Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Aug. 4, 2022

SCNN quarterly payouts return nearly $107,000 to SCPA member papers

S.C. Newspaper Network (SCNN), the sales arm of SCPA, mailed quarterly advertising network payments totaling nearly $107,000 to SCPA member newspapers last week.
These totals include the Small Space Display (2x2/2x4/2x6) Advertising Network payout of $9,618 and the QuarterPage+ Ad Network payout of $97,346. Classified revenue is paid out annually in January.
“A big thanks to all of the member papers that participate in our ad networks for helping make this a very successful quarter,” said Randall Savely, Co-Executive Director of SCPA and SCNN. “The networks are vital to the operations of SCPA and also a great source of added revenue for member papers.”
Every daily newspaper and virtually every weekly newspaper participates in SCNN's ad networks. If your newspaper does not participate in one of the SCNN networks, contact Randall to learn how these networks can provide added revenue to your newspaper.

Last call to register for Weekly Editors Roundtable on Aug. 12

Weekly editors, don't wait until it's too late! Friday is the final day to sign up for next week's Weekly Editors Roundtable. Join your peers at SCPA Offices in Columbia on Aug. 12, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Topics are up to the group, but may include: FOI issues, motivating and training staff, special projects and sections, multimedia reporting, social media opportunities and issues, stories that get traction and more. We’ll also have plenty of time for open discussion.
The cost to attend is $25, which includes lunch. 
Daily editors, now is the time to sign up for your roundtable, set for Friday, Aug. 26.

Judge won’t issue gag order in Alex Murdaugh double-murder case

State Judge Clifton Newman has refused to issue a gag order ahead of the double-murder trial of disbarred attorney Alex Murdaugh, saying he will not trample on public and press access to the high-profile case.
Newman’s Aug. 1 ruling denies a joint request made last month by state prosecutors and Murdaugh’s defense attorneys. The two sides agreed in open court they wanted to limit leaks and public statements about the case to avoid tainting a Colleton County jury that will decide whether Murdaugh is guilty of killing his wife and son in June 2021.
But in a three-page order, Newman declared they can do that just fine without a gag order. Murdaugh’s right to a fair trial doesn’t override the public’s constitutional right to know how his case is proceeding, Newman said.
“The public is entitled to know how justice is being administered,” Newman wrote.
By Avery G. Wilks, The Post and Courier | Read more

SCPA to host new manager orientation on Sept. 13

SCPA is hosting a virtual orientation for new editors, publishers and mangers to go over SCPA and SCNN member services.
Join us Tuesday, Sept. 13, from 2-2:30 p.m. via Zoom. This will be an informal space for new leaders of SCPA member papers to get information, ask questions and chat with some of your peers. We'll go over SCPA’s member services, Legal/FOI Hotline, SLED checks, lobbying, training, contests, communications, resources, ad representation and other benefits of your membership. Please RSVP if you’d like to attend.

Order press IDs for your sports stringers

The countdown is on for the return of Friday night lights which means it is time to order press IDs for your sports reporters, photographers and stringers.
All orders must come from SCPA member newspaper editors. Freelancers must contact their editor to order a card.

"Censorship" 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

Greer plant where man allegedly died at work has history of SC OSHA violations, fines

Details and information have been limited involving the investigation at the recycling plant in Greer where Alex Burrell Gordon reportedly died.
The South Carolina Occupational Health and Safety Administration (SC OSHA) said it could not disclose documents pertaining to the ongoing investigation at Industrial Recovery and Recycling.  
The Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office also denied a Freedom of Information Act request for incident reports and relevant findings to the case.
Spartanburg County attorney Ryan Gaylord said a section of the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) makes exempt information that interferes with a prospective law enforcement proceeding.
Industrial Recovery and Recycling has declined Herald-Journal interview requests and has not released an official statement. 
By Chalmers Rogland, Herald-Journal | Read more

Kershaw County fired its jail director but reported he resigned. Richland hired him

