Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Sept. 15, 2022
By Eric P. Robinson, UofSC School of Journalism and Mass Communications

The Royals and the Press

The death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II after a reign of more than 70 years has prompted a cascade of retrospectives and reminiscences of the major events and changes of the past quarter-century. These have included the break-up of the British Empire, the reshaping of the world’s politics and economy and the explosion of new technology. There has also been a revolution in the media and the press, including new forms of communication that allow a wider conversation of topics both solemn and trivial.
The queen was often at the forefront of these new technologies, embracing them to become more accessible to her subjects. But more openness led to more scrutiny, more criticism, and more mockery, resulting in an often difficult relationship between the royal family and media which sometimes led members of the family to use official avenues—including the courts—to challenge certain coverage.
These developments in Great Britain regarding the media and monarchy mirror many of the changes on the American side of “the pond” between the press and government officials. But persistent differences between media law in Britain and the U.S. have led to different results and to different ways of covering high government officials for media in the two countries. Read more

Celebrate National Newspaper Week Oct. 2-8

National Newspaper Week will be celebrated Oct. 2-8.
SCPA President Charles Swenson, editor of Coastal Observer, will write a local column that member newspapers can publish. It will be available in late September.
A package of national resources is now available, including ads, logos, social media posts and cartoons. Additional house ads and editorials will be added soon. 
We also encourage you to editorialize about your newspaper’s unique relevance to your community. This year's theme is that newspapers are relevant. Please reinforce the message that newspapers are local, are trusted, support you and now...need your support.  Elaborate on how newspapers are relevant in 2022 and beyond. Explain why it's important to celebrate the role of local newspapers.
National Newspaper Week recognizes the service of newspapers and their employees across North America and is sponsored by Newspaper Association Managers.

S.C. Journalism Hall of Fame nominations due Dec. 2

The deadline to nominate someone for the S.C. Journalism Hall of Fame is Dec. 2. 
The Hall of Fame was established in 1973 to recognize and honor men and women who have excelled in their craft and made significant contributions to journalism and their communities.
Requirements for admission specify that a nominee must have made his or her journalistic reputation in South Carolina. If the reputation reflects achievements outside the state, the nominee must have been a native of South Carolina. Nominees must have been deceased for four or more years.
Nominations may be made by anyone now or previously employed by or associated with a South Carolina newspaper.
We will honor the 2022 Hall of Fame recipients at the Annual Meeting and Awards in Spring 2023. 
Here's how to nominate someone for the Hall of Fame

RSVP for Sept. 22 SCPA Midlands Members Happy Hour

Midlands members are invited to join SCPA after work on Thursday, Sept. 22, for Happy Hour.
Drop by WECO Bottle & Biergarten in West Columbia between 4:30 and 6 p.m. to network with your peers from newspapers in the region.
The drinks are on us, thanks to sponsorship by the S.C. Newspaper Network! Food will be available for purchase.
RSVP if you'd like to attend!
While SCPA members from across the state are invited to attend, plans are in the works to host similar social events in the Upstate and Lowcountry.

"Profane epithet" 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

Charleston School District admits breaking open records law after SC Attorney General letter

The Charleston County School District has admitted violating the state’s open records law during a July meeting, and the board of trustees voted to correct their mistake Sept. 12.
After receiving several complaints from parents, Attorney General Alan Wilson sent a letter to CCSD’s board of trustees last month warning that if the district did not respond to parent allegations that it violated the Freedom of Information Act law, CCSD could face a lawsuit.
Parents alleged the board didn’t provide proper notice of agenda items at two recent meetings.
“CCSD takes these allegations very seriously,” Superintendent Donald Kennedy said in a letter Sept. 7 to the attorney general.
The letter acknowledges a mistake on behalf of district staff and details the district’s FOIA tracking process and strategy for publicizing meetings.
By Devna Bose, The Post and Courier | Read more

Richland 1 board member alleges shouting, ‘intimidation’ in closed school board meetings

