Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  May 4, 2023

PALMY Ad Contest live, accepting entries through June 2

The 2023 PALMY Advertising Contest entry platform is now live and accepting entries through June 2.
The PALMY Ad Contest is a great way to recognize the sales reps, designers and advertisers of our state's newspapers.
The contest period is for print and digital ads that ran between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023.
All ad directors and publishers will receive log-in info later today. 
New categories include use of typography, use of imagery and best campaign. 
Awards will be presented in person or mailed to winners in mid-July. 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. If requested, SCPA staffers will work with winners to have a recognition event on site at your newspaper.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Start entering

SCNN payouts return more than $20,000 to SCPA member papers

S.C. Newspaper Network (SCNN), the sales arm of SCPA, mailed network advertising payments to SCPA member newspapers last week. The quarterly Small Space Display (2x2/2x4/2x6) Ad Network and QuarterPage+ Ad Network payout checks totaled $20,579.
Classified revenue is paid out annually in January.
Every daily newspaper and virtually every weekly newspaper in South Carolina participate in SCNN's ad networks. If your newspaper is an SCPA member and does not participate in one of the SCNN networks, contact Randall to learn how these networks can provide added revenue to your newspaper.

Quote of the Week

"Freedom of the press is the cornerstone of democratic society. Without a debate of ideas, without verified facts, without diversity of perspectives, democracy is a shadow of itself; and World Press Freedom Day was established to remind us of this."
 – Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO 
on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day

"That's the plan" 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.

Legal Briefs

The shifting balances of press powers. While First Amendment champions work to affirm the free press, others seek to undermine it

... As the general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), Mickey Osterreicher is on the front lines of this fight. For more than 15 years, Osterreicher has trained journalists on their First Amendment rights.
He explained that access and arrest are two ways the press is being contested today.
“Telling journalists what their rights are is all well and good, except that saying ‘I know my rights’ to a police officer today — whether you’re covering a news event, or a demonstration or protest — is often the last sentence you say before they order you to turn around and put your hands behind your back,” Osterreicher said.
“When I was a journalist, it was pretty obvious. I was the noob with three Nikon SLRs around my neck, and nobody else had a camera. Or when I was in television, and I had a big Beta camera on my shoulder and press credentials,” he recalled. “Now, you’ve got young folks who are being sent out — whether they’re reporters or photographers — with iPhones. They look the same as the protesters.”
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, he also began to offer training to police officers on the press’ rights.
“The biggest question I get from officers, because it’s a challenge for them, is: Who is a journalist? Who should be exempted from a curfew order? Who says when the media is or isn’t essential personnel? What happens when there’s an order to disperse? Who’s exempt from that? Even in the legislation we’ve been seeing, the question always is about who gets entitled to whatever additional protections they’re trying to provide,” he said.
“If you define ‘journalist’ so broadly, in that everyone can be a journalist, then it’s likely that [press protection] laws would be struck down,” Osterreicher warned. Conversely, if the definition is too narrow, it ventures into First Amendment-infringement territory.
The political climate hasn’t helped.
By Gretchen A. Peck for Editor & Publisher | Read more

FOIA Briefs

Editorial: SC House still has time to inject transparency into school board debates

We’re glad to see the S.C. House Education K-12 Subcommittee is scheduled to meet this week rather than closing down, as most subcommittees have done, as we approach the May 11 adjournment of this year’s regular legislative session. Unfortunately, the most important school bill that still has a chance of becoming law this year isn’t on the agenda.
S.134 is identical to a measure the House passed 72-36 last year requiring school boards to livestream their meetings. Last year’s bill probably would have passed by an even larger margin but for the fact that House leaders added their so-called transparency bill — widely known as the anti-critical-race-theory bill. And with just a few days left in the 2022 legislative session, the Senate wisely refused to get dragged into that debate.
Our point isn’t about the games the House and Senate play during the last couple of weeks of the session to try to force the other body to pass bills it has been ignoring all year — although, come to think of it, perhaps that should be our point. Unfortunately, the livestream legislation isn’t the sort of high-stakes bill that lawmakers are willing to play chicken over.
That’s fine; we’d prefer not to see those games of chicken anyway. But we’d also prefer to see the House pass the livestream requirement.
From The Post and Courier | Read more

