Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Jan. 6, 2022

News Contest entries off to judging; SCPA members needed to judge Collegiate Contest

SCPA has spent the past month reviewing more than 3,000 New Contest entries to get them ready for judging. Entries head off to judging next week.
Eighty one organizations participated in the 2021 News Contest, a slight increase from last year's contest.
Winners will be announced for proofing on Feb. 2.
SCPA is planning to present awards at an in-person Annual Meeting March 11-13, at The Marina Inn in Myrtle Beach. We are anxiously watching the spread of omicron in South Carolina. Your health and safety are our priority. More details will be announced later this month. 
We also need 15 members to help judge our Collegiate Contest online later this month. Categories include news, features, opinion and sports writing, photography, design and digital. Judges will receive instructions and entries in mid-January and will have two weeks to complete the judging. Let us know if you can help.

New year... new press ID

It's time to order your staff's 2022 press IDs.
High-quality plastic photo ID cards are available for SCPA newspaper members at $6 each.
Repositionable 2022-2023 PRESS windshield clings are also available for $3 each.
SCPA has a flat rate Priority Mail shipping fee of $8 for all orders that need a clip or lanyard. If you do not need a clip for your press ID (can re-use an old clip or lanyard or you put in your wallet), let us know and we can ship your order at a much lower rate, typically around $1.
Please note SCPA is only able to track orders shipped in flat rate boxes. We are aware that some non-clip press ID orders sent by First Class mail have been taking several days to arrive, and that a few orders have gotten lost in transit. If you need your order quickly, we recommend paying the higher Priority Mail shipping cost. 
Orders must come from member newspaper editors. Newspaper staffers, part-time employees and freelancers must contact their editor to order a press ID and/or decal.

Pay membership dues by Jan. 17

SCPA member publishers should have received 2022 membership dues invoices in December. Dues should be paid to SCPA by Jan. 17. If you haven't received your dues invoice or have any questions, contact us.

New SC nonprofit to benefit weekly news projects

The South Carolina Institute for Independent Journalism is a new nonprofit dedicated to supporting reporting projects for the state’s weekly newspapers. 
“Independent local journalism is under threat today,” said George Stevens, a Charleston nonprofit leader who is chairing the new organization. “Good, solid journalism in communities across the country leads to better democracy. Weekly newspapers serve as watchdogs on government and provide residents with information to help them make more connections in their community, which improves everyone’s quality of life.”
More than 1,800 newspapers have closed across the country in the last 17 years, said Andy Brack, publisher of the Charleston City Paper, which helped to spearhead efforts to form the new nonprofit.
“The lack of a locally focused news outlet erodes forces that keep a community cohesive and give residents the sense of being connected and belonging,” Brack wrote two weeks ago in a commentary syndicated across the state. ...
The mission of the S.C. Institute for Independent Journalism is to support the development and production of independent and nonprofit weekly news in South Carolina to promote democratic ideals. 
According to its website, “SCIIJ will achieve its mission by providing financial and organizational support to community publications; operating civic engagement initiatives; training promising journalists; and producing bold independent journalism.”
From Charleston City Paper | Read more

"Commemoration" 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

Editorial: Cryptic language, secret meetings no way to win public trust

The Charleston County School Board’s out-of-nowhere-with-no-explanation parting of ways with Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait on Wednesday raises the art of keeping the public in the dark to a whole new level. But the disdain for transparency is hardly new.
When the board met earlier in the month to consider extending its mask requirements for students, there were no speakers from the public or sign-toting protesters outside the building.
That wasn’t because the mask wars have ended. It was because few (if any) had a clue the topic was even up for a vote. The only hints on the agenda were “Receipt of Legal Advice regarding Policy ADD.”
From The Post and Courier | Read more

More officers in Columbia, Lexington County cheated on SC police training, audit says

An audit into cheating on required annual training among South Carolina police officers shows that four more Columbia officers than previously reported and at least one in Lexington County shirked their training.
The four Columbia Police Department officers cheated on training videos that updated them on laws in South Carolina, according to an audit by the state’s criminal justice academy. Without such training, officers would have to figure out on their own what new laws and updates to statutes had been added.
In total, seven Columbia Police Department officers were caught in the cheating scandal. ...
The State learned about all of the officers accused of cheating from documents obtained from the criminal justice academy under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. The academy administers the annual training and did the audit.
By David Travis Bland, The State | Read more

Parents won’t face charges after 3-year-old shoots himself in Port Royal, police say

Police will not seek charges against the parents of a 3-year-old boy in Port Royal who died after he found a gun in his home and shot himself earlier this month.
Thomas “Juice” Parker III, 3, of Port Royal, died of a gunshot wound at the Oak Hill Terrace apartments on the afternoon of Dec. 3, according to a Port Royal Police Department report. ...
The Port Royal Police Department initially refused to release information a week after the shooting, but, on Tuesday, the department released the incident and supplemental reports.
Ott cited the S.C. Law Enforcement Division and the state Child Fatality Advisory Committee, which makes all records related to juvenile death secret and exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. Ott said child fatalities in the state are investigated by this body and therefore fall under its rules.
Jay Bender, a S.C. attorney who works on public records cases, said state case law does not support hiding information on a child’s death.
“There is no right of privacy that survives a death,” Bender said.
By Sofia Sanchez and Jake Shore, The Island Packet | Read more

