Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Jan. 13, 2022
Winthrop student Bryn Smyth interned last summer at The Sumter Item. 

Deadline to apply for SCPA Foundation internships & scholarship is March 4

The S.C. Press Association Foundation's internship program provides a meaningful, hands-on training experience for students interested in news reporting, copy editing, photojournalism, advertising or visual communications.
Two or more interns are placed each summer at daily and weekly SCPA member newspapers. Each internship is eight weeks and pays $4,000.
Internships are open to student journalists who attend a four-year college in South Carolina or who reside in South Carolina and attend a four-year college elsewhere. Rising juniors and seniors, and recent college graduates are eligible to apply.
The Foundation also awards one scholarship each year to an S.C. college student interested in pursuing a newspaper career. Our scholarship, worth $1,000 per academic year, is named for the Foundation's first president, the late Frank R. Mundy of the Greenwood Index-Journal.
The deadline to apply is March 4. Decisions will be made in early April.
More details and application

SCPA's FOI/Legal Hotline here to help

The new year is a good time to remind you about SCPA’s FOI/Legal Hotline.
In addition to answering your open government questions, SCPA members can use the hotline for pre-publication review of stories and advertisements.
You can contact the hotline if you have issues related to FOIA, libel, privacy, fair use, court access, responding to a subpoena, dealing with police, the Shield Law, advertising or other legal issues affecting your newspaper.
The hotline is staffed by SCPA Attorneys Taylor Smith and Jay Bender.
To use the hotline, call SCPA at (803) 750-9561 or email us.
This service is only available to news and advertising employees of SCPA’s member newspapers.
And don't forget to check out the legal and FOI resources on our website. 

"Booster Shots" 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

Our View: Stop the secrecy: Next superintendent must rebuild schools, trust

We still don’t know why former Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait is no longer in her chair as leader of Charleston County Schools. But the recent saga that saw Postlewait unceremoniously headed for the door at the end of 2021 seems to be standard operating procedure for a school district that’s grown rife with secrecy and closed-door dealings that continue to shortchange Charleston’s students.
State and local schools have a host of problems that needed to be fixed yesterday. But this much is clear: Charleston County School District’s next superintendent must be a public education reformer committed to building trust and bringing along school communities with new programs that help enrich our struggling schools.
The numbers in Charleston County School District paint a clear picture of a district that seems incapable of improving schools where student success rates often mirror household poverty levels. Each year, we hear about Academic Magnet High School’s U.S. News and World Report ranking, but not the 89.9% poverty rate at North Charleston High School nearby, where just 22.9% of students earn Cs or better in English.
From Charleston City Paper Editorial Board | Read more

People & Papers

Editorial: New look for the Morning News

Change is not easy, but it is a necessity.
Some changes are coming to the Florence Morning News because the newspaper will be printed closer to home.
Starting Jan. 11, the Florence Morning News will be printed nightly in Orangeburg, South Carolina, on the press of the Orangeburg Times and Democrat. Previously, the newspaper was printed in North Carolina.
The decision does require some adaptations in our offices. Some of those changes will be noticeable to our subscribers and regular readers of our newspaper.
Fewer pages will be in color, which is probably the first change regular readers will notice. The press in Orangeburg doesn’t have the ability to put full color photos and advertisements on every page. Each section will have designated color pages. The rest of the pages will be in black-and-white and shades of gray.
The Florence Morning News also will reduce the number of Opinion pages it publishes every week. The paper has been creating daily Opinion pages. Now, we will publish Opinion pages on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday only. The change will allow us to get more news in the paper on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
From the Morning News | Read more

