Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Aug. 5, 2020

SCNN payouts return more than $33,000 to SCPA member papers

S.C. Newspaper Network (SCNN), the sales arm of SCPA, mailed quarterly advertising network payments totaling $33,873 to SCPA member newspapers last week.
These totals include the Small Space Display (2x2/2x4/2x6) Advertising Network payout of $14,901 and the QuarterPage+ Ad Network payout of $18,972. Classified revenue is paid out annually in January.
“Thanks to all of the member papers that participate in our ad networks,” said Randall Savely, Director of Operations. “The networks are vital to the operations of SCPA and also a great source of added revenue for member papers.”
Every daily newspaper and virtually every weekly newspaper participates 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.
Campbell

Reba Campbell contributes to News Exchange

Longtime SCPA member Reba Campbell has started contributing personal essays to the S.C. News Exchange.
After more than 35 years working in politics, communications, management and fundraising, Reba Hull Campbell became a rookie retiree last year and is enjoying a new career as a writer and consultant. Reba is passionate about travel, writing, staying connected to friends, and learning to play the uke, guitar and keyboard. 
Her bio, mugshot and this week’s column are now available. 
Other regular contributors to the S.C. News Exchange include Michael M. DeWitt, Jr., Tom Poland, Tammy Davis, William Hickey, Dr. William Holland, Hunter Thomas and Stuart Neiman.
The S.C. News Exchange is a cooperative sharing site exclusively for use by SCPA members. If you have something you would like to share, please contact Jen Madden.

SCPA Diversity Committee to meet Aug. 20; volunteers sought

Diverse voices, backgrounds and experiences make our member news organizations and local news coverage stronger. That's why SCPA is forming a standing diversity committee to study diversity, especially as it relates to recruitment and coverage. Our goal would be to provide better training, communication and resources. The commitee's first meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 20, at 11 a.m. via Zoom. All professional and collegiate members are invited to join us virtually for thoughtful discussion on how we can help. If you’d like to participate or offer your suggestions, please contact Jen Madden.

Face masks still available

We still have 90 free reusable cotton face masks for S.C. newspaper employees to use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks can be ordered in batches of 10 by emailing Jen Madden. 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).

Member Spotlight: Kayla Green

Kayla with her husband, Micah (who serves as Chief Digital Officer of The Sumter Item) and their dog, Breeze.
Executive Editor, The Sumter Item
What do you like best about your job?
Being able to tell people’s stories. To have them trust me enough to leave the perception of their thoughts and actions to my writing. As editor, I love helping shape the vision of what local journalism is in our newsroom, helping my team produce something they’re proud of. I like working with younger writers to help them find their voice and to push them to write about what they’re passionate about. I also get to work with my husband, which is a plus!

What is your proudest career moment?
On an industry level, I traveled to Forth Worth earlier this year with our publisher, Vince Johnson, and chief digital officer (and my husband), Micah Green, to present our vision for local journalism as finalists for the Mega Innovation Award at the 2020 Mega Conference. On a local level, it’s any time I hear from a new subscriber or a longtime reader on why they support us enough to pay for our content and what they like reading, watching or listening to.

What's the most exciting thing going on at your paper?
The commitment we have to our community. We’re a daily with a really small staff, and I love seeing everyone working toward a goal to provide our community content they both need and want. We’re really focused on maintaining the ability to adapt and meet readers where they are, so we’ve created a video news and production department, a podcast network, events and other content projects to help engage readers while giving our advertisers value across platforms. We tell our readers who we are and that we live here. We want the neighborhoods and public spaces we live in to improve, and having good local news in a community helps contribute to that growth.

What’s your favorite SCPA member service?
The FOIA services. It’s so great to see FOIA used so robustly throughout the state, and SCPA plays a huge role in that. From providing information to offering guidance and on-the-record analysis to reporters, there’s a real commitment to supporting watchdog journalism in the state. I’ve worked in three U.S. states, and this is the most actively supportive press association I’ve known. The SLED background checks are also a great resource, especially in an election year.

