Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Feb. 10, 2022

SCNN payouts return nearly $84,000 to member papers

S.C. Newspaper Network (SCNN), the sales arm of SCPA, mailed advertising network payments totaling $83,842 to SCPA member newspapers last week.
These totals include a quarterly QuarterPage+ Ad Network payout of $42,753, a quarterly Small Space Display (2x2/2x4/2x6) Advertising Network payout of $8,795 and the annual Classified Network payout of $32,294.
“We are so thankful for the continued support of our participating newspapers and for being able to distribute much-needed ad revenue to our papers during such a challenging time,” said Randall Savely, Co-Executive Director.
Every S.C. daily newspaper and virtually every member weekly newspaper participates in SCNN's ad networks.
If your newspaper is an SCPA member and does not participate in one of the SCNN networks, contact Randall to learn how these networks can provide revenue to your newspaper.

Last chance to submit News Contest corrections

Congratulations to the winners of our 2021 News, Associate/Individual and Collegiate Contests! All categories are now back from judging.
If you haven't already, please take a look at the winners and let us know as soon as possible if you have any corrections. We hope to start production on plaques later this week. 
Winners are not for official release in your newspaper or on your newspaper's website or social media accounts until March 12.
Secret winners, President's Cup winners and Best of the Best will be announced on March 12.
We are diligently working on Awards Presentation plans and will make an announcement early next week. More info coming soon!
The Lancaster News is in the process of moving and has two machines (typesetter and AP receiver) in the lobby that they'd like to give away as long as you can move it. If you are interested, please contact Linda O’Neil.

"Reptile in Name" 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

Blythewood’s legal expenses skyrocket as MPA lawsuit simmers

After Blythewood Mayor Bryan Franklin failed to timely turn over documents including texts and emails to MPA Strategies’ attorney Joseph Dickey that Dickey had asked for through a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request, MPA’s owner and CEO Ashley Hunter filed a lawsuit against the Town to shake those documents loose. ...
There may have been other missteps in how Town officials handled the termination of the Town’s contract with MPA Strategies in a special called town council meeting on July 20, 2021, according to Jay Bender, media attorney with the S.C. Press Association.
The only business on the agenda at that meeting was an executive session for the stated purpose to “receive legal advice relating to claims and potential claims by and against the Town and other matters covered by attorney-client privilege.”
Following that executive session, council voted to terminate MPA’s contract, an action not listed on the agenda as a reason for going into executive session. Councilman Sloan Griffin made the following motion: “With the advice of our legal counsel and with the health and harmony amongst this council and your office, I am making a motion to execute in accordance with the advice of our attorney, our 60-day opt-out clause in the MPA contract.”
Councilman Eddie Baughman seconded the motion.
Bender said the reason for the executive session was insufficiently specific.
“Since there was nothing on the agenda to indicate a decision would be made to terminate a contract, no vote could be taken on that matter unless notice was given or a vote taken to amend the agenda to act without notice to the public because of exigent circumstances,” Bender said.
By Barbara Ball, The Voice of Blythewood | Read more

Police got away with no masks at SC airport because county feared officers wouldn't work

Horry County Police officers working at Myrtle Beach International Airport — the very people responsible for upholding the rule of law — rarely wore face masks, despite federal law requiring them to do so, during dozens of visits made by reporters to the airport from June 2021 to January of this year.
Now, emails from county officials obtained through South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act show why the Horry County Police Department refused to require its officers to wear masks at the airport — and how they got away with it. The only day every police officer working inside the airport was observed wearing a mask was when half a dozen reporters, all of them with cameras, visited MYR in October for a pre-scheduled visit by members of the media. The day before, Horry police officers were observed not wearing masks.
When asked during the media visit if there was a new mask policy for police officers, Horry County spokeswoman Kelly Moore said, “Nothing has changed.”
Horry County Police, through Moore, repeatedly refused to explain why officers at the airport were not wearing masks, instead insisting officers were following the rules in accordance with CDC guidance.
By Chase Karacostas, The Sun News | Read more

Legal Briefs 

$50M verdict for Bluffton mayor among highest in history of SC defamation cases, lawyers say

The recent $50 million jury verdict in a defamation case involving Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka is raising eyebrows in South Carolina’s legal community and prompting some concern from a prominent free speech expert. The award, which was handed down Thursday as part of a lawsuit that Sulka filed against longtime government critic Skip Hoagland, is believed to be among the largest ever in a South Carolina defamation case, lawyers say. “It’s the largest one I’ve ever heard of, and I’ve been doing this since the 1970s,” said Jay Bender, an attorney with the South Carolina Press Association. ...
Bender, meanwhile, said he worried that the large verdict might encourage other public officials to file lawsuits to stifle “legitimate criticism.” But he also said he hopes that government leaders will recognize that Sulka’s case was a unique situation.
By Sam Ogozalek and Kacen Bayless, The Island Packet | Read more