Wade joins Free Times as food writer

Editor's Note: Hannah Wade previously worked as a student assistant at SCPA and served as a 2021 SCPA Foundation intern at Greenville News. 
As a college student, Hannah Wade found her dining tastes rapidly expanding after growing up in Chester.
She wasn’t a picky eater — aside from spinach — but had relatively sparse variety, compared to the capital city.
In Columbia, she found herself leaning on $2.50 margaritas from Tio’s Mexican Cafe and Cantina and 929 Kitchen and Bar’s Korean cuisine and the barbecue buffet at Little Pigs. 
Free Times has hired Wade as its new food writer. She will handle the paper’s coverage of Columbia’s food, drink and dining scene and issues that intersect with those topics.
Wade will work in close collaboration with the staff of Post and Courier Columbia and Free Times’ staff of freelance writers and photographers. Wade started in the first week of January and is off to a quick start, with several bylines in this paper.
A recent graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in journalism and a minor in Spanish where in that time, she worked in student media as a photographer and reporter, including being the first to report a story on the chair of Allen University’s math department being arrested for sexual misconduct with a minor.
Wade said that the opportunity to stay in Columbia — while telling stories in a new topic and way — was a key draw for her.
“I wanted to put roots down here and join those people in pouring into this community that I care about,” she said.
By David Clarey, Free Times | Read more

Coastal Observer carrier saves woman's life in Litchfield house fire that kills couple

Two people were killed in a fire that destroyed a house on Windy Lane in Litchfield on Thursday.
A woman who escaped the blaze told firefighters that her father heard the smoke detectors going off and woke her up to tell her the house was on fire. She then briefly saw her father and mother in the hall before going back into her bedroom to get dressed. When she went back into the hall her parents were gone.
“Everybody was awake and orientated,” Fire Marshal Mark Nugent of Midway Fire and Rescue said. “They were moving around, we’re just not sure where they went or what they did.”
Paul Diaz was delivering papers for the Coastal Observer at around 5:20 a.m. when he saw a red glow across from the Litchfield Restaurant. Diaz called 911 to report what he thought was a brush fire in the Holy Cross-Faith Memorial Episcopal Church cemetery across from the restaurant.
“I thought it was a bush was on fire in the graveyard,” Diaz said.
As he walked across Highway 17, Diaz told the 911 operator that it was a house that was on fire.
When he reached the wall at the back of the cemetery, Diaz saw a woman holding a small white dog standing on a porch at the back of the house, which was fully engulfed in flames.
“I threw the phone down and jumped the wall and ran to her,” Diaz said.
By Chris Sokoloski, Coastal Observer | Read more

Newspaper carrier for The State killed in fiery Richland County crash

A Columbia man was killed Sunday in an early morning collision, the Richland County Coroner’s Office said. Donald D. Wheeler Jr., 49, died in the wreck, Coroner Naida Rutherford said Monday in a news release. Wheeler was a carrier for The State newspaper. The two-vehicle collision happened in the 2300 block of Leesburg Road in Columbia, near the intersection with Newell Road, according to the release.
At about 3 a.m., Wheeler was driving a 2018 Hyundai Elantra east on Leesburg Road, according to the Columbia Police Department. A 26-year-old man driving a 2013 Ford Escape was heading in the same direction when he tried to cross double yellow lines and illegally pass Wheeler’s Hyundai as it was turning left onto Newell Road, police said. The Ford is believed to be moving at a high rate of speed when it T-boned into the side of into the Hyundai, according to police.
The Hyundai caught on fire and rolled into a church parking lot, with Wheeler trapped inside, police said. The driver of the Ford was ejected and taken to an area hospital, according to police. Further information on his condition was not available. Charges, including felony DUI, are pending against the Ford driver when he is released from the hospital, police said. The collision continues to be investigated by police and the coroner’s office.
By Noah Feit, The State | Read more

Ginny Southworth: Photographer loves teaching and teaches what she loves

Ginny Southworth didn’t grow up in Aiken, but she might just know more about the community than most natives.
As the chief photographer at the Aiken Standard newspaper for nearly 30 years, she chronicled events and told the stories of people in the community through first print and then digital photography.
“That’s always the beauty of a newspaper: getting to know the community,” Southworth said. “I loved my job. I loved meeting people, and I loved being a fly on the wall and sitting and talking to people and finding out about their lives.”
Today, Southworth shares her knowledge and years of experience with the next generation of photographers as a tenured associate professor of studio and digital art concentration in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at USC Aiken.
And she loves teaching as much as she did shooting local news, sports and features. In some ways, the jobs are similar. As it was in the newsroom, every day in the classroom is different.
“That’s why I love teaching,” Southworth said. “Every day is different, and it’s short-term. It’s for whatever the semester length is, and then you try something all new the next semester. I don’t like routine. As soon as a job falls into a routine, it’s not good for me. I love teaching, and I’m teaching what I love.”
By Larry Wood, Aiken Standard | Read more