When Richland 1 school board members move discussions behind closed doors, debate can deteriorate into shouting matches, one board member says.
In a deposition filed Sept. 10 as part of a lawsuit, board member Beatrice King said another board member needed to be physically restrained during one closed-door meeting.
King discussed those incidents when she testified Aug. 19 as part of a lawsuit against the school district.
King confirmed in the deposition that she had recorded at least two executive sessions of the Richland 1 board, although she said she had not shared those recordings with anyone else.
The board member, who is not running for re-election this year after 10 years on the school board, said she made the recordings for two reasons.
“One is because I was personally convinced it was breaking the law,” she said of the board’s decision to meet behind closed doors. “The topics were not privileged in (the Freedom of Information Act). Secondly, it was for my personal safety. There have been instances where behind closed doors I have received threats, I have been yelled at and intimidated, and so I have to protect myself.” 
By Bristow Marchant, The State | Read more

Columbia-area school districts plagued by altercations, allegations, lack of transparency

Parents across Richland County have spent the better part of 2022 asking their school district officials where their money is going, why a sitting school board member was arrested and why they’ve struggled to retain teachers and administrators, but have received little to no answers.
Alleged financial mishandlings, legal troubles and political divides in the state’s fifth-, ninth- and 12th-largest school districts — serving over 67,000 students — laid a foundation for existing issues, including calls from Gov. Henry McMaster for state investigations of the Columbia-area districts’ leadership practices.
In June, Northeast Columbia’s Richland County School District Two was subject of the first-ever such call from McMaster. “Hundreds” of calls, emails and letters from Richland Two parents got the governor’s attention with complaints of dysfunction and unprofessional rifts between school board members, the superintendent and their critics, according to McMaster’s spokesman. ...
Wilson alleged Freedom of Information Act violations, such as failure to notify the public of board agenda items. Wilson also pointed to district finances and hiring practices. In addition, Wilson questioned why the district allowed a purchasing official to resign in May amid accusations of swindling more than $40,000.
By T. Michael Boddie, The Post and Courier Columbia | Read more

SC chief justice stops certain judges from hearing cases involving settlement sales

Certain judges can no longer hear court cases in which companies seek to purchase structured settlements from accident victims, South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty has ordered.
The order, issued last week and effective immediately, comes in response to a newly published McClatchy investigation that found these judges, called masters-in-equity and special referees, are routinely approving questionable deals that strip vulnerable South Carolinians of their long-term financial futures.
These individuals have received structured settlements, which are financial arrangements that can pay out monthly for decades rather than in a single lump sum. The settlements are often the result of personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.
By Zak Koeske, The State | Read more

Myrtle Beach’s downtown tax tool is ready for use. Emails show how it came together.

As Myrtle Beach leaders continue to focus on generational changes to the city’s downtown, one of the newest tools at its disposal is a special tax district expected to generate nearly $14 million over the next decade.
The assessment will first show up on fall tax bills for roughly 3,600 commercial properties between 11 Ave. S and 21st Ave N, a 689-acre area that covers much of the city’s merchant sector. In all, the properties have a total assessed value of $60.4 million, based on six percent of their market price. ...
To get a better idea of how the district’s boundaries were drawn and some of the details that went into creating it, The Sun News submitted a Freedom of Information Act request with the city, asking for records dating back from Nov. 1, 2021 through mid-August. Here’s a breakdown of what the documents reveal.
By Adam Benson, The Sun News | Read more

Premium pay lists for Oconee County, cities

Nearly 500 Oconee County employees received premium pay checks in June, thanks to a federal pandemic relief program.
The names of the employees and amounts each received were provided by the county after The Journal submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request this summer. Employees who worked from March 20, 2020, to Oct. 4, 2021, were eligible for the money. Those who teleworked from home were not eligible, according to the U.S. Treasury.
Oconee County received $15.4 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) signed by President Joe Biden in March 2021. The money was for investments in infrastructure, replacing negative economic impacts of the pandemic and premium pay for essential workers.
The Journal has reported extensively on the money given to infrastructure projects, opting to wait to obtain the full scope of all local premium pay allotments. ...
The county was initially hesitant to provide the names of all the employees who received the money to The Journal in June, but an attorney with the South Carolina Press Association said the money was not exempt from FOIA because it was a form of special compensation. Officials complied with the request and released the names in July.
From The Journal, Seneca | Read more

Inquiry into Dawn Staley’s cancellation of BYU series is ‘ill-informed,’ SC senator says

