Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Aug. 12, 2021
Wade served as a photojournalism and reporting intern at the Greenville News.
Wade said the newsroom staff, including affordable housing and gentrification reporter Genna Contino, was welcoming and inclusive.

UofSC senior grows photography, reporting skills during SCPA Foundation internship at the Greenville News

Editor's Note: As the summer comes to a close, so does the SCPA Foundation's internship program. Over the next month, we'll re-introduce you to our four interns and share how their summers went.
Senior UofSC student Hannah Wade said her eight-week SCPA Foundation internship at the Greenville News solidified her interest in a career in journalism. 
Wade spent the summer working as a photojournalism intern, but also wrote nine stories for the News, a handful of features, profiles and some event coverage stories. 
"The Greenville News really gives interns a hands-on experience," Wade said. "While this was a little intimidating at first, the kindness and inclusivity of the staff there along with what I've learned in my classes at UofSC helped me feel prepared for this internship."
Wade said her favorite story that she wrote was about a 100-year-old WWII veteran who had misplaced his war medals and the ceremony put on to get the medals back to him.
"I loved getting to talk to the people involved in the ceremony and writing it had an impact on me as a journalist," she said. 
Her favorite photo assignment came from a story that food writer Lillia Callum-Penso wrote about the "Carolina Drive-in," a local restaurant in Greenville. 
She said feedback from her photo and writing editors were valuable because she got tangible advice and fair critiques to make her work better, as well as encouragement.  
Executive Editor Steve Bruss said he was extremely happy with Wade's skillset and work, and that the only way Wade's internship could have been better was if it lasted longer. 
"Hannah was a quick study who already had solid fundamentals," Bruss said. "She jumped right into the flow in our newsroom, worked hard and came in when she was needed. Her enthusiasm was evident and her performance was solid and improved every day she was here."
Wade said she had a great experience being able to practice skills she had been learning in the classroom, while learning from some wonderful reporters and photojournalists at the newspaper. 
"I gathered inspiration from our incredible investigative reporters like Daniel Gross and Nikie Mayo and I hope to learn more about data journalism in my last semester of college and as I continue in this career to be able to do some of the awesome things they do," Wade said.  

Invest in the future of our industry

During the summer of 2021, the SCPA Foundation funded $16,000 worth of summer internships to deserving S.C. collegiate journalists. Please support the Foundation's valuable work by making a tax-deductible contribution today.

How to apply 

Internships are open to student journalists who attend a four-year college in South Carolina or reside in South Carolina and attend a four-year college elsewhere. Rising juniors and seniors, and recent college graduates are eligible. Applications for Summer 2022 will be available in September.

Contact SCPA for SLED background checks

A reminder that SCPA is able to run free S.C. Law Enforcement Division criminal background checks for S.C. newspaper journalists.
To obtain a SLED check, please call SCPA during business hours at (803) 750-9561. You must provide the person's full name and date of birth. An SCPA staffer will email you the results within minutes.
SLED criminal record checks are for news stories only, including background checks on candidates for office.You may not run a check through SCPA on potential employees.
After hours and on weekends, reporters must go to the SLED website and pay the $25 fee. 
In 2008, SCPA worked with SLED to allow us to run free criminal background checks for news stories. Since then, we've run nearly 7,000 criminal background checks. 

"Liberty" 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

Closed-door settlement reveals details of LR5  superintendent’s sudden departure

The former superintendent of a Midlands school district will be paid $226,368 after agreeing to resign from her position, according to a confidential settlement agreement obtained by The State.
The document outlines the details of the separation between Christina Melton, who resigned the district’s top job at an Aug. 2, school board meeting, and Lexington-Richland 5, including both parties’ agreement to keep quiet about Melton’s departure and the document itself.
No public vote was taken on the document between an executive session on “a contractual matter” and Melton’s public resignation, which leads one watchdog to believe the settlement agreement is likely invalid.
Lexington-Richland 5 school district officials could not immediately confirm the document obtained by The State. A request for comment from board chairwoman Jan Hammond was not immediately returned. When reached earlier this week, other school board members declined to comment on Melton’s resignation and directed all requests to Hammond.
On Aug. 5, the board released an unsigned statement to the media denying any violation of the state’s Freedom of Information Act in drawing up and agreeing to the document behind closed doors.
By Bristow Marchant, The State | Read more