The new head of Richland County’s jail was fired from his previous job at the Kershaw County Detention Center for “sexual misconduct in the workplace,” but initial reports from Kershaw County to the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy stated he voluntarily resigned from his position, according to documents obtained by The State.
Tyrell Cato, the former director of the Kershaw County Detention Center, was investigated for workplace sexual harassment and fired on May 24, according to documents obtained by The State. A month later, a Kershaw County employee completed a routine separation form for the Criminal Justice Academy that stated Cato resigned voluntarily. That document, dated June 24, said Cato’s last day on the job was also June 24.
It was not until July 29 — after Cato had been hired to run Richland County’s Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center — that those records were updated to show Cato had been fired from his Kershaw County position for “violation of agency policy.” The new document also says his last day on the job was May 24.
By Morgan Hughes and Ted Clifford, The State | Read more

Questions surrounding death of SC State student resurface amid mother’s quest for answers

South Carolina State University police failed to immediately notify state investigators about the sudden death of a student last April, apparently sidestepping a law that calls for expert reviews of campus deaths, a Post and Courier investigation found.
What’s more, the Orangeburg County coroner didn’t perform an autopsy, which might also have answered lingering questions about the student’s death.
In this vacuum, family members and friends were left in the dark about exactly what happened to Amya Carr, a 21-year-old senior and co-captain of the school’s dance team, the Champagne Dancers.
By Zharia Jeffries, The Post and Courier | Read more

Myrtle Beach councilor cited after ignoring police instructions to stop chasing another vehicle

Myrtle Beach city council member John Krajc was cited for reckless driving [in June] after he ignored police instructions to stop pursuing a Dodge Charger that was the source of fireworks tossed in his lawn and front porch, according to an incident report. ...
MyHorryNews.com filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the 911 call reporting the incident and dashcam video that captured Krajc’s encounter with police. Both are public records. 
The city of Myrtle Beach denied the request, saying the release would “interfere with a prospective law enforcement proceeding.” Jay Bender, an attorney and expert on South Carolina's Freedom of Information Act, disagreed. 
“I can’t imagine there is any future law enforcement action involved here,” Bender said, adding, “if any citizen had been arrested or charged with the same offense, that 911 call and the dashcam video would have been made public record upon the first request, but because it’s a city council member involved, I’m inclined to believe the police are protecting the city council member. After all, the city council provides the budget for the police department. I don’t think it’s a legitimate use of the exception under the FOIA.”
By Christian Boschult, MyHorryNews.com | Read more

Roper Hospital in Charleston cleared by federal agency after reinspection

Roper Hospital in Charleston has been returned to the good graces of the Medicare program after being cited earlier this year for violations related to infection control and the sterilization of surgical equipment.
In a letter from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released by the hospital, the agency declared Roper back in compliance with the Medicare Conditions of Participation. This follows a reinspection of the hospital on July 11 by inspectors from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on behalf of the federal agency’s regional office in Atlanta. That agency did not return a July 29 call seeking comment.
The letter from CMS also noted that Roper was back to full status with the Joint Commission, a nonprofit group that surveys and accredits health care organizations, after that group also found problems in an earlier survey that appears to have prompted a complaint survey by DHEC days later. Those inspectors found numerous violations with infection control, notably the cleansing of blood glucose monitors used on multiple patients, as well as deficiencies in how surgical equipment was cleaned and sterilized. That survey was obtained by the Post and Courier through a Freedom of Information Act request.
By Tom Corwin, The Post and Courier | Read more

Legal Briefs

Many pretrial motions in death penalty trial focus on confidentiality order

A trial to debate the constitutionality of South Carolina's recently imposed death penalty statute that would make the electric chair the default method of execution and implement a firing squad as a second option began Monday. ...
Attorneys representing the plaintiffs, death row inmates, Richard Moore of Spartanburg, Freddie Eugene Owens and Brad Sigmon and Gary Dubose Terry of Lexington, and the defense, the South Carolina Department of Corrections and Gov. Henry McMaster, went back and forth on pre-trial agreements. Much of the focus was on the constraints of a confidentiality order that was filed last month and whether or not to include certain witnesses.
Here were some of the key takeaways: 
- In June, attorneys for SCDC and the state filed a motion for a protective order that would limit the scope of discovery. The attorneys argued that because a state statute prohibits disclosing the identity of anyone on an execution team and that disclosure of execution protocols present a security risk to SCDC, discovery should be prohibited into certain matters that could harm the defense. 
- Circuit judge Jocelyn Newman denied the order when it came to execution protocols but granted it in part when it came to matters regarding lethal injection, which the state argued was irrelevant, and information about members of the execution team. However, the court entered into a confidentiality agreement to designate any testimony or documents as confidential if they contain information that is a safety concern to employees or inmates at SCDC, present trade secrets or any other information that would normally be considered confidential in litigation. This means details of execution protocols would be subject to the agreement and only available to some parties for review. 
- Monday morning, Joshua Kendrick, an attorney representing the inmates, presented a motion to compel the state to provide autopsy reports of executions, saying it was unclear if that information was part of the protective order. ...
- Judge Newman granted the order for the state to disclose autopsies from executions by electrocution and ordered the defense to provide them within 24 hours. Autopsies from executions by lethal injection are prohibited by the protective order. 
By Kathryn Casteel, Greenville News | Read more
By Andy Brack, Editor and Publisher of Charleston
City Paper

