Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Dec. 18, 2020

Happy Holidays from SCPA

This holiday season, we give thanks for you and all you've done to serve your your communities over the past year. We'll be closed Dec. 24-25 and there will be no eBulletin for the next two weeks because of the holiday. We're sending warm wishes and hopes for brighter days ahead in 2021!

Longtime journalist Hubert D. Osteen Jr. led family business for decades, serving his hometown of Sumter

By Kayla Green, The Sumter Item
Hubert Duvall Osteen Jr., chairman of Osteen Publishing Co. and the dean of newspapermen in South Carolina, died at home Sunday. He was 84.
In his passing, The Sumter Item, the Sumter community and South Carolina lost a stalwart of balanced, reliable journalism. He stood for nothing less than the facts and quietly supported Sumter's growth and development through a lifetime of work.
Born in Sumter on Oct. 8, 1936, Osteen's path was always meant to head toward journalism and the newspaper industry, but that didn't mean he wouldn't work to earn his titles.
After finishing high school at Woodberry Forest School, a boarding school in Virginia, he secured degrees from two of the most prestigious journalism schools in the nation, University of Missouri for a Bachelor in Journalism and Columbia University in New York City for a Master of Science in Journalism, separated by a three-year stint in the U.S. Air Force that took him to Korea and Vietnam.
Osteen started working for his family's newspaper at the age of 13. He worked during the summers and continued to work in the family business through college before being named to the Item news staff in 1963. He was the fourth generation of the Osteen family to be involved in newspapers in Sumter, dating back at least 150 years.
"Hubert Osteen was an icon in South Carolina journalism," said Bill Rogers, executive director of the S.C. Press Association. "He was a great journalist and didn't back down when a fight was warranted."
Rogers noted two memorable cases. One was when police confiscated an Item photographer's camera at a train wreck, and another time, he challenged a coroner's refusal to release records in a police shooting.
"Hubert stood up for his beliefs and the public's right to know," Rogers said. "At a time when family owned newspapers were declining, Hubert led his paper to growth and excellence. While he grew and improved the print product, he showed pride and acceptance as his paper added digital products."
Osteen retired as chairman of Osteen Publishing Company Inc. after working his way up to editor and publisher, leaving the flagship and other properties purchased out of town in the hands of his three sons.
"He was a wonderful father, an iconic newspaperman and a mentor to many journalists throughout the state. He taught us all the family business, cared deeply about his community and will be remembered as a great friend and leader," said his sons and OPC co-owners, Graham, Kyle and Jack Osteen.
His legacy was evident in notes left on social media in response to his passing Sunday, with thanks and gratitude flowing from previous employees and community leaders.
"Hubert was the newspaperman you would want for your town if you wanted your newspaper to stand up to government and stand up for you and your community," said Jay Bender, legal counsel for the South Carolina Press Association. "If you were on the staff of The Item, you knew Hubert would guide you through the rough spots and fire up a cigar to celebrate your victories. In addition to all of that, Hubert was a friend whose memory I cherish and whose family I have in my thoughts. We are all better for his having been in our lives."
In 2011, he sat on a panel discussing the Civil Rights Movement in Sumter with S.C. Chief Justice Ernest A. Finney Jr. and Jack Bass. He led the newsroom and the Sumter community through Hurricane Hugo, changes in industry technology and its economic downturn, all while promoting the importance of an informed community.
As he set his roots in Sumter and in journalism, Osteen grew as a leader outside of the newsroom.
He was named director of the Associated Press News Council in 1965 and served as president of the S.C. Press Association from 1977-78.
"Hubert set an example for numerous journalists who worked at The Item over the years or who were exposed to his sense of fairness and integrity throughout his career. He believed strongly in the importance of local family ownership and its long-term positive impact on the community that it served," said Harry Logan, retired editor of The Morning News in Florence and past SCPA president. Read more

Related: Hubert Duvall Osteen Jr. Obituary

Related: The Sumter Item's Osteen Jr. leaves legacy, impact with young local journalists (By Kayla Green, The Sumter Item)

Related: SCPA Oral History Project (includes video interview with Hubert)

Related: Hubert was a tribute to the name Osteen (Chip Chase, Former Item Editor)

Related: Hubert Osteen was a lover of sports (Dennis Brunson, The Sumter Item)

Related column by Hubert D. Osteen Jr.: We all have a lot to be thankful for (The Sumter Item)

Related opinion by Hubert D. Osteen Jr.: Marking an Item milestone of serving Sumter for 100 years (The Sumter Item)

Related column by Hubert D. Osteen Jr.: A Christmas Eve memory and a happy little boy (The Sumter Item)
From left, Jack, Kyle and Graham Osteen stand with South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond and their father, Hubert D. Osteen Jr., in The Sumter Item newsroom in March 2018. Hammond recognized the newspaper for being on file with the Secretary of State's Office for more than 100 years. The newspaper celebrated 125 years of serving the Sumter community in October 2019.
By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications

If tech hurts newspapers, can tech save them?

