Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Feb. 2, 2023

Congrats News Contest winners!

Proof and submit corrections by Feb. 8

Winners from the 2022 News Contest have been posted online for proofing.
The list includes winners from the News and Associate/Individual contests.
The deadline to proof your newspaper’s winners is Wednesday, Feb. 8. Submit all corrections to Jen Madden.
Winners are not for official release in your newspaper or on your newspaper's website until March 10.
Please mark your calendar -- the 2023 SCPA Annual Meeting and Awards will be held March 9-10 at the Cooperative Conference Center. Registration, schedule of events and hotel information will be available later this week.
Collegiate winners will be announced on Feb. 8. 

SCNN payouts return more than $65,000 to member papers

S.C. Newspaper Network (SCNN), the sales arm of SCPA, mailed advertising network payments totaling $65,658 to SCPA member newspapers last week.
These totals include the quarterly QuarterPage+ Ad Network payout of $27,211, the quarterly Small Space Display (2x2/2x4/2x6) Advertising Network payout of $13,427 and the annual Classified Network payout of $25,020.
“The SCNN networks are a great source of added revenue for member newspapers and the income from these networks is vital to the continuing operations of SCPA,” said Randall Savely, Co-Executive Director. “We are so thankful for the continued support of our participating newspapers. There is no state with better participation from member newspapers than South Carolina.”
Every S.C. daily newspaper and virtually every member weekly newspaper participates in SCNN's ad networks.
If your newspaper is an SCPA member and does not participate in one of the SCNN networks, contact Randall to learn how these networks can provide revenue to your newspaper.

Quote of the Week

"Why do we continue to invest in local news?
As our reporter Alex stated recently, 'Hyperlocal news is a blessing to the community.'
We are our community's only true source for news. We publish content you can't find anywhere else. From hard news stories covering local government, education, and crime to features on people's accomplishments or birth announcements, we publish news that matters.
On behalf of our team, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us, especially our valued readers and advertisers who have helped us grow. Y’all are why we continue to do what we do."

"Groundhog Day" 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

South Carolina has hundreds of coastal high-rises in harm’s way. We mapped them.

MYRTLE BEACH — Steve Bentz rises to his tiptoes and drops his heels on the floor of a concrete parking garage with its underground level blocked off. The ground shakes.
It’s a basic test engineers like Bentz use to gauge the amount of bounce. More bounce is bad, kind of like worn out shocks on a car.
His business partner, Mark Howell, doesn’t need to feel the ground shift below him before vowing he would never park here. He can see the caulked cracks and exposed concrete.
“If our truck drives on, it’s gonna be in the basement,” Howell says.
The parking garage and the 8-story motel between it and the beach have stood here for more than three decades. They are among hundreds of tall, aging buildings along the South Carolina coast that are vulnerable to structural decay from the corrosive effects of the sea and the salty oceanfront climate.
Coastal counties have been largely unable to say just how many tall buildings lie in harm’s way. But a Post and Courier investigation has identified more than 500 tall structures that sit close enough to the coast to be vulnerable to storm surge flooding during a hurricane.
Using elevator permit data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the newspaper pinpointed the location and approximate age of every high-rise building and parking garage that is near the ocean and is at least six stories tall. That is the height targeted in proposed state legislation aimed at ensuring the structural integrity of high-rise buildings.
By John Ramsey, The Post and Courier | Read more

People & Papers


Vickery, Douglas named to E&P’s 25 Under 35

Jonathan Vickery, publisher/owner of The People Sentinel in Barnwell and Anna Douglas, deputy managing editor of The Charlotte Observer, have been named to Editor & Publisher’s 2023 class of 25 Under 35.
Vickery, 34, is a graduate of Anderson University.
“I’ve learned a lot over the past 12-plus years in the newspaper industry, all of which have been at my hometown newspaper," Vickery said. "This has helped me become a better person and journalist. I’ve also developed a more profound love, understanding and appreciation for my small, rural hometown."
Here's his "Top 5" list of advice for young professionals in the news industry. (Click here to read his full response): 
1. Focus on local.
2. Be willing to adapt.
3. Know your community.
4. Be factual and honest.
5. Have fun. 
Douglas, 33, is a Winthrop graduate and past winner of SCPA’s Journalist of the Year and Collegiate Journalist of the Year awards. She previously worked at The (Rock Hill) Herald. Here’s Douglas’ advice to other young professionals in the news industry: “Don’t ride the highs too high or the lows too low. (I sometimes have to give this advice to myself!) Early career journalists truly have more choices today than ever regarding how and where to work. If you’re finding major or constant problems in your role, speak up and ask for help from a mentor with more experience and your boss. Be ready for feedback about what you may have to work on personally. Take that seriously. Think ahead of time about your ideas that could offer solutions and communicate them. From there, embrace the hard things that come with advancing your career, but ultimately you need to make decisions that best support your happiness. No one is in charge of that except you. Help others around you who may need your support as much as you can. I love to see people lead from wherever they are — no matter their job title — and I believe this can profoundly affect newsroom culture.” 
By Robin Blinder, Editor & Publisher | Read more

