Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Aug. 17, 2023
By Eric P. Robinson,
USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Could the Kansas police newspaper raid happen here?

The Aug. 11 police raid of the Marion County Record—in which the police seized the newspaper’s computers and reporter’s and editor’s personal cell phones at both the newspaper’s offices and publisher’s and reporter’s homes—may have started in a small Kansas town, but the case has grown into a major cause for those concerned about the First Amendment and freedom of the press.
And many newspaper publishers, editors and reporters—including several in South Carolina who have contacted the Press Association in the past several days—are asking, can that happen here?
The short answer, unfortunately, is yes.
Information about the situation in Kansas is still emerging, but it seems that the raid was the result of a criminal complaint filed by a local restaurant owner, Kari Newell, who alleged that the newspaper had stolen her identity and illegally used a computer when its reporters obtained information about her prior DUI arrest and that she drove with a suspended license. Under Kansas law, the arrest would have prevented Newell from obtaining a liquor license for her restaurant.
The Record obtained the information from an anonymous source on Facebook, then verified it on a publicly-available state database. But the paper did not publish the story. Instead, Record owner and publisher Eric Meyer contacted the Marion police department, telling them that it had received “a file that we thought had suspicious origins.” The newspaper did publish a story after Newell complained about the newspaper at a city council meeting.
The newspaper was also apparently investigating newly-hired Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody’s employment history.
Federal law generally requires law enforcement—federal, state and local—to use subpoenas to obtain materials from press entities, rather than search warrants. With a search warrant, the police convince a judge that an immediate search is necessary to obtain evidence of a crime. A subpoena, on the other hand, notifies the target of what information is being sought, with a deadline for submitting it. This allows the target to challenge the request in court.
Read more
Related: Warrant for Kansas newspaper raid withdrawn by prosecutor for ‘insufficient evidence’ (By Luke Nozicka, Jonathan Shoreman and Katie Moore, Wichita Eagle) 
Related: Support for newspaper goes global (By Deb Gruver, Marion County Record)

Related Opinion: Raid on Kansas community newspaper was an attack on the truth (By Jordan Lawrence, Lexington County Chronicle)

In Marion County newspaper raid, a grim threat to Kansans’ First Amendment rights (Kansas Reflector)

SCPA to host Ostendorf for management, revenue training on Sept. 15 in Columbia

You don’t want to miss SCPA’s upcoming management/revenue training event featuring Bill Ostendorf of Creative Circle Media Solutions!
Join us on Friday, Sept. 15, as SCPA hosts Bill for a full day of interactive training and practical advice on how to change the culture at your newspaper, manage staff in tough times, grow readership and improve your advertising content to grow revenue and improve your products. 
This energizing training is open to all SCPA members and we strongly encourage our state’s community newspaper leaders to attend to get a new perspective on ways to succeed.
Space is limited for this hands-on training, which will include a public feedback/critique session for the group — giving each person three quick fixes they could make when they get home.
Thanks to sponsorship from the SCPA Foundation Smoak Fund, the cost to attend is only $65, which includes a boxed lunch.
You’re sure to walk away more confident about your newspaper’s future with several new ideas about how you can make your newspaper stronger!
Based on initial feedback, we expect this event to sell out so if you’re interested in attending don’t wait to sign up!

Meet the trainer: Bill Ostendorf is president and founder of Creative Circle Media Solutions, a network of talent he has been building for more than 35 years. Because he believes that quality journalism is essential to American democracy, he has committed the company to helping local and family owned media thrive. Bill has worked with more than a thousand media companies on three continents as a trainer or management consultant and has led the redesign of more than 750 print publications and hundreds of web sites.
Register to attend

SCPA member services orientation set for Aug. 31

Are you a news organization leader who is new to SCPA? SCPA’s next new editor/publisher/member orientation is set for Thursday, Aug. 31, from 2-2:30 p.m. on Zoom.
We invite you to learn more about SCPA’s member services, legal/FOI Hotline, SLED checks, lobbying, training, contests, communications, resources and ad representation. This will be an informal space to get information about your membership and ask questions. RSVP if you’d like to attend.
If you’d rather set up a time to meet with SCPA staff at your newspaper or at our office, contact us.