People & Papers


After 50 years at The T&D, Publisher Cathy Hughes has eyes on future of newspapers

Cathy Culler Hughes began her career at The Times and Democrat on Jan. 10, 1972.
And now, 50 years later, The T&D’s publisher is still enthusiastic about her job.
“People ask me, ‘When are you going to retire?’” Hughes said.
“And I say, ‘I don’t have a calendar with that date on it yet. I don’t know. It’s still exciting and challenging for me. I don’t want to miss anything and I love to work.’”
The lifelong North resident has witnessed The Times and Democrat go from strictly a printed newspaper to being more than that – it’s now part of a 77-enterprise company that reaches across the nation through innovative digital advertising.
Hughes is grateful for a career that’s allowed her to be in the middle of an industry that’s changing and innovating.
“I’ve never been more optimistic than today, with everything that we can do and the resources behind us,” Hughes said.
By Martha Rose Brown, The Times and Democrat | Read more
Related: Publisher marks 50 years at the T&D (From The Times and Democrat)

Chase Heatherly named one of E&P Magazine's '25 Under 35'

Congrats to Chase Heatherly on being named one of Editor & Publisher Magazine's "25 Under 35." This honor recognizes the next generation of news publishing leaders. Heatherly is Chief Revenue Officer for Evening Post Newspapers’ Community Newspaper Group Division and serves as Publisher and Advertising Sales Director for The Post and Courier Columbia/Free Times. He's also a member of SCPA's Executive Committee.
What advice do you have for other young professionals in the news industry?

My first bit of advice to other young professionals in our industry is to have the courage and take the initiative to think “outside the box.” That is one of the benefits that young professionals bring to the news industry; they are not experienced in or beholden to the days when our industry was print-centric. Our industry is rapidly evolving, and we need fresh ideas to help us adapt and be successful.
My second is to consistently remind yourself of the value of our mission and work. Quality local journalism is vital to our society. We grew up in the age of social media and receiving information from all directions online. The journalism our organizations provide is unique and needed amidst this complex network of information that can so easily be found in the palm of our hands. Unfortunately, I think sometimes we lose sight of that.
How do you bridge the gap between traditional and digital journalism?
I believe in reaching readers “where they are” digitally and making the reader experience as seamless, thought-provoking and valuable as possible. Accordingly, I am a proponent of interest-based e-newsletters, quality mobile app experiences, engagement through events and using social media in a manner that genuinely interests and engages our audiences. I believe these four will continue to bridge the gap and allow us to make inroads in the digital space.
By Editor & Publisher | Read more

Justin Madden takes new post in California

Justin Madden has left The Sun News to join The Guardian as deputy west coast editor. He will be based in Los Angeles. 
Madden has served as senior editor/general manager of The Sun News since Sept. 2020.
He previously worked as a desk editor for The Associated Press in New York, reporter at the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader. He later worked in the Cleveland, Ohio, area and as a digital content producer at WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Ohio.

Colin Demarest takes new job in DC; honored with House Resolution

Aiken Standard reporter Colin Demarest was honored last week at the Statehouse for excellence in reporting and appreciation as he prepares to take up a new post in Washington, D.C. 
Demarest's new assignment is with C4ISRNET, a publication covering emerging issues and trends in global military transformation and centric warfare technologies. Specifically, he will be covering defense networks and IT. 
He has served as a writer and photographer for the Aiken Standard since Nov. 2017, where he has covered Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration, Savannah River Site and local government beats.
He is a 2016 graduate of the University of South Carolina. Before joining the Aiken Standard, Demarest worked as a features writer for The Berkshire View. 
The House Resolution was sponsored by Reps. Taylor, Blackwell, Clyburn, Hixon and Oremus.

