Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  June 10, 2020

PALMY Ad Contest kicks off this week

Thanks to the SCPA Foundation, all member newspapers will receive 5 free entries

The 2020 PALMY Advertising Contest is now open and accepting entries through July 10.
Because SCPA knows it’s been a tough year on newspaper advertising staffs, we want everyone to be able to participate for a much-needed morale boost. To help, the SCPA Foundation is offering all SCPA member newspapers five free PALMY entries. That way, even if there are less funds in your budget to participate, your ad staff can still be recognized for their hard work and creativity.
The contest period is for ads that ran between May 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020.
All ad directors will receive the rules and login info from Jen Madden later today.
“The PALMY Ad Contest is a great way to recognize the hard working advertising staffs at our member newspapers,” SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers said. “We are so proud of all you’ve been doing to support your communities in these challenging times. We hope this will be a way to show you how much you are appreciated, and we encourage you to participate.”
By Bill Rogers,
Executive Director

Time for action on police body cams

Emotions in South Carolina are high in the wake of  George Floyd's murder by police officers, and one of the major demands by protestors is access to police body camera recordings.
Access to body cameras is a right the Press Association has fought for over the years… and we have lost.
The law enforcement lobby has claimed it would bring about invasion of privacy problems, and they were successful in having body cam videos exempted entirely from the FOIA.
That needs to change.
And the current outrage at police misconduct can be a catalyst for this change.
I have asked SCPA Attorney Taylor Smith to draft language removing the body cam exemption from the FOIA.
We also want the proposed bill to require police to wear and activate the cameras when confronting citizens.
When the time comes, we hope all S.C. journalists will review the bill, write about it and urge their local Senators and Representatives to sign on as sponsors.
We only know about Floyd’s murder because of a citizen video. We only knew of the shooting death of Walter Scott in North Charleston because of a citizen video. The list is long.
It is time.  

Related Editorial: Police body cams are essential gear

Police body cameras probably won’t stop all abuses. The video that prompted their statewide rollout — the shooting death of Walter Scott in North Charleston — was captured by a passerby. So was the video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck. A private camera also caught the prelude to Mr. Floyd’s  in-custody death. In Louisville, officers who failed to turn on body cams amid a riot-related fatal shooting have been fired, along with their chief.
Police body cams aren’t a perfect answer for stopping illegally violent arrests, but at this point, people need to accept that electronic eyes are as essential to police work as to many other professions. And local police chiefs and sheriffs need to take responsibility for buying them, training officers on how to use them and storing the recordings.
From The Post and Courier | Read more

SCPA seeks volunteers and suggestions for diversity task force

SCPA is proud to represent nearly every Black newspaper in South Carolina. We are committed to diversity and inclusion and we recognize the need for more Black journalists in South Carolina and to better support our state’s Black journalists and newspapers. 
Diverse voices, backgrounds and experiences make our member news organizations and local news coverage stronger. 
Take a look at the News Leaders Association’s annual diversity survey and you’ll see that we need to work harder to make our industry more diverse and inclusive. 
SCPA wants to help our state’s Black journalists and Black newspapers thrive so in addition to partnering more and better promoting the efforts of diversity-dedicated organizations like National Association of Black Journalists and the National Newspaper Publishers Association, we’d like to set up a statewide task force to study diversity, especially as it relates to recruitment and coverage. Our goal would be to provide better training, communication and resources. 
Over the next month, we plan to recruit a group of publishers, editors, collegiate advisers and others to join us virtually for thoughtful discussion on how we can help. The first meeting of the task force will be in late July via Zoom. If you’d like to participate or offer your suggestions, please contact Jen Madden.

SCPA offers virtual FOI and legal training during COVID-19

For years SCPA has offered free in-newsroom training on libel, FOI and other topics.
Unfortunately due to the pandemic, it’s not possible for SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers and our legal team to travel to member newspapers for in-person training so we’re now offering free, individualized digital training for SCPA member newspapers.
Whether your staff is working in the newsroom or remotely from home, we can connect with the staff of your newspaper via Zoom to go over open government, libel and other legal topics.
“It’s a good time to train newer reporters on these important topics, and to offer a refresher for your whole newsroom,” Rogers said.   
Each session is roughly an hour long, depending on the topics you’d like covered. Call or email Jen Madden for more details and to schedule a session for your newsroom.

FOI Briefs

Virtual council meetings draw transparency concerns, compliments from Golden Strip residents

As the Mauldin Planning Commission weighed a decision on a subdivision last week, Erica Grant, who lives next to the property on Baldwin Road, tried to make a public comment on the Zoom call. 
The only problem? The planning commission members couldn't hear her on the call and ended up moving on without Grant having the chance to weigh in. While a city staff member was still able to read some emailed comments from Grant, she said she still found the experience of not being able to voice her concerns on a development that will have a huge impact on where she lives to be "disheartening."
The situation is an example of how virtual local government meetings in the age of coronavirus have stirred transparency concerns for residents. 
“I think it just limits the type and amount of people who can attend the meetings when you can’t walk through the front door, which limits what voices are heard," Grant said. “I feel like there’s a lot of older people in our community, who don’t use, who have never used the technology."
Both Grant and her neighbor Mary Ellen Dover, who live just outside Mauldin city limits, also noted that the audio quality during that Zoom meeting was difficult to understand.
By Gabe Cavallaro, The Greenville News | Read more