Quote of the Week

"At a time when we’re perpetually fighting about weighty matters in our national life, it’s soothing to know there’s still a place where we can all come together, bound by our common affection for things close to home."
From column: "The country has come apart. Rural America has a cure."
By Dana Milbank, Washington Post

FOIA Briefs

AG: Council can view documents

Blythewood Town Council members are entitled to review financial documents itemizing town legal expenses, according to the S.C. Attorney General’s Office.
Elected officials also aren’t required to file Freedom of Information Act requests for financial records over which they have jurisdiction, the Attorney General’s office stated in a June 2019 opinion.
“It is this Office’s opinion that an elected official has the right to access financial documents possessed by the governmental entity that he or she is elected to oversee,” the opinion states.
The Attorney General’s opinion throws cold water on Blythewood Mayor Bryan Franklin’s argument that other council members aren’t entitled to view the documents.
In a prepared statement, Franklin claimed council members may not view itemized legal invoices resulting from the Town’s ongoing lawsuit with MPA Strategies, the Town’s former marketing firm, citing attorney-client privilege.
“Consistent with our prior position regarding this outstanding litigation, and the Town’s previous responses to FOIA requests seeking legal invoices, such legal invoices cannot be provided to Town council members,” Franklin’s statement reads.
Jay Bender, a media law attorney representing the S.C. Press Association, of which The Voice is a member, called Franklin’s position “total hogwash.”
“I think that claiming that how much a local government is paying an attorney is subject to attorney-client privilege is total hogwash,” Bender said. “There might be elements of the claim regarding strategy or witness identification that can be redacted, but how much is being spent by the Town of Blythewood is public information.”
By Michael Smith, The Voice of Blythewood | Read more

SC attorney general mulling charges against officer in Spartanburg shooting

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the Feb. 2, 2023, killing of Darius Holcomb to determine whether to charge or clear the Spartanburg County sheriff’s deputy who fired the fatal shots.
Holcomb family attorney and state Rep. Marvin Pendarvis said he believes a homicide charge should be filed against the officer who killed Holcomb.
“I’ve had an opportunity along with the family to review and to see the video of what happened to Darius,” Pendarvis said. “Based off of that video and what we’ve seen, there was no reason or justification for an officer to use deadly force and to kill him.” ...
The body camera footage has not been made public, and The Post and Courier has not reviewed it to substantiate the timeline offered by Pendarvis. ...
While law enforcement dash cam footage is subject to South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act law, body camera footage is not. Kittle said the attorney general’s office has not made a decision whether to release the footage.
Pendarvis doesn’t have a copy of the footage yet and has only reviewed it with the family. But he believes it should be released.
“The public deserves to know what happened to Darius; the family deserves to know what happened,” Pendarvis said. “If it’s gotten up to the attorney general’s office then obviously it’s a serious investigation, and the findings of that investigation should be made public, body camera included.”
By Christian Boschult, The Post and Courier Spartanburg | Read more
One of the services available to SCPA members is our Legal/FOI Hotline. The hotline is staffed by SCPA Attorneys Taylor Smith and Jay Bender. Questions can be about any FOI, open government or First Amendment matters you’re facing. Other legal areas covered include libel, privacy, fair use, copyright, court access, reporters’ privilege, responding to a subpoena, dealing with police, prior restraint, the Shield Law, advertising and more. This includes pre-publication review of stories and advertisements. Please note the SCPA Legal/FOI Hotline is only available to employees of member newspapers. To use the hotline, call 803.750.9561 or email us.

People & Papers


Issac Bailey joins McClatchy Opinion team in the Carolinas

To our readers: Issac Bailey is joining the McClatchy opinion team full-time as a columnist and editor in the Carolinas. Bailey, a former member of the Charlotte Observer editorial board, has been writing a weekly column for North and South Carolina markets. He brings a unique perch to the role — he lives in Myrtle Beach and teaches at Davidson College and writes powerfully about issues and people in both North and South Carolina.
Bailey also will be serving as opinion editor in South Carolina, editing op-eds and other opinion content.
Bailey is a veteran journalist who has won numerous national and regional writing reporting awards and has conducted investigations that led to changes in the way the S.C. Department of Social Services handles child protection cases. His criminal justice reporting spurred the Myrtle Beach Police Department in South Carolina to rethink how it dealt with young men in the Booker T. Washington neighborhood.
Bailey was the Laventhol Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University during the spring of 2023. He’s a Professor of Practice at Davidson College and taught journalism and applied ethics at Coastal Carolina University for several years.
He’s been married for 25 years to Dr. Tracy Bailey, founder and executive director of non-profit literacy organization, Freedom Readers, and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand. They have two children.
By Peter St. Onge for The Sun News | Read more
By Jacqueline Hough, Herald-Advocate

