Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Dec. 10, 2020

Registration open for virtual Legislative Workshop for the Media

Because of COVID-19, SCPA is working to reimagine our annual Legislative Workshop for the Media. The event will be held Thursday, Jan. 7, from 10-11:30 a.m. via Zoom and is sponsored by the S.C. Press Association, S.C. Broadcasters Association and the Associated Press.
Key leaders of the House and Senate will outline what they consider to be the top issues of the 2021 session. Brad Hutto, Senate Minority Leader; Chris Murphy, New House Judiciary Chairman; and Todd Rutherford, House Minority Leader, have agreed to participate. More panelists will be added as they are confirmed. Frank Rainwater, executive director of the State Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, will also participate to present the budget. 
In the virtual, shortened format, we plan to discuss budget and spending projections (esp. the impact of COVID-19), Santee Cooper, law enforcement reform and redistricting. If time allows, other topics will be covered. There will also be time for Q&A. 
Lee Harter, executive editor of The Times and Democrat, will moderate. All discussions are on the record.
We recommend this event for editors, new and veteran Statehouse reporters, editorial writers, city editors and assignment editors.
The cost to attend is $20. However if you are an SCPA member, the SCPA Foundation Smoak Fund will cover your registration fee if you enter discount code SCPRESS when registering. 
Please note that this event is open only to members of SCPA, SCBA and AP.
Register to attend

Ware Shoals Observer suspends publication

The Observer in Ware Shoals printed its final edition on Dec. 2.
Dan and Faye Branyon, who have published the weekly community paper for 39 years, have suspended publication indefinitely due to serious health issues.
In a letter to readers, Dan Branyon  wrote, "Scheduled medical treatments, along with the need to focus on getting well and the next step in this arduous process, make this mandatory... As many of you understand, small town weeklies are by necessity, small operations. Throughout the years, and notably in recent weeks, many friends and family members have stepped up to assist us in getting The Observer to you each week. We say thank you to each for their contributions. We also take this opportunity to express appreciation to the many readers and friends who have overwhelmed us with cards, letters and other acts of support. Ours may not be the biggest town around, but it is certainly comprised of folks with the biggest hearts."

2021 Directory headed to your mailbox

The 2021 edition of the S.C. Media Directory is being mailed to SCPA members this week.
The guide, published annually by SCPA, includes detailed information on all 15 daily and more than 70 weekly newspapers in South Carolina including newspaper contact info, circulation and readership figures, and advertising information. It also includes info about SCPA's collegiate, associate and individual members, as well as South Carolina's TV and radio stations.
Each member organization receives a free copy. It is also mailed to ad agencies throughout the state and Southeast.
Additional copies can be ordered for $40.

Send us your suggestions for General Excellence

The News Contest entry deadline has passed and SCPA staffers have started getting the entries ready for judging. In the 2020 rules, we asked editors to email suggestions on how SCPA could fairly update the General Excellence criteria to include digital efforts for the 2021 News Contest. We are aware that this is a print-centric contest that does not fully evaluate the digital landscape of news. If you have thoughts or suggestions, please email Jen
Member Spotlight: Mundy Price
Mundy Price and her youngest son, Benjamin (10) on a campout in Oct. at a Camp Old Indian in Travelers Rest.
President and Publisher, Index-Journal, Greenwood
What do you like best about your job?
No two days are ever the same. I feel a great sense of responsibility to carry on the 101 year tradition of being a trusted source of news and information for the communities in which we serve.

What is your proudest career moment?
We spent much of 2019 celebrating the Index-Journal’s 100th anniversary and kicked off the year by sponsoring our local chamber of commerce’s annual meeting. At that event, we debuted a video showcasing the history and longevity of our business and the impact the Index-Journal has had on Greenwood and surrounding communities. The highlight of the night was our local state legislators presenting my mother with SC House and Senate resolutions recognizing the Index-Journal’s century-worth of contributions to journalism in the state. My mother passed away just seven months later, which made the recognition of our milestone anniversary even more poignant. 