People & Papers

Lexington County Chronicle debuts redesign

Retired Lexington County Chronicle and Dispatch News editor Jerry Bellune and publisher MacLeod Bellune, the married couple that founded this paper in 1992, served Lexington County for decades, bringing you county-wide news published right here in the heart of Lexington. 
Too much Lexington County local news is published or broadcast from outside the county by outsiders sending their publications and broadcasts our way.  The Bellunes are to be commended for maintaining the county’s newspaper-of-record, an independent voice speaking to the issues impacting residents, and doing so from the place they call home.
The new owners of The Lexington County Chronicle, Kyle and Jack Osteen from Sumter, like the Bellunes, operate a family publishing company, not a far-away holding corporation without local roots. They are fifth-generation S.C. newspaper publishers, part of the family that started the Sumter Item in 1894 and continues to operate it.
The Osteens intend to keep Lexington County news local, soon moving the paper to new offices on Main Street in Lexington. 
We renew that commitment this week as we introduce a new look for the Chronicle (which you can see here if you subscribe to the e-edition).
Today’s issue is the first of a redesign that we will continue to adjust to serve our readers and advertisers.  
By Parks Rogers, Lexington County Chronicle | Read more

Free Times receives Knight Foundation grant to offer arts stories to readers for free

The Free Times’ arts, culture and music content will be available to readers for free starting Dec. 15 with a Knight Foundation grant.
Given through the Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Knight Foundation’s $30,000 grant will help the publication’s website reach more readers and, in turn, garner greater support for the local arts community in Columbia.
For more than three decades, Free Times has built a reputation for covering the city’s art scene in a thorough manner.
Free coverage includes previews and reviews of art and photography exhibits, profiles of bands and other music performers, news about theater productions and movies, and stories about dance events.
Free Times’ food and other non-arts coverage, as well as Post and Courier Columbia content, will remain behind a paywall, once readers hit their allotted limit of free views each month.
By David Clarey, Free Times | Read more

Newspaper editor subject of new illustrated volume

S. Robert Lathan Jr., a Chester native who now resides in Atlanta, has published a large-format illustrated volume called “By His Own Words: Robert Lathan, Jr. Renowned Editor and Gentleman.” The book’s subject was a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor of The News and Courier in Charleston and member of the Poetry Society of Charleston during the early part of the 20th century.
By Adam Parker, The Post and Courier | Read more
Jackie and Hubert Osteen Jr., to the right, with their three sons, Graham, Kyle and Jack, and a couple of their animals in Sumter circa the '70s. (Sumter Item File Photo)

From Greenville girl to wife of a newspaperman: Jackie Osteen reflects on life with Hubert D. Osteen Jr., former Item publisher/editor, 1 year after his death

Sitting at her dining room table, decorated with green and red to spread a little cheer in the room, she gave thanks for her lunch and to God for watching over her best friend.
"Lord, we're thinking about this day and how much you've been involved and what I've been through and that you're taking care of Hubert," she said, her head hung low and hands folded in her lap. "He sure is happy with you."
Hubert D. Osteen Jr. died at age 84 on Dec. 13, 2020. He was the chairman of Osteen Publishing Co., the dean of newspapermen in South Carolina and a true, reliable journalist who began his career in the family's newspaper business at age 13.
A major asset in his journey to a successful career and fun-filled life was his wife, Jackie Osteen, who said their story began in Columbia, Missouri, where the two South Carolinians' worlds collided for the first time.
While Hubert was attending the University of Missouri, where he later received his bachelor's degree in journalism, Jackie found herself in the same city but at a different school. She attended Stephens College, where she spent most of her time riding horses and taking classes.
The pair met when she overheard someone in a group of boys mention they were from South Carolina. Jackie had to know who, and the rest was history. At least through their college years.
By Shelbie Goulding, The Sumter Item | Read more

Industry Briefs

Research group examines weekly newspapers’ business model

Finding business model solutions for weekly newspapers is the top priority of 2022 for a multi-state team of journalism researchers, state newspaper association directors and journalists.
To do so, they need weekly newspaper publishers from across the nation to fill out this 5-minute survey giving input on what they think the industry's future business model should be. Those who complete the survey can enter a drawing to win a $100 gift card. Please reply to the survey by Jan. 23.
The research team is led by Teri Finneman, a journalism professor at the University of Kansas, and also includes the South Dakota Newspaper Association, the Kansas Press Association and journalism researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Minnesota and University of Tennessee.

