Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Aug. 20, 2020
Editor's Note: We're changing the publication day of the eBulletin. You'll now receive this email every Thursday morning. 

PALMY winners live for proofing

2020 PALMY Ad Contest winners are now live for proofing. Please take a look at the winners list and let us know by Aug. 26 if you have corrections.
Best of Show, Designer of the Year and the President’s Award for Best Overall Advertising will be announced on Sept. 15.
Winners will be presented over Facebook Live in a virtual presentation on Sept. 15, at 4 p.m.  A recording will also be available on Vimeo, Facebook and embedded on scpress.org.
All plaques and certificates will be delivered to newspapers in early September. In most cases, awards will be shipped via USPS Priority Mail at no charge to the newspaper, but some will be hand-delivered. We’ll reach out to each newspaper directly to schedule delivery.
PALMY Awards will be presented as part of #SCPRESS20. Here are more details!

SCPA to host Virtual Meeting & Awards

SCPA made the announcement last week that we will move this year's in-person conference to a virtual meeting because of COVID-19. The Annual Meeting, originally set for March, was rescheduled at the start of the pandemic to Sept. 18-19, in Myrtle Beach. Instead, #SCPRESS20, presented by AT&T, will now be held virtually.
While we're disappointed we won't see you at the beach next month, our first priority is the health and safety of our members.
Here’s what you can expect from #SCPRESS20.
By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Seattle subpoena fight is First Amendment dilemma

The protests and riots in cities across the country after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis raised many questions about race, justice and free speech. But developments in Seattle in the wake of those events raise serious issues of press freedom and responsibility that have simmered in the law for decades: Do news organizations have an obligation to help authorities identify or prosecute miscreants, and do media law and/or journalism ethics require the media to cooperate with such requests?
On May 30, in the midst of several days of protests in Seattle, a man was seen stealing firearms from several police department vehicles and attempting to set the vehicles on fire. The police obtained surveillance footage from nearby stores to identify the man, to no avail. So the Seattle Police Department went to court an obtained a subpoena for five area news organizations, including the Seattle Times and four television stations, to turn over their footage and photos of the event in order to identify the suspect.
This is reminiscent of the case of Josh Wolf, a blogger who shot video of anarchist protests in San Francisco in 2005 against the G-8 economic summit then underway in Scotland. In investigating an assault on a police officer and the attempted burning of a police car during the protest, federal prosecutors subpoenaed all of Wolf’s footage.  When he refused, Wolf spent 226 days in prison for contempt: the longest time an American journalist has been imprisoned for refusing to release source information. He was released only after he agreed to publicly release all of his footage, thus making it available to prosecutors. Read more

NNA supports Congressional action to protect universal mail service

By Tonda Rush, NNA
Earlier this week the National Newspaper Association announced its support for urgent Congressional action to prevent slowing of the mail during the coronavirus pandemic.
Matt Adelman, NNA president and publisher of the Douglas (Wyoming) Budget, said NNA would support a bill by House Democrats to prevent service cuts while the nation is in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic. The House of Representatives plans to vote this week on the Delivering for America Act, HR 8015.
“NNA believes that, while cost controls for USPS are critical, the timing of cuts in service right now is unfortunate. We want to make clear that we normally do not invite Congressional action on postal operations, preferring to leave those decisions to the professionals at USPS. We also are working with our members and USPS to achieve greater efficiency in the mail and support the efforts of the USPS Board of Governors as it tries to use the tools it has to keep mail affordable and reliable.
“However, right now, our nation is deeply dependent upon the mail. Particularly in areas served by community newspapers, we are hearing alarming reports from our subscribers. Our readers need the information we are sending them. They also need their prescriptions, election ballots and other important mail. Today is not the day to hobble USPS in its mission to provide universal service to a country that needs to trust its government to deliver more than ever. We urge Congress and the Postal Service to take necessary steps to keep mail moving.”
Adelman said NNA had urged Congressional action to stabilize USPS finances for more than a decade and would continue to support important measures to help USPS achieve fiscal sustainability. 

Member Spotlight: Sherry Jackson

Executive Editor, Community Journals
What do you like best about your job?
I love that there's something different going on each and every day. No two days are alike in this job and I'm never bored. I thrive on the chaos and ever-changing environment. I think to be in this industry you have to like change and be adaptable.

What is your proudest career moment?
Gosh, there are many, but mostly I am proud that our very small team somehow manages to publish multiple daily online stories, a weekly print newspaper (the Greenville Journal) and a bi-weekly print business publication (the Upstate Business Journal). That's 78 print issues each year that are visually compelling, have multiple entry points into each story and chock full of interesting people, places and information about our community.

What's the most exciting thing going on at your paper?
Obviously, we are all dealing with the challenges COVID-19 has presented. We were pretty early in our market with a robust digital presence and we're constantly enhancing our websites and social media presentations.

