Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Feb. 23, 2023
Bill Kinney Jr.
Editor and Publisher Emeritus,  Marlboro Herald-Advocate
President of SCPA, 1972
Past President and Board Member, SCPA Foundation

Journalist, SCPA Past President Bill Kinney Jr. dies

Veteran journalist, historian, and civic leader, William Light “Bill” Kinney Jr., 89, of Bennettsville died peacefully at his family antebellum home, Magnolia, under the loving care of his daughter, Elisabeth Kinney McNiel, Sunday night, February 19, 2023.
The lifelong resident of Bennettsville was editor and publisher emeritus of the Marlboro Herald-Advocate, McColl Messenger, and The Marlboro Shopper and former president of Marlboro Publishing Co. Inc. He was a longtime contributor to the South Carolina Press Association (SCPA), was a past president of that organization and president of the SCPA Foundation. He was a founder of the SCPA Hall of Fame. He also authored several historical books and won state and national journalistic awards.
He was born during The Great Depression, the only child of William Light Kinney and Annie Laurie Mayer Kinney on October 26, 1933, in Bennettsville, in the home of his paternal grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. John Frank Kinney, as was his father.
He was a 1951 honor graduate of Bennettsville High School and editor of “The Green Wave” school newspaper.
He then attended Wofford College in Spartanburg as his father and grandfather did before him, graduating in 1954 after three years of study with a Bachelor of Science degree while majoring in biology, chemistry, physics, and math. While at Wofford he was inducted into The Phi Beta Kappa Society, Senior Order of Gnomes, and Blue Key Honor Society; edited the college handbook and “The Bohemian” school yearbook; served as student body president; was a member of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC); sang in the Men’s Glee Club; and was a Vice President of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, SC Gamma Chapter. He was always a proud Terrier alumnus and earned his most cherished distinction by being bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the College in 1999.
Read full obituary

Last call to register for Annual Meeting & Awards

The deadline to register for SCPA’s Annual Meeting & Awards is less than a week away! Make plans to attend this special event, set for March 9-10, at the Cooperative Conference Center in Columbia.
Please note collegiate awards will be presented at the Collegiate Meeting on March 31.

Sunshine Week is coming March 12-18

Make plans now to join the annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community. It’s your right to know.
Sunshine Week is set for March 12-18, 2023. We encourage you to write and share editorials, stories and columns about the importance of openness to your community. 
Please share your Sunshine Week articles, projects and events so we can help promote them.
SCPA member newspapers are also invited to participate in a joint reporting project with The Post and Courier and newspapers throughout the state. More details will be emailed to editors this week.
We've also updated our print and digital house ads, which you are welcome to run.
Sunshine Week was launched in 2005 by the American Society of News Editors — now News Leaders Association — and has grown into an enduring initiative to promote open government and shine light into the dark recesses of government secrecy.
The News Leaders Association is partnering with The Society of Professional Journalists to host national Sunshine Week tools and resources

Hunter, Sossamon to be inducted into SC Journalism Hall of Fame on March 10

The S.C. Press Association has the distinct honor of inducting the late Scott Hunter of the Aiken Standard and the late Lou Sossamon of The Gaffney Ledger into the Journalism Hall of Fame on March 10.  
They join a distinguished group of men and women who have excelled in their craft and made significant contributions to journalism and their communities. Roughly 80 newspaper journalists from the early 1700s to present have been chosen by their peers for recognition.
The induction will take place at the start of the SCPA Awards Celebration Banquet on Friday, March 10, at noon. 

SCPA Annual Business Meeting, Forum on digital membership to be held March 10

The Annual Business Meeting of the South Carolina Press Association will be held Friday, March 10 at 11 a.m. at the Cooperative Conference Center as part of the Annual Meeting & Awards
During this meeting, we will provide legal, membership, lobbying and financial reports. The full membership will vote on the slate of officers (listed below). The Board and staff will also host a forum for SCPA members to discuss and provide feedback on digital membership. The current SCPA Constitution does not allow digital members, but there has been some interest in amending the Constitution and setting up policies to allow digital news outlets in the future. Please note there will not be a call to amend the Constitution at this meeting; this is only a forum to discuss and provide feedback.
If you have questions or comments, please contact Jen Madden.

Nominations for 2022-23 SCPA Officers, Executive Committee

The Nominating Committee proposes the following slate of officers and Executive Committee members for consideration by the full membership at the 2023 Annual Business Meeting. All have agreed to serve if elected.