One of the many developments that have hurt newspapers is tech companies and their websites that collect and display headlines and story ledes from websites of newspapers and other news sources. The tech companies have argued that they drive traffic to the news organizations’ web sites from users who click on the headlines and ledes on their sites, which lead the users to the news organizations sites to read the full stories: users that the news sites can monetize.
But news organizations have complained that many users of the aggregator sites do not click on the links to the full stories, with the headlines and ledes being enough to fulfill their desire to keep informed.
Legally, the tech companies have justified their use of the media material as a “fair use” under copyright law. The principle allows for limited use of copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright owner. There is no set standard for determining what is fair use, although the federal copyright statute lays out four factors to be considered in making this determination: the nature of the use, the nature of the original work, how much of the original work is used and the impact of the use on the potential or actual economic value of the original work. Read more

RSVP for Jan. 7 Virtual Legislative Workshop

COVID-19 might mean that our annual Legislative Workshop for the Media looks a little different, but we hope you'll still make plans to attend. The 2021 legislative  preview will be held Thursday, Jan. 7, from 10-11:30 a.m. on Zoom. Here's more about the event and how to register. Thanks to the SCPA Foundation Smoak Fund, there is no cost for SCPA members to attend if you enter  code SCPRESS when registering. 
Member Spotlight: Rebecca West
West says visiting a llama winery last summer was a highlight of her 2020.
Editor-in-Chief, The Tiger, Clemson University

What do you like best about your job?
Out of all the magical moments and experiences that come with being Editor-in-Chief of The Tiger, I have to say that I appreciate the strong feeling of connectedness the most. On senior staff alone, we have a vast array of students from all sides of Clemson's community, and every staff member brings something new to our team. However, as a member of The Tiger, I am also attuned to the going-ons of campus in a way that no other organization would allow me to be. I am able to meet and interview countless students, faculty and staff for countless reasons, and when people ask questions about the latest campus update, it's rewarding to have those answers. I feel genuinely informed about Clemson University and connected to its people, and I love the feeling of spreading that information and connectedness beyond myself.

What is your proudest career moment?
Ironically, my proudest career moment was also one of the most stressful. About a week after I became Editor-in-Chief, Clemson's football team won the 2018 National Championship game. There I was, a second semester sophomore with no experience in the role, leading a staff in creating our second national championship issue in three years. Of course, this was also while I spearheaded the online ordering and shipping processes as well as the on-campus distribution system. It was absolutely chaotic, but even between all the urgent emails and last minute shipping changes, seeing such a widespread issue with my name at the top of the senior staff list was surreal. Now, almost two years later, I look back on that moment with plenty of laughter but also a great deal of pride. It was definitely a trial by fire, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

What’s your favorite SCPA member service?
One aspect of SCPA that has always entranced me is the internships and jobs that they offer to newspaper members. Had circumstances been different for my past couple of summers, I definitely believe that I would have applied and attempted to use SCPA's resources to get some additional work experience in the world of journalism. It's a wonderful opportunity for anyone who is able to do it, and I'm grateful that SCPA offers chances for my staff to expand themselves beyond The Tiger while they're at Clemson.

What adjustments have you made during COVID-19?
Thankfully, The Tiger started working on making as many things virtual as possible fairly early on, so our transition into this semester went fairly smoothly. With a monthly print production schedule, the majority of our articles are only online anyways, which simplified the process. The most consistent thing we had to change was our weekly senior staff meeting, and we simply moved that to Zoom for the entire semester (and likely for the entirety of next semester). Outside of this meeting, we use our various group chats to communicate and keep each other updated, which has not changed much since years past. Furthermore, the majority of our interviews have been hosted over Zoom or simply been conducted via email. Normally, this would be a problem if a large number of events were being held in-person, but since everyone has switched to a primarily virtual mindset, this has created hardly any issues. In fact, covering student government is actually a bit easier now, since reporters can attend senate meetings on Zoom from any location as opposed to the senate chambers. The one change that has been challenging in its complexity is the production of print issues. For the past four print issues, we've produced the PDF of the issue completely remotely from our individual homes and simply distributed it via online avenues and social media. Now, since students have returned to campus, we're distributing print issues once more. The majority of the work was done remotely for this issue, but I believe we'll be tweaking the production schedule to make the layout process more efficient for future issues since we admittedly ran into a bit of a time crunch this week. Nevertheless, I think our adjustments have been fairly effortless and everyone on staff has been working well from home!