Editorial: Make next step in SC budget debate much more open and accessible

The S.C. House rules — and the Senate rules to a less important degree — require the full text of bills to be available for the public to read at least 24 hours before they’re debated. What they don’t require is for proposed amendments to be made public in advance.
That makes sense in most cases, because legislators often think of amendments as a result of the debate. That, in fact, is how lawmaking should work.
But there’s one pivotal moment during the state budget debate, which has taken on added significance over the past decade, when an extra level of transparency is needed to allow lawmakers to participate meaningfully in the most important thing the Legislature does every year. And to allow the public to understand what’s happening.
That moment — depending on what House Speaker Murrell Smith and Ways and Means Chairman Bruce Bannister decide — will occur sometime this week or next, when the House amends the Senate-passed budget and sends the two versions to a conference committee.
We can think of no better way to mark Mr. Smith’s first full year as speaker and Mr. Bannister’s first year as chairman of the budget-writing committee than to start making this crucial step more open — by getting it started sooner and providing the rest of the House and the public with more time to review their proposal before the House votes on it.
From The Post and Courier | Read more

People & Papers

de Castro

People-Sentinel welcomes Report for America reporter to cover Allendale County

The People-Sentinel is excited to welcome Elijah de Castro as a Rural Communities reporter through Report for America. The rural upstate New York native will help the newspaper expand into neighboring Allendale County, which has not had a newspaper in roughly a decade.
“Being informed through factual, unbiased reporting is an important part of democracy. Local news is vital because it drives civic engagement, community pride, and so much more. Without a dedicated local news source, a community can wither away through government corruption, crime, low voter turnout, healthcare and education issues, and more. Unfortunately, Allendale County has experienced many of those issues, which we believe is partly due to a lack of local news,” said Publisher Jonathan Vickery.
While the newspaper has started a regular Allendale County News page, coverage has been limited due to staff and resources. Thanks to RFA, de Castro will help The People-Sentinel expand that coverage to better serve residents of Allendale County.
"I am excited to report on undercovered issues that affect rural South Carolina, as most journalists never go into rural areas. I am also excited to enjoy southern food, become friends with the people of Barnwell and Allendale counties, and go fishing nearby!" said de Castro, who graduates from college this May.
Born and raised in semi-rural Upstate New York, de Castro has reported on issues like climate change, poverty and infrastructure that affect families in his hometown of Trumansburg, N.Y. While earning a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ithaca College, he broke major stories about the college's presidential compensation, and the college's decision to install artificial turf in its stadium despite health and environmental concerns. He also interned for The Progressive magazine, where he reported on Azerbaijan's genocidal blockade of the Armenian region of Artsakh, and how utility companies are fighting the transition to renewable energy.
The corps members will begin their new assignments in July.
By Jonathan Vickery, The People-Sentinel | Read more

The Sumter Item wins Second Street award for community engagement

The Sumter Item is the best small-market media company in the country at building community through contests and promotions, a prominent industry platform announced this month.
The Item was named "Best Small Market Program" in the 14th-annual Second Street Awards for work done in 2022, an awards program honoring the best of its more than 4,000 local media partners.
Featuring contests like Best of Sumter, Best of Clarendon, Hines Furniture Athlete of the Week and Morris College High School Teacher of the Month, The Item has used interactive programs to build and engage its audience.
"We've added different programs over the last few years, and our community always embraces the celebration," Publisher Vince Johnson said. "One of our favorite parts about having our large local audience is that we can shine a spotlight on those doing amazing things in our community. We plan to do even more in the future."
More programs are in the works. The Bobbys, a local version of ESPN's The Espy Awards and named after Yankees legend and Sumter native Bobby Richardson, is set for June 15 at the Sumter Opera House, with voting in more than 12 categories starting in May.
"What's really made this successful is Sumter's business community and their willingness to connect their businesses to these programs," Johnson said. "It's a win for Sumter when we build up Sumter together."
From The Sumter Item | Read more
From left: Ainsley McCarthy, Cliff Harrington, Guy Reel and Mari Pressley

