Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Jan. 21, 2021

S.C. newspapers cover President Biden's inauguration

View our Facebook gallery of how S.C. newspapers covered the inauguration. If you have a front page you'd like to include, please share it with us. Also, here's a front page gallery from Poynter with pages from the last 100 years of presidential inaugurations.

Papers cautioned against use of 'Super Bowl' in ads

The Super Bowl is a couple weeks away which means SCPA member newspapers should be cautious about using NFL trademarked words and logos in advertising promotions.
The NFL has more than 100 federally registered trademarks, including "Super Bowl" and "Super Sunday." The Super Bowl logo, NFL shield and team names and designs are also trademarked. These words and designs cannot be used in newspaper ads or for any other commercial purposes without the NFL's permission.
While you are OK using vague terms like "the big game," any ads that suggest a connection to the Super Bowl should be called back.
It is acceptable to use these words and graphics in news stories about the Super Bowl.
If you have any specific questions about the legality of an ad or promotion and you'd like an SCPA attorney to review it before publication, contact SCPA.

Contest results coming next month

2020 News Contest entries are currently out for judging and we hope to announce winners for proofing by Feb. 12.
We'll keep you updated as we get closer to the judging deadline.
We are currently working with the convention hotel to move our Annual Meeting & Awards Presentation from March to the fall when we are hopeful that it will be safe to meet in person.
While the actual awards presentation will not take place until the SCPA Annual Meeting, winners will be for release in March. 
Member Spotlight:  Don Worthington
Don with PJ, the straw-boss scarecrow that the newspaper staff created to cover fall events. He even has his own byline "By PJ" and his next assignment is to cover the scarecrows as they arrive downtown. Don's Santa Hat has been a personal trademark for years. It comes out in December for all community events and meetings.
What do you like best about your job?
When I am out in one of our communities and I hear someone shout, “Hey Mr. Newspaperman!” It’s an instant connection and the highest accolade I’ve received. It means they read the Progressive Journal, read the physical newspaper.

What is your proudest career moment?
President Ronald Reagan celebrating the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team’s first NCAA title. My mom, a White House volunteer, was among the crowd on the lawn. Somehow, she found herself talking with head coach Pat Head Summitt. Pat explained how important this championship was to her, her team, the sport and women in general. In a moment that spiked the parental pride meter, my mom responded, “I know, my son covered the game.”

What is the most exciting thing going on at your paper?
The next edition. I never know what it will be. In decades of daily and weekly journalism at papers across six states and the District of Columbia, I’ve covered a wide variety of stories.
But it wasn’t until I came to Pageland that I reported on multiple earthquakes – in Pageland – an Amtrak passenger train crash, and an avian pandemic, just to name a few firsts.

What is your favorite SCPA member service?
When things are crazy in Chesterfield County and the FOIA might as well stand for foreign object…. there is someone at the SCPA office I can call for advice, or at least to find a sympathetic shoulder.

COVID-19 adjustments:
One, It has brought us closer to our readers and businesses.
Two, we have turned our Facebook page into a community hub, a place where we share events from a variety of community sources and others’ Facebook pages. The response to our Facebook coverage has been amazing. Pageland has 5,000 residents. Sometimes our Facebook posts get 20,000 hits.
Three, don’t be timid. Grab your notebook, put on a mask, wash your hands and get out among your communities. It’s amazing how much people want to share when you ask.

Places to visit locally:
Without a doubt our world famous WATERMELON FESTIVAL, the Pageland’s Ball Theatre, one of the smallest first-run movie houses in the country – started by baseball great Van Lingle Mungo – the Dizzy Gillespie Jazz Festival in Cheraw, and produce stands with the best homegrown offerings.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
My famous classmates. I went to school with Mr. Belding, Dennis Haskins, at UT-Chattanooga. I may have been his first cameraman, filming a production of Three Penny Opera.
Or,
Musicians in the know, who have heard me play sax and played with President Clinton, told me, “you can smoke Bill.”
Or, 
In Virginia, I am “officially” the Honorable Don Worthington. With three write-in votes (mine and two newspaper colleagues), I was elected Soil and Water Conservation Commissioner for the City of Winchester. I beat two incumbents and a dog, served my term, and learned a great lesson about “no comment.”  

Outside of work, there is time outside of work?
I am a frustrated real estate novelist to borrow a line from Billy Joel. 
Already have the title for one of my books, “A Story for Every Occasion,” about lessons learned in this business.
The line is from a student in the Chips Quinn minority mentoring program.
After listening to me and a few other veteran writers swap stories, she said she wanted to be like us, “writers with a story for every occasion.”

