Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  April 21, 2023

SCPA Foundation awards 2023 summer internships

The SCPA Foundation’s internship program provides a meaningful, hands-on training experience for college students interested in journalism or advertising. Each internship is eight weeks long and pays $4,480.
Meet the Foundation's 2023 internship recipients:

Sydney Dunlap, University of South Carolina

Sydney Dunlap of the University of South Carolina will spend her summer at The State.
She is a sophomore journalism major from Greenville.
She serves as the editor-in-chief of USC’s student newspaper, The Daily Gamecock, and as a communications intern for the South Carolina Honors College.
Dunlap first became interested in journalism after working for her high school yearbook. She enjoys reporting on community events and has won awards for her photography and multimedia reporting.
Dunlap is a triplet and, in her free time, enjoys discussing the latest movies or TV shows with her sisters.
“I love how journalism allows me to connect with and make a difference in the community,” Dunlap said. “I can’t wait for all the new opportunities I’ll have at The State and know that I’ll end the summer with so many helpful skills as I continue my career in journalism.”

David Ferrara, Clemson University

David Ferrara is an economics and philosophy major at Clemson University. Originally from Shelton, Connecticut, Ferrara came to South Carolina with a clear goal of pursuing a career in law after his time at Clemson.
He will complete his summer internship at The Post and Courier Greenville.
During his sophomore year, Ferrara started writing for his campus newspaper, The Tiger, covering the University’s response to COVID-19 and other local topics. By March, his peers had elected him as editor-in-chief, and he began to grow the newspaper and its staff. Recently, he started an internship at The Journal in Seneca.
Having submitted numerous Freedom of Information Act requests as a student, Ferrara advocates for transparency among public institutions and is interested in media law.
“I’m excited to learn more about investigative journalism,” Ferrara said. “My upcoming internship with The Post and Courier in Greenville will be an invaluable experience for me to improve my research and writing skills for my career.”
Ferrara also volunteers at a local elementary school through a Clemson program to tutor students and make college more accessible. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar and spending time outdoors.
By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Even if public records are wrong, accurately reporting them is protected

The “fair report” privilege is a legal doctrine accepted in South Carolina and most other states which provides that a publisher is not liable for defamation when accurately reporting on a public document, even if the report repeats factual errors in the original document.
A recent example of this was the dismissal on March 31 of a libel lawsuit against the Myrtle Beach Herald and one of its reporters over coverage of the unsuccessful campaign of a candidate in a 2020 South Carolina Senate primary runoff. The newspaper and other news outlets reported on court records of candidate John Gallman’s 2017 divorce, which included police reports and other allegations of domestic abuse. Gallman was not arrested or criminally charged in connection with these allocations.
After Gallman lost the runoff, he sued the newspaper, reporter Christian Boschult, and several other individuals and entities—including his opponents in the election—for libel, intentional infliction of emotional distress and alleged conspiracy. He alleged that the divorce court file and related materials had been illegally distributed to the media by his runoff opponent and his allies. Gallman also alleged that the Myrtle Beach Herald’s story on the allegations was used by his opponent as the basis for campaign literature and advertisements.
The Myrtle Beach Herald and Boschult, represented by Jay Bender (who is also an SCPA attorney), successfully moved to have the claims against them separated from the claims against the other defendants, and to have the conspiracy claim against them dismissed. The newspaper and reporter then moved for summary judgment. Gallman then dropped the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, leaving only the defamation claims against the Myrtle Beach Herald and Boschult.
Common Pleas Judge J. Cordell Maddox Jr. granted the motion for summary judgment on March 31, on the grounds that most of the statements in the article that complained of were “supported fully by records from the Family Court.” Thus Maddox held that the article was protected from a defamation claim by the “fair report privilege,” which provides protection to accurate reports of official government proceedings and documents. Read more

Newspaper box theft alert

Someone recently stole four newspaper boxes acquired by Carolina Panorama in Columbia.
Publisher Nate Abraham Jr. reports the boxes were outside of the newspaper's building as they were preparing to paint them. They are yellow and have the former Aiken Informer newspaper logo on the side.  
If someone tries to sell you one of these racks, please contact Carolina Panorama at (803) 256-4015 or call the Columbia police department.

Thank you, Annual Meeting sponsors!







Quote of the Week

"The S.C. Press Association awards an annual prize for the best editorial or column in support of freedom of information and open government. Maybe it could add one for the best action in opposition to freedom of information and open government. But monthly, since it would be too difficult to pick just one a year. That could have the added benefit of encouraging journalists to expose more violations.
Or maybe a legislator looking to get some name recognition could take on the task. You know, like U.S. Sen. William Proxmire did with his Golden Fleece Award for federal officials who squandered tax money in particularly mockable ways.
Better still, what about Alan Wilson? The attorney general’s office, after all, has always been the primary governmental enforcer of the Freedom of Information Act, and Mr. Wilson has demonstrated how easy it is to whip governments into compliance by the mere threat of a lawsuit. He could even offer a lawsuit as the 'prize' if the monthly winner doesn’t immediately act to reverse its illegal action."

"So much winning" 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.