SC superintendent lived rent-free in townhouse meant for teacher recruitment

MANNING — A South Carolina school district used state money meant to recruit teachers to buy a townhouse that its superintendent was living in — and for months, let him stay there rent-free.
In early 2020, board members of Clarendon School District 2 discussed the possibility of buying a house to lease to teachers. At the time, Superintendent Shawn Johnson suggested the property he was renting as an option.
Leaders in this district about 50 miles southeast of Columbia soon decided to buy the home, which sits on a golf course, and they let the superintendent continue to live there for five months. They asked Johnson to pay his back rent, which totaled almost $5,000, only after The Post and Courier filed a public records request earlier this year.
Clarendon 2 bought the house using grant money from a state program intended to help rural school districts recruit teachers. The district agreed to use the funding to “provide lodging for teachers.”
But when lawmakers created the $7.6 million-a-year grant initiative, they did not task anyone with monitoring how the money was spent, leaving a void of oversight. The program’s former leader said she did not check if the money was used appropriately.
“If you’ve got a superintendent freeloading for five months, their reporting system’s just not going to catch that,” said Patrick Kelly, director of governmental affairs at the Palmetto State Teachers Association.
It’s an example of how school districts in South Carolina are afforded wide latitude in their actions and often go unscrutinized, even as they are entrusted with vast sums of public money. The Post and Courier is exploring such questionable conduct and lapses in government oversight as part of its investigative series Uncovered. The newspaper is partnering with community news outlets throughout the state in this effort, particularly in areas with few watchdogs.
By Stephen Hobbs and Thad Moore, The Post and Courier | Read more

Florence neighborhood redevelopment community development corporation will have to wait due to meeting agenda issue

The potential of Florence forming a neighborhood redevelopment community development corporation and pursuing All-America City designation will have to wait because of an issue with the Florence City Council’s agenda.
On the agenda for the Florence City Council meeting on Monday were reports from the city council’s community development and marketing and public relations committees. In those reports, the committees were expected to recommend the council to ask the city staff to begin researching the process of the formation of a community development corporation for neighborhood redevelopment and beginning the process of researching what it would take to make Florence an All-America City again.
But those potential recommendations were stopped cold by a requirement of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act.
Councilwoman Lethonia “Peaches” Barnes brought the redevelopment committee’s recommendation to pursue the creation of a community development corporation for neighborhood redevelopment. In her report, she referenced a similar effort led by Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin that ended without the formation of a corporation.
Mayor Pro Tempore George Jebaily was in the process of making a motion on the recommendation when he was stopped by Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin.
“Thank you, councilwoman for your report, but based on the public freedom of information [act], that would have had to have been listed as an item,” Myers Ervin said.
By Matthew Christian, Morning News | Read more

Law enforcement missteps in Paul Murdaugh boat crash case captured in new recordings

New video from the aftermath of the 2019 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach in Beaufort County offers a more complete picture of law enforcement missteps in the investigation’s early moments.
The video — more than nine hours in all — captures portions of officers’ conversations with the boat’s passengers as they assess the situation and seek to find out who was responsible for the crash.
The investigation has come under renewed scrutiny after the June killing of Paul Murdaugh, who was ultimately charged with felony boating under the influence in connection with the crash. Attorneys for one of the passengers asked in a recent court filing to question a group of responding officers about a possible effort to shift blame away from Murdaugh, a member of a powerful Lowcountry family. A state grand jury was also empaneled to examine how officers investigated the crash.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office released recordings from its deputies’ dashboard cameras in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from The Post and Courier. The sheriff’s office had previously refused to release the video, citing an ongoing investigation into the crash. While the video itself shows little, the recordings include audio from microphones officers wore as they moved around the scene.
By Thad Moore and Stephen Hobbs, The Post and Courier | Read more

People & Papers

Pugh
Phillips

Post and Courier’s Mitch Pugh named executive editor of Chicago Tribune

Mitch Pugh, who guided The Post and Courier to a Pulitzer Prize and a statewide presence in South Carolina, is leaving Charleston to lead the newsroom of the Chicago Tribune.
Pugh, the newspaper’s executive editor since 2013, will step down from his post on Aug. 27. Managing Editor Autumn Phillips will serve as the newsroom’s interim executive editor.
Pugh worked at newspapers in Illinois, Colorado, Missouri and Iowa before arriving in Charleston. While here, he guided South Carolina’s largest newspaper through a period of growth and statewide expansion. He significantly grew digital subscriptions and fostered a culture of investigative journalism that held public officials and institutions accountable.
Pugh led the paper to a 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service — journalism’s highest honor — for “Till death do us part,” a five-part series that examined South Carolina’s grim toll from domestic violence. During his tenure, the paper has been a Pulitzer finalist on four other occasions, most recently last year for its climate change series Rising Waters.
The Post and Courier has earned numerous other prestigious honors under Pugh, including a James Beard Award for food coverage, a Gerald Loeb Award for business writing and a George Polk Award for coverage of issues of statewide significance.
"This is a very exciting move for Mitch,” Post and Courier Publisher P.J. Browning said. “We are extremely proud of him and the work he has accomplished while at The Post and Courier. Mitch has a great legacy here and we look forward to watching his career as he moves on to the Tribune.”
In Chicago, Pugh will oversee a newsroom of about 150 journalists at the Tribune, a 174-year-old institution that remains the largest news organization in the Midwest. Pugh, an Illinois native, was selected because of “his significant journalistic achievements, leadership skills and experience driving digital subscriber growth,” Par Ridder, general manager of the Chicago Tribune, said in a statement to employees.
By Glenn Smith, The Post and Courier | Read more
Morefield