Winthrop University, The Herald honor 3 students in annual journalism competition 

Winthrop Department Head Guy Reel to retire

Winthrop University’s ties run deep in the Rock Hill region. And that’s especially true in The Herald’s newsroom.
The pipeline that carries talented editors, reporters and photographers from Winthrop University into our newsroom has been active for decades. If you look in our newroom, or that of The Charlotte Observer, you won’t get far before you encounter a Winthrop University graduate.
Our business at The Herald is built on providing local news for this region’s readers. And it’s a badge of honor that we can claim home-grown talent -- with emphasis on talent and requisite skills -- as members of our staff.
That’s also why it was a special privilege earlier this month to award gifts from The Herald to students who won Winthrop University’s journalism competition. The winners are selected by the school’s Department of Mass Communication.
The school’s awards are named in honor of Terry Plumb and Virginia Wilcox. Both are distinguished former leaders at The Herald. Terry Plumb was gracious enough to spend the better part of a day almost seven years ago showing me around the region after I became executive editor.
And now, here are this year’s winners.
The Herald Terry Plumb Journalism Awards
  • General News: 44 graves of enslaved Africans found on a Winthrop alumnus’ newly purchased property: Samantha Hyatt
  • Feature: Roddey Hall to lose its kitchens, and students will be assigned roommates despite having signed up for private rooms Ainsley McCarthy
  • Photography/video: Winthrop honors the ballroom scene: It’s not a dance – It’s a ball! Mari Pressley
The Virginia Wilcox Design Award:
For her work as a page designer for Arts, Culture & Tech page in The Johnsonian: Mari Pressley. 
Mari Pressley also will be a part of a contingent of summer interns this year working at The Charlotte Observer. The Herald’s intern this summer is Kaylen Pritchard of Fort Mill.
In my years at The Herald, I’ve had the honor of working closely with Guy Reel. We’ve worked to get professional-level writing opportunities for students. And he has shepherded countless students from school into newsrooms across the state. Reel is a former reporter and editor. And now he’s retiring.
I’ve heard countless students call his name over the years. They’ve all said good things about him. And he’s leaving a highly-respected department.
I wish him much success in the future. He gets to have the last word in this spot. This is what he had to say:
“Being at Winthrop has been the best professional experience of my life, including my work as a newspaper reporter and editor. Training the next generation of media professionals is extremely important business, and I know our students at Winthrop are on the right track for professionalism, objectivity and success.”
By Cliff Harrington, The Herald | Read more
Meet The Post and Courier Pee Dee staff: Reporter Seth Taylor, managing editor Chris Day and publisher/digital sales director Tim Matthews (Photo by Stephen Massar/Post and Courier)
The future is bright! SCPA attended the USC J-School Capstone multimedia journalism portfolio showcase last week (with instructors Eileen Waddell and Allison Askins, both formerly of The State). The students' presentations were powerful and we left inspired by their work and passion for good journalism.
SCPA Member Reba Hull Campbell (communications strategist and president of The Medway Group), SCPA Attorney Jay Bender and SCPA Foundation President Harry Logan participated on a panel at Still Hopes in West Columbia last week to discuss objectivity in the news. Dozens of great questions were asked and there was discussion about bias, what journalism schools are teaching, how AI will impact perceptions and the state of local news in South Carolina.