21 findings from the Reuters Institute’s research in 2021 still relevant in 2022

2021 has been an important year for journalism. The pandemic has raised new questions about coverage and has accelerated the shift to remote and hybrid work. Companies have grappled with familiar challenges such as debunking false information and tackling the lack of diversity in terms of output, leadership and staff. More newsrooms have embraced reader revenue to fight declines in advertising and print sales.
The academic researchers of the Reuters Institute have published factsheets, reports and academic articles about many of these issues. As the year draws to a close, here are 21 findings from our research in 2021 that will be still relevant in 2022.
1. Trust in news is up in the wake of the pandemic
Data from this year’s Digital News Report shows that trust in news has grown, on average, by six points during the pandemic, with 44% of our total sample saying they trust most news most of the time. This reverses, to some extent, recent falls in average trust, bringing levels back to those of 2018. Finland remains the country with the highest levels of overall trust (65%). The US (29%) has the lowest trust levels in our survey.
From Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism | Read more

Compelling Writing by Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune,
Writing Coach

Open with a story

Compelling writers, speakers, preachers and others know to use this secret.
I once showed my Seton Hall University students this parody nuclear attack story:
Mary Jones opened her front door yesterday to retrieve the Newark News. 
She saw a giant mushroom cloud above her New Jersey neighborhood.
She wondered if it was going to rain.

Your first 100 words are more important than the next 1,000,
Compelling writers use anecdotes and stories to open many news articles.
Here is one by Wall Street Journal reporter Sarah Needleman on heating and cooling costs:
As winter approached, Dan van der Ster worried that his utility bill would skyrocket as his family of five was home bound. It hardly budged.
Bill Caldwell could find a story in almost anything including a dead insect in a crock pot. The Cricket in the Crock and 11 other compelling stories won Bill a Pulitzer Prize.
The world in December is busy with things a man might mourn over constructively.
It is far fetched to grieve coherently over the death of a creature whose name one does not even know. 
Yet I have not been able to put its ordeal out of my mind.

Rainy Lake Chronicle editor etcetera Ted Hall deserved a Pulitzer for this kind of writing but was too modest to submit entries from his perch in northern Minnesota:
If anyone ever ran a contest for the smartest dog in our village, Daisy would certainly get into the finals.
She is part Scots terrier and part poodle.
From her second floor picture window she can watch everything that happens in Finstad Lane.

As a compelling writer you can open however you like but tell a story.

Next: Share your life stories.

Writing coach Jerry Bellune is author of “The Art of Compelling Writing, Volume 1.” The $14 print edition is available to you for $10. For a personally autographed copy, send your check to him at PO Box 1500, Lexington SC 29071-1500.


By Andy Brack, Charleston City Paper

How helping your local newspaper helps democracy

Your local newspaper, particularly those published weekly, is under siege. And in the process, so is our democracy.
Newspapers are finding it harder to keep publishing every week. Since 2004, more than 1,800 local newspapers have gone dark, including several in South Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic. And since 2004, local newspapers have lost almost half of their newsroom staff, according to a detailed Pen America report, Losing the News: The Decimation of Local Journalism and the Search for Solutions.
The loss of local news outlets hurts our communities in several ways. First, not having a local news outlet frays the fabric that keeps communities together. Communities without newspapers have less information about what’s going on in their towns because there are fewer stories and connections about local sports teams, school achievements, business developments and local opportunities. In fact, the lack of a locally focused news outlet erodes forces that keep a community cohesive and give residents the sense of being connected and belonging.
“Local news also drives civic engagement,” the PEN America report says. “With its loss, studies show citizens are less likely to vote, less politically informed and less likely to run for office.”  There are also fewer watchdogs looking at what local government does, which leads to less accountability, integrity, efficiency and effectiveness. Furthermore, other studies show the lack of local news leads to the likelihood of more corruption, which can lead to increased government costs for taxpayers. Read more
By John Foust, Advertising Trainer

Would you mind showing me around?

One of the most important questions you can ask an advertising client is, “Would you mind showing me around?”
Think about it. When you have a conversation in a client’s office, you get a filtered version of that person’s business. There’s a good chance that many of his or her comments have been rehearsed, because those same questions have been asked by other salespeople. Across-the-desk conversations are fine for gathering general advertising information, but when it comes to idea generation, it’s a good strategy to leave the office and take a tour. You’ll be surprised at the things you’ll see and hear that can spark ad ideas.
During my ad agency days, I remember talking to a residential real estate developer who repeatedly told me that his company’s greatest strength was “attention to details.” When I asked for examples, he talked in vague terms about good products, good design and good craftmanship. There was nothing specific, nothing that provoked an idea for his advertising. Obviously, he was repeating the same talking points he had given dozens of times. So, I asked if he would mind showing me around the subdivision in which his crews were working. He eagerly agreed – and we made the short trip to a job site. When he was surrounded by specifics, he began to talk in specifics. He explained why his bannisters and kitchen cabinets and finish nails and hardwood floors were better than those in other houses. He showed me how they were marking certain trees for saving. He showed me why their energy efficient features exceeded the going standards for that time. Read more

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