What’s your favorite SCPA member service?
The award opportunities each year are a plus. We all hope we're doing great work, but it's always a good affirmation to have your peers weight in. We just had a FOIA and libel training session with Bill Rogers and Jen Madden and that was very informative. I'm looking forward to future virtual training options for our team.

What adjustments have you made during COVID-19?
Our editorial team is 100% remote now and honestly, we didn't miss a beat. We use Slack to do a lot of our communication and of course video calls and email.

When it’s safe to get out and about again, what are some area attractions/restaurants in your community we shouldn’t miss?
I think by now everyone knows Greenville is a "foodie" town. Some of my favorites are Luna Rosa which has the BEST gelato, paninis and Italian food. Rick Erwin's West End Grille is my favorite for a nice steak dinner and Coastal Crust in the Village of West Greenville has the best pizza. As far as attractions go, there's hiking at Paris Mountain, Table Rock State Park and many other places. We're fairly close to Lake Jocassee, Keowee and Hartwell so lots of outdoor activities. But really, it's fun just to go downtown and hang out, grab a coffee or dessert, walk around Cleveland Park and along the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
Hmmm, I'm pretty open, but here are a couple "lesser" known tidbits: I've lived in Ohio, Arizona, Texas, California and South Carolina. We actually moved back to Arizona for three years and just returned to South Carolina about six months ago. I grew up in Arizona, so I knew how hot it was, but I had forgotten it was so hot for so long! We decided we missed Greenville, a lot, so we came back and are probably here for good now. I'm also left-handed and wrote a hiking book about six years ago called Five-Star Trails: South Carolina Upstate: Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes.

What do you like to do outside of work?
Hike (see above). I also love traveling to new places, near and far.

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

FOI Briefs

Release COVID-19 case counts by school district, SC Gov. McMaster tells DHEC

As some students head back to school this month, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster wants the state’s public health agency to publicly release daily statistics on how many students and staff members are testing positive for COVID-19.
McMaster said the numbers are in the public’s interest and asked the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control to start a process to release the counts every day. ... 
In response, a DHEC spokesperson said the agency intends to start work on a process that’ll fulfill McMaster’s request.
By Maayan Schechter, The State | Read more

Transparency concerns arise as Charleston-area law enforcement encrypt radio calls

Charleston County law enforcement agencies completed a switch to fully encrypted radio communications earlier this month, effectively blocking the public from hearing transmissions and prompting transparency concerns.  …
Police scanners have long been a staple of how journalists track incidents ranging from shootings to fires, SCPA Attorney Jay Bender said. …
“I don’t know of any instance where bad guys used a scanner to ambush police or avoid police,” Bender said. “I’ve seen it in movies. ... It’s possible that it could be real but it’s unlikely. I see this as just another step in the isolation of police from the communities they are to serve and protect.”
By Gregory Yee, The Post and Courier | Read more

Surfside Beach rescinds pier construction bid amid ongoing FOIA lawsuit, infighting

A vote taken to appoint a company to restore the Surfside Pier was nullified as an ongoing lawsuit between council members asserts the original decision had been made illegally.
Surfside Beach Town Council unanimously approved a motion during a special meeting Monday to rescind a July 1 vote that awarded the pier reconstruction project to Orion/FBi. The decision to restart the bidding process comes a week after Mayor Bob Hellyer and two council members sued their colleagues over the legalities of that vote.
By Anna Young, The Sun News | Read more

T&D not notified of hospital board meeting

The [Orangeburg and Calhoun counties] Regional Medical Center's board announced earlier this month it has decided not to renew the contract of President and Chief Executive Officer Charles E. Williams. …
The Times and Democrat was not given advance notice of the Aug. 6 meeting.
"The meeting was posted on the website and we checked with legal and that was our obligation," RMC Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Carol Koenecke-Grant said.
S.C. Press Association Executive Director Bill Rogers said the media should have been given notice under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.
"The law still requires them to send out notices to those who request them," Rogers said. "Their meeting they had last week was an illegal meeting."
By Gene Zaleski, The Times and Democrat | Read more

Did Atlantic Beach violate South Carolina's FOIA law?