Industry Briefs

To build a culture of recruitment, teach your staff to become talent ambassadors for your organization

The keys to modernizing your newspaper's recruiting efforts include three important steps, recruitment expert Julian Placino told attendees at the Mega-Conference
  1. Always be recruiting, even when you're not actively hiring
  2. Know your Employment Value Proposition (EVP) and believe in it
  3. Cultivate a culture of recruitment.
"One of the fundamental disciplines every new recruiter is taught at the beginning of their career is something called pipeline recruiting," Placino said.  For media companies, this means you should always be building your pipeline of reporting talent, sales talent, etc.  When you do this, he said, it improves the quality of candidates and the speed at which you can bring a new staff member on board when an opening at your company does occur.
Placino called on several audience members to demonstrate the concept behind Employment Value Proposition — identifying the most compelling reasons why future generations of talent should come work in this industry and, specifically, at your newspaper. He asked: Why are you passionate about the media industry and genuinely optimistic about its future?
By Cindy Durham, America's Newspapers | Read more

UN chief urges all nations to stop targeting media and truth

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief warned on the eve of World Press Freedom Day that the media is under attack in every corner of the world and urged all nations to stop the targeting of truth and those who report it.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the 50% increase in the killing of media workers in 2022 “unbelievable,” stressing that freedom of the press “is the foundation of democracy and justice” and it is under threat.
At least 67 media worked were killed in 2022. In addition, digital platforms and social media have made it easier for extremists to push false narratives and harass journalists.
“Truth is threatened by disinformation and hate speech seeking to blur the lines between fact and fiction, between science and conspiracy,” Guterres said.
By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press | Read more

Membership models that create value for readers

Avoiding change is a natural human reaction. It’s common that businesses and industries — run by humans — don’t often change as quickly as necessary. The newspaper industry is no different. Subscriptions have always been a significant source of revenue, and still are, but it was a straight-up business transaction. Newspapers delivered the news, and subscribers paid for it.
However, a stronger connection was missing. Newspapers were too isolated from the communities and the people they served, and the public took newspapers for granted. Almost none of them ever met a reporter or understood how news is gathered and published. Many may have forgotten their high school civics lesson that a free, robust press was absolutely critical to democracy.
The evolution of the newspaper industry is occurring in real time. It’s been painful for some and a wake-up call for others to change their business model, explore new revenue streams and, in the process, discover how to be more visible and supportive in their communities. Many publishers, especially in local news operations, are realizing the value of evolving from a traditional subscription model to a membership model for their business, local citizens and the community.
Part of that value is that a membership model is malleable; it can be shaped uniquely for each community where a newspaper operates. Generally, membership models include a subscription or a login to enter a paywall, but then can provide members with a myriad of other benefits:
  • Free access to newsletters, podcasts and exclusive video content.
  • Discounted tickets to community events often hosted by the newspaper.
  • Discounts at local, participating merchants.
  • Participation in solution-journalism forums.
  • Supporting local nonprofits and charities.
The membership model seems popular with readers when the newspaper or news outlet is committed to hyper-local news coverage. Reporting on local issues of most significant interest and importance to the public and with less emphasis on crime and the bipartisan bickering and misinformation at the national level motivates more people to support their local newspaper.
By Bob Sillick for Editor & Publisher | Read more

Americans mostly believe news they hear on podcasts

The vast majority (87%) of Americans who listen to news on podcasts say they expect the information they hear to be mostly accurate, according to a new Pew Research Survey.
Why it matters: At a time when trust in news is at a historic low, podcasts offer hope that media institutions can rebuild relationships with the public through a new medium.
Details: As podcast listenership grows in the U.S., so does news consumption.
By Sara Fischer, Axios Media Trends | Read more


By Matthew Hensley, Index-Journal

Support local news

Yes, I am a pirate, two hundred years too late
The cannons don’t thunder, there’s nothin’ to plunder
I’m an over-forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late

— Jimmy Buffett, “A Pirate Looks at Forty”