FOIA Briefs

Secret order freeing SC killer from prison early can be unsealed, Supreme Court says

A secret order that resulted in the nearly 16-year early prison release of convicted murderer Jeroid Price can be released and made open to the public, all five justices on the South Carolina Supreme Court decided Thursday.
Shortly after the court’s decision, Attorney General Alan Wilson asked that the high court issue a bench warrant for Price.
“He absolutely should not have been released from prison, and we need to get him back behind bars as quickly as possible,” Wilson said in a statement.
Calls had grown louder this week demanding the order be made public, rather than kept confidential behind a seal, particularly after the victim’s family said they were not properly notified of Price’s release and given an opportunity to speak against it.
By John Monk and Maayan Schechter, The State | Read more
Related: Secret order frees convicted SC murderer from prison nearly 16 years early (By John Monk and Ted Clifford, The State)
Related: Secret order springs SC killer from prison 16 years early, shocking victim’s family (By Glenn Smith and Caitlin Ashworth, The Post and Courier)

SC House vote moves possibility of executions by lethal injection a step closer

Update: On Thursday, S. 120 passed third reading by a vote of 80-22 and heads back to the Senate. 
Legislation intended to renew South Carolina’s ability to execute death row inmates by lethal injection is steps away from becoming law, potentially leading to the state’s first executions since 2011. 
The S.C. House of Representatives voted 75-21 on April 19, mostly along party lines, to expand the state’s so-called “shield law” by guaranteeing secrecy to potential suppliers of the lethal cocktail of drugs needed for executions.
Two Democrats voted for the bill and one Republican voted against. Twenty-one legislators were present but didn’t vote.
The amended measure returns to the Senate, which approved the bill 39-5 in February. If senators agree with the House tweaks, the bill will head to Gov. Henry McMaster, who’s expected to sign it. 
Democratic opponents framed the argument as denying the public’s right to know where the drugs came from, how much they cost and whether the process was handled correctly. They appealed to Republicans’ usual calls for transparency.  
“It’s not about whether you believe in the death penalty or don’t,” said Rep. Justin Bamberg, D-Smoaks, adding he recognizes it is the law. “This deep-red state of South Carolina, instead of being the beacon of how state government should run in this country as it relates to transparency, we’re going to vote on something that ensures there can never be a 100 percent accurate audit of the Department of Corrections.”
By Seanna Adcox, The Post and Courier | Read more

Sumter school board cancels scheduled tour by superintendent of school with community in illegal vote

[Last] week, Sumter's school board disallowed a scheduled community walk-through of a closed school's property without a public meeting on the matter, which was an illegal vote according to a state media attorney.
Jay Bender, legal counsel for the South Carolina Press Association, spoke April 14 on the course of events occurring this week with Sumter School District's Board of Trustees after a community member set up a tour scheduled for April 18 of the former F.J. DeLaine Elementary School with the superintendent. ...
Any decision on the F.J. DeLaine property rests in the hands of the school district's nine-member board. When Wright notified the trustees of the tour at the beginning of the week, the board disallowed it, according to board Chairman The Rev. Ralph Canty.
The chairman told The Sumter Item on Thursday that when the full board received notification of the tour, four trustees called or emailed him "expressing an anxiety about the tour and insisting it not be held at this time."
Next, he called the superintendent and said it was the board's decision not to hold the tour on Tuesday, he told the newspaper. Canty added that given the urgency of the decision at the time, to call an in-person meeting of the full board would have been difficult.
On Friday, Bender, an attorney for the state Press Association and expert on Freedom of Information Act litigation, told The Item that the poll was an "illegal vote."
"The law says you can't poll members to get a vote," Bender said, "that was required to have happened in a meeting for which notice was given, which was convened in public. And the vote had to be taken in public. The illegality here is the board chair taking a poll of board members to come to a decision to prevent the tour."
By Bruce Mills, The Sumter Item | Read more

People & Papers


Journal Messenger hires reporter to cover McCormick County

The Journal Messenger and Reporter has assigned a new re­porter to cover McCormick County.
The paper is pleased to welcome Amanda Smith of Abbeville to the South Caro­lina desk.
Smith, a native of Savannah, Georgia, comes with a solid journalism background including a Masters in Journal­ism Degree from the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia.
Smith has worked as a graphic designer and feature writer for The Press and Banner in Abbeville, and as a reporter for Bluffton Today. She has also worked as freelance photographer and writer for the Savannah Morn­ing News, the Greenwood Index-Journal/Lakelands, and Well FED Magazine.
She will cover the McCor­mick County Council, McCor­mick City Council, McCor­mick Sheriff’s Department, and all other McCormick County news. She will also cover the Lincoln County (Ga.) Commission.