Aiken Standard announces changes to home delivery and printing operation

The Aiken Standard is making changes to its distribution and printing.
Beginning in March, the Aiken Standard will reduce its home delivery from seven days to five days per week. The Monday print edition will be eliminated, and a weekend edition will be delivered to print subscribers on Saturdays. The weekend edition will include all of the content readers now enjoy with their current Sunday edition, including feature sections, comics, Home Hunter and advertising inserts.
Also, effective March 1, the Aiken Standard will be printed in North Charleston. The newspaper’s parent company, Evening Post Publishing Inc., recently completed installation of a new press.
From Aiken Standard | Read more

Bender lands on front lines of Murdaugh trial

Opening arguments began this week in Walterboro, South Carolina, in the trial of Alex Murdaugh, who is accused of killing his wife and one of his sons in 2021. The Murdaugh saga — involving a prominent attorney’s fall from grace and alleged descent into drugs, debt and murder — is the most talked-about case in the country, inspiring sustained national media attention and an entire podcast devoted to the subject. From FOX News to The New York Times, the Murdaugh trial is everywhere.
Right at the center of it is Jay Bender, a former University of South Carolina media law professor who retired in 2016. (He had a joint appointment with the College of Information and Communications and the School of Law.) Bender has been appointed by S.C. Circuit Judge Clifton Newman to serve as a liaison between the court and the media for the high-profile case. 
By Dan Cook, USC | Read more

Industry Briefs

3 reasons the local Black press has a strong future

Black History Month — which evolved from “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans — is known as the annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.
Although we mostly concentrate on prominent people, businesses, and events from the past during Black History Month, it is imperative that we also focus on the future of the Black press.
Here are a few key facts that many in the industry might overlook when it comes to the Black press — all which help to ensure the advancement and sustainability of local black-owned media outlets.
Local Black-owned media organizations are reinventing themselves 
Local Black-owned legacy publishers have realized that they are no longer simply newspapers in their local communities. Publishers are embracing digital transformation, rebranding themselves as networks and digital media organizations while also diversifying their revenue streams.
By John Celestand, Knight x LMA BloomLab | Read more

API hosts free tech talk on engaging readers in an era of social platform flux

With Facebook’s continued de-prioritization and divestment from news, the ongoing Twitter saga and Bytedance data security concerns, 2022 was a whirlwind year for journalism and social media platforms.
Heading into 2023, we have plenty of questions:
How can newsrooms and journalists stay connected to readers and communities - and each other?
How can we re-examine what social strategies are working and prioritize amidst constant uncertainty?
How are we allocating our limited time and staff resources?
To build on the discussion around social media we held with ONA in December, the American Press Institute is hosting a virtual participatory event to dive into these questions. Breakout sessions will include facilitated discussions around experiments with newer social platforms, improving experiences on our websites, and ways to connect with audiences offline. This event will also kick off a new series, API Tech Talks, where we talk about newsrooms’ most pressing technology challenges and opportunities.
Join API on Friday, Feb. 17, from 1-2 p.m. How are journalists re-examining social strategies amidst ongoing uncertainty? Join this virtual event to discuss current challenges.
This event is free to attend. Register here.