Ahead of my first visit to Greenwood nearly eight years ago, Executive Editor Richard Whiting told me to make sure I didn’t look like I was coming for a job interview.
I listened.
I left a white Oxford shirt and yellow tie hanging in my closet, instead donning khaki slacks and a black polo with the logo of a small daily in Western North Carolina.
As our extended conversation meandered from IJ’s back conference room to the back room of Howard’s, the newsroom pondered the cause of our clandestine encounter. Reporters fixated on that logo, and a quick Google search led them to a large corporate-owned newspaper in Florida that bore a similar name.
Knowing of no open positions, they came to the conclusion that this chronically unkempt then-31-year-old represented a potential buyer and that the Index was on the verge of joining some mega-media conglomerate — a passing hullabaloo that likely dissipated before I even crossed the state line.
On my next trip to the Emerald City, I met Richard so I could get the necessary paperwork for the mandatory drug test. Since caffeine is legal in this state, I easily passed. And while my wife suggested meeting someone I barely knew in a McDonald’s parking lot ostensibly to have someone else harvest my urine was a “red flag,” I still decided to join the staff as the No. 2 editor.
It’s been a wild eight years of slinging copy and piling up awards. We’ve strived to hold government to account, pushed for bond reform, documented all-too-pervasive shootings, even laid to rest rumors about what one fast-food establishment might serve between its buns — and had plenty of fun along the way in the Palmetto State’s best little city.
But, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and my journey here ended Friday. My position was eliminated as part of a needed cost-saving measure that preserved the rest of the newsroom. Read more
Related Column: Shine on, you crazy diamond (By Richard Whiting, Index-Journal)
By Jim Pumarlo,
Newspaper Consultant

Carefully screen columns by public officials

How will the Legislature deal with a record budget surplus, and what will it mean for taxpayer pocketbooks? Are there implications for public safety with the proposal to legalize marijuana? Which communities are the winners and losers in the proposed state bonding bill?
Minnesota lawmakers are addressing these and myriad other issues as they pass the halfway mark of this year’s session. The list is representative of the topics debated and public policy crafted in legislative hallways everywhere.
Newsrooms should regularly check in with state lawmakers. It’s an excellent way to review and interpret what actions – and nonactions – at the Capitol mean to your readers.
The issues often provoke additional explanation by lawmakers, supplementing other news coverage. Many politicians seize the opportunity by writing regular columns that can be informative and engage citizens in valuable community dialogue.
But editors ought to be wary, too. Read more

Compelling Writing with Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune,
Writing Coach

Stories within your stories

Anecdotes are a vital part of compelling storytelling. 
These are small stories that may open or close your larger story.
They also can appear almost anywhere in the middle.
John McPhee used an anecdote in a New Yorker article about environmentalist Edward Abbey.
In his book, Abbey wrote that he had killed a rabbit with a rock as an experiment. 
A woman in the audience demanded to know how he could do such a cruel thing. 
McPhee wrote: There was a long silence.
Finally Abby said, “I won’t do it again.”
Muted laughter rippled here and there.
Abbey was silent then finally said, “Not to that rabbit.”

Jason Fagone used a telling anecdote in the San Francisco Chronicle about Hamid Hayat, wrongfully convicted of terrorism, sentenced to prison on his 25th birthday, and finally set free after 14 years behind bars.
Fagone's story examines Islamophobia after the 9/11 attacks.
Here is the final anecdote that concludes the story:
Close to Christmas, Hamid was going too fast, heard a siren, pulled over and handed his ID to a police officer who squinted at his driver’s license.
“Are you the Hamid Hayat from Lodi?” the officer asked. 
Hamid said yes.
The man handed the card back. “Have a good day, sir,” he said. “You’ve been through enough.”

Shannon Gormley of the Ottawa Citizen used this snippet of conversation in an account of the Afghanistan exodus: A marine — tight T-shirt, big smile — escorted me from the airport. “We’ve got a guy with us who started a bike club, has kids playing sports instead of shooting guns,” the marine said. He knew we’d all get along because we had to. “This place makes people like family.”
Encourage your interview subjects to share anecdotes with you.
They enliven your writing and your readers will love them, too.
Next: Writing Life Stories.

If our reporters wrote better it would make editing their work easier. It would make our news and feature articles sing. But we lack the time to coach them. Here’s a secret. Help them with a copy of writing coach Jerry Bellune’s The Art of Compelling Writing, $9.99 at

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