What adjustments have you made during COVID-19?
Our newsroom shifted to working remote in March, so a lot of our communication now is over the phone, on Slack or by email. I’d actually say our communication has improved through this because it forced us to figure out what works best and most efficiently.
COVID for us isn’t a beat for one person…all our writers think daily about how it has impacted their beat and every other aspect of daily life we cover. Along the lines of meeting our readers where they are, we’ve done live Zoom interviews with community leaders and local health care professionals, and we’ve adjusted our online news video show, Sumter Today, to include breaking news and informational segments at the end of our regular all-positive episodes. One major change that’s happened is with sports being so impacted, our sports writers now also help us with news coverage.

When it’s safe to get out and about again, what are some area attractions/restaurants in your community we shouldn’t miss?
Sumter’s downtown has been going through development and revitalization efforts for more than a decade now, but just in the past year or two has it really picked up. Hopping around Main Street by foot is a lot of fun. Sidebar has the best BBQ brisket sandwich you can find, La Piazza has a great outdoor dining and cocktail bar area, J. O’Gradys opened a new karaoke bar and Sumter Original Brewery is the county’s first-ever brewery and has an awesome rooftop. I can’t wait to get back to it.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
My first job out of college was in Israel. I lived in Tel Aviv for a year working for an English-language food guide and as a proofreader for Haaretz newspaper.

What do you like to do outside of work?
I love cooking and camping. Any down time we can get, my husband and I (pre-COVID) try to visit friends and family. Since COVID, we hang out a lot in the adult kiddie pool we bought during lockdown. I’m also an obnoxiously die-hard Florida Gators fan, both being from Gainesville, Florida, and having gone to UF. You’re welcome for all the coaches!

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

FOI Briefs

Secrecy of police body camera footage in SC compounds accountability issues

Attention on South Carolina's body camera law, now five years old, has been refocused as political, police and community leaders alike push for agencies to receive the money they need to adhere to the mandate for all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras.
Yet body cameras are exempt from public disclosure through the state's Freedom of Information Act. Even when officers are equipped and the devices are used properly, there's no expectation for the public to see footage.
That's something that open-records advocates say should change. ...
But South Carolina Press Association Executive Director Bill Rogers said body-camera footage must be made completely public or the intended purpose of providing accountability is missed altogether.
"The time is right. People are behind this. Why would you have police video and not let the public see it?" he said. "The fact is that any time these cases have been brought to light, if it wasn’t for that bystander video, it would have been passed off as defensible. I think it’s the linchpin. It has to happen for police accountability." 
By Daniel J. Gross, Greenville News | Read more

‘Mass exodus’: Heavily redacted docs show when Beaufort Co. staff left. Some are hidden

Beaufort County released a slew of heavily redacted records Thursday from the personnel files of seven top employees who have left the county in the past year. The blacked-out files reveal little to no information about why they left the county’s employ.
In fact, more information can be found on some of the former employees’ professional Linkedin pages than in the redacted documents released by the county. Some documents, such as employees’ resignation letters and resumes, are entirely bowdlerized in some cases but left largely untouched in others.
“They should be public,” media law attorney Jay Bender said. “These people work for the public. They don’t work for the council or the county manager. They work for the citizens. Citizens are entitled to see this. That’s been litigated. There’s no mystery to that.”
By Kacen Bayless, The Island Packet | Read more