When it’s safe to get out and about again, what are some area attractions/restaurants in your community we shouldn’t miss?
Thankfully, one of my favorite food-based businesses at Clemson has also been a huge advocate of COVID-19 safety! Spills the Beans is an ice cream shop downtown, and they are my go-to whenever I'm looking for something special to satisfy my sweet tooth. Normally, their interior has excellent vibes with used couches and an informal seating arrangement, but in order to keep everyone safe this year, they've closed down their indoor seating. However, I highly advise stopping by Spill the Beans for some ice cream or coffee for anyone who's ever in Clemson! 
Also, most people tend to forget that Clemson is actually surrounded by a couple lakes. Visiting the various waterfronts for socially-distanced picnics has been one of my favorite activities this semester, so I would definitely recommend finding some time to see Lake Hartwell or Lake Keowee. Clemson's Twelve Mile Recreation Area is a great space with some picnic tables, a boat ramp and a wonderful sandy beach. It's only open from April through September, but it's one of the best places to have fun and relax in the area and off of Clemson's campus.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
Since it's not a skill that's been truly relevant to my time at Clemson, most people don't know that I actually have a decently extensive background in music! I've played percussion for going on 10 years now, and I spent eight of those years extremely dedicated to improving my skills on mallet instruments such as marimbas and xylophones. In high school, I participated in a winter percussion ensemble in addition to marching band, and I was able to perform at the WGI championships in Dayton, OH. (My line didn't do particularly well, but the experience was still amazing!) I haven't been able to keep up with performing music as much as I would have liked in college, but once I graduate and settle down, I can definitely see myself seeking out a community concert or symphonic band to join.

What do you like to do outside of work?
The truthful answer to this question is that I generally just do more work outside of work for The Tiger. I'm in my last year of double majoring in mechanical engineering and English, so school work tends to take up a large amount of my time. I'm also in my third year as an RA on Clemson's campus, and this year I'm actually leading the Byrnes & Lever community as the Community Development Assistant in addition to my normal roles for the job. Finally, I'm a foilist and the vice president of the Clemson Fencing Club, which is a great way to casually work out and spend time with friends! I'm still quite busy with all of these responsibilities despite COVID-19, so I don't have a surplus of free time in my day-to-day life. When some free time does pop up, though, I've been working my way through a chronological viewing of all Star Wars content since January! I've watched all the movies and television shows, read most of the comics and books, and I'm currently making my way through the first season of "The Mandalorian" in anticipation of season two. Consuming a ridiculous amount of Star Wars content has definitely been my favorite way of passing time in quarantine this summer.

Know someone that you’d like SCPA to spotlight? Email us your recommendations.

FOI Briefs

Greenville County Council adopts new policy after complaints about forwarded emails

At its final meeting of the year, the Greenville County Council approved a policy urging members to "exercise discretion when forwarding personally identifying information contained in citizen emails."
The policy came in response to complaints from residents who said Councilman Joe Dill had sent emails containing their private information to others without their knowledge or permission.
Some of those emails involved politically sensitive issues such as Second Amendment rights and an LGBTQ resolution.
"Once public trust is lost, it is difficult to regain," one of the residents, Dawn Pyle, said at Tuesday's council meeting.
During a committee meeting earlier Tuesday, council members narrowly rejected a radically different approach suggested by Dill. He proposed placing all council emails on the county's website.
"To hide and say these things are private — they're not private," said Dill, who claimed that the county's taxpayers "own those emails."
Councilwoman Liz Seman said Dill's proposal would discourage citizens from sending emails to her and other councilmembers.
By Kirk Brown, Greenville News | Read more

Richland County planning commission holds meeting without the public

In a meeting last week that turned out not to be accessible to the public, the Richland County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend rezoning a 15.14 acre parcel on Rimer Pond Road from Rural (RU) to Low Density Residential (RS-LD) for a housing development proposed by developer Kevin Steelman.
Due to COVID restrictions, the public was not allowed to attend the meeting, nor were they able to view it virtually due to what a county spokesperson said were technical difficulties. But the fact that the meeting was not accessible by the public didn’t stop the commission from voting.
“While streaming did not allow for public viewing, the meeting was recorded and all efforts will be made to have the audio of the meeting…placed on the county’s YouTube channel,” Geonardo Price, manager over zoning for the county, said following the meeting in a texted comment to The Voice via Stephen Gilchrist, chairman of the planning commission.
At press time on Dec. 9, the audio had not yet been made available to the public.
While the inaccessible meeting may satisfy Richland County officials, Bill Rogers, Executive Director of the S.C. Press Association, said it sounds like an illegal meeting.
“If the public doesn’t have access to the meeting, then posting the audio later would not solve that problem,” Rogers said.
“The public has to somehow have access to the meeting at the time it is happening. They must be allowed to either be present or have access online,” Rogers said. “If not, the county has two problems. If anyone wanted to challenge that vote, they’d probably win. Another problem is that it dilutes public confidence in the government.”
By Barbara Ball, The Voice of Blythewood | Read more

