Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  June 1, 2023

Friday is final day to enter PALMY Ad Contest 

Don't run out of time! Tomorrow is the final day to enter submissions into the 2023 PALMY Ad Contest, which recognizes the state's brightest ad professionals and advertisers, and the impact they have made in their communities.
Contact SCPA if you need your newspaper's login information or if you have any questions about entering the contest.

FOIA & Legal Briefs

2 of finalists for top Charleston County schools job withdraw their candidacy

Two of the three finalists being considered for Charleston County’s next school superintendent have withdrawn their candidacies, throwing a wrench in the selection process in the search’s final days.
In a May 26 announcement, the district said the two pulled out after their names were publicly posted in a Facebook group earlier in the week.
While the candidates’ names had become subject to public disclosure under state law once they were made finalists, the statement described the online post as a premature “leak” because the candidates hadn’t yet told their current districts they were finalists. ...
The board did not immediately disclose the newly named finalists.
The Post and Courier asked [Board Chairwoman Pam] McKinney and district staff for the names of the three finalists a day after the board’s vote. McKinney didn’t respond. Vanessa Denney, a spokeswoman for the district, said the names couldn’t be released yet.
State law says that all search materials related to the final three applicants for a public position are public records. Jen Madden, the S.C. Press Association’s executive director, said in an email that local governments violate this requirement “far too often.” Jay Bender, an attorney for the press association, said the district should have made the names public upon request once the board had selected three finalists.
“The board does itself and the public a disservice by not disclosing persons under consideration and soliciting comments from the public about the candidates,” he said. “A closed selection process discloses that board members believe they have been elected to be rulers and not representatives.”
By Sara Gregory, The Post and Courier | Read more

People & Papers

Post and Courier wins Silver Gavel Award for story of modern-day slavery

The Post and Courier has been named the winner of the American Bar Association’s 2023 Silver Gavel Award for Newspapers for its investigative narrative story about an intellectually disabled man subjected to horrific labor trafficking in Horry County. 
“Captive no more: One SC man’s journey to freedom after years in modern-day slavery,” was written by reporter Jennifer Berry Hawes and featured visuals by photojournalist Andrew Whitaker.
From The Post and Courier | Read more

Syracuse J-School students help Charleston City Paper cover Spoleto, Piccolo Spoleto

Arts coverage for the 2023 Spoleto Festival USA and Piccolo Spoleto will be deeper and broader than ever before in the Charleston City Paper.
Eight arts journalism students finishing their master’s degree at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University will join City Paper staffer Chloe Hogan and veteran culture writer Bill Thompson to provide more than three dozen previews and reviews over the course of the 17-day festivals.
“There are 10 writers for 17 days covering dozens of shows and stories,” said editor and publisher Andy Brack. “Arts coverage through mid-June will be nothing short of awesome.  If you want to know what’s happening with Spoleto or Piccolo, the place to turn to is the City Paper.”
Joel Kaplan, associate dean for graduate programs at the school, said the university is pleased to again partner with the City Paper.
“As the capstone experience for our arts journalism and communications master’s students, the ability to cover the Spoleto Festival and Piccolo Spoleto with such an accomplished news organization is an unparalleled experience,” he said.  “We are proud of our students and appreciate the opportunity afforded by the City Paper that allows them to share their expertise with its readers.”
Brack said this year’s coverage would feature more photo essays and video content as student journalists explore the Holy City.  
From Staff and Eric Grode, Charleston City Paper | Read more
Check out People-Sentinel Publisher Jonathan Vickery's new newspaper shoes! They feature The Daily Prophet from the Harry Potter series. 

Industry Briefs


SCPA members invited to free National Summit on Journalism in Rural America

How do rural communities sustain local journalism that supports democracy?
That is the central question of the third National Summit on Journalism in Rural America, to be held July 7 in Lexington, Ky., and online. Registration is required, but this event is free to attend.
The program will include a wide range of news-industry professionals, academic researchers, journalism funders and community developers (including some rural journalism start-ups) who realize that communities need local journalism. The program will include:
  • A discussion of journalism innovation and alternative revenue by Jack Rooney, managing editor for audience development of The Keene Sentinel, a small daily in New Hampshire; and David Woronoff, publisher of The Pilot, a twice-weekly in Southern Pines, N.C.
  • Presentation of research about community engagement and an experiment in new business models for local journalism by Nick Mathews of the University of Missouri
  • A publisher's perspective on that ongoing experiment in engagement and new business models, from Joey Young of Kansas Publishing Ventures in Hillsboro, Kan.

Our-Hometown offers AI Image Generation webinar on June 29

SCPA members are invited to attend a free webinar on June 29 at 3 p.m. about AI Image Generation. During the session, they'll discuss tools like DALL-E 2 and Adobe Firefly through a demonstration on how to generate ads and stock images.
Members are also welcome to watch a recording of a recent webinar on ChatGPT for Content Creation. The webinar aimed to showcase the capabilities of ChatGPT in generating high-quality content and provided attendees with tips, strategies and best practices for leveraging this AI technology in their content generation process.

Compelling Writing with Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune,
Writing Coach

Writing life stories

To their families, obituaries are final chapters in the lives of those they love.
For many, obituaries mark their loved ones’ release from pain.
For others, it is the winding down of long and fruitful lives.
For the unfortunate, they are wrenching, unwelcome nightmares, whether in war or by unanticipated accidents.
Most of the obituaries newspapers publish were written by their families with the help of funeral homes. And we should respect that. It is how their families want their loved one remembered.
But for all of the death around us, there is a dimension we can bring to readers.
It may seem a luxury to hard-pressed publishers.
Some tremble at the thought of a reporter setting aside an hour or more to devote to a skillfully written obituary. Let’s just call them “life stories.”
Here is the opening of one by Bob Hagerty of The Wall Street Journal.
It is more than an extravagant use of time.
The man in the Hawaiian shirt – sipping on a rum and soda at Bert’s Bar in Christ Church, Barbados, while watching the Ottawa Senators play ice hockey on TV – might have passed for just another middle-aged Canadian tourist living out his Jimmy Buffett fantasy. In fact, he was Eugene Melnyk, resident of Barbados and owner of Ottawa’s long-suffering NHL team.
Bob’s well-crafted obituary should inspire you to look for life stories in your own  community.
It inspires me and I have been privileged to write dozens of them about people whose lives and achievements have left their communities better places to live.
As American poet, novelist, and essayist Jim Harrison wrote, “Death steals everything but our stories.” 
Don’t let it steal too many of your stories.

Next: Read like a writer.

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 They’re worth the investment.

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