Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  March 2, 2023
Editor's Note: There will be no eBulletin next week because SCPA staffers will be at the Annual Meeting & Awards!

Don't foul out with March Madness words in ads

March Madness is a couple weeks away, which means it is time for a refresher on  NCAA trademarked words. Remember you can use these words in your news copy, but they should be avoided in print and digital ads. Some protected words include:
- Elite 8®/Elite Eight®
- Final 4®/Final Four® 
- March Madness® 
- NCAA Sweet 16®/NCAA Sweet Sixteen®
View the full list of trademarked words here. 
Sunshine Week is set for March 12-18. We encourage you to write and share editorials, stories and columns about the importance of open government to your community.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered to judge the Georgia Press News and Advertising Contests last month! We're so grateful for your help and hope you saw some good work!

"Useful idiots" 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

Nearly 800 died in SC jails, prisons from 2015-2021, USC report shows

Nearly 800 people died in South Carolina jails and prisons between 2015 and 2021, according to a new report from researchers at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Law students, led by professor Madalyn Wasilczuk, compiled data showing 777 deaths across 52 facilities, including state-run prisons, local detention centers, and a juvenile detention facility, between 2015 and 2021.
Facilities in Richland County were the sites of 301 of those deaths — more than any other county. The majority of those deaths occurred at the state-run Kirkland Correctional Institution (160) and Broad River Correctional Institution (101.) Both institutions are among the largest in the state. Kirkland is rated to hold more people than any other state-run prison, according to Department of Corrections data. 
By Morgan Hughes, The State | Read more

Former Columbia-area superintendent paid $615,000 after sudden resignation

Former Richland County School District Two Superintendent Baron Davis will receive $615,000 after he resigned suddenly on Jan. 17, according to his settlement agreement with the board of trustees.
Davis’s resignation, which was accepted unanimously, came immediately after the board returned from a six-hour-long, closed-door session where they discussed his contract. He was initially named superintendent in 2017 and was the first Black leader of South Carolina’s fifth-largest school district.
Davis’ settlement agreement was signed Jan. 19, two days after his resignation. But the paperwork was not released until Feb. 24, more than a month after The Post and Courier filed a public records request.
By Ian Grenier, The Post and Courier Columbia | Read more

North Myrtle Beach refuses to answer why their top leader wore a body cam to groundbreaking

North Myrtle Beach city leaders refuse to say why their top administrator wore a body camera to a midday groundbreaking last week.
It is unclear why he could feel unsafe in his own town at the event that included several police officers among the more than 100 who attended.
Neither Mike Mahaney, Mayor Marilyn Hatley or city spokesman Donald Graham have responded beyond a one-sentence statement sent to The Sun News on Feb. 26 — two days after the event.
Hatley said the one-line response was “self-explanatory,” and every other member of the city’s council: J.O. Baldwin III, Bubba Collins, Fred Coyne, Nicole Fontana, Trey Skidmore and Hank Thomas, did not immediately reply to emails or phone calls seeking clarity on Mike Mahaney’s decision. 
Taylor Smith, an attorney for the S.C. Press Association, said it was unusual for a city leader to wear a body camera at public events and the city would “have to” give reason for why he was wearing it.
“It definitely seems to be outside the norm. I have never seen that on behalf of a non-law enforcement official,” Smith said. “If there’s any kind of record which is ever mentioning the city manager and a body cam then that is something you should definitely be able to find in the statute,” Smith said. “They (the city) would have to trot out at least a reason that would give you a strong clue as to why he’s wearing it.”
The Sun News has requested through the state’s Freedom of Information Act all body camera footage captured by Mahaney between Jan. 1 and Feb. 24.
By Adam Benson, The Sun News | Read more

Legal Briefs

With Jay Bender’s help, Murdaugh trial is a lesson in the value of court access

On a balmy day in early February, First Amendment attorney Jay Bender is a jovial figure in a fedora and trench coat as he greets reporters covering an extraordinary murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina.
Alex Murdaugh, a former partner at The Parker Law Group (formerly Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth and Detrick) is on trial, accused of shooting his son, Paul, with a shotgun at close range and his wife, Maggie, with a powerful rifle. Both sustained multiple gunshot wounds, which killed them instantly.
Bender is the South Carolina Press Association’s general counsel.
He has been spending weeks serving as a liaison between the court and the media for a trial that has become so sensational that it has triggered the imaginations of millions of true-crime fanatics across the globe. That coverage has expanded beyond the local news and spawned a media frenzy, wall-to-wall coverage, and dozens of podcasts and YouTube videos.
In 1993, the South Carolina Supreme Court approved a set of rules concerning courtroom photography. They cover a variety of protocols for handling jury selection, juveniles in the courtroom, lighting, shutter noises and even attire. The judge presiding over any court proceeding must approve the use of cameras in advance.
Bender credits the presiding superior court judge Clifton Newman for drafting rules favoring broad coverage of the Murdaugh trial.
“Judge Newman’s instinct to have the court open and his understanding of the role the press plays in acting as surrogates for the public who can’t be there in person has been key to a process that has gone relatively smoothly,” Bender said.
By Teri Saylor, special to National Newspaper Association | Read more