Lancaster News publisher Susan Rowell retires; Morefield named new publisher; printing moved to NC

The parent company of The Lancaster News has named a new publisher in the wake of the retirement of longtime Publisher Susan Rowell in late July.
Paxton Media Group has named Dale Morefield publisher of all four South Carolina papers the company bought from Kentucky-based Landmark Community Newspapers Inc. in early June. Besides the Lancaster paper, those include Carolina Gateway in Indian Land, the News & Reporter in Chester and the Progressive Journal in Pageland.
All are close to Monroe, N.C., where Morefield has been publisher of the Enquirer-Journal for almost seven years. He was also publisher of the Lenoir News Topic and the Wilkes Journal-Patriot, both in North Carolina. He will remain in control of the Monroe paper, but has relinquished responsibility for the other two papers. ...
Three veteran employees of The Lancaster News with a combined 108 years of newspaper experience recently left the paper.
Rowell and Human Resources Director Becky Outen retired July 23, and advertising team leader Lori Sistare moved on to another job July 30.
“You all have been a huge part of my life, as I have spent more than 36 years walking through our front door,” Rowell told the TLN staff in an email announcing the retirements. “Many of those years with several of you who were here when we were owned by Springs and then purchased by Landmark.
“I am extremely proud of what we all have accomplished over the years. Together, we have produced the best community newspaper(s) for Lancaster, Chester and Chesterfield counties. Together, we have faced the good, the bad and the ugly of this industry. And together, those remaining will continue the legacy of our products with the readers we serve.”
On her last day at The Lancaster News, Rowell said, “It’s been a great career. I’ve been lucky that this position allowed me to be so involved in this community and in state and national organizations.”
Rowell was president of the Lancaster Rotary Club, the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce, the S.C. Press Association and the National Newspaper Association.
She is most proud of the Emma C. McKinney Award she received from the NNA for distinguished service and leadership in the industry and her community. ...
Another change at The Lancaster News is that the paper is no longer printed here. With the recent acquisition of TLN by Paxton Media Group, the printing has been shifted to The High Point (N.C.) Enterprise. Printing for Carolina Gateway, the News & Reporter in Chester and the Pageland Progressive Journal has also moved to High Point.
Local press supervisor Jorge Rodriguez, who had been with The Lancaster News for 16 years, is now working at the High Point press.
From The Lancaster News | Read more
Longtime employees of The Lancaster News, from left, Becky Outen, Susan Rowell and Lori Sistare all left the paper at the end of July.
Schechter

The State's Schechter named senior editor of politics

Maayan Schechter has been named Senior Editor of Politics at The State. In her new role, she will lead a team of reporters covering the state government and politics.
Schechter has covered the S.C. State House and politics for The State since 2017. 
She previously worked as a business reporter at the Greenville News and as the digital news editor and local government reporter at the Aiken Standard.
She grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and graduated from the University of North Carolina-Asheville in 2013. 
Schechter has won multiple SCPA awards and was named The State's journalist of the year in 2020.

Georgetown Times to be offered free at select locations

The Georgetown Times will be offered free at more than 80 locations throughout Andrews, Georgetown, Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet.
The overrun of an additional 5,000 copies begins Aug. 11. The Times will also appear as a section of The Post and Courier Myrtle Beach newspaper.
Requests from local residents and businesses, the organization’s commitment to local news and the desire of advertisers to reach a broader audience drove the decision.
Readers will find the free Georgetown Times section in new blue boxes outside at some locations, and inside other location on new wire racks. Look for The Post and Courier Georgetown Times-Myrtle Beach logo to find your free copy.
Readers can still find complete issues of The Post and Courier Myrtle Beach, which includes the Georgetown Times, for a cost of $2 per copy at hundreds of locations throughout the Grand Strand and Hammock Coast.
By Jay Rodriguez, The Post and Courier Myrtle Beach/Georgetown Times | Read more

Industry Briefs

Join Boston Globe's Aug. 18 campaign to combat vaccine hesitancy

In an effort to clear up misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine, The Boston Globe will run a special front-page section on Aug. 18 that will comprehensively debunk myths about vaccines and identify other barriers to vaccination. The package will include stories, charts and a diagram on how to respectfully talk to people about their vaccine concerns.
The Globe will also publish an editorial that addresses vaccine hesitancy and they're asking newspapers across the country to join them by writing your own editorial for Aug. 18.
The Globe is also willing to provide their news content and social assets if you'd like to include them in your coverage.
In the invitation to fellow news organizations, Marjorie Pritchard, Deputy Managing Editor for Opinion said, "As trusted members of our communities, we can each address our individual community's concerns and hopefully persuade people to get vaccinated. Publishing on the same day would send a powerful message to the nation that civic journalism can help solve this public health crisis. Please join us. It's our last best shot."
Learn more and sign up to participate.