What's the most exciting thing going on at your paper?
We just launched a new package called the Index-Journal Weekender for Saturday morning delivery. Like many dailies across the country, the topic of cutting print days had been on the table for some time before COVID hit, and the virus forced our hand. Initially in the spring, we stopped printing on Saturdays and Mondays, but continued with producing e-editions and a digital replica those days. We were able to grow our subscriber email database from 18% to 48% during a mad scramble to encourage print subscribers to hand over those email addresses so they could avoid a disruption in their ability to read their daily paper. We consider that growth a victory. Late this summer, we assessed the print and news cycles and decided to bring Mondays back, eliminate the Sunday print and digital replica, and created a really beefy Saturday morning weekend print and replica package. Since the communities we serve are big on high school football and other high school athletics, and since we don’t have an NCAA college football team in our backyard, we decided Saturdays made the most sense for a weekend publication day. We’re two weeks in, ad and subscription revenues are holding steady, and reviews are 98% positive.

What’s your favorite SCPA member service?
We take advantage of training opportunities for both the news and sales teams, and I especially like the publisher’s roundtables. Being able to glean ideas from other papers from around the state, and the ability to share successes and failures, is always a worth-while experience. SC Press's work that goes into supporting the state’s journalists who need to make FOI requests is also invaluable, as is the support on the legal front. 

What adjustments have you made during COVID-19?
Early in the spring, our news and sales teams began working remotely. That transition went very well, and we have been using Microsoft Teams to conduct our regular meetings. We also closed our lobby to the public. As of September 28, all team members are now back in the building, and we allow customers in the lobby in limited numbers. We are required to wear masks when not seated at our desks or when we’re within six feet of coworkers or customers. Any visitors/customers/vendors, etc. must also wear masks. To the extent possible, interviews and sales calls are taking place without face-to-face contact, and, when in-person is the only option, our team members are wearing masks. We’ve taken the approach from the get-go that getting through this will be a fluid situation and we have to remain flexible and creative.

When it’s safe to get out and about again, what are some area attractions/restaurants in your community we shouldn’t miss?
Sadly, Uptown Greenwood had to cancel our community’s most popular event - the SC Festival of Discovery, which is a weekend when Greenwood’s Main St. is filled with the delicious aromas created by 90+ competition barbecue teams from across the Southeast and the soulful sounds of 20+ blues acts. That event typically draws nearly 40K attendees and takes place over 4 days the second full weekend in July - it’s well worth the drive. Keep an eye out for SC Festival of Discovery 2021 plans. Greenwood now has a locally owned brewery - Good Times Brewing Company - with a brick oven pizza restaurant right next door, and South Bend Winery will soon be opening. We’re also fortunate to still have a drive-in movie theater - located on Hwy. 25 on the south side of town - it’s the perfect place for socially distant movie-watching, and a really good cheeseburger.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Gamecocks fan (bless my heart), thanks to being a third-generation graduate of the UofSC. I am a former member of the varsity equestrian team and was on the first team to be coached by current Gamecocks equestrian team coach, Boo Major. Something I also don’t typically bring up in conversation is that I was diagnosed a couple of years ago with an autoimmune condition called Celiac Disease. In a nutshell, people with Celiac cannot consume anything containing gluten because our bodies think it’s harmful. Consuming gluten for a person with Celiac can lead to issues with digestion, nutrient absorption, and inflammation throughout the body. There’s not conclusive evidence as to why people wind up with Celiac, but many theories suggest genes set the stage and a triggering event flips the switch to start the disease. I try to educate people about Celiac when the opportunity presents itself - it’s not an allergy, and it’s not a fad. I’d give anything to be able to eat a Krispy Kreme donut or drink a locally brewed beer from Good Times, but I’ve become accustomed my new necessary diet and thankfully have the full support of my family.

What do you like to do outside of work?
My equestrian days are behind me, unfortunately, due to undergoing lumbar fusion in 2014. Much of my free time now is spent supporting my three sons (Charles, 16; Mac, 13; and Benjamin, 10) in Scouting activities and athletics. All three of our boys are playing football this season (which is why we now have an Aflac accident policy!), and my husband, Kenny, is an assistant football coach. I love high school and collegiate basketball, especially, and enjoy keeping the stat book for my boys’ teams. I’m involved in church activities and recently finished a term as an elder on the session at Rock Presbyterian, ECO, in Greenwood, which is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. Kenny is a musician, and we both crave live music. Pre-Covid, we attended multiple music festivals and concerts each year. We’re holding out hope that the Rolling Stones can go back on tour soon so we can use the tickets we have for a postponed July show - we’d like to check that off of our bucket list! (In the meantime, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards need to keep drinking from that fountain of youth they’ve apparently found.)

Know someone that you’d like SCPA to spotlight? Email us your recommendations.