A Black state senator is calling on 14 conservative members of the House to stop their “ill-informed, intrusive and unnecessary” inquiry into South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley.
State Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington, Tuesday criticized the S.C. Freedom Caucus’ efforts to learn what led USC to cancel a home-and-home series with Brigham Young University earlier this month after an alleged racial incident at the private Utah university.
The 14-member caucus has requested records detailing the deliberations between USC and Staley that preceded the decision to cancel the series, citing a “legislative FOIA authority,” which Malloy said doesn’t exist.
“(The) Freedom of Information Act makes no distinction between members of the public, candidates for elected public office, members of the legislature or other categories of requestors as to who may be able to inspect or copy records of the public body,” Malloy wrote in a letter to the Freedom Caucus.
By Joseph Bustos, The State | Read more

SC Coalition for Safer Schools adds new member

The South Carolina Coalition for Safer Schools is adding a sixth member to its group — Charleston-based The Safe Schools Project.
The nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy supports school safety by amplifying the voices of teachers, students and school staff. 
“We believe that no effective discussion of school safety is possible without the input of those who work in school buildings every day,” said Patrick Martin, a spokesman for the project.
The broader group, South Carolina Coalition for Safer Schools, was formed because of school shootings and violence sweeping the nation. On May 24, a mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school killed 19 students and two teachers. One March 31, a twelve-year old shot one of his classmates, Jamari Jackson, in a Greenville County middle school.
South Carolina had its highest number of school shootings in 47 years in 2021, according to a Post and Courier analysis. Over half of the nine shootings occurred in the fall and winter of 2021.
The paper also discovered that the number of weapons in South Carolina schools doubled in three years ending in the fall of 2021, according to an analysis of hundreds of thousands of school referrals the paper obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request.
By Hillary Flynn, The Post and Courier | Read more

People & Papers

Walters named interim editor of Gannett's South Carolina newsrooms; Bruss takes post at Dallas Morning News

Elizabeth Walters has been named interim editor of the USA TODAY Network newsrooms in South Carolina. Walters replaces Steven Bruss, who leaves his position Friday, Sept. 23.
Walters has been news director for the Greenville News and Anderson Independent Mail since June. Prior to that, she was the audience development editor for the Upstate Gannett newsrooms.
In her new position, Walters will oversee operations in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson and Bluffton in South Carolina. Gabe Whisnant, who has been news director for Spartanburg, will serve as news director for all three Upstate SC newsrooms, with a continuing focus on Spartanburg.
Bruss, who has been named senior planning editor at the Dallas Morning News, has been executive editor of the Upstate newsrooms since March 2020. Prior to that, he was news director for the Greenville News and Anderson Independent Mail since 2017. [He's worked at the Greenville News since 2005 and currently serves on SCPA's Board as Treasurer.] He joined Gannett at the Green Bay Press-Gazette in 1997. 
“Elizabeth is a veteran journalist with a love for the community and a knowledge of the Upstate that will help these newsrooms excel,” Bruss said. “More importantly, she is committed to great journalism that benefits the communities we serve.”
Walters is a native of Mississippi. Prior to returning to the Greenville News in 2021, she was executive editor of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo, Mississippi. She also has experience at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Montgomery Advertiser. She worked as digital planning editor at The News from 2015-2017.
From Greenville News | Read more

Aiken Standard names new publisher and ad director

RJ Benner has been named the new publisher and advertising director for the Aiken Standard.
Benner, 42, starts his new role today after serving in similar positions around the United States.
PJ Browning, CEO of Evening Post Publishing, announced Benner as the new publisher and advertising director in an email to staff.
“We are excited about RJ Benner joining our team,” Browning said. “He brings a wealth of experience and a commitment of community service, which is an important aspect of our company culture.”
Benner began his newspaper career in 2013 with Lee Enterprises as sales manager/advertising director in Coos Bay, Oregon, where he grew up. He also served as regional advertising director in Albany, Oregon, and as general manager in Coos Bay before a stint as senior group publisher/director of sales and marketing for Gannett in Arkansas.
Most recently, Benner worked for Sound Publishing as group publisher and sales director of The Whidbey News-Times, South Whidbey Record and Whidbey Crosswind in Coupeville, Washington.
By John Boyette, Aiken Standard | Read more
2022 Peggy May Inspiration award honoree – David Lauderdale with his wife, Sybil, and daughter, Talley. Photo Credit: Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