  • President: Richard Whiting, Index-Journal, Greenwood
  • Vice President – Weeklies: Nathaniel Abraham Jr., Carolina Panorama, Columbia
  • Vice President – Dailies: Hal Welch, The Journal, Seneca
  • Treasurer: Barbara Ball, The Voice of Blythewood and Fairfield County
  • Immediate Past President: Charles Swenson, Coastal Observer, Pawleys Island
For Executive Committee, weekly representatives:
  • Jane Alford, The Lancaster News and Carolina Gateway
  • Stephen Robertson, The Horry Independent, Myrtle Beach Herald, Carolina Forest Chronicle and The Loris Scene
  • Jonathan Vickery, The People-Sentinel, Barnwel
For Executive Committee, daily representatives:
  • Kyle Osteen, The Sumter Item
For Executive Committee, daily representatives:
  • Cliff Harrington, The Herald, Rock Hill
  • Autumn Phillips, The Post and Courier, Charleston

"Say no to bulldoze" 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.

People & Papers

Gaffney Ledger begins 130th year of publication

Friday marked the beginning of the 130th year of publication of The Gaffney Ledger. The first edition having been published on February 16, 1894.
At the invitation of a group of Gaffney businessmen, Edward Hope DeCamp came to Gaffney in 1893 to begin a weekly newspaper.
DeCamp, a native of Charlotte, was just 29 years old when he arrived in Gaffney. Despite having just a 4th-grade education, DeCamp became an experienced printer and newspaperman. He delivered newspapers after quitting school and at the age of 13 began working in the print shop of the Charlotte Observer.
His printing carried him across the Eastern Seaboard and in 1884 he worked for Joseph Pulitzer at The New York World. In the late 1880s, he founded The Charlotte Star, which he called a financial disaster.
From there he went to Columbia and was a compositor at The State newspaper when the first edition was printed in 1891. He was later promoted to pressroom foreman and became close friends with the Gonzales brothers and always attributed everything he knew about newspapers to the founders of The State.
While in this position at The State, DeCamp received the invitation to come to Gaffney, and he accepted. The proposal included a salary of $50 per month and an opportunity for future ownership. He arrived in Gaffney with $10 in his pocket, this constituting his entire worldly possessions at the time.
In 1927, now 62 years old, DeCamp sold The Ledger to his son-in-law, Frank Sossamon, and S.C. Littlejohn.
Frank’s son and DeCamp’s grandson, Louis Sossamon, purchased the newspaper from Frank in 1969. In 1974 Louis built a facility on W. Floyd Baker Boulevard to house the Ledger offices and printing plant. He remained publisher until 1999, when his son, Cody, took over the day-to-day operation of the paper.
Abbie Sossamon, Cody’s daughter, joined The Ledger in October of 2015, to become the 5th generation of the Sossamon family to be associated with the family-owned newspaper. She is currently the Editor and Associate Publisher.
From The Gaffney Ledger | Read more

Related old video of Gaffney Ledger staff

Sumter Item selected for American Press Institute Table Stakes program

The Sumter Item is one of six news organizations and four expert coaches selected to participate in the American Press Institute’s product development sprint for alumni of the Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program, which strengthens local journalism through intensive change-management training for news leaders.
API developed the program in partnership with the News Product Alliance, which is facilitating work and providing essential connections to other news product thinkers who will introduce the cohort to product fundamentals during the five-month sprint. During the program, teams will devise and develop product prototypes as they address problems their communities face.
Participants will have the opportunity to apply for funding to support their product ideas at the conclusion of the cohort. Read more

Industry Briefs

Protesters turn out over threatened nationwide shutoff of mail service to new subdivision homes

A March 10 deadline by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to end mail services for Savannah Lakes Village (SLV) residents who fail to rent a post office box brought out over 200 livid protesters in front of the McCormick Post Office on Thursday, February 9.
The scene could soon be replicated across the country as USPS General Law Unit Attorney Barbara H. Cioffi wrote on Monday to the Savannah Lakes Village Property Owners Association, builders, property owners, and the McCormick County Planning Commission that USPS is not budging on their demand that new homes built in the long-established neighborhood will not receive home mail delivery, but instead be required to rent a post office box or receive delivery at non-existent “cluster boxes”.  Those not in compliance by March 10 will be denied mail service altogether, with their mail returned to sender.
“This approved mode of delivery accords with the Postal Service’s national standards, which have been in place for more than 10 years,” wrote Cioffi. “It is important to explain that these standards apply to ‘new delivery points’ … . the newly constructed homes in Savannah Lakes Village, as well as any future homes built there, are and will be new delivery points,” according to Cioffi’s interpretation of the USPS regulation. “When construction began there, or when a particular property was sold is irrelevant.”   
From The Journal Messenger | Read more