Industry Briefs

SCPA weeklies invited to enter Golden Quill editorial writing contest

The International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE) is accepting entries for its annual Golden Quill editorial writing contest. Deadline is Feb. 1.
Entries should reflect the purpose of the ISWNE: Encouraging the writing of editorials or staff-written opinion pieces that identify local issues that are or should be of concern to the community, offer an opinion, and support a course of action.
All newspapers of less than daily frequency (published fewer than four days per week) are eligible to enter. Online-only newspapers must be considered community news sites. Syndicated columnists are not eligible.
Entries must have been published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021.
Cost is $10 per entry (each editorial or column) for ISWNE members, $15 per entry for non-members, and $5 per entry for students. There is a separate division for student entries. Two entries are allowed per person.
Grassroots Editor, ISWNE’s biannual journal, will reprint the 12 best editorials in the Summer 2022 issue. The Golden Quill winner will be invited to attend ISWNE’s annual conference in Lexington, Kentucky, July 20-24. The winner will receive a conference scholarship and travel expenses up to $500.
Here's more information on how to enter.

Events & sponsorships: A revenue game-changer for 2022

It’s not that newspapers’ traditional revenue streams — subscriptions and advertising — are broken. They are simply insufficient to sustain and strengthen the bottom line as newspapers transition from a print to a digital business model.
Newspapers of various sizes across the country have discovered a proactive program of organizing and hosting events and sponsorships. As a result, they’ve increased revenues, created opportunities for local businesses to engage with organizations and the public differently and strengthened the perception of newspapers as the leading supporter and voice of their communities.
The types of events and sponsorships newspapers are utilizing to increase revenues reveal a remarkable level of creativity and vision to appeal to a diversity of audiences:
  • A running event to support a local newspaper, literacy and education project.
  • A geocaching event to attract visitors and their travel dollars.
  • An online holiday Jeopardy® program to support a community program for the homeless and those suffering from mental health and addiction issues.
  • A best-of event for local food and beverage vendors to increase their exposure.
By Bob Sillick for Editor & Publisher | Read more

Omicron wave prompts media to rethink which data to report

For two years, coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations have been widely used barometers of the pandemic's march across the world.
But the omicron wave is making a mess of the usual statistics, forcing news organizations to rethink the way they report such figures.
“It's just a data disaster,” said Katherine Wu, staff writer who covers COVID-19 for The Atlantic magazine.
The number of case counts soared over the holidays, an expected development given the emergence of a variant more transmissible than its predecessors.
Yet these counts only reflect what is reported by health authorities. They do not include most people who test themselves at home, or are infected without even knowing about it. Holidays and weekends also lead to lags in reported cases.
If you could add all those numbers up — and you can't — case counts would likely be substantially higher.
For that reason, The Associated Press has recently told its editors and reporters to avoid emphasizing case counts in stories about the disease. That means, for example, no more stories focused solely on a particular country or state setting a one-day record for number of cases, because that claim has become unreliable.
By David Bauder, Associated Press | Read more

Focus your 2022 product planning around these 4 themes

A lot of the discussion I have with product leaders is around strategy, operations, and process. It is clear product is still finding its place within many news organizations while becoming more and more important in the quest for businesses to delight customers while driving business goals. There is still a lot of work to do around merging systems, updating legacy platforms, and ensuring we have the internal tools and skill sets to deliver great products. And delivering great products is what is happening. We’re seeing the fundamentals of growing subscribers and improving engagement being honed to a fine art. And we’re seeing some exciting new products being developed.
Here are four big themes going into 2022 that I have taken primarily from discussions within the INMA Product Advisory Council meetings. 
1. Driving subscriptions and diversifying revenue are key business goals
For many, there is a continued evolution from ad-based to subscriber-based product experience and business. This means that much focus is on engagement, which of course also benefits advertisers. One advisor noted that they have massively grown their reach and audience, but that success hasn’t been reflected in their subscriptions. 2022 will mean re-examining and experimenting with subscription packages.
For another advisor, they are looking at moving beyond the core products and features, experimenting to find the things that customers will pay and stay for. Anecdotally, I hear about a move to utilities that customers come back for day after day. 
By Jodie Hopperton, INMA | Read more

Need help navigating change in your newsroom? Khan Academy has some ideas.