FOI Briefs

The State Media Company sues USC for failing to comply with records request

The State Media Co. recently filed a lawsuit against the University of South Carolina for its failure to turn over public records, which could shed light on how the university’s projects, included in Richland County’s 2012 transportation referendum, received seemingly preferential treatment from county officials.
For 11 months, USC has failed to release documents for four record requests from the newspaper as required by the state’s Freedom of Information Act. For three of the requests, the university has not given an adequate response, acknowledging whether it has the requested documents. The State also has a fifth outstanding request sent Oct. 1.
A recent analysis of the county’s penny sales tax projects by The State found nearly one out of every $6 the county plans to spend from the referendum’s $656 million roadway fund will benefit the university and its sports facilities.
By Andrew Caplan and Lucas Daprile, The State | Read more

After weeks of secrecy, SC health board chair speaks about search for agency chief

The chairman of South Carolina’s health department board has broken a weeks-long silence about the search for a new agency director, saying the board has solid candidates and expects to pick a new chief by early January to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Mark Elam, chairman of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control board, said 65 people have applied for the job and DHEC’s board has interviewed nine candidates. The board said it has not selected finalists, but more candidate interviews were scheduled.
After weeks of sidestepping questions from the media about the search, Elam said it’s important to make the right decision as the state deals with the coronavirus, which has killed more than 4,000 South Carolinians since March.
By Sammy Fretwell, The State | Read more

South Carolina’s board passed hefty cut to Muschamp buyout. It never went into effect

An agreed-upon revision to former South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp’s contract that was never signed by the parties would have saved the university $2 million in buyout money when it fired him.
The failure to complete the contract amendment, which was approved by USC’s board of trustees in December of 2019, means Muschamp’s buyout obligation from the school remains at a bit more than $15.5 million, instead of slightly more than $13.4 million.
At the time of the amendment’s passage, the change was publicized as a move to allow Muschamp to redirect money to help retain a key assistant coach. It also removed Muschamp’s annual raises and therefore lowered the university’s burden should it fire him.
However, the contract, which was obtained by The State this week following a Freedom of Information request, shows the amendment was never signed by Muschamp, athletic director Ray Tanner or board of trustees secretary J. Cantey Heath.
By Ben Breiner, The State | Read more

Industry Briefs

Celebrate a free press this month

The Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University invites SCPA members to celebrate the 229th birthday of Freedom of the Press and the Bill of Rights on Dec. 15.
Ads are available in multiple sizes and print/digital formats. Some of the ads focus on the month of December, while others are designed to be published specifically on Dec. 15.
Ken Paulson, Director of the Free Speech Center, has also written an op-ed on the significance of this holiday (yes, it’s a largely forgotten national holiday) and the importance of the First Amendment. 

Congress passes legislation honoring fallen journalists

The Fallen Journalists Memorial (FJM) Foundation thanked the U.S. Senate for passing bipartisan legislation (H.R. 3465) to authorize the foundation to establish a national memorial that honors reporters, editors, photographers and broadcasters who have lost their lives reporting the news.
The legislation, known as the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act, was passed by the House of Representatives on September 21, 2020, and is awaiting the president’s signature. Sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Representative Grace Napolitano (D-California), Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Representative Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), the bipartisan legislation authorizes the foundation to begin the process of designing and constructing the first memorial on public land that honors journalists who sacrificed their lives in service to America’s commitment to a free press.
From the National Newspaper Association | Read more


By Justin Madden, Senior Editor, The Sun News

Our newsroom is changing. Here’s how you can help us cover homelessness in Myrtle Beach

Dear Grand Strand:
My grandmother was my first journalism teacher. She taught me the importance of being honest and how a story should always be rooted in truth. Curiosity, she said, makes the adventure worthwhile and people are wonders of the world, although individually different. Words, too, are also things. Cherish them.
These simple, yet profound lessons shaped my values as a journalist and guide me as I settle in as your neighbor and the new senior editor/general manager of The Sun News. I am overjoyed to be here.
See, here’s the thing: My grandmother, Shellie, who you’ll come to know, taught me those lessons from her front porch in Simpsonville, South Carolina. It’s about four hours north of the Grand Strand and is where I spent most of my summer and Christmas vacations visiting my dad and his side of the family.
It was during those summer vacations in the late 90s and early 2000s that I got a chance to visit Myrtle Beach for our annual Labor Day trip. It was in South Carolina that I learned that tea comes sweet when you order it and red dirt is pretty tough to get out of white shoes. It’s also where I learned that long sleeves are the best attire while gardening under the roasting sun. Read more

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