Other things to add:
My tagline is I’ve interviewed a king, a queen, presidents and an Indian chief.
The king? Hank Aaron, baseball’s King of Swat. I interviewed Hammerin’ Hank from the backseat of a Natchitoches Parish sheriff deputy’s car at speeds of 100 mph as we raced to get to a banquet on time.
The queen? Queen Noir of Jordan as she visited with children in Fayetteville, N.C. Did you know that queens wear sneakers and say things like “oh, that’s keen,” or “neat-o.”
The presidents? You can’t work in South Carolina without interviewing many who want to hold that office. I had one-on-one interviews with Obama and Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail in North Carolina, and a sit down with Gerald Ford long after he left office, about the time Bill Clinton was in trouble. 
I asked Ford what advice he would give the nation, given he had led the nation through a previous presidential crisis. 
He declined to answer – but answered the question a week later when a New York Times reporter asked it.
The Indian Chief? Bill Harris of the Catawba Nation.

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

FOI Briefs

The Greenville News sues Greenville County Schools over personnel records

The Greenville News is suing Greenville County Schools over its refusal to release the personnel records of four current or former employees of the school district.
The lawsuit alleges that the school district violated South Carolina's Freedom of Information Act in denying the newspaper's records requests.
Tim Waller, a spokesman for Greenville County Schools, said the district had not been served with the lawsuit as of [last] Wednesday morning.
"We strive for transparency and full compliance with the Freedom of Information Act while also protecting our employees' personnel records from broad requests that go beyond the privacy protections they are afforded under the law."
In a four-month period in 2020, three reporters at The Greenville News submitted separate FOIA requests for the personnel files of the following current or former school district employees: Brian Garrison, Eric Cummings, Scott Erwin and Jeff Maness. Each of those records requests was denied.
By Nikie Mayo, Greenville News | Read more

It’s illegal for SC officials to hide public records. But if they’re lost, you can’t sue.

The S.C. Court of Appeals ruled last week that a citizen can’t sue the government for failing to save documents that the public has a right to access.
The case came from Newberry County, where attorney Desa Ballard represented a former part-time chief magistrate. To build her case, Ballard requested copies of about five years’ worth of the county administrator’s texts and emails in December 2014.
It’s the straightforward sort of request that counties field every day, with documents considered public under state law. But there was a problem not fully accounted for by the Public Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act: The administrator’s laptop had crashed a few months before, erasing much of the information Ballard needed. The county didn’t have a central email server or backup system and hadn’t archived the text messages.
By Sara Coello, The Post and Courier | Read more

Commentary: Body cameras are supposed to strengthen police officers’ accountability, not shield them from it

A state law mandating body cameras after Walter Scott’s murder by the North Charleston Police Department was sold to the public as a tool to strengthen police accountability and community trust. In the five years since, law enforcement has turned it into a tool to shield law enforcement officers from accountability.
The Charleston Police Department is no exception. On Dec. 29, Charleston Police Department (CPD) officers shot and killed Jason Cooper, a Black man. Despite claims that the CPD would be transparent around the investigation, calls on CPD to release its officers’ body camera footage have been denied.
While we don’t yet know what happened at the scene that morning, we do know that Black people are stopped, arrested, convicted and incarcerated at staggering rates compared to white people — and they are more likely to be harassed, shot and killed by the police. Police body cameras cannot fix a policing system that was designed, since the beginning, to oppress Black communities.
But, if CPD and our city leaders are going to call body cameras a police accountability tool, then they must make them an accountability tool guided by strong policies.
CPD’s decision to deny access to the body camera footage is deeply troubling, but unfortunately it’s consistent with other law enforcement agencies in South Carolina. As Greenville County Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown stated in 2019: “It’s our body camera. It’s our decision whether or not to give them out.”
By Frank Knaack and Joshua Parks, Special to Charleston City Paper | Read more

Will Trump’s mishandling of records leave a hole in history?

The public won’t see President Donald Trump’s White House records for years, but there’s growing concern the collection won’t be complete, leaving a hole in the history of one of America’s most tumultuous presidencies.
Trump has been cavalier about the law requiring that records be preserved. He has a habit of ripping up documents before tossing them out, forcing White House records workers to spend hours taping them back together.
“They told him to stop doing it. He didn’t want to stop,” said Solomon Lartey, a former White House records analyst. He said the first document he taped back together was a letter from Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., about a government shutdown.
By Deb Riechmann, Associated Press | Read more

People & Papers

Reporter Shakailah Heard joins the North Augusta Star and Aiken Standard

This week, the Aiken Standard and the North Augusta Star welcomed recent Georgia Southern University graduate Shakailah Heard to the reporting staff.
Heard grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and other places as a military child. She said she has always been a curious person, leading to her interest in journalism.
“I’m a nosy person,” Heard joked. “I always like to know what’s going on.”
Heard will mostly focus on coverage of topics affecting the North Augusta area.
At Georgia Southern University, Heard studied multimedia journalism, learning the ins and outs of writing, photography, videography and more. She spent her last semester working for her student newspaper, The George-Anne, covering the diversity and inclusion beat.
By Blakeley Bartee, Aiken Standard | Read more