Kukulich joins The Island News as reporter

Journalist Tony Kukulich has joined The Island News staff as a reporter.
Kukulich and his wife, Jennifer, moved to Beaufort County in July from the Bay Area in California, where he spent six years as a photographer and reporter for the Brentwood Press, a weekly newspaper with a circulation of about 40,000 prior to the COVID 19 pandemic. For about half that time, Kukulich was a part-time stringer until he was hired as a full-time staff photographer and reporter in early 2018.
“My wife and I are very glad to be here in the Lowcountry, and I’m looking forward to working for The Island News,” Kukulich said. “Local papers and local reporting are critical to the life of a community and I’m glad to be a part of that.”
As a reporter, Kukulich covered breaking news, public safety, environmental issues, and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as general assignments and features. As a photographer, Kukulich covered a broad range of assignments from breaking news to sports to advertising shoots.
From The Island News | Read more

'Uncovered' receives special citation in national investigative journalism award

The Post and Courier and 17 community news partners received a special citation in the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting. 
The annual award, one of the foremost honors in investigative journalism, has been presented by the USC Annenberg School of Journalism for 33 years. More than 88 entries were recieved in this year's competition. 
The judges gave special citation to the Charleston Post and Courier for its series on rising local corruption in South Carolina, partly a consequence of the decline in local news sources and the reduced number of watchdogs holding local officials accountable. Teaming up with other newspapers throughout the state, the Post and Courier and its partners found that government officials from state legislators to city council members to town administrators engaged in unethical behavior — including going on taxpayer-funded junkets and outright stealing from government coffers — while no one was looking. Read more

Aiken community gives over $8,000 to public schools through Community Christmas Card

The Aiken Standard presented the Community Christmas Card donation check for $8,103 to Aiken County Public School District on Jan. 25 at the school board meeting.
The money comes from donations from Aiken Standard readers. The names of those who donated were in the Christmas Day issue of the newspaper.
This year’s donation is the highest amount collected since the start of the Community Christmas Card, said Mike Rosier, director of communications for Aiken County Public School District.
The funds will go to assisting students with clothes, food, school supplies and other items.
“For the fifth year, we put out the call to readers of the Aiken Standard and The Star of North Augusta to contribute to an easily-accessible fund for educators,” said Rhonda Overbey, publisher of the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. “We call it the Community Christmas Card to Aiken County Students. ... Thank you to the more than 400 individual donors who contributed ... You have donated a total of $27,899 to the Community Christmas Card fund since 2017.”
By Stephanie Hill, Aiken Standard | Read more

Industry Briefs

Senate subcommittee hears debate on Journalism Competition and Preservation Act

Editor's Note: The U.S. Senate's Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee held a hearing last week  on the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which is designed to protect the value of local news content. You can read the full text of the Senate and House versions and learn more about how the legislation would work at News Media Alliance.Thanks to all SCPA members who have written letters of support.
By legislative measures, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) has a rather narrow goal — to give news publishers a finite time period to collectively bargain with the two largest platforms, Google and Meta/Facebook — without the threat of antitrust prosecution — to reach an agreement about content usage and fair compensation. At the end of that period, if the parties have not reached an agreement on a shared revenue model, arbitrators would impose a fair-market agreement. It is a legislative remedy to a problem that will otherwise persist without it, and it’s as simple as creating an environment by which all the parties can begin to make their arguments and negotiate the terms of their future relationships.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the JCPA in March 2021 with Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), and she co-chaired the February 2, 2022 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition, Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, a subcommittee she chairs — to debate the JCPA before it’s “marked up.” Klobuchar opened the proceedings by invoking the memory of her father, a newspaper reporter. She estimated that he'd written more than 8,400 columns — 12 million words — over his long career. He interviewed American icons like Ronald Reagan, Ginger Rogers and Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka.
Senator Klobuchar lauded local news reporters who cover stories like catastrophic floods, city councils, local sports, schools and local community events. “All this brings the community together in different ways. … What our local news does is, oftentimes, tell a story of what my Dad called 'ordinary people doing extraordinary things.' And as I said, this work not only connects communities it also helps policymakers better understand how issues are impacting their constituents and helps them to figure out what needs to be done. That's why it's critical that we ensure that local news can not only survive but thrive — particularly as outlets face off with some of the biggest companies the world has ever known. Local news is facing a crisis in the United States," she asserted.
By Gretchen Peck for Editor & Publisher | Read more

Related Editorial: Big Tech is harming journalism. It’s time to level the playing field. (From The Post and Courier)

Postal reform passes the House advancing a decade of work by NNA

Editor's Note: Thanks to all SCPA members who signed on to NNA's postal reform letter last week.
The House of Representatives today passed the Postal Service Reform Act, HR 3076, by a vote of 342 to 92, sending a landmark postal bill to the Senate for consideration.
The bill would accomplish several goals pursued by National Newspaper Association since debate on saving universal mail service commenced in recent years. NNA was instrumental in the passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, but that legislation picked up a late amendment that saddled the Postal Service with a $5 billion annual obligation to prefund retiree health costs for 75 years.
The prefunding requirement was met for only two years and then an ailing USPS transferred the obligation to debt on its balance sheet. The rising debt alarmed the Postal Regulatory Commission, which gave USPS authority to pass along substantial postage increases. In 2023, newspapers can expect two increases totaling nearly 10% in higher costs.
The PSRA would roll back the debt, require USPS to lower its retiree health costs by shifting about a quarter of its retirees into Medicare, for which Medicare taxes have already been paid.
Other important provisions are in the bill, including a mandate for continued 6-day mail service. It also would allow community newspapers to increase their uses of the mail by sending sample copies to potential new subscribers.
By Lynne Lance, National Newspaper Association | Read more