People & Papers

Lauderdale

‘Thank you all for inviting me in’: Packet columnist calls it a career

Thomas C. Barnwell Jr. had an important document I needed when I tapped on his door.
Those of you who know this historic figure in Hilton Head Island’s story will appreciate this.
When he answered, I said ever so politely, “I can’t come in ...”
And Tom said in his kind of half-laugh, half-cry: “Ain’t nobody asked you to come in!”
That’s how I feel today as I write this last column for you.
Ain’t nobody asked me to come into your homes, but, like Tom Barnwell, you’ve welcomed me warmly.
I appreciate that, and the first thing I want to say is thank you.
And forgive me — all of you in the public and on The Island Packet staff who have not been treated fairly or paid enough attention to or even responded to over the years.
But isn’t it appropriate that I slink off into retirement, leaving you in the Cone of Uncertainty?
Hurricanes like the one in the cone now are like the spring’s first painted buntings we used to feature on the front page. They don’t seem to have a season anymore. They’re here year-round.
It’s appropriate because the Vortex of Uncertainty has swirled between my ears since we started meeting like this in the fall of 1977.
By David Lauderdale, The Island Packet | Read more
Compton

Compton leaving SCPA for law school

Christian Compton, SCPA's student assistant since January, is leaving the organization today as he prepares to start law school at USC later this month. 
In May, Compton graduated from USC in three years with a 4.0. 
"We are so thankful for Christian's help over the past seven months and cannot wait to see what he achieves at law school and beyond," SCPA Assistant Director Jen Madden said. "He's done such a great job helping the members and assisting with projects. He's by far one of the sharpest students we've ever worked with."  
SCPA's new student assistant, Jordan Postal, will start later this month. In the meantime, contact Jen if you need help. 
Richardson-Moore

SC journalist-turned-preacher Deb Richardson-Moore says goodbye to the pulpit

Editor's Note: Richardson-Moore worked as a reporter for The Greenville News from 1976-2003.
Deb Richardson-Moore stood at the pulpit before her tiny congregation at Triune Mercy Center on a recent Sunday, saying goodbye to a church in some ways much like she found it — emptier than it should be.
“Make us doers of the word,” she prayed, her Greenville drawl landing hard and dwelling on the “Rs” before she delivered her penultimate sermon. 
The 50 men and women laughing, crying and tapping their feet with her had to do so from a “social distance” scattered about the 100-year-old sanctuary, taking a chapter from the same book of safety protocols amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that was keeping 80% of the soon-to-be-retired pastor’s congregation home that sunny morning.
When Richardson-Moore had arrived 15 years earlier, fewer than a dozen worshiped at Triune regularly. The United Methodist church had turned into a nondenominational mission church and was on the precipice of extinction.
That would soon change.
By last winter, Richardson-Moore, a former award-winning journalist turned evangelist, was pulling 250 or more through Triune’s doors every Sunday. Then the pandemic hit.
“This is by far the hardest thing we have ever been through,” Richardson-Moore told The Post and Courier. This from a woman who had been spat on, shoved, screamed at and, ultimately, loved by the people she served.
By Anna B. Mitchell, The Post and Courier Greenville | Read more

Industry Briefs

5 ideas for covering the coronavirus’ impact on people of color and the poor

In Chicago, the city’s new Racial Equity Rapid Response Team is helping minority residents cope with the coronavirus by partnering with established community groups such as West Side United that were working on health equity issues before the pandemic.
In Pennsylvania, efforts are underway to enlist churches in Pittsburgh and elsewhere to help test for the virus and remind residents how to reduce the risk of becoming infected.
Nationally, the American Medical Association and other physician organizations are partnering with Essence magazine on a new campaign to help Black women recognize and address blood pressure issues they may be ignoring during the pandemic.
Those are just three examples of new partnerships and collaborations that have sprouted during the coronavirus crisis to address COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on people of color and the poor. They were mentioned this week in an online panel discussion about COVID-19 and health equity organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which drew more than 3,000 viewers. It may have been a bit wonky, but the themes are instructive for journalists covering the story of a lifetime.
Here are five quick takeaways that could help shape and inform virus coverage of in any newsroom, virtual or traditional. (By Tim Nickens, Poynter)

Americans who mainly get their news on social media are less engaged, less knowledgeable