People & Papers


News Journals cease publication

Don Swartz, owner and publisher of Swartz Media, has made the decision to cease publication of the company's three newspapers - The News Journal of Florence, the Hartsville Journal, and the Chesterfield County News & Shopper, effective Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Last week's editions were the final publication for each newspaper.
The business offices for the publications closed Feb. 17.
"This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one that unfortunately had to be made," said Swartz.
"A challenging business environment, including a decline in advertising revenue and the increasing cost of printing, delivery, and postage has made it difficult to continue to support these publications."
Swartz expressed his gratitude to readers and advertisers who have supported the company's three newspapers.
"We have done our best to produce and publish a quality product each week," said Swartz. "To all of our readers and advertisers, we are thankful for your patronage."
Swartz Media purchased The News Journal and its sister publications, the Hartsville News Journal and the Marion County News Journal in 2006 from Morris Multimedia.
The Chesterfield County News and Shopper was purchased the following year.
The Marion County News Journal, which served the Marion and Mullins communities, ceased publication in August of last year due to financial difficulties.
From The News Journal | Read more

Dunlap named regional publisher and ad director for Summerville Communications, Island Publications

Bailey Dunlap has been promoted to the position of Regional Publisher and Advertising Director for Summerville Communications and Island Publications, as a part of Evening Post Publishing. In this new role, he will oversee local operations and advertising sales for Summerville Journal Scene, Moultrie News, Berkeley Independent, the Gazette, MUSC Catalyst, and affiliated digital platforms. Bailey most recently served as Ad Director for Summerville Communications. He's a 2018 University of South Carolina grad who got his start as a multimedia account exec for Free Times in 2019. 
Jerry Bellune and Lisa Cole

Newspaper founder donates leadership books to adult literacy program

Jerry Bellune, popular journalist and founder of The Lexington County Chronicle newspaper, has donated $1,400 worth of new leadership books to Turning Pages SC, the oldest adult literacy council in South Carolina.
Turning Pages SC teaches adults to read through personalized, one-on-one tutoring that is free of cost. Its programs give adults around the Midlands tools to improve their reading skills.
The books include Lead People, Manage Things, which offers 18 proven strategies on inspiring others to greater life achievement.
“Our nonprofit thrives on community gifts. We are so grateful for Jerry’s ongoing generosity,” said Lisa Cole, the nonprofit’s interim executive director. “Volunteers come to us for professional development in tutoring. This donation will help us provide more accessible education.”
Contributed to The Columbia Star by Turning Pages SC | Read more
By Marley Bassett,
The Johnsonian

Winthrop's Johnsonian celebrates 100th anniversary

I was looking through old newspapers from our vast archives to find ones to display at our 100th anniversary celebration and I began to think about the legacy of The Johnsonian and all of those who had come before us to begin the legacy and those who will come after us to continue the legacy.
For 100 years, this paper has been a constant on Winthrop’s campus. The Johnsonian has been there as a steady and reliable source for campus news, opinions, local news, features on those in our campus and surrounding community, national news, sports and so much more.
For 100 years, this paper has reported on major national news such as 9/11, the Challenger explosion, Hurricanes Katrina and Hugo, among many others. This paper has managed to localize these stories so that the impact of these events are made personal to the Winthrop and Rock Hill community.
For 100 years, this paper has held the university accountable for incidents of sexual assaults, budget and position cuts, conditions of residence halls, Title IX cases, presidential scandals and more.
I wonder what the Winthrop community would look like without this paper. I think so much would have gone unnoticed and swept under the rug if The Johnsonian had not been there to report.
I am deeply honored to have been chosen to carry on the prestigious legacy that The Johnsonian entails and to see the paper through its 100th year. But I know I would not be here and the paper would not have survived without those who led and contributed before me.
To the countless staff members and advisors who have served before me, I simply say thank you. Thank you for ensuring that the paper continued to survive and for playing a role in the honored legacy that this paper holds. Read more

SC sports journalists recognized in APSE Contest

Several SCPA members were named Top 10 finishers for the 2022 national Associated Press Sports Editors contest! Way to go, Jon Blau and David Cloninger of The Post and Courier; Lou Bezjak, Jeff Blake, Chapel Fowler, Michael Lananna, Ben Portnoy and Augusta Stone of The State; Emily Adams, Cory Diaz and Scott Keepfer of The Greenville News; and Alex Zietlow, formerly of Rock Hill Herald.

Compelling Writing with Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune, Writing Coach

Keep it simple in sports writing

Writing about a sport for those who don’t understand the sport is a challenge. Most writers figure they are writing for fans as familiar with the game as they are.
John McPhee, author of A Sense of Where You Are and Levels of the Game writes about sports and other subjects clearly, concisely and understandably.
His style is unhurried, detailed and unflashy, says Jonathan Russell Clark, author of Skateboarding.
In Levels of the Game, McPhee writes:
Arthur Ashe, his feet apart, his knees slightly bent, lifts a tennis ball into the air. The toss is high and forward. If the ball were allowed to drop, it would, in Ashe’s words, “make a parabola and drop to the grass three feet in front of the baseline.” 
He has practiced tossing a tennis ball thousands of times. But he is going to hit this one.

McPhee’s words are simple. He doesn’t use the word serve although it is what he is describing.
In A Sense of Where You Are, McPhee writes about former Princeton basketball star Bill Bradley who told him that he made blind shots over his shoulder because you develop a sense of where you are to the basket.
As he does before all games, he began by shooting set shots close to the basket, gradually moving back until he was shooting long sets from 20 feet out, and nearly all of them dropped into the net. 
Then he began a series of expandingly difficult jump shots, and one jumper after another went cleanly through the basket. The crowd began to murmur.

Then he started to perform whirling reverse moves before another cadence of almost steadily accurate jump shots, and the murmur increased. Then he began to sweep hook shots into the air. He moved in a semicircle around the court. First with his right hand, then with his left, he tried seven of these long, graceful shots –the most difficult ones in the orthodoxy of basketball – and  made them all.
So you don’t have time to write like that? Read McPhee’s two books.
Next: Our need for white space

Coaching your writers (and editors) takes time you may not have. An option is to order copies for them of my book, The Art of Compelling Writing, now available for $9.99 at

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