Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Jan. 20, 2022
By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications

2021 was another record year in U.S. Press Freedom, but not in a good way 

The language of the First Amendment regarding freedom of speech and the press seems pretty absolute: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
But the reality has always been more complicated. In the early years of the republic—only a decade after the adoption of the First Amendment—a federal law allowed prosecutions for criticism of President John Adams and his government. During the Civil War, the government exercised control over the telegraph lines in an attempt to limit reporting of Union losses and of dissention in Congress and in various regions. And while government interference with the media has become rare since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Pentagon Papers case in 1971, a prior restraint was issued against The New York Times in December 2021, and remains in force (see below). 
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker has tracked incidents of all types infringing on press freedom since its start in 2017. In 2021, the Tracker recorded a large number of incidents, including the following:
  • 142 assaults of journalists, including at least 16 assaults associated with the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021;
  • 59 arrests and detainments of journalists; and
  • 36 incidents in which journalists’ equipment was intentionally damaged.
None of these incidents were in South Carolina.
The 2021 totals are actually less than in 2020, during which the tracker recorded 358 assaults, 123 arrests/detainments and 87 incidents of damaged equipment. Many of these occurred at protests and rallies stemming from the murder of George Floyd or the 2020 election. (A reporter was assaulted in Charleston that year, but it apparently had nothing to do with his job.)
But the 2021 numbers in each of these categories is higher than all prior years of the tracker’s data combined. Read more

Do you bind issues of your newspaper?

An SCPA member publisher is looking for an individual or company to bind issues of his newspaper.
The newspaper has bound every issue in book format since 1963 and hopes to continue, but his vendor has left the industry. 
If you have a book binder recommendation or info to share on binding newspapers, please reach out to SCPA.

"Remote Learning" 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

Will 2022 be the year for ethics reform in South Carolina?

Months after a newspaper investigation exposed how dozens of political officials across South Carolina get away with refusing to pay their ethics fines, state lawmakers appear to be taking action.
A Senate committee will soon debate a proposal to ban such officials from seeking reelection unless they pay their penalties, an effort to make politicians take the state’s ethics laws — and the watchdog that enforces them — more seriously.
That proposal, S. 188, is one of more than two dozen good-government bills that lawmakers could consider as they begin their 2022 session at the Statehouse this month.
Several, like S. 188, address problems that were exposed over the past year by Uncovered, an investigative partnership between The Post and Courier and 17 local newspapers that seeks to expose corruption, conflicts of interest, abuses of power and holes in oversight in every corner of the state.
By Avery G. Wilks, The Post and Courier | Read more

People & Papers

Greenville News, Independent Mail and Herald-Journal to cease home delivery on Saturdays starting in March; e-Edition available still

Responding to continued rapid shifts toward digital news consumption, the Greenville News is announcing a change in print delivery frequency beginning March 19, 2022.
The Greenville News will cease home delivery on Saturdays but instead will provide subscribers with a full digital replica of the newspaper that day, filled with local news, advertising and features such as comics and puzzles. The new model means subscribers will get newspapers delivered to their home six days a week, with a digital newspaper available every day.
“Our focus on local news has not changed, but we’re adapting as news consumers’ habits continue to evolve. The Greenville News was once a daily newspaper, but now we’ve transformed to include a digital site, mobile app, social media platforms, multimedia and more,” said executive editor Steven Bruss.
“Our print newspapers remain a vital and important part of our strategy, but we are making this change in response to subscriber and advertising trends.”
The Saturday digital replica, or e-Edition, will have the same look and news as the printed newspaper does now. The digital format also has some additional features, such as the ability to clip and share articles with friends and family and adjust the text size.
By Steve Bruss, Greenville News | Read more
Sapakoff

