Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Nov. 18, 2021

SCPA is thankful for you!

We hope you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving! SCPA and SCNN will be closed Nov. 25-26. There will be no eBulletin next week because of the holiday. We're thankful for you and appreciate your support and involvement in the Press Association!

Contest publication period ends, deadline approaching

It’s almost time to recognize the best and brightest in South Carolina journalism!
SCPA's digital entry platform is accepting entries for the News Contest, Collegiate Contest and Associate/Individual Member Contest until Friday, Dec. 3.
Nov. 15 was the final day of the 2021 SCPA News Contest period. This means that anything published in print or digitally from Nov. 16, 2020, through Nov. 15, 2021, can be entered in this year’s News Contest.
All editors should have received log-in information for the site. Let us know if we need to resend it or if you have questions about the contest.
Don't let the Dec. 3 deadline sneak up on you...start entering today!
Awards will be presented at an in-person Annual Meeting, set for March 12, 2022, in Myrtle Beach. More details coming soon!
Enter the Contest!

Registration opens Friday for 2022 Legislative Workshop for the Media

After a year hiatus due to COVID-19, SCPA’s popular Legislative Workshop for the Media is coming back in 2022!
This in-person event will be held Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Statehouse in Columbia.
Please note that due to COVID-19, we are hosting a modified schedule from past years and lunch will not be served.
Seating is limited so we encourage you to register early if you plan to attend. 
Attendees will be required to submit proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
This workshop is recommended for reporters, editors, managers and editorial writers.
Key leaders of the House and Senate will participate. Confirmed panelists and topics will be announced tomorrow when registration goes live.
If you register by Dec. 30, the cost to attend is $50. Limited scholarships are available from the SCPA Foundation's Smoak Fund. To apply, contact Jen.
This event is only open to members of SCPA, AP and SCBA.
By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Supreme Court declines chance to clarify right to record police

On Nov. 1 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to accept for review a decision by the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver holding that police could not be sued civilly for seizing a computer tablet from a man who had recorded a video of them restraining a drug suspect on a concrete sidewalk and punching the suspect in the head. The appeals court based its decision that the man could not sue on the reasoning that his right to record the police was not firmly established as a legal principle, even though it has been recognized by six other federal appellate courts. (The Fourth Circuit, which includes South Carolina, has not ruled on the issue.)
By taking the case, the U.S. Supreme Court could have definitively ruled—as lower courts have—that citizens have the right to record the police as they perform their duties, as long as the recording does not impede or interfere with the police activity. In this era when videos of police have sometimes revealed bad judgement and unnecessary violence by some officers, it is important for the courts to certify that such recordings are protected by the First Amendment. After all, one of the fundamental rationales for the free speech and free press provisions in the First Amendment is to serve as a watchdog and check on government, including the police.
A First Amendment right to record the police also means that police interfering with that right is a constitutional violation and can be the basis of a civil lawsuit against the police. The case that the Supreme Court declined to review was just such a case, in which the man who recorded Denver police—Levi Frasier—sued after the police requested and then seized his tablet in order to erase the video. The officers did not realize that the video remained intact when they returned the device.
Frasier’s lawsuit claimed the police detaining him and the seizing of his tablet violated his constitutional rights. The federal trial court judge held that the case could proceed, since the police presumably knew that their interference with Frasier’s recording was unconstitutional because that principle was a standard part of their training. But the appeals court disagreed, saying that only a court ruling—from the appeals court itself, which has jurisdiction over Colorado, or from the U.S. Supreme Court, whose rulings apply nationwide—was sufficient to impute such knowledge to the police. Read more

Quote of the Week

From Sen. Hugh K. Leatherman Tribute:


“Florence, the Pee Dee and South Carolina have lost a giant of a leader and a gentleman as a man,” said Don Kausler Jr., who served the past eight years as editor of the Morning News. “He was proclaimed rightfully as the most powerful man in South Carolina. The public knew him as a respected dignitary who got big things done. I will remember him as a warm, extraordinary friend who did little things like call a weary editor on Saturday mornings and say how much he loved his local newspaper and its emphasis on local news.” (Story by Matthew Christian, Morning News)

"Hypocrites" 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

The State releases 'Secrets of the Death Chamber' series

Many of those who helped execute people in South Carolina have never spoken about their job’s toll. Reporter Chiara Eisner of The State newspaper interviewed 10 involved in the work, explored SC execution history and exposed how the state is keeping current execution information secret.
For the first time in state history, South Carolina could soon execute people on death row by firing squad. Though the S.C. Department of Corrections has already bought the squad more than $53,000 in equipment, it’s hiding key details.
The state bought rifles, but won’t reveal what type. It purchased bullets, but won’t say how many. It bought a blanket that stops projectiles, but won’t disclose from whom.
The secrecy extends beyond the firing squad. While South Carolina has executed more than 200 people in the electric chair and 35 with lethal injection, and both methods could be used by the state again, Corrections won’t share the rules for how it would kill with those methods, though more than half of the other states that allow the death penalty make their execution processes transparent to the public.
The agency started preparing to hide execution information at least months ago. Shortly before state lawmakers approved the firing squad in May, Corrections created confidentiality agreements that suppress information from execution workers. Since then, the agency has concealed documents and particulars that explain the state’s execution plans, regardless of method, an investigation by The State Media Co. shows. That violates state law, media attorneys agree. It could also be a human rights violation.
By Chiara Eisner, The State | Read more