Column: S.C. Senate is poking free speech bear on abortion

The mind-numbingly endless debate about abortion in South Carolina has gotten even weirder.
Radical Republicans in the legislature – the very people who haven’t stopped talking about abortion for two decades and inject it into the legislative debate at the drop of a hat – now want us to stop talking about it completely.  And if we don’t? We could be complicit in breaking the law.
Of course, the state Senate and then the House would have to pass a version of a bill to ban abortion that includes unconstitutional prohibitions on providing information about abortions.
The bill, S. 1373 by Sens. Richard Cash, Rex Rice and Danny Verdin, all Upstate Republicans, would make it a felony to knowingly and intentionally provide abortion information to a pregnant woman or anyone seeking information for a pregnant woman by telephone, internet or any form of communication.  The proposal, now in Verdin’s Senate committee, also would make it a felony to host an internet website that provides abortion information.
In other words, the bill seeks to prohibit doctors from providing information to patients about how someone in South Carolina could get an abortion outside of South Carolina.  But it would also prohibit anybody from sending an email or providing information on a website.  And that would include any newspapers or media outlets that published stories in print or online about abortions and where people are getting them. Read more

People & Papers

Seyler 

Seyler named editor of The Post and Courier Myrtle Beach/Georgetown Times 

Randal Seyler has been named editor of The Post and Courier Myrtle Beach/Georgetown Times.
Seyler comes to the Grand Strand from Russellville, Arkansas, where he was editor of The Courier, a daily newspaper covering the River Valley region.
A native Arkansan, Seyler edited newspapers in Arkansas, Florida and New Mexico prior to coming to South Carolina. Some of the newspapers he has edited include the Roswell (NM) Daily Record, The Jonesboro (AR) Sun, the El Dorado (AR)  News-Times and the Silver City (NM) Sun-News. 
He and his wife, Shannon, live in Georgetown. 
Banks

Lancaster News taps Banks as sports editor

The Lancaster News has named a new sports editor, for the first time in four decades.
Mac Banks has been promoted to the position. He replaces Robert Howey, who retired in late July after 45 years at the newspaper, 44 of them as its sports editor.
Banks has been with the paper for two years, covering education, crime and courts, business and general assignments. He has also stepped in to cover sports whenever Howey has been out.
“It is exciting to be named sports editor at The Lancaster News,” Banks said. “I realize the shoes that I am trying to fill. And while someone like Robert Howey can’t be replaced because of all he knows about Lancaster County sports, I am excited to be able to carry on the tradition he perfected.”
Banks has been in the newspaper industry for 23 years. He worked at the Fort Mill Times and The (Rock Hill) Herald for 19 years before coming to The Lancaster News in 2020.
By Jane Alford, The Lancaster News | Read more

Charleston City Paper celebrates 25 years in print

The very first issue of the Charleston City Paper on Sept. 3, 1997, succinctly outlined how the new weekly publication would encompass “everything about Charleston and the Lowcountry — the creative locals, the casually dressed tourists, the vibrant arts community, the excellent restaurants, the local music scene, the Southern culture, the Yankee carpetbaggers and everything in between.”
Local. Independent. Free. That’s long been the motto of the City Paper, now celebrating its 25th year in print. (We’ve been online since 1998.) Much of the credit for making it this far goes to the newspaper’s three co-founders — the late Noel Mermer, who served as publisher, former editor Stephanie Barna and former ad director Blair Barna. Their vision, hard work and complete dedication to creating and sustaining an alternate voice to mainstream media gave a place for tens of thousands of readers to get what they were looking for in a community newspaper.
Editorial from Charleston City Paper | Read more
O’Connor