'It is not a goodbye'

Bennettsville Editor Jacqueline Hough announces departure from newspaper

This journey began five years ago because my son made a wish on his 12th birthday –could I move closer to him?
At the time, I lived four hours away in North Carolina. Accepting the offer to come to the Herald-Advocate was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I have lived in many different places, but no place has affected me like Marlboro County.
When I was named news editor in 2018, I never could have imagined the amazing people I would meet and the experiences I would have through the newspaper and Pee Dee Life magazine.
Thank you for the privilege and honor to be able to cover the news and happenings of this county.
And when Champion Media purchased the Herald-Advocate on September 30, 2021, I was happy to be part of the newspaper’s new chapter.
Earlier this year, I was named editor of this newspaper and words can’t describe how it made me feel to have a part in the legacy of the Herald-Advocate.
But now, I have some bittersweet news. I am leaving the Herald-Advocate after five years and 291 newspapers.
On the one hand, I excited about the next chapter of my life and career, but on the other hand, I don’t want to leave the safety of this office. An office that started in the back corner on the second floor of Shiness on Fayetteville Avenue but is now in the little gray building with the red door on West Market Street.
To the readers of the Herald-Advocate, thank you for your support. You are the reason why I put in up to 70 hours a week to ensure you knew what was happening in the county. I couldn’t do it as well as I wanted but I tried my best.
This newspaper isn’t just 12 pages of newsprint, it is so much more. It is the heart and soul of this county. I hope you will continue to subscribe, to submit articles, and to purchase ads. We are fortunate to have a local newspaper. Many communities like ours have become news deserts. Read more

Daniel Island News hires Emma Slaven as reporter

Emma Slaven recently joined the staff of The Daniel Island News as a full-time multimedia reporter and storyteller. 
Slaven graduated from Charleston Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications. At CSU, she was editor of the school’s literary magazine and a frequent contributor of news and features to the university’s website.
After teaching ELA to middle school students in the Charleston County School District, she worked as a copywriter for GoSocial, LLC.
Skilled in social media content creation, video editing, and multimedia storytelling, she brings a new set of reporting abilities to The Daniel Island News. 
 “I am thrilled to be part of community journalism, where every story has the power to connect individuals, spark conversations and shape the very place we call home,” Slaven said. “The writer in me, combined with my passion for the community, makes my job rewarding.”
In addition to covering the education beat, Slaven will cover a variety of news and features. In recent weeks she’s reported on development, music, community groups, and education as well as contributed to the paper’s social media channels.
 “The Daniel Island News embodies the heartbeat of its community, and I am excited to contribute by bringing light to the untold stories, celebrating local achievements and delving into the issues that matter most to residents here,” Slaven said.
A lifelong Lowcountry resident, Slaven currently resides in the Clements Ferry Road corridor.
By Suzanne Detar, The Daniel Island News | Read more

Seneca Journal launches new website experience

The digital home for all things printed in The Journal has been revamped.
All website content will still be found at, just with a sleeker look. For more than five months, The Journal has been in the process of overhauling its digital publishing tools in switching from WordPress to BLOX CMS.
“We are thrilled to present a more modern and functional website for our readers,” Journal general manager Hal Welch said. “Make no mistake, our print product remains the top priority for the newspaper. This overhaul just allows our digital face to catch up with the times.”
The new website gives readers an expanded and improved e-edition library, as well as access to special sections like “Best of the Best Awards” and college football previews whenever they want.
From Staff Reports, The Journal | Read more
This week The Post and Courier Greenville/Spartanburg launched its first edition of a new monthly newspaper that's being published in addition to daily coverage provided at and Each edition will be published on the third Thursday of every month and available as an e-edition online. Sam R. Hall, a veteran editor who recently moved to Greenville as Upstate and Regional Editor for The Post and Courier, is in charge of coverage in this area.