Florence City Council resolution highlights COVID-19 problems

The Florence City Council has a dilemma with the problems caused by COVID-19.
On one hand, the city council is obligated under state law, specifically the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, to conduct its business − with certain exceptions − in an open area to be viewed by the public. On the other hand, the city council is also obligated to protect the health and welfare of the people residing within its borders. 
Both of these obligations were seemingly in conflict Monday afternoon after the city voted to add a resolution that would allow the council to continue to conduct its meetings electronically to its meeting agenda. 
Florence Mayor Pro Tempore Frank J. "Buddy" Brand II expressed frustration with the electronic format of the meetings, saying that the meetings are not conducive to hearing from the public or facilitating discussion between members.
By Matthew Christian, Morning News | Read more

Industry Briefs

Gannett stops posting arrest mugshots on several newspaper websites

Gannett, the largest newspaper company in the United States, stopped publishing arrest mugshots on the websites of former GateHouse papers on Tuesday, several months after the two companies merged.
Gannett had already pulled the booking mugs from its legacy sites years before the fall 2019 merger. ...
 “Mugshot galleries presented without context may feed into negative stereotypes and, in our editorial judgment, are of limited news value.”
“Instead, we will focus on the best ways to inform our readers by providing relevant information that will keep our communities safe and continuing to cover crime, as well as the public safety system,” Gannett’s statement said.
The company said it will continue to use booking blotter photos with articles in which they’re relevant.
By Tiffini Theisen, Orlando Sentinel | Read more

USC research shows many South Carolinians sympathize with Black Lives Matter protests

When South Carolinians on Twitter expressed far more comments in support of Black Lives Matter protests than criticism of the violence that has accompanied some of them, according to the University of South Carolina Social Media Insights Lab.
University researchers analyzed 8,238 comments posted between May 30 and June 3 and found that more than a third of the posts supported the protests.  By comparison, 7.8 percent of the posts expressed support for the police and city officials, 6.3 percent criticized the police and 5.8 percent criticized acts of violence and looting. The largest segment of posts, 43.2 percent, were neutral and did not express an opinion.
From the UofSC Social Media Insights Lab | Read more

Dear newsroom managers, journalists of color can’t do all the work: We're ready to do the work. We’ve been doing the work. But we need you to step up your allyship.

Dear fellow managers,
It’s way beyond time someone told you directly: Journalists of color are in agony.
Not starting this week because of coast-to-coast protests over police brutality and racial profiling. Not starting last month because Asian Americans were disproportionately mistreated by misinformed people who blame us as the source of the coronavirus. Not starting in 2018 because immigrant families were ripped apart as children languished in shameful conditions at border camps. Not starting generations ago because colonizers seized this land from its original inhabitants.
We have been in agony. We are always in agony.
Because we cannot hide our race.
Because our communities disproportionately suffer.
Less pay. Worse health care. Redlining. Food deserts. Missed educational opportunities.
But still we show up. Are you listening?
By Doris Truong, Poynter | Read more 

Photographers are being called on to stop showing protesters’ faces. Should they?

Photographs of protests are everywhere, from the news to your social media feed. But there’s a growing movement that calls for journalists and citizens to blur or not show protesters’ faces.
So what should visual journalists do?
Legally, there’s no question — when protesters are in public spaces engaged in newsworthy activity, visual journalists are well within their rights to document them. But protesters fear potential retaliation when images become public.
Donna De Cesare, a University of Texas professor, spent 20 years weighing these concerns while working as a freelance visual journalist focusing on Latin America.
“The public has a right to know; we have a right to go out and take the pictures. But we also have to think about how our work impacts people’s lives,” she said. In Medellin, Colombia, she photographed in areas with gang and paramilitary violence. “People are very sensitive there, too. The media usually can’t get pictures.”
Her solution was to photograph her subjects using angles and positions where faces were obscured.
By Eliana Miller and Nicole Asbury, Poynter | Read more

Register for Second Street's annual summit

Second Street's annual summit is a month-long virtual conference open to all during the month of June. Session topics include lead generation, recurring revenue, database growth and email, while featuring speakers from traditional and digital media. Sumter Item Publisher Vince Johnson is taking part in a session on June 22 about selling citywide ballots. Training is free, but you must register.

RJI announces Local News Challenge to help local newsrooms tackle technology challenges

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute’s innovation team is looking to tackle current technology-related challenges that local newsrooms are coping with but are unable to solve themselves. Knowing that local newsrooms don’t have all the resources of large legacy newsrooms has prompted RJI to launch the Local News Challenge to try to make local news staffs’ jobs easier.
“We want to hear anything and everything that newsrooms are struggling with — no idea is too small or too big,” says Kat Duncan, RJI’s interim director of innovation. “We hope to be able to create some solutions so newsrooms can focus more on serving their communities and less on the technological hiccups that can often take time, resources and manpower away from the journalism itself.”
Please fill out this form and let us know what problems RJI can help you solve.
If you have questions, you can reach out to RJI Interim Director of Innovation Kat Duncan at

TownNews launches new service to help newspapers grow digital presence

TownNews has launched a new service — News Nirvana — where they can partner with local publishers and editors, and provide them with the tools, resources, and consulting to make their new digital news initiatives successful. 
They're equipping qualifying organizations with a 'light' edition of the industry-leading platform that's used by more than 2,000 new organizations nationwide. It includes robust editorial tools, subscription/membership support, site analytics and more.
In most cases, News Nirvana sites will be provided at little or no cost to the publisher; revenue comes from programmatic and local advertising sales. The programmatic revenue share program is managed by TownNews Ad Ops, the same team that's responsible for generating millions in advertising across the TownNews client network. Local advertising sales are handled by the publisher.
By lowering (or eliminating) entry costs and providing advertising support, a News Nirvana site can become revenue-positive much more quickly. Once they're off the ground, they can seamlessly graduate to the full TownNews platform, and gain complete access to the most powerful revenue, audience, and efficiency tools in the business. Contact TownNews to learn more.

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