Former Gaffney Ledger editor and SCPA past president dies

Bill Gibbons was a member of The Gaffney Ledger family for 22 years — 1963 to 1985. He began his career with this newspaper as a staff writer before serving as Sports Editor, then Managing Editor and eventually Editor.
He was a vital part of our team and won numerous awards for his work. In 1979 then publisher Louis Sossamon wrote, “I am proud of Bill Gibbons, Fender Brown, Janet Spencer and our news staff. For the past 12 years they have won for The Gaffney Ledger 10 first and 2 second place awards in the field of Community Service. This is the most coveted of all South Carolina Press Association awards. There have been many other awards to come The Ledger’s way as a result of the efforts of these fine news people.
“Thank you for your contribution to the building of a better community for all.”
He is forever linked to Leroy Martin, The Gaffney Strangler, as Gibbons received phone calls from Martin that eventually led to his arrest for the murders of several young women in 1968.
The rumor mill quickly pointed to Gibbons as the main suspect in the murders.
After Martin’s arrest a front page editorial lambasted those who accused Gibbons.
It read in part, “A man is caught and a community rests better, but how will the dirty and demented minds who tried to destroy Bill Gibbons ever find peace? If they can rest, it is only because they do not understand honor and character and courage. Bill R. Gibbons probably put his life and that of his family in terrible danger to find a killer and protect the rest of the community. He did not tell of the Monday call until Wednesday because officers asked him not to. They believed it would help them solve the case. For his efforts his name was dragged through muck and mire. Indescribable filth was tossed about by lascivious liars. A man has been arrested and people can rest easier and it is because of Bill Gibbons. Through a chance call, Bill Gibbons was burdened with a tiring and terrible task. Cherokee County should be thankful that it had him to carry it. A lesser man might have caused many more of our children to be killed.”
Bill and his wife Tedi, who preceded him death, were stalwart supporters of Cherokee County and involved in numerous organizations and activities that helped make our community a better place to live.
They will both be missed.
By Cody Sossamon, The Gaffney Ledger | Read more


by John Foust
Greensboro, NC

The power of enthusiasm

There’s a story about a professor of literature at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. As he approached retirement, someone from the newspaper interviewed him. During the course of their conversation, the reporter asked the wise old professor about the most beautiful words he had ever read. He paused for a second or two and said, “Walk with light.” 
“That truly is beautiful,” the reporter said. “Who wrote those magnificent words? Shakespeare? Milton? Keats?” “No,” he replied. “It’s a sign at a crosswalk across from the campus on Franklin Street.” 
Walk with light. We could discuss the deep meanings and implications of “light” all day long. But for now, let’s use it as a metaphor for enthusiasm. When we go through the day with enthusiasm, we cast a positive light all around us. Read more

Compelling Writing by Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune, Writing Coach

How to attract readers

Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle pioneered publishing books as serial chapters in London newspapers.
It was a great marketing device for newspaper publishers and the two writers.
Readers became hooked on the stories. They bought the newspapers for the next story or book chapter. 
It was a great strategy, too. The authors and publishers of their books could tell from newspaper sales if the series would be popular enough to warrant the cost of printing and distributing the series as books.
We see evidence of this everywhere.  TV series such as M*A*S*H ran for 11 seasons. It was loosely based on a book written by a former Mobile Army Surgical Hospital doctor in the Korean War. The producers filmed more than 275 M*A*S*H episodes. It is still on TV in re-runs.  
George Lucas parlayed Star Wars into an industry cranking out movie sequels, TV specials and other products. 
Once you have a good thing, keep feeding those who love it. 
In our community newspapers we publish columns by non-journalists from our neighborhoods. 
They work lots of local names into their columns which leads people to tell each other, “I saw your name in the Chronicle.”
We publish columns on themes.
One correspondent writes weekly about what local churches do for the community. Another writes entertainingly about Southern culture and a third about local history.
Two of our sales people write a chatty column about local business people. 
Our subscription manager writes a personalized column explaining the latest trends in technology.
Our bookkeeper’s many family health challenges has led her to write a weekly health column.
These writers attract loyal followings. Our subscribers attract others as they talk with friends about our latest issue.

Next: Respectful reporting

If our reporters wrote better it would make editing easier. It would make our news and feature articles sing. But we lack the time to coach them. Here’s a secret. You can help them with copies of writing coach Jerry Bellune’s The Art of Compelling Writing, marked down to $7.93 from $9.99 at

Upcoming Events

  • Feb. 10 | 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. | IRE Data Journalism Workshop | SCPA, Columbia (SOLD OUT)
  • Feb. 16 | 2-3:15 p.m. | FOI & Libel Training | Zoom
  • March 9-10 | SCPA Annual Meeting & Awards | Cooperative Conference Center, Columbia
  • March 12-18 | Sunshine Week
  • March 31 | SCPA Collegiate Meeting & Awards | Clemson University
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