Industry Briefs

USPS files volume incentives for marketing mail

On August 11, the United States Postal Service filed volume incentives for Marketing Mail and First-Class Mail, with the Postal Regulatory Commission, which would start on January 1, 2024, and run through the entire year. A mailer is eligible for the incentive when its combined volume of qualifying pieces exceeds the incentive threshold. Qualifying pieces include Marketing Mail Letters and High Density/Saturation Letters; Marketing Mail Flats and High Density/Saturation Flats & Parcels; or Marketing Mail Carrier Route or Parcels. For every qualifying piece mailed in calendar year 2024 after the first million pieces, mailers receive a credit equal to 30 percent of the average per-piece price paid for all qualifying volume.
By Holly Lubart, News/Media Alliance | Read more

Restart the presses?

Plant closures and consolidation prompt earlier deadlines, longer drives, higher costs as papers scramble to stay in print
By Mark Caro, Local News Initiative | Read more

API engineers weigh in on automation

Behind API’s Tech Talks, two products (Metrics for News and Source Matters) and friendly customer service to our 100+ local newsrooms, there are two engineers who tirelessly work to make sure our products are up and running and collaborate with our customer-facing teammates to process feedback and inform future product development.
Meet senior application engineer Stephen Jefferson and web applications engineer Marita Pérez Díaz. The two have been closely following all the generative AI trends this year — including the assumption that certain products or technologies are silver bullets that fix huge categories of problems on their own. We sat down with Stephen and Marita to discuss the trends they’re seeing, their favorite resources and what you need to know to continue evolving through this era.
From American Press Institute | Read more

7 tips for covering stories about PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water (and a list of reporting resources)

The "forever chemicals" issue touches many journalistic beats. To help inform news coverage of the topic, we enlisted advice from several researchers and journalists who study and cover PFAS.
By Rachel Layne, The Journalist’s Resource | Read more


By Cody Sossamon,
The Gaffney Ledger

What would we do without them?

Today’s “Perspective” page looks a little different than usual. In fact the entirety of today’s Ledger is just a tad bit different.
Those of you who have ever worked with machinery understand that breakdowns occur. And when that happens you do your best to make repairs and when that can’t be done expediently, you improvise.
That’s what is going on here now. We’re improvising.
Without going into all of the boring details, we’re in the midst of press issues. You might have seen the video we posted on our Facebook page last week of the press running when there were no problems. That was Thursday when we were printing our “Back to School’ special section.
Friday morning when we began printing that day’s regular edition, something went wrong. A linkage bolt on one of the units broke. When all units are working, we can print 12 pages with 4 of them in full color. When that one unit went down, we were limited to 8 pages.
We had planned to have 12 pages, so when we realized there was no ‘quick fix,’ 4 pages had to be eliminated. That created some errors. For one, a story from the front page had been continued to an inside page. That inside page was one of the four we eliminated. Several of the page numbers were not in sequence as we did not have time to change them. Time was of the essence as the Post Office has a deadline in order to get papers delivered the same day we print. Read more
By John Foust, Advertising Trainer

Get more mileage out of testimonials

Back in my ad agency days, I worked with a real estate client on a series of customer testimonials. We started with one, then added another and another. The final count was more than a dozen, which kept the campaign fresh and gave us a lot of flexibility.
The plan was to run smaller ads with one testimonial, and then to place three small testimonials at the top of weekly, full-page ads which featured descriptions of houses for sale. The ads attracted attention from prospective buyers and sellers (many of whom recognized their neighbors) and the company’s agents (who were proud when their clients were featured). One testimonial photo and quote featured a South Korean couple who had relocated to the area, when one spouse’s high tech employer moved a number of executives to North Carolina from that country. The quote appeared in Korean, which appealed to others who were relocating with the same company, in addition to attracting a lot of attention on the page.
This strategy gave us more mileage than a campaign with two or three testimonials, because there were so many different combinations. If you’d like to try something similar, here are the steps to take:
1. Select the right testimonial subjects. Your advertiser can make the choices. Go for variety: some individuals, some couples, and some international customers, if possible. In the case of real estate, balance testimonials between home buyers and sellers. Read more

Upcoming Events

Thanks to funding from the SCPA Foundation, "Earn Your Press Pass" a self-paced online community journalism training course is now available to SCPA members at no charge. Sign up to start learning!
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