The Press and Standard welcomes new reporter and photographer

Jessica O’Connor of Ridgeville is the newest addition to The Press and Standard’s team. Originally from Chapin, Jessica studied agriculture and animal science at Clemson University. After college she made a career in the consumer finance industry, within which she and her mother have been running a family business since 2007.
An avid lover of books and writing since childhood, Jessica has been published in a number of newspapers and magazines. She’s also a photographer specializing in hunting and show dog imagery, as well as equine event and portrait photography. Jessica is currently the official horse show photographer for both the Palmetto Paint Horse Club and Carolina Paint Horse Clubs. She has also worked for the in-house photography team at the internationally acclaimed Tryon International Equestrian Center. 
From The Press and Standard | Read more

LMA names The Post and Courier in cohort for Advanced Fundraising Lab

Local Media Association named The Post and Courier among the nine news organizations that will participate in its Advanced Fundraising Lab, launching in September. These nine newsrooms have distinguished themselves by their combination of prior success at fundraising and their track record of journalism on behalf of the communities they serve.
The advanced lab will build on the lessons and success of 36 newsrooms that completed the LMA Lab for Journalism Funding, raising collectively more than $10 million since September 2020 to fund local journalism projects. ...
“The Post and Courier is excited to build on the fundraising strength we have achieved to date, providing a more in-depth knowledge of donor retention, identifying new funding resources, increasing our funnels and providing an excellent stewardship experience for current contributors." — Robie Scott, director of development and community relations, The Post and Courier
From Local Media Association | Read more
Update your address book... Earlier this week, the Lexington County Chronicle moved into its new office at 514 E. Main St. in Lexington.
Please let us know about your new hires, retirements and promotions
so we can share your news in the eBulletin!

Industry Briefs

NFOIC to host second FOI Bootcamp for Journalists of Color

The National Freedom of Information Coalition, in partnership with the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation, invites journalists to apply for the second annual FOI Bootcamp for Journalists of Color by Aug. 19.
Participants will attend eight interactive training sessions, covering how to find, acquire and present government records and data. They'll also receive free registration for the NFOIC’s annual FOI Summit and SPJ’s #MediaFest22
The Bootcamp program addresses the reality that people of color historically have been underrepresented in journalism and in the FOI community, and that the field, to be most beneficial to society and to democracy, must diversify. 
The program, funded through the SPJ Foundation, is open to professional journalists of color and student journalists of color. 

API launches Election Coverage & Community Listening Fund

The American Press Institute is launching a small grants initiative to help newsrooms improve and deepen their relationships with their communities in this year’s elections.
The grants will be awarded as part of API’s Election Coverage & Community Listening Fund, a program aimed at empowering news organizations to implement community listening in their elections coverage between now and November 2022. We hope these efforts yield important lessons for 2023 and 2024 that can be shared through journalism networks and conversations facilitated by API.
News organizations that have ideas for ways to forge stronger community relationships through deep listening and engaged reporting may apply for these grants of $1,500 to $5,000 per newsroom through Aug. 17.

What the Facebook changes of 2022 mean for local news outlets

Summer 2022 has brought waves of changes at Meta that demonstrate its deprioritization of news products, including its wind-down of payments to U.S. news publishers.
In parallel, the company has been planning shifts to how it delivers content. The new default home feed will function as a discovery engine, serving up more sizable proportions of algorithmically selected “suggested posts” based on a user’s habits. Users can select an alternative feed dedicated to showing the latest posts from a users’ friends, groups, and followed pages in chronological order.
These recent announcements have left local news publishers wondering what the changes mean for their Facebook strategies moving forward. Here’s what we know.
By Emilie Lutostanski, Local News Resource Center | Read more

Can we make it easier for readers to digest all the numbers journalists stuff into their stories?