Secretive defense plant operating in the shadow of atomic fuel factory near Columbia

In the swampy woodlands of eastern Richland County, a little known manufacturing operation has for years churned out material the federal government depends on to maintain the nation’s atomic weapons arsenal.
The operation assembles metal bars at the Westinghouse commercial nuclear fuel plant and ships the rods to a reactor in Tennessee, where they’re processed to become radioactive. The radioactive metal bars are then sent back to South Carolina so that tritium — a key ingredient in nuclear bombs — can be removed at the Savannah River Site. 
It’s a process that has gained little public attention through the years, but one that lately has sparked questions among a handful of critics following Westinghouse Nuclear’s effort to gain a new 40-year federal operating license for its commercial fuel factory on Bluff Road.
Critics say the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission should have analyzed the metal-bar assembly plant in a recent study of how the Westinghouse Nuclear fuel factory might affect the environment if it gains federal approval for the 40-year license. 
They say the metal-bar plant has operated in virtual secrecy through the years at the Westinghouse fuel factory, a 550,00-square-foot facility better known as a place where metal rods are made for commercial atomic power plants — not for military uses.
By Sammy Fretwell, The State | Read more

USC admits ‘systemic’ issue in how it treats donors. ‘It’s a mess over here.’

Earlier this year, the University of South Carolina’s largest-ever private donor publicly bashed the university for not reaching out after her mother died. Because USC failed to reach out, financier and South Carolina resident Darla Moore said publicly in April she regretted donating more than $70 million to USC.
But following up with donors, especially at crucial times in their lives, is an ongoing problem, according to emails The State Media Co. obtained through the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
By Lucas Daprile, The State | Read more

People & Papers

The Newberry Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting Nov. 12, to celebrate the new location of The Newberry Observer. The newspaper's new office is located at 1216 Main Street in Newberry.

Columns

By Chris Trainor, Columnist, Index-Journal

Requiem for a true newspaperman

To me, he was royalty.
Journalism royalty. Newspaperman royalty. Index-Journal royalty.
William “Bill” Collins was someone who set the standard to aspire to, even when those of us who worked alongside him knew, and still know, we could never reach those heights. But still we tried and, through the sheer proximity of being in his orbit, were made just a little bit better for the effort.
As I’m certain you likely read this week, Bill Collins — Mr. Collins, as I always knew him — died this week at the age of 88. An Army veteran — he was one of the original Airborne Rangers — and University of South Carolina alum, he was, of course, best known in Greenwood and the Lakelands for his 32 years as an editor, in one capacity or another, at the Index-Journal. He retired back in 2011, but continued to pen guest columns for the paper during the past decade.
For years he helped shape this institution, one day at a time. The newspaper business was, and remains, a rough and tumble affair. You put the metaphorical coal in the furnace every single day, creating an issue from a blank slate, filling it with stories and columns and photos and advertisements, always striving for, but never achieving, perfection, building to a crescendo when the presses roll and a new edition is born.
And then you go home, get some rest, and get up and do the whole thing again the next day. History on a deadline, and all of that.
It’s an unpredictable game, and a lot of hard work. But Mr. Collins always played his role with integrity, courage, intelligence and, yes, more than a bit of style. Read more
By Richard Whiting, Executive Editor,
Index-Journal

Remembering Bill Collins

Nearly a decade has passed since Bill Collins retired from the Index-Journal, and while at the time he was 78 I did not think that a column feting Bill and his storied newspaper career would be followed up this soon with one written as a eulogy.
Bill died Tuesday at the age of 88, two days shy of Veterans Day. That’s significant, at least for me and in my time here at the IJ working with Bill. I fondly recall the many years he and I would head out the side door of the office and walk over to Main Street to the war memorial for Veterans Day ceremonies. Bill served in the Army, having slipped in at the young age of 17 and having the honor of being an original member of the Army Airborne Rangers.
While the bulk of Bill’s career was spent in journalism, there was no mistaking he carried the same pride and patriotism of a career military man. That was evident in his participation in Veterans Day ceremonies and other military-related occasions as much as it was in his editorials and columns.
He loved his God, his country, his family, his friends and his profession. As his son, Christopher, told me the other night, whatever his dad did or said, it was genuinely with love at its core. That, even on those few occasions when the drill sergeant side of Bill surfaced in the newsroom. He and I did not always agree on all things relative to newspapering, which is hardly unusual, but there was mutual respect, and I learned a thing or two under Bill. Read more

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