What local media need to know to win with social media in 2022

... Through coaching calls with engagement managers, social media editors and people in similar roles, I’ve compiled a few overarching tips and trends that have evolved into staples of strategy for local news publishers.
Know the goal
When using any platform, it’s important to answer the question, “What are we trying to do here?” Stakeholders often do not have a clear expectation for the desired outcomes with social strategy — in part because the landscape and sheer number of platforms have shifted and grown in recent years, and it can be difficult to benchmark a moving target.
For many publishers I work with, there are three main reasons for publishing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and other interactive platforms:
  • Traffic referrals back to owned-and-operated website(s)
  • Audience extension, growth, and brand awareness
  • Engagement through building trust, affinity and loyal habits with news consumers
There is always a place for experimentation into new formats and platforms, and I advise most publishers to hold that to about 10% of all time and resources spent on social media, keeping in mind alignment with the company’s overall goals.
By Emilie Lutostanski, Local News Resource Center | Read more



Longtime T&D pressroom foreman Charles Garrick dies

Charles W. Garrick, 82, of Orangeburg, passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family on Feb. 4, 2022. He was the husband of Priscilla Garrick.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Dukes-Harley Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery. ...
Charles was the son of the late Clyde and Louise Garrick. He was a veteran of the National Guard and attended Columbia Road Church of God. Charles was best known as the pressroom foreman at The Times and Democrat newspaper for 36 years. He loved being a "Pop" to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He enjoyed traveling with his wife, watching Gamecock football, and fishing with his son, Mark, and great-grandson, Hayden. Charles also enjoyed riding his tractor and tending to his garden. Read more

Former Island Packet journalist Gwen Czura dies

Gwen Maren Richards Czura was born in Redwood City, California, on December 12, 1960, and passed away peacefully on January 31, 2022, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She attended Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico, where she was the runner-up in the state spelling bee of New Mexico at 11 years old. She then attended Oxford High School in Oxford, England. Gwen graduated from Stanford University in three years with honors and majored in international relations. Gwen received her Master's degree at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She received the Rotary Club scholarship to attend the University of Capetown in South Africa. She also achieved a perfect score on the Law School Aptitude Test (LSAT). During her extensive living abroad, Gwen learned to speak four languages fluently.
Gwen was a journalist at The Island Packet newspaper on Hilton Head Island, SC, for many years, where she enjoyed working alongside her fellow colleagues, David Lauderdale and the editor, Fran Smith. David remembers Gwen as "a sweet spirit who was a hard-working, valuable member of our newsroom."
Gwen also served for a short time as editor of Hilton Head Monthly Magazine under publisher Lori Goodrich Cribb, who has fond memories of Gwen, noting: "She was a fabulous writer and added so much great content to our magazine. Her smile was infectious, and she was an extremely kind person, as well as a wonderful mother who loved her children so much." Read more

Compelling Writing by Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune

Share your life stories

Do you have favorite writers? We do, too.
If you write columns, essays, observations from your own life or just a letter to Mom, you might use a model from best-selling author Robert Fulghum.
He plucked this tidbit out of a grocery store visit.
The virus surge prompts me to wear a mask again when inside a busy store. 
Most people go mask-less.
A little boy approached me and barked:
“Mister, how come you’re wearing a mask?”
I crouched down and whispered:
“I am a professional bank robber – we always wear masks.”
He was unfazed.
“But this is not a bank – it’s a grocery store.”
“Yes, but bank robbers need groceries, too.”
He went off down the aisle to report to his parents. 
They laughed and waved.

You get the idea. Life is full of such moments.
This will give you an idea of how you can share your life experience with others in a column, a letter, a blog, even a daily journal entry.
Not only will your friends, family and readers enjoy it.
It will tune up your own Big Eyes and Big Ears to such precious moments in your own life.

Next: How to interview strangers
If you don’t know what Big Eyes and Big Ears are, dip into my book, “The Art of Compelling Writing, Volume 1,” available on Amazon. You can reach writing coach and editor Jerry Bellune at

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