Atlantic Beach’s town council may have violated South Carolina’s open meeting laws by calling council to a closed-door session without the public being able to hear the reasons for that session, and discussing a proposed drug rehabilitation clinic that was not on the agenda. 
Council met for an executive session via teleconference on June 22. The executive session was followed by an open session with a phone line for the general public to access in order to hear the meeting. 
But the agenda showed no line for the public to call in to the meeting to hear council convene before executive session or to hear the reasons for going into executive session. 
During a recent planning commission meeting, town manager Benjamin Quattlebaum confirmed the council had discussed the proposal during the executive session. … 
South Carolina Press Association attorney Jay Bender said the state’s FOIA law mandates that all meetings must be open to the public. If the public was not allowed to hear the council meet before voting to go into executive session, it would have been an illegal meeting.
“That’s a violation of the law,” Bender said. “The law says very clearly that all meetings are public and must be convened in public.”
If the decision to go into executive session “took place outside of the public’s opportunity to hear it, it was illegal,” Bender added. 
By Christian Boschult, Myrtle Beach Herald | Read more

Governor’s office misled public about DHEC doctor’s coronavirus stance, she says

The doctor who has overseen much of South Carolina’s response to the coronavirus pandemic says Gov. Henry McMaster’s staff misled the public about her position on reopening restaurants to indoor dining, as well as barber shops and close contact businesses. … Concerns outlined by Dr. Linda Bell in the emails are among the first to indicate tensions between DHEC and the governor’s office over how to deal with the coronavirus, an infectious disease that has killed almost 2,000 people in South Carolina in less than six months. …
Bell’s emails, obtained by The State under South Carolina’s open records law, followed The State’s June 19 story about McMaster’s failure to heed DHEC’s advice on reopening restaurants.
By Sammy Fretwell, The State | Read more

New Richland Two School Board policy targets trustee

A recently enacted Richland Two school board policy supported by Superintendent Baron Davis would make it more difficult for sitting members to access district records they rely upon to help frame public policy.
However, Davis said the policy is designed to curtail capricious and voluminous record requests.
Last week, the Richland Two Board of Trustees voted 6-1 to approve Policy BEDGA, which requires the full board to approve an individual trustee’s record requests if the requests “are determined by the superintendent to be unusual in nature, by reason of their content, subject matter or volume/size.” ...
Jay Bender characterized the Richland Two policy as another method to keep secret documents that reflect poorly on a superintendent.
By Michael Smith, The Voice of Blythewood | Read more

'JUST STOP!': Internal memos reveal Greenville police chatter amid George Floyd protests

By the sixth day of protests that began in Greenville on May 30 in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, command staff of the Greenville Police Department complained about back-to-back demonstrations.
One police captain wrote "JUST STOP!!!!!" in response to interim Chief Howie Thompson's email informing officers of more planned protests. Other top command staff suggested law enforcement should be able to limit residents to one protest a week. …
The communications were included in nearly 1,000 pages of departmental emails, memos and after-action reports obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by The Greenville News. The documents detail the level of police response and internal communication among officers amid days of protests downtown. 
By Daniel J. Gross, Greenville News | Read more

People & Papers

Sossamon named Gaffney Ledger’s Associate Publisher & News Editor

Abbie Sossamon has been named Associate Publisher and News Editor of The Gaffney Ledger. She has served as Lifestyles and Features Editor since 2015 and will continue to handle those responsibilities. Sossamon will now be more involved in the day-to-day operation of the newsroom, editing stories and page design.
“Abbie has done an outstanding job with features and lifestyles and is now much more involved in ‘hard’ news coverage,” said Ledger publisher Cody Sossamon. “She has become an invaluable asset to this newspaper. Her community involvement shows that she is committed to the betterment of Cherokee County.
“This is the next step in her succeeding me, her father, as publisher of The Gaffney Ledger and being the fifth generation of our family to lead this newspaper,” Sossamon said.
She graduated Gaffney High School in 2010. She continued her education at the University of South Carolina Upstate where she graduated magna cum laude in 2014 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in communications. Read more

Husk named publisher of S.C. Champion Media papers

Andrew “Andy” Husk has been named publisher of The Newberry Observer, as of Tuesday July 28.
Husk will also serve as the publisher of The Sentinel-Progress in Easley and The Union Times.
Many may remember Husk, who worked as a sales representative for The Newberry Observer from August 2017-January 2019. ...
Prior to his return to The Newberry Observer, Husk served as the coordinator for civic engagement at the Muller Center at Newberry College.
By Andrew Wigger, Newberry Observer | Read more

Post and Courier expands into Myrtle Beach; co-brands with Georgetown Times

Earlier this month, Evening Post Industries launched a news operation in Myrtle Beach.
The Post and Courier Myrtle Beach combines the history of the Georgetown Times with a new commitment to covering the entire Grand Strand.
The 24-7 operation will be led by Nick Masuda, managing editor, who will oversee a team of six reporters. The team will deliver news in a weekly print product and new website.
Here’s more on the expansion and an Editor & Publisher interview with Publisher P.J. Browning and Chief Revenue/Marketing Officer Chris Zoeller.
 