Sapakoff named SC Sportswriter of the Year

Sports Columnist Gene Sapakoff of The Post and Courier has been named South Carolina Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.
This is the eighth time Sapakoff has won this honor, his first being in 1998.
Sapakoff, a Colorado State graduate, has worked at The Post and Courier since 1986. He originally worked as a beat reporter until 1992 when he became a columnist. He previously worked at the Santa Monica (Calif.) Outlook.
The NSMA will honor its winners during the organization’s 62nd awards weekend and national convention, scheduled for June 25-27, in Winston-Salem, N.C. Read more
Devon

Parade Media announces retirement of newspaper relations executive and successor appointment

Parade Media Senior Vice President of Newspaper Relations Kevin Craig announced last week the retirement of the company’s vice president of newspaper relations, Scot Dalquist, effective April 1. Mike Devon, a 30-plus-year veteran of the newsprint industry, was named to succeed Dalquist in the role. ...
Devon, who will assist in serving Parade Media’s more than 1,100+ newspaper partners across the country, also will be responsible for all circulation, creative marketing, promotion and customer care. 
“Mike’s experience in facilitating long-term business relationships with clients and industry contacts is a perfect complement to our team,” said Craig. “His leadership and impressive background will be immensely valuable to both Parade Media and our newspaper partners as we continue to grow our business. I’m excited for the company’s future with Mike being a key member of the team.”
Previously, Devon served as Vice President of Sales at Resolute, a producer of newsprint and commercial papers, where he spent over 30 years in various high-level sales manager positions. He and his wife Kathy reside in Greenville.
From Parade Media | Read more

Industry Briefs

Communicating complexity in an age of polarization

It can be difficult for fact-based evidence to gain traction across a social media landscape fraught with polarization, where it’s easy for people to retreat to information bubbles that confirm their biases: A landscape where some platforms prohibit misinformation — at least in their guidelines — while others don’t. Where algorithms carry gender and racial biases. Where users share news articles without reading them. And where news stories that go viral may lack nuance, or convey misinformation from credentialed experts.
There is a constant conflict, for journalists and public officials alike, between circulating information based on the best evidence and doing so in a way that is comprehensive yet easy for people to understand and share with colleagues, friends and family.
This is especially true in a communications environment where shareability, not accuracy, means profitability for social media companies. It’s important for people involved in disseminating truth to understand the challenges they’re up against.
Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications at the United Nations, discussed the challenges of public communication in a polarized world during a Dec. 10, 2021 talk hosted by the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School.
The U.N. Department of Global Communications, which Fleming heads, disseminates written and visual stories on the organization’s peacekeeping, humanitarian, climate change and other efforts in 80 languages via communications operations in 60 countries.
Here are three tips from Fleming’s recent talk that journalists and other public communicators can use to relay complex information to mass audiences.
By Clark Merrefield, The Journalist's Resource | Read more

The Arena Group announces plans to acquire AMG/Parade

The Arena Group announced earlier this week it has signed an agreement to acquire AMG/Parade, a premium multimedia content company with lifestyle, celebrity, food, health & wellness, sports, and outdoor verticals. Its brands include Parade Media, which reaches more than 54 million domestic consumers each month in digital and print, along with AMG/Parade Sports, Relish, Spry Living and other lifestyle and outdoor properties. The closing of the acquisition is subject to completion of due diligence and execution of formal transaction documents.
"AMG/Parade’s properties bring massive reach across print, digital and video that will be the cornerstone of The Arena Group’s new Lifestyle vertical and further bolster our Sports offerings,” said Ross Levinsohn, CEO of The Arena Group. “Parade has been an iconic media brand for 80 years – I read it as a kid in my Sunday paper and always anticipated the annual Parade High School All-American Teams. Today, through innovation and perseverance, AMG/Parade continues to deliver robust content experiences to millions of consumers every day across multiple platforms. Their content and partnerships with newspaper publishers around the country speaks to the trust and value in their brands.” Read more