A widely watched measure of news organizations’ median obscurant adumbration hit a year-to-date high of 11.2 in July, a new study has found, a 42% increase from June’s 7.9 measure and the biggest single-month jump since a 7.1 percentage-point change in April 2019, but still well below the anticipated range of between one in six and 32.1.
Okay — I made all that up. No one measures news organizations’ median (or average!) “obscurant adumbration,” because that’s not a thing.
But did that paragraph remind you of any ledes you’ve read (or written)? A long sentence clotted with clauses, thick with too many numbers and percentages and comparisons? One that intermingles a “percent increase” with a “percentage-point change”? Or the hard-number precision of “32.1” with the unstable do-math-in-your-head of “one in six”? Even if you somehow know what “obscurant adumbration” is, is a “year-to-date high of 11.2″…good, bad, catastrophic? And it’s 11.2 whats, exactly? Points, units, megatons, gigabytes?
By Joshua Benton, Nieman Lab | Read more

Compelling Writing with Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune,
Writing Coach

Avoid these adverbs for clear writing

Adverbs ending in ‘ly’ should bother you as much as they do me 
Statistician Ben Blatt found Ernest Hemingway used only 80 -ly adverbs per 10,000 words.
The only other writer who used fewer is Toni Morrison.
She uses 76 -ly adverbs per 10,000 words.
Here’s a 102-word example from the short story Fear which uses no -ly adverbs, 
He felt fear the night they crawled through the live-fire course. The course was about a hundred yards long, the length of a football field. It was wide enough for his squad, all twelve of them, to crawl beside each other across the cold, wet sand. The sand clung to their fatigues. It was a wet, cold, nasty feeling. 
If you were careless the wet sand could get in your eyes and mouth while red tracer bullets flew in the darkness above you.
“Don’t stand or the tracers will cut you in two,” their drill instructor said. 

The average sentence length: 14 words.
Scrapping your -ly adverbs will simplify your writing.
Why simplify your writing? More readers will understand it.
Blatt’s analysis shows that the writing greats tend to use fewer adverbs. 
Exceptions exist. 
Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis used an average of 142 -ly adverbs per 10,000 words.
The best books – the greatest of the greats – contain fewer -ly adverbs. 
Writing coach Henneke Duistermaat found that novels that sell well have 25% fewer adverbs than those amateur writers post online.
To remove the adverbs from your writing, Henneke recommends using the Hemingway App. It will tell you exactly which words are adverbs. 
Then it’s up to you to decide: Keep it, change it, or delete it.
The Hemingway App costs less than $20.
You can get it at https://hemingwayapp.com
Next: Find your writing voice
For more on reporting, writing and editing, read writing coach Jerry Bellune’s The Art of Compelling Writing, available for $9.99 at Amazon.com

Columns

By John Foust, Advertising Trainer

Tell them why – and sell more

Like some other kids, I learned how to drive before taking the drivers’ education class in high school. My father took me to the school’s football stadium on weekends when the expansive parking lot was empty. The car was an old station wagon with a manual shift on the steering column. “Once you learn how to drive a manual shift, an automatic transmission will be a piece of cake,” he said.
Dad was a great teacher. After he methodically explained the gas pedal, the brake, the clutch and other essentials, he assured me that it was okay to make mistakes, because I couldn’t damage anything around us. Shifting gears was the number one topic. He carefully demonstrated the correct way to move from neutral to first, then let me try it. “Let the clutch out slowly,” he said, “because the car will lurch and stall if you do it too quickly. Do it slowly and the car will ease into gear.” At first, I struggled so much with that clutch that the poor station wagon jumped around like a bucking bronco. But after a while, I developed a feel for it – and the car actually behaved. Read more
By Aly Colón, Knight Professor of Media Ethics, Washington and Lee University

A question of ethics: How long do you give a source to respond?

Bloomberg News recently retracted a story accusing some Fox News executives and hosts of failing to hand over documents in a lawsuit.
In seeking comment regarding the story, Bloomberg News gave Fox News 18 minutes to respond before publication, according to a Fox News spokesperson quoted by Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple.
Journalists seek to publish stories as quickly as they can when they perceive them to be important and timely. We do so for many reasons. Sometimes, news organizations believe the sooner the public knows, the better. For many journalists, it also feels great to beat the competition. 
But speed also results in danger.
Moving too quickly may make it harder to ensure you got the facts straight. Also, the source you seek for confirmation may need more time to get their facts right. Sometimes, the source might hope to delay making the news public until they are prepared to respond or have a better response.
In thinking how fast we decide to publish, we might consider the interstate highway speed limits. Read more

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