Richland One school board cuts livestream of public comment during meetings

A Richland County School District One board meeting was relocated Dec. 8 to an elementary school because of technical problems, but it was no accident that part of the session’s remote feed dropped for a few minutes.
During a public input period, officials cut the broadcast for roughly six minutes before going live again — a policy district spokeswoman Karen York said is consistent with pre-coronavirus formats despite running afoul of South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act law. 
“The district historically has not recorded or broadcast public comments made during board meetings. The same practice is being followed with board meetings that are livestreamed,” York said. Officials didn’t respond to follow-up inquiries about how long the policy has been in place, or why it was implemented. 
While no law exists requiring public bodies to allow for comment, excising portions of an open meeting is a problem.
By Adam Benson, The Post and Courier | Read more

Industry Briefs

NNA monitors worst systemwide mail delays, disruptions in decades; advises USPS of problems

National Newspaper Association members are reporting systemwide problems in getting newspapers delivered by mail this season. NNA has alerted the Postal Service to the issues and is working with USPS service teams to address them.
“We want publishers to understand that these delays are not just in their markets, nor the result of failures by printers or mail preparers. This is happening partly because of COVID-19-related personnel absences, but mostly because of record numbers of packages in the mail,” NNA Chair Brett Wesner, president of Wesner Publications in Cordell, Oklahoma, said. “We are in continuous conversation with the senior management at USPS about this problem.”
The Postal Service expected to deliver roughly 20 million packages a day during the holiday season, but that number has exceeded 40 million some days, according to USPS. Mail processing plants and local post offices are challenged to keep up with the volume.
By Tonda Rush, National Newspaper Association | Read more

Groups say frontline journalists at-risk, seek vaccination priority

Editor's Note: SCPA and the SC Broadcasters Association sent Gov. McMaster a localized version of this letter last week.  
More than a dozen journalism organizations have requested that journalists in the field covering the COVID-19 crisis, rallies, protests and other public events be allowed to get inoculated with the coronavirus vaccine ahead of the general population. The letter, dated Dec. 8, is addressed to José Romero, who leads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
“Journalists consistently provide the important information their viewers, listeners, and readers need, regardless of the dangers or hardships they face,” the letter said. “But in times of crisis, journalists represent an even more critical lifeline to their communities.”
Pfizer and Moderna have developed promising COVID-19 vaccines and applied for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. Advisors to the CDC will recommend priority groups for vaccination. The committee has recommended the first doses of vaccine go to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
The 14 journalism organizations made clear that they are not requesting journalists get the vaccine before groups already identified by public health officials as the highest priority.
“We certainly understand and support the value of first vaccinating frontline health care workers, first responders, the most vulnerable at-risk Americans including communities of color, and additional deserving critical fields and sectors,” the letter stated. “But as you consider the next phases, we hope you will also consider the essential role played by journalists — a role that cannot be performed without physically engaging in the communities they serve, regardless of the risk.”
By Rod Hicks, SPJ | Read more


By Richard Whiting, Index-Journal

A newspaper closes, but hearts remain open with love

As the nation witnesses a herd mentality calling for the demise and death of newspapers across America, we see the herd’s wishes being carried out.
Their wishes are not answered based on their rallying cries of “fake news” and “enemy of the people.” Instead, sheer finances are, in most cases, forcing newspaper owners to stop the presses.
Only a matter of a few weeks ago did South Carolina lose several community weekly newspapers whose presses were silenced and whose ink had dried up because of dwindling ad revenue coupled with shrinking circulation. Their closures had nothing to do with any editorial stances or coverage; after all, they were community papers that solely contained local content.
Really, community dailies, such as this 101-year-old newspaper, are not very different from their small town weekly counterparts. While they do carry news from the state, nation and world through their membership in a news wire service and even publish syndicated views from outside columnists, cartoonists and editorial writers, their chief objective is to mirror their community, to share the stories that shape the community they serve. Read more
Related: Seeing our reflection in The Observer (By Chris Trainor, Index-Journal)
By John Foust, Advertising Trainer

12 ad design tips

Want to get more eyes on your ads? Let’s take a quick look at some ad design tips:
1. Keep things simple and uncluttered. The four basic elements of a print ad are (1) headline, (2) illustrative element, (3) body copy and (4) logo. When they are arranged in a way that is easy to follow – and when there are no unnecessary images – the ad is more likely to be noticed.
2. Use easy-to-read line breaks in headlines. A line break is where one line ends and the next line begins. Since readers naturally pause for a split second at the end of a line, the break should be placed to look visually correct -- and sound right in the mind. Here are two headlines. Read more

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