Obituaries

Knapek

Former Post and Courier, Sun News executive Kurt Knapek dies

Kurt Christopher Knapek, 51, embraced by the love of his precious friends and family, left this world for a greater place where he is fully healed.
A native of Beaver, Pennsylvania, Kurt graduated from Penn State in 1992 with a Bachelor's in Communication and Journalism. After moving to various places around the country gaining experience; Kurt moved to South Carolina in 2006. There he joined The Sun News as a reporter and later became the Online Media General Manager. Kurt's most recent career was as Vice President of Operations and Digital Media with The Post and Courier from January 2013 to June 2021.
Outside of work, Kurt was a hands-on father. He loved supporting his three sons in their many school activities. Kurt was a loving and devoted husband who often referred to his wife as, "my smokin' hot wife." He enjoyed yard sales, playing Pokémon, relaxing to music, and daily walks.
Kurt left a lasting impression on anyone who had the privilege to know him. He spread joy through his infectious laughter and kindness. He was loyal and protective of those he loved. He was generous to everyone. Kurt Knapek's legacy is forever embedded in his ability to live and love big. Read more
Pyatt

Rudy Pyatt, first Black reporter at a major Charleston newspaper, dies at 88

Rudy Pyatt, the first Black reporter hired by a major newspaper in Charleston who went on to a distinguished career in journalism, died Jan. 7 in a Maryland hospital. He was 88.
A graduate of Burke High School and S.C. State College, Pyatt served in the Army and then tried to find a journalism job, but racism and discrimination blocked his way. He taught English and journalism at C.A. Brown High School, where he also advised students working on the school newspaper.
The students’ work won some awards, garnering attention from editors at The News and Courier.
In the summer of 1964, he joined the Charleston paper on a part-time basis. After his summer stint, editors offered him a full-time job.
He was among an early cadre of young Black reporters breaking barriers in the South. His work on the police beat earned him a reputation for fairness and thoroughness, according to an account published in the book “Pages of History: 200 Years of The Post and Courier.” Colleagues remained aloof at first, but the sportswriters were welcoming and helped Pyatt settle in. Pyatt was a sports enthusiast who had been a track star in college.
In 1968, the newspaper expanded its coverage of national politics and sent Pyatt to Washington, D.C. Not long after, he left the paper and joined the public TV station WETA, according to a Jan. 13 obituary in The Washington Post. He went on to work for the D.C. public schools and as a political consultant before returning to journalism.
First he worked at The Washington Star, then The Washington Post starting in 1981. At The Post, Pyatt covered business, real estate, economic development and local government, contributing a business column during the last phase of his career there.
At the start of his career, he found himself straddling two eras, that of Jim Crow and that of a newly desegregated America. At the end of his career, he was once again caught between eras, taking note in his columns of global economic trends that impacted local businesses.
“The old establishment (a close-knit, conservative fraternity) has given way to a new order of corporate princes and princesses, wielding power and influence and flaunting newfound wealth from the headquarters of Internet and telecommunications companies, highly paid consultants’ offices, and, yes, law firms and real estate developers,” he wrote in his farewell column for The Post, quoted in the newspaper’s obituary.
By Adam Parker, The Post and Courier | Read more

Columns

By Jim Pumarlo, Newspaper Consultant

Are you ready for the new year? Take inventory, prepare calendar

It’s standard procedure at many newspapers to chronicle headlines in year-end editions. The continuing social and economic impact of COVID-19 is certain to capture a lion’s share of attention in most communities. Other noteworthy events can include the passing of key individuals; the success, or maybe failure, of a civic project; milestones in sports achievements, election results or key community benchmarks.
That begs the question: Are you ready for 2022? All newsrooms should prepare an editorial calendar and review it regularly. Yes, we are already weeks into the new year, but it’s not too late to develop a plan of action.
Many of the things you cover spanning hard news and features are the same year after year. Use the opportunity to explore new ideas and approaches for coverage. When is the last time you’ve really examined reports on local government budgets, a community’s citizen of the year or United Way kickoff, the start of another school year or high school sports season, a civic fundraiser, the months-long election season?
Think across the spectrum of your community as you prepare a calendar. Here are three areas. Read more

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