Jelani Cobb to speak at USC DEI Research symposium March 30

Jelani Cobb, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, journalist, historian and journalism school dean, will be the keynote speaker for the joint USC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Research Symposium and the Media & Civil Rights History Symposium on March 30-31.
The joint symposiums kick off with a conversation between Cobb and local students. His keynote address will take place Thursday evening, March 30. It will coincide with a by-invitation dinner, with limited seating available for Media & Civil Rights History Symposium registrants; the keynote will be livestreamed.
The biennial Media & Civil Rights History Symposium will also feature a day of research papers, panel sessions and presentations by the winners of the 2021 and 2023 Farrar Award in Media & Civil Rights History, which recognizes the best journal article or chapter in an edited collection on the historical relationship between the media and civil rights the previous two years. The panels and Farrar Award session will be livestreamed; research paper sessions will not be livestreamed.
Cobb became dean of Columbia University’s School of Journalism in August 2022 and serves as the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism in the school since 2016. He is also a renowned journalist, writing for "The New Yorker" magazine since 2012, frequently addressing race, politics, history and culture. In 2018, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He received the prestigious Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism for a remarkable series of articles about race, injustice, and the police which he wrote for "The New Yorker." He is also a recipient of the Walter Bernstein Award from the Writer’s Guild of America for his investigative series "Policing the Police," which aired on PBS Frontline.
His recent books include "Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress" and "To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic." He recently accepted a DuPont-Columbia Award on behalf of filmmaker Ava Duvernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary "13th" — in which he was prominently featured as an expert on the “mythology of black criminality.”
A historian, Cobb is the former director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. Cobb received his bachelor's degree from Howard University, and his master's and doctoral degrees from Rutgers University.

IRE offers data journalism fellowships for educators of color and HBCU educators

Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting, is offering fellowships for educators of color to attend their educator data journalism bootcamps in July. These fellowships are also available to any educator who teaches at an HBCU or an HSI. The 2023 bootcamps will take place on July 10-14 (University of Missouri) and July 24-28 (virtual). 

Who is eligible?
  • Educators of color teaching, or interested in teaching, data journalism within one’s curriculum. No data journalism experience or data teaching experience necessary.
What does the fellowship provide?
  • One-year IRE membership/renewal ($70 value)
  • Complimentary boot camp registration ($800 value)
  • Travel Stipend ($500) in-person bootcamp


Former State Publisher Frank McComas dies

Frank Morris McComas passed away Feb. 13. He was born January 6, 1946, in East Liverpool, Ohio and was the son of Ruby and Gazel McComas. He was an outstanding athlete in middle school and high school and a proud "Potter" in football, basketball, baseball and track.
Frank earned a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from Kent State University, an Honorary Doctorate from University of South Carolina and completed an International Corporate Executives program at Harvard. He retired in 2002 as the Chief Operating Officer of Knight Ridder Newspapers having served as Circulation Director for the Charlotte Observer, Publisher of The Bradenton Herald, and Publisher of The State Newspaper in Columbia, S.C., and continued his real estate and business ventures in retirement. Frank was a lifelong learner and adventurer who loved life. ...
Frank will be remembered lovingly by his family, friends and the many people whose lives he touched in a positive way.
A Celebration of Life will be held at The Plantation of Ponte Vedra's Beach House at sunrise on March 1. Read more


By Al Cross, 
Sustaining Rural Journalism

Editor ‘can handle mean,’ but can’t stand ‘baseless cynicism and unwillingness to think’

This month’s column is mainly from someone else, because it illustrates a serious problem facing rural newspapers: How do they manage increasingly contentious public discourse and still maintain the public forum that any good local newspaper must be?
My survey of weekly editors in 2020 found that some had stopped publishing commentary on state and national issues, and that others were tempering what they wrote because of what I called “the Trump effect” and the dominance of social media, where people on all sides of controversial issues say things that few would say if looking someone in the eye. I wrote a book chapter about it; you can read it at
Whatever you want to call it, that phenomenon is now poisoning local discourse. That was vividly illustrated by the New Year’s column of Sharon Burton, editor and publisher of the weekly Adair County Community Voice in Columbia, Ky. Read more

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