S.C. native Washington Post reporter gets new beat

S.C. native Josh Dawsey is leaving the Washington Post's White House beat for a new role on the Post's national political investigations team. 
The announcement states that, "Josh, whose instincts for finding earth-shaking news are unparalleled, regularly rattled Washington with revelations such as Trump’s reference to certain African and Caribbean nations as 'shithole countries.' On the investigations team, Josh will focus, among other things, on the forces and figures shaping the post-Trump Republican Party."
Dawsey got his start in journalism at The Aynor Journal, where he was named editor at age 17. He went on to study journalism at the University of South Carolina, where he served as editor of The Daily Gamecock.  While at UofSC, he was named SCPA’s Collegiate Journalist of the Year and an SCPA Foundation intern at The Island Packet. Dawsey has worked at The Washington Post since 2017. He previously worked for Politico and The Wall Street Journal.

Industry Briefs

DOL ruling allows for reporters, photographers to be treated as salaried employees

Earlier this week, the United States Department of Labor published four opinion letters in response to requests for an opinion regarding an interpretation of various aspects of federal wage and hour laws. One of those requests, Opinion Letter FLSA2021-7, on behalf of unnamed members of the America’s Newspapers membership, requested the DOL provide guidance as to whether local small-town and community news source journalists are creative professionals under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and thus, exempt from the FLSA’s obligations to pay overtime as a result of federal law.
The FLSA’s creative professional exemption allows newspapers to pay reporters and photographers a salary as opposed to hourly if their primary duty requires “invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.” 29 C.F.R. 541.300(a)(2)(ii).
The DOL recognized that in light of technological advancements that have changed the way in which news is gathered, packaged and reported, including a focus on “context-based” reporting rather than the “just the facts” approach of decades past, prioritizing substantive analysis and commentary in reported stories, has changed the nature of the written and analytic component of journalism for print, broadcast and digital media employers.
From America's Newspapers | Read more

UofSC J-School hosts virtual career fair on Feb. 17

SCPA members are invited to participate in the UofSC College of Information and Communications Virtual Career Fair, which will be held Feb. 17. There is no charge to participate and the college expects at least 100 students to attend. 
The event will be held using CareerEco, a platform that allows employers and students to engage over group and 1-1 chat, with video and screen sharing capabilities.
While the event will be live from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., employers can set their own schedule during this window. You do not need to be logged on the entire time.  
Here are more details and info on how to register.

Gannett aiming for 10 million digital subscriptions within five years, CEO says

Gannett, the owner of USA TODAY and more than 260 other daily publications, is aiming for 10 million paid digital subscriptions within five years, CEO Mike Reed said Thursday.
The company surpassed the 1 million mark in the third quarter of 2020, marking a 31% increase from the same period in 2019. Online subscriptions are viewed as critical to the success of media companies in the digital age as newspaper dollars decline.
The goal comes as the company is in the midst of transitioning to what Reed has called a subscription-led business model. Historically, Gannett has relied mostly on revenue from advertising, print subscriptions and marketing services.
Reed noted that the New York Times has also set a goal of 10 million paid digital subscriptions. He said Gannett's roster of local publications will go a long way toward achieving the goal.
By Nathan Bomey, USA Today | Read more

Ethical practices are changing as a result of the increase in threats to journalists

The increasing acts of violence against journalists are causing many newsrooms to rethink some ethical best practices. These evolving standards go beyond the recommendations for covering demonstrations and political violence.
Here’s a run-down of ways to balance the need to document the first draft of history with the need to keep journalists safe.
By Kelly McBride, Poynter | Read more

UofSC faculty work to counteract the emotional power of misinformation

“Don't believe the news.”
“I don’t trust the media.”
“I’m not going to look up anything. I have my opinion which is just as valid as yours.”
“How is fact checking possible within 48 hours of an incident? We believe what we believe.”
These are actual comments posted on social media in the days following the Jan. 6 insurrection in which supporters of President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol. They illustrate the gargantuan task of combatting mis- and disinformation that is circulated, consumed and believed by the public.
One of the challenges is that people connect and react emotionally to questionable information that aligns with their opinions.
“As educators we can give people all of the skills, tips and techniques in the world, but it's going to come down to how they feel about the person or the source. That is going to have a really huge influence on whether or not they believe that information,” says professor Nicole Cooke, the Augusta Baker Chair in the School of Information Science.
Cooke and her colleagues in the College of Information and Communications have conducted research to help improve media literacy, to teach people how to evaluate quality sources and to recognize clues for misinformation.
By Carol JG Ward, UofSC | Read more