The rise of social media has changed the information landscape in myriad ways, including the manner in which many Americans keep up with current events. In fact, social media is now among the most common pathways where people – particularly young adults – get their political news.
A new Pew Research Center analysis of surveys conducted between October 2019 and June 2020 finds that those who rely most on social media for political news stand apart from other news consumers in a number of ways. These U.S. adults, for instance, tend to be less likely than other news consumers to closely follow major news stories, such as the coronavirus outbreak and the 2020 presidential election. And, perhaps tied to that, this group also tends to be less knowledgeable about these topics.
By Amy Mitchell, Mark Jurkowitz, J. Baxter Oliphant and Elisa Shearer, Pew Research Center | Read more

Columns

By Chris Trainor, Index-Journal

Ink by the barrel

I’d never given much thought to what ink smelled like.
At least not until I walked into 610 Phoenix St. in Greenwood for the first time, looking for a job. That smell — the ink— was unforgettable. Intoxicating, even. It evoked the sense of something serious, like the idea of ink and words on paper.
nlike the digital ephemera of the internet, there was, and remains, a certain authority that comes from the printed newspaper. It’s a hard copy of history, even if it is stubbornly imperfect. A moment in time, captured on deadline.
I knew from the moment I entered the door that I wanted to be a part of it.
This time of year brings a couple of newspaper anniversaries for me. July 30 marked my sixth anniversary as a staff writer at Columbia’s Free Times. Working there has admittedly been a bit of wish fulfillment, as I grew up picking up copies of the brash, at-times irreverent alt-weekly whenever I visited the Capital City. When we moved to the Midlands in 2014, I felt extraordinarily fortunate to land a regular writing gig there, even if I didn’t quite feel “cool” enough for the task. I still don’t feel cool enough, if you want to know the truth, but I’ve managed to fool them so far.
August, meanwhile, brings my other newspaper anniversary, as it marks 16 years that I’ve been writing for the Index-Journal, in one way or another. I worked full time at 610 Phoenix for a decade, until 2014, and have continued to pen this Sunday column in the six years since. Keeping company with you on these Sunday mornings — as you eat your Honey Nut Cheerios while the Sunday news shows play in the background, or maybe as you peruse the column on your smartphone on the way to church — has been one of the foremost privileges of my life, and one I don’t take lightly.
Being a newspaper reporter and columnist is sort of like smoking cigarettes. It’s bad for your health, hard on your wallet and your parents warned you against it. It’s also ruthlessly addictive and nearly impossible to give up. In the same way smoke gets in your lungs, ink gets in your blood. Before you know it, you’re hooked. Read more
By Richard Whiting, Index-Journal

Chris Trainor is right; it's a great train ride

Chris Trainor’s right, you know.
If you’re one of those newspaper readers whose habit is to skip from page to page instead of starting at page 1A and reading each edition as if it’s a book, then stop reading this. Go back and read Chris’ column.
Are you back now? Good. Let’s pick back up where we left off.
Newspaper ink is intoxicating and the cliche — ink gets in your blood — while occasionally literal for a pressman, is figuratively 100 percent true.
Chris’ recollection of that day he walked into this 610 Phoenix St. office 16 years ago this month took me back in time. It was 40 years ago yesterday that I walked into 150 Howard St. in Rocky Mount, North Carolina to join the news staff as a reporter.
The Rocky Mount Evening & Sunday Telegram was very much like the Index-Journal in terms of circulation and staffing size. And while the old building was two stories high, with advertising, newsroom and what was then called the composing room upstairs, the smell of ink from the pressroom downstairs permeated that building.
I was fresh out of college and looking for my first job that summer after graduation when I returned to Rocky Mount from Virginia in search of work. Unlike many graduates, I wasn’t really sure what career path I wanted to take. I was an English lit major and my adviser thought I’d go into teaching like he did.
But I enjoyed reading and writing — mostly writing — and a number of my college buddies had also settled in Rocky Mount following graduation from N.C. Wesleyan College. I knew the newspaper had an opening for a reporter, so I arranged an interview. My experience? Well, I’d been editor of the college paper my senior year. Other than a few copies of that, I had a handful of college course papers I’d written that I shared as proof I should be hired. Read more

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