Print, digital combo built around high school football is a popular sell in small towns

National Newspaper Association Chair Brett Wesner, president of Wesner Publications in Cordell, Oklahoma, has found an unbeatable combination to attract advertiser interest: high school football and digital video.
He plans to share more about this revenue-generating idea during NNA's virtual idea exchange on Aug. 20 at 3 p.m. 
Online video is sure to attract eyeballs to your website or Facebook page and Brett makes sure the high schools in his newspapers’ coverage area are prominently featured in a regular series of Football Preview videos.
Advertisers are lining up for the features that showcase highlights from the previous week’s game, interviews with the top players and insight from the head coach. Each segment offers an introductory message from the advertiser, a second commercial halfway through and then a wrap-up advertisement at the end. Prices vary from town to town but Brett says he finds the entire program is bringing in an additional roughly $10,000 per newspaper.
If you'd like to learn more from Brett, register for this NNA event. The cost is $30 if you are not a member of NNA. 

Obituaries

Nathaniel Abraham Sr., founder of Carolina Panorama, dies

Nathaniel Abraham Sr., 87, of Columbia, publisher emeritus and founder of Carolina Panorama, entered into eternal rest on Aug. 7.
Abraham was the son of a sharecropper from Orangeburg. He served his country as a Civil Rights advocate and Korean War Veteran. Upon moving to Columbia in 1963, he launched his career in the newspaper industry.
“Nat” as he was affectionately called, had a long history of working with community leaders to empower others. For more than half a century, he has used the news media as a platform to champion the underdog and help those whose voices otherwise would not be heard. He has played a pivotal role in many publications across the state of South Carolina.
After working for several Black newspapers since the mid-1960s, he founded The Carolina Panorama, a weekly African American newspaper in 1986. The newspaper serves readers in Richland, Lexington, Calhoun, Fairfield and Orangeburg counties.
The Carolina Panorama is in its 35th year of operation and under the leadership of the second generation, Nathaniel Abraham, Jr. and is entering into its third generation with the addition of Nathaniel Abraham III. The family uses the Carolina Panorama as a platform to spur economic growth and promote the positive news of the Black community.
Before his retirement in 2015, Nathaniel Sr. created the Legacy of Black Business Awards Gala to honor long-serving African-American business owners. At the inaugural Legacy of Black Business Gala in 2013, nineteen businesses were honored for being in business 40 years or more and under the operation of the second generation or more. To date, 98 businesses have received the Legacy of Black Business Award for their longevity and history of serving the Black community.
Nathaniel was married to the late Jean Grant Abraham for 44 years. They have three children: Natalie Abraham McKinnie, of Augusta, GA; Tenita Abraham of Fort Mill, SC; and Nathaniel Abraham, Jr. (Patricia) of Columbia; and five grandchildren.
Abraham's viewing will take place Aug. 20, at Bostick-Tompkins Funeral Home in Columbia. The funeral service will be held at Zion Baptist Church in Columbia on Aug. 21, at  11 a.m. Read more

Columns

By Al Cross,
Into the Issues

Editorials provide leadership needed in pandemic

Editorials are falling from favor at many American newspapers, for various reasons, including a desire not to upset and chase away readers, especially when it comes to our increasingly tribal and polarized politics.
Unfortunately, many rural newspapers don’t publish editorials, or even a column by the editor or publisher, which is the most common form of editorial voice in community papers.
But one journalism group, the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors, was founded to encourage and advance editorial leadership in newspapers, and the only awards it gives are related to editorials.
Each year ISWNE has its Golden Quill contest, with the best editorial getting the award of that name, and 12 others honored as the Golden Dozen. The presentation of the awards is always inspiring testimony to the importance of editorial leadership, and this year’s Golden Quill winner was a sterling example.
Melissa Hale-Spencer of The Altamont Enterprise in New York won for her editorial that was central to a campaign that ensured fairness for an incapacitated subscriber and preservation of historic structures on the subscriber’s farm at a local scenic spot.
Hale-Spencer discovered that a court-appointed lawyer was going to sell the property to a developer. “We believe the price is not right and the assets are being ignored in the name of haste,” she wrote, raising other questions about the procedure that seemed to favor the developer. The editorial stirred interest in preserving the property and prompted the judge in the case to appoint an attorney to look out for the subscriber’s interests, and to pick another buyer, who not only paid more money but agreed to a conservation easement that preserved the centuries-old house and barn. Read more

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