Upland Software acquires Second Street

Upland Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: UPLD), a leader in cloud-based tools for digital transformation, has acquired Second Street Media, Inc., a leading audience engagement cloud software platform. Adding Second Street to Upland’s product portfolio will provide Upland’s customers the power to build promotions and email campaigns that grow revenue, customer databases, and consumer engagement. ...
With Second Street, businesses can quickly create powerful cross-channel, opt-in customer experiences with a catalog of 700 template and customizable sweepstakes, contests, brackets, quizzes, and more. The results are better engagement, revenue growth, and smart audience development to improve conversion and provide rich segmentation for future campaigns. Upland will integrate Second Street into its Customer Experience Management product suite, which includes email and mobile messaging solutions. Read more

SPJ asks Biden to end restrictions on agency personnel speaking to press

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) in a letter Tuesday asked President-elect Joe Biden to undo rules that constrain which federal agency personnel can speak directly to reporters, writing that it has amounted to “extreme censorship.”
In the letter, SPJ President Matthew T. Hall wrote that the rules had been “exacerbated under the Trump administration” and “literally threaten people’s lives.”
“SPJ believes the nation is suffering the consequences of these controls during the COVID-19 pandemic. Agencies that the public count on, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, have stymied reporting for years,” the letter states. “Often, the press is not allowed in their facilities and reporters are prohibited from contacting staff without the authorities’ oversight; in reality, reporters are often not allowed to speak to anyone.”
By Zack Budryk, The Hill | Read more

Obituaries

Retired Winthrop journalism professor Bill Fisher dies

William A. Fisher, 97, passed away Jan. 15 at his home in Rock Hill.
Mr. Fisher worked on newspapers in Amarillo, Texas, and Fort Wayne, Indiana, before teaching at Kent State from 1950-1984. Professor Fisher taught law of mass communications, journalism ethics, news writing and reporting public affairs, editing, editorial writing, advertising, and public relations. He also served as associate director of the School of Journalism and as director of public relations for Kent State University.
Mr. Fisher was a longstanding member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
After retiring from Kent State as Professor Emeritus in the School of Journalism, Mr. Fisher joined the faculty of Winthrop University as Professor of Mass Communication (1984-1993). He continued to teach part-time at Winthrop for more than a dozen years after retiring and was recognized for exceptional dedication and service to Winthrop University.
His book reviews and articles appeared in Journalism Quarterly, Grassroots Editor, the South Carolina Press Association Bulletin and elsewhere. His distinguished professional career also included membership in the National Conference of Editorial Writers, the South Carolina Press Association, and the advisory board of the Student Press Law Center, Washington, D.C.  In 2008 Franklin College recognized Mr. Fisher with the Alumni Citation for Lifetime Achievement. Read more

Columns

The Post and Courier’s upcoming transition brings back memories

By Edward M. Gilbreth, Charleston physician and columnist, The Post and Courier
Having just turned 16 in the summer of 1972 and after working for a month (for free) at Camp Carolina in Brevard, N.C., as an assistant counsellor, I got my first paying “real job” at 134 Columbus St., inside the imposing 237,000-square-foot fortress that housed both The News and Courier and The Evening Post. That was the first of six consecutive summer internships — before leaving to find my way — back when the two papers (mostly the Courier) had circulation around the state and when a lot of Charlestonians subscribed to not just one but two daily newspapers.
At any rate, working in a newspaper plant back then was a study in noise, hustling and bustling, and tobacco smoke. That first summer I was assigned as a copy boy for The Evening Post in the mornings and performed various tasks for the photography department during the afternoons. A copy boy did just that: ran copy and primitive black and white photos from the AP and UPI wire service machines to various editors who would determine what would go in the afternoon paper, make any editorial changes and return the copy to their outboxes. I’d then run back, grab the copy and place it in a conveyor belt to be transported to the linotype machine room. Read more
By Jim Pumarlo, Newspaper Consultant

Make public affairs coverage relevant and timely

How many newsrooms have received complaints about coverage of local public affairs – specifically meetings? It might be the city council, school board, county board or one of the numerous other government bodies under your microscope. 
From an elected official: “You didn’t give the full story. Where was my quote?”
From a person who spoke during a contentious hearing: “How come the other side received more attention? Again, how come you didn’t quote me?”
From a reader who did not attend the meeting: “Why was the decision made without public input? We’re always kept in the dark.”
Editors and reporters constantly evaluate how they deliver the news, especially when it comes to public affairs. The most meaningful stories are those that interpret the practical impact of policy-making. The need to communicate those decisions looms even more important as access to local government is diminished during the pandemic.
Newspapers can no longer simply regurgitate a body’s proceedings from beginning to end. Newsrooms also must look at the continuum of coverage, going beyond the blow-by-blow reports of meetings.
Here is one list of ideas to enhance coverage of public affairs.

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