Retired Hilton Head and Beaufort editor named award honoree

David Lauderdale, retired columnist and senior editor for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, was recognized Sept. 6 as the 2022 Peggy May Inspiration Award honoree by The Foundation for Educational Excellence.
Throughout his career over many decades, David has been an advocate for the people of his community – most often evident through his inspirational writing that has touched the lives of so many in the Lowcountry. 
The award was presented by board members, Linda Navorska, Deborah Colella and Lisa Carroll, Chair for the Foundation for Educational Excellence.
The Journal's News Editor, Riley Morningstar (center), was a judge in the annual South Carolina Apple Festival Baking Contest at the Westminster Depot on Sept. 8.  Here's The Journal's favorite contest recipe! Photo Credit: Caleb Gilbert, The Journal
Please let us know about your new hires, retirements and promotions
so we can share your news in the eBulletin!

Industry Briefs

JCPA legislation stalls in committee

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) last week asked to pull a committee vote on a bill aimed at giving news outlets the ability to negotiate collectively with tech platforms after she said an adopted amendment offered by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) impeded the bipartisan agreement senators reached ahead of the Thursday meeting.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were slated to vote on a revised version of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, but Klobuchar asked to hold it after Cruz’s amendment was adopted by a one-vote margin by the Republicans on the committee.
“I think the agreement that we had has been blown up,” Klobuchar said.
In a statement, she said she fully plans to move forward with the bill.
“This bill is about protecting local journalism by leveling the playing field and allowing local news outlets to band together to negotiate for fair compensation from tech platforms. I am committed to targeted, bipartisan legislation to achieve this goal,” she said in the statement. By Rebecca Klar, The Hill | Read more

UofSC Libraries awarded NEH grant to digitize historic newspapers

The South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program (SCDNP) has received grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to scan and deliver to the Library of Congress approximately 100,000 pages of historic South Carolina newspapers published between 1690 and 1963 for inclusion in Chronicling America.
SCDNP is managed by the University of South Carolina Libraries. UofSC and SCDNP Advisory Board members are currently reviewing titles for inclusion, which will include South Carolina denominational papers spanning the 19th and 20th centuries that are fundamental to the study of cultural changes, as well as invaluable to genealogical research.
SCPA Co-Executive Director Jen Madden is a member of the advisory board.  
Funded by the NEH and housed and maintained online at the Library of Congress, Chronicling America offers free online access to 19.9 million pages of newspapers published in the United States between 1777 to 1963, including these S.C. newspapers that were digitized between 2009-2015.
In addition to this project, UofSC hosts the Historical Newspapers of South Carolina repository, which provides online access to full-text searchable historic newspapers originating in South Carolina since it became a state in 1788. The online collection is a continuation and extension of the SCDNP. UofSC is one of many institutions across the country working to preserve America's historical newspapers. 

NLA's NewsTrain workshop is going virtual this fall

You can now get all the learning of a NewsTrain workshop in your own home! The event previously scheduled for Sept. 23-24 in Rochester, NY, is now going virtual, available to anyone, no matter where you are. Sign up now for just $30.
You’ll get a full day of training on Saturday, Sept. 24, from top journalists and educators:
  • How listening to your community can improve your coverage and build your readership
  • How to find the heart of your story, moving beyond reacting to immediate news events
  • How to improve your interviewing skills to produce fascinating narrative
  • How to come up with creative uses of data for storytelling
  • How to use FOIA requests at the federal, state or local level to find out what’s really happening
  • How to tell your story through social media

Join the 2022 Local Media Foundation Local News Fund

The Local Media Foundation invites independent and family-owned news organizations to join the 2022 Local News Fund campaign, to raise funds for local journalism projects through tax-deductible donations from your community. 
Funds raised through the 2022 Local News Fund are intended to provide new or expanded journalism efforts at each participating news organization. Potential coverage topics include climate, education, healthcare, investigative reporting, and social justice issues. This year’s program will run through Dec. 31. Apply to join the 2022 Local News Fund.

