newman said.
Have rituals to end your day. “During the pandemic, everything has been blurring and there’s been no boundaries,” Newman said.
By Naseem S. Miller, The Journalist’s Resource | Read more

Columns

By John Foust, Advertising Trainer

Lessons from a failed advertiser

I remember talking to Clark about his early days in advertising. When he started his then-small marketing business, one of his first clients was a fast-food establishment that needed help with an introductory campaign. Although the store manager knew almost nothing about advertising, he understood that it was important.
According to Clark, three factors drove the advertising strategy: (1) the budget was severely limited, (2) although it was a national brand, the business was new to the market, and (3) a large university was about two miles away.
“In those pre-Internet days, the college market was the store manager’s best option,” Clark said, “and I figured the surest way to reach those students was through the college newspaper. The challenge was to give them a reason to travel two miles for fast-food. I decided to run a series of quarter-page ads, with discount coupons. The price fit the manager’s budget, and the coupons would give him a way to measure results. Each ad had a code number on the coupon, so he would know which days of the week drew more responses.”
When Clark dropped by the store after a few ads ran, the store manager held up a big paper grocery bag which was overflowing with coupons. There was no organization at all, and it was obvious that coupons had been mixed together in the bag. The ads had pulled in some customers, but – even though they had discussed the significance of measuring results – the manager clearly had no interest in following through. Read more

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