Newsrooms are facing the next great wave of change — they’re bringing people back to hybrid office set-ups, reimagining culture to prioritize diversity and inclusion, and facing continued digital disruption. But they’re not alone in grappling with a changing workplace. There’s a lot to be learned and borrowed from industries outside of journalism. Organizational transformations look very similar when you break it all down.
Khan Academy is one such example. The educational nonprofit started as an organization that catered to individual learners. Some teachers used it in their classrooms. But in the last few years, in addition to the free platform, it’s launched formal programs for partnering directly with school districts to put Khan Academy into classrooms. The goal was to disproportionately reach more students from low-income communities and students of color. Now, while continuing to offer free learning, Khan Academy is working with over 250 school districts across 45 states.
Before launching into this new direction, the organization piloted with multiple school districts across the country, learning how to best support schools, teachers, and administrators — and ultimately students in the classroom.
By Eric Athas and Kim Perry, Nieman Lab | Read more

How Google and Gannett uncover new stories from archival photos

For golfer Tom Watson, seeing never-before published images of himself during the 1981 Masters brought back vivid memories of the important moments that led to his victory that year. For Gannett, being able to publish the video interview with Watson was part of a three-way editorial partnership between USA TODAYGolfweek and the Augusta Chronicle, made possible with many never-before seen images that were curated from the Chronicle’s 30+ years of Masters photo archives.
All three titles are part of Gannett, which partnered with the Google News Initiative (GNI) to comb through their network archives for valuable but untapped visual assets to digitize and make available for present use through Iron Mountain Entertainment Services (IMES). Gannett mined the Masters images from the archives of the Augusta Chronicle, which were part of 40,000+ images IMES digitized from several properties across Gannett, including The Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, the Tennessean and USA TODAY. Gannett and GNI teamed up with IMES to securely transport the assets from multiple Gannett photo archives to IMES’s climate-controlled facility in Boyers, Pennsylvania. Once there, the IMES team digitized them using high-resolution image capture technology.
By Andrew P. Scott, Director of Photo & Video News Gathering, USA TODAY | Read more


By Al Cross, Into the Issues

AP lets non-member weeklies republish its investigative story about 2020 election fraud

Almost a year ago, this column urged community newspapers to tell their readers the truth about the 2020 presidential election — that it was fairly held — to debunk the falsehoods believed by millions.
The truth has prevailed among most Americans, but not among most Republicans, and that’s a real problem for democracy – and for journalism, which is supposed to serve it.
A poll for the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research in October found that almost two-thirds of Republicans and Donald Trump voters thought votes in the election were not counted accurately. Worse yet, more than half said they didn’t think the counts in this year’s midterm elections would be accurate.
Another poll taken about the same time by Marist College asked, “How much do you trust that elections are fair?” Sixty percent of U.S. adults (and 60% of independents) said “a great deal” or “a good amount,” but the partisan divide was stark: 86% of Democrats trusted elections; 64% of Republicans said “Not very much” (36%) or “Not at all” (28%).
If tens of millions of Americans have lost faith in the democratic process, they must also be losing faith in democracy. This appears to be caused mainly by the lies and other falsehoods about the 2020 election.
In stories that mention those falsehoods, most major news media dutifully repeat the fact that there was no election fraud significant enough to change the outcome. But most of the folks who believe those falsehoods don’t believe most major news media.
There’s a lot more trust in community news media, especially community newspapers. But most community papers are not inclined to wade into national issues, and Trump and the 2020 election have become so controversial and divisive that some community papers have even stopped carrying letters to the editor about topics beyond their localities, much less writing stories, columns or editorials.
So, we should stop telling certain truths because certain people don’t want to hear them? Read more

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