Welcome to The Post and Courier Myrtle Beach (By Nick Masuda)

Meet SCPA's new student assistant

SCPA has hired a new part-time student assistant to help with member services and communications.
UofSC Senior Jordan Postal is a public relations major with a minor in theatre. Jordan is from Blythewood and also works part time as a marketing assistant for UofSC Campus Recreation. She is interested in digital marketing and communications, and she is very excited to grow on these skills at SCPA.
During this summer, she was able to help with maintenance projects and fundraising for the summer camp she typically works at, as they weren’t able to have campers due to COVID-19. In her free time, she likes to paint, find new music to listen to, travel and read (she just finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt).
“I worked here briefly as a designer making the Annual Meeting awards presentations and exhibits in the spring, and I loved the atmosphere and all of the members of the team,” Postal said. “I am so excited to be back!”
Jordan replaces Christian Compton, who left SCPA at the beginning of August to start law school. She will work Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons and can be reached at services@scpress.org

The Post and Courier celebrates 100th anniversary of 19th Amendment with 'We the Women'

This month, The Post and Courier launched "We the Women," a video series with accompanying podcasts to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
"We the Women" honors all who fought for suffrage by sharing the perspectives of notable women of today. The series was reported by the newspaper's own strong female voices: Jenna Schiferl, Education Reporter; Emily Williams, Business Reporter; Mikaela Porter, Local Government Reporter; and Caitlin Byrd, Political Reporter. Each video features one of these reporters interviewing a prominent South Carolina woman who discusses the societal impacts felt by the 19th Amendment and how those women have used their voices, their votes and their lives to make a difference. Two that may especially interest SCPA members include Publisher P.J. Browning and retired Editor Barbara Williams.

T&D publishes special edition commemorating women's right to vote

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Aug. 18, 1920, ratification of the amendment empowering women with the right to vote in the United States, The Times and Democrat published this special section on Aug. 16 and held a commemorative event on Aug. 17.
The free-to-the-public event was held in downtown Orangeburg and featured a keynote address by Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, with representatives from the county and the city also speaking. COVID-19 guidelines were followed and masks required.

Lee Enterprises launches local business stimulus program

Lee Enterprises announced last week that the company has launched a local business stimulus program aimed at helping local businesses adapt and thrive in a rapidly evolving economic environment.
“This stimulus program follows the highly successful grant program we launched in April of this year,” said Ray Farris, Lee operating vice president and vice president of advertising. “While providing nearly $5 million of much-needed marketing grants to local advertisers, we gained great insight into the challenges our customers are facing. We’ve shaped the business stimulus program to meet those challenges and help local business not only recover, but flourish, in today’s business climate.”
The program will be available to locally owned and operated businesses and will provide matching advertising credits for use in print and digital products, as well as the company’s broad suite of digital services such as website design, text marketing, managed email marketing and more. Read more
Related: T&D announces Local Business Stimulus program (By Cathy Hughes, The Times and Democrat)
Related: Need help? Introducing our Local Business Stimulus Program (By Bailey Dabney, Morning News)


Post and Courier wins SEJ award

Going head to head with the nation’s largest media organizations, The Post and Courier earned a first-place award from the Society of Environmental Journalists for “Our Secret Delta,” its deep look last year at threats to South Carolina’s Santee Delta ecosystem. ...
Judges said: “Writers Tony Bartelme and Glenn Smith and photographer Lauren Petracca used lyrical physical description along with significant research to show how climate change and rising sea levels threaten a landscape of historical and economic significance to all South Carolinians.” They described the entry as “gorgeously executed in the best tradition of storytelling.” Read more

Columns

By Dean Ridings, CEO, America's Newspapers

A community with no local newspaper? That's bad news

What would my town be without a newspaper? If you haven't asked yourself that question, perhaps it is time to consider just what the newspaper means to this community.
Because the doleful fact is, too many small towns and mid-sized cities are losing their newspapers right now. An extensive study from the University of North Carolina released in January found that by last year, 2,100 newspapers had disappeared, or almost 25% of the 9,000 newspapers published in 2004. That translates to 1,800 communities that 15 years ago had their own newspapers that now have no original local reporting, either in print or digital.
Note that this report was released just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic swept up newspapers in the same financial catastrophe that's devastated businesses of all types and sizes and thrown millions out of their jobs and households into terrifying economic uncertainty.
What does a community lose when it loses its newspapers? Read more
By Jim Pumarlo, Newspaper Consultant

Tell the stories behind the statistics

Everyday news reports are filled with statistics as COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines.
The number of individuals who have tested positive and those who have died of the coronavirus. Patients hospitalized and those in ICU. Confirmed cases broken down by gender, ethnicity and county of residence. The tally of businesses that have closed. The rising unemployment totals. Terms of financial assistance programs available at federal, state and local levels. Bankruptcy and foreclosure totals.
The pandemic is being analyzed at all angles with all sorts of statistics, but numbers are the tip of the story. Statistics ring hollow without providing interpretation and context. How does one community stack up against others? Is a community in better or worse shape than three months ago?
The final step is to tell the stories behind the statistics, to put a face behind the numbers. The pandemic offers numerous opportunities. Read more

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