17 Thrilling Halloween promotion ideas

When you start to see candy corn and costumes on display at your local store, you know what’s coming. Halloween is a great time to engage your audience with ballots, polls, quizzes, sweepstakes, and of course, photo contests.
Halloween Costume Photo Contest
A costume contest is a classic way to connect with your audience during Halloween! You can create categories for age ranges, specific costume types, or for specific awards (scariest, funniest, relevant.) We have a ready-made turnkey photo contest you can download today to quickly get this campaign running!
WVAA-TV’s Halloween Costume Contest featured three categories: Adults, Children, and Pets. They used email and Facebook to encourage their audience to enter the contest and vote. They even sent out email reminders on the last day photos could be entered. With a total of 233 entries, the photo contest received over 3,450 votes.
By Julie Foley, Upland Second Street | Read more



Barbara Hill, former Journal Scene features editor, dies

Barbara Ann Hill, 87, of Summerville, wife of the late James “Tobin” Hill, USAF retired, passed away on Sept. 10.
Barbara wrote for nearly eight decades, publishing her own little newspaper when she was just nine years old. She continued her life-long love of words by writing for every paper in every town or military base where they were stationed during 22 moves around the world.
She joined the staff of the Summerville Journal Scene in 1980 and covered the town as a part of her regular beat, ultimately rising to Features Editor. Her “Inklings” column was a consistent feature of the newspaper until 2020.
She earned countless fans for her ability to tell funny, relatable stories about family, local heritage and entertaining. Read full obituary.


By Nathaniel Abraham, Jr., Publisher of Carolina Panorama

Message from the Publisher

We need your help.
Over the years, we have published hundreds of stories featuring Black-owned businesses throughout the Midlands. It has been a rewarding experience to meet so many interesting entrepreneurs and business owners. But for every business that we discover, there are hundreds that we don’t know about. That is why we are asking for your help.
There are three questions that I am putting before our readers:
  • What are your favorite Black-owned restaurants
  • What are your favorite Black-owned retailers
  • What are your favorite LOCAL online retailers?
... We are gathering this information for a special issue that we are planning to publish before the holiday shopping season kicks off in November. We want this list to be as comprehensive as possible. Please send your list to or call us at (803) 256-4015.
In addition, we are looking for the names and owners of historic Black-owned businesses that were located in the Wheeler Hill community before the area was gentrified. Please send suggestions to Patricia or call her at (803) 256-4015. Read more
By Chris Trainor, Index-Journal columnist

Eighteen years, countless words and a few refrigerators

It slipped by me last month, and I didn’t even give it a passing thought. At least not until just recently.
It got lost, as many little milestones do, in the stir of life. In the rush to get the kids to school and in between all the meetings and dinners and deadlines. It’s not hard to whoosh right past a moment of personal reflection.
But it doesn’t make it any less meaningful, particularly when it is a moment for which you are appreciative.
Last month marked my 18th year writing for the Index-Journal, in some form or fashion. Eighteen years. That’s a lot of time we’ve spent together here, in these pages. Untold stories and columns, and thousands upon thousands of words. I’m sure I’ve made you mad a time or two (or 10). Lord knows I’ve gotten the emails.
But I also hope we’ve learned a few things about this little corner of the world, together, and that I’ve made you laugh sometimes, or at least given you a little chuckle as you’ve enjoyed your Frosted Flakes. I’ve had more than a few folks through the years tell me they’ve clipped out a column or story I’ve written, and stuck it on the refrigerator with a magnet. An old school gesture, for sure, but I can think of few higher honors. Read more
By Ralph Mancini, Editor of Summerville Communications

Keeping our eyes on the prize

Three months are in the books for yours truly as the editor of the Summerville Journal Scene, Berkeley Independent and Goose Creek Gazette. And as a grizzled veteran in the journalism game, a lot of what’s happening in my new environment is old hat when it comes to reporting news at a community level.
But whereas I was the lone wolf spinning plates at my previous stop in North Dakota, I have a great editorial staff here at Summerville Communications, composed of dedicated, full-time reporters who aren’t afraid to put in the necessary grind to churn out a quality product.
What I didn’t realize when I first arrived here was how large our coverage territories are when you factor in the distance between Downtown Summerville, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner and all the surrounding areas in between. I remember covering my first Town Council meeting in Monks Corner and how it took me about 40 minutes to get to “The Lowcountry’s Hometown.” Read more

Upcoming Events

Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn
powered by emma