PC+ streaming app showcases videos from The Post and Courier

The Post and Courier is excited to launch PC+, its new streaming app where their videos are curated to provide an engaging, visual experience for viewers using AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku services.
In its continued digital expansion to provide news to readers across South Carolina and beyond, The Post and Courier is meeting audiences where they are. Increasingly, that is through social media, including YouTube, and streaming platforms.
From The Post and Courier | Read more

Industry Briefs

SC newspaper pioneer to be honored by DAR

Editor's Note: Miller was inducted into the S.C. Journalism Hall of Fame in 2014.
CLEMSON — A local nonprofit organization is set to honor an 18th-century newspaper pioneer later this month.
The Fort Prince George chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will host a public dedication event for a historical marker for John Miller, who emigrated to Charleston in 1783 from London and served as state printer and publisher of the first daily newspaper in South Carolina.
Miller died from the flu in November 1807, and his body is buried in the Old Stone Church Cemetery in Clemson on land he owned after then-Gov. Ben Guerard granted some 640 acres on the Eighteen Mile Creek and allowed the Hopewell Congregation to build a new sanctuary on it, according to a DAR news release. The ceremony is scheduled to happen at the cemetery at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 23. ...
He printed South Carolina’s laws and started the state’s first daily newspaper, called the SC Gazette and General Advertiser. In 1790, Miller was appointed to a commission to start a government for the newly formed Pendleton County with Andrew Pickens, for which Miller was unanimously chosen to serve as clerk.
In January 1807, he started Miller’s Weekly Messenger, making it the first newspaper in the region, according to the DAR.
By Riley Morningstar, The (Seneca) Journal | Read more

Covering violence and policing in a preventative (not reactive) way

When the nation watched George Floyd call for his mother and take his last breaths from beneath a police officer’s knee in Minneapolis, it ignited a wildfire across the country, calling for a reckoning on lethal policing.
For journalists, it started a national conversation on how best to cover police, how to stay safe and how to identify our role as journalists in preventing the next Floyd from making headlines in our own local newspapers.
“Make sure you keep digging, make sure you’re grounded in your communities and understand policing,” said Leroy Chapman Jr., The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s editor in chief. “In dissecting how it happens, you get to, ‘What can we do better? What are the elements that lead to this sort of tension?’”
There was a national spotlight on Atlanta when an image from protests hit newsreels, showing a police car burning in front of the CNN building. Less than two weeks later, 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was gunned down by an Atlanta Police Department officer on June 12, 2020, in a Wendy’s parking lot, less than one month after Floyd's death.
Chapman said volunteers from The AJC newsroom stepped up to cover protests, even though it was often outside their comfort zone. Some journalists would cover business by day and then go out at night to cover protests.
“We had a roomful of dedicated journalists raise hands to say, ‘Let's go out and cover this and do right by our community,’” he said.
Afterward, they discussed how best to cover policing and police violence.
“A lot of newsrooms had to think about a couple of things,” Chapman said. “The initial reporting that came out of the George Floyd case essentially did not reflect what the video reflected. So, we understood and knew that there was a moment in that case where police were not forthcoming with the facts. And, in fact, a strong argument can be made that not only were they not forthcoming, that initial reporting was probably intentionally misleading.”
By Alyssa Choiniere, Editor & Publisher | Read more

News/Media Alliance Releases New Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) Principles

Today the News/Media Alliance released new AI Principles that provide overarching guidance for generative artificial intelligence (GAI) systems’ use of journalistic and creative content. The Principles cover issues with respect to GAI developers’ use of members’ content related to intellectual property, transparency, accountability, fairness, safety, and design and apply to all content, including text, images, audiovisual and all other formats.
The News/Media Alliance represents over 2,000 print and digital news and magazine media companies, from small, local outlets to national and international publications read around the world. Every day, these publishers invest in producing high-quality creative content that is engaging, informative, trustworthy, accurate and reliable. They not only make significant economic contributions in this content, but they also play a crucial role in educating and informing our communities, ensuring a strong democracy and economy.
“The Principles emphasize that emerging technologies such as AI must continue to respect publishers’ intellectual property (IP), brands, reader relationships, and investments made in creating quality journalistic and creative content,” stated News/Media Alliance Executive Vice President and General Counsel Danielle Coffey. “Publishers must be fairly compensated for the tremendous value their content contributes to the development of generative AI technology. It’s a simple exchange of value.” Read more

The Charlotte Observer’s mobile newsroom boosts direct community engagement

The days of journalists swooping into a local community or neighborhood to gather the news and then returning to work in isolation in a downtown newsroom have ended for many newspapers. The Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer is the latest to follow that trend with its mobile newsroom.
As executive editor of The Observer, Rana Cash realized some local communities weren’t receiving sufficient coverage about issues crucial to them. This is a particular challenge in communities of color, which traditionally have seen news reporting primarily focused on crime and other topics those communities view as being negative.
“To make the mobile-newsroom concept work and to begin to build trust with the people and leaders in all communities of color, we not only engaged in self-examination but also talked to people in those communities about what kind of coverage and topics they want to see and how we could do a better job sharing their positive, inspiring stories,” said Cash.
Although its mobile newsroom isn’t on wheels, it is mobile in the sense of establishing a remote newsroom temporarily in a local branch of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library. Library branches tend to be a central resource in most communities. The first mobile newsroom was launched in the Sugar Creek Library branch near the Hidden Valley subdivision in January 2023. Surprisingly, desks and computers were moved into the Library’s main room. Cash wanted the reporting and publishing process to be more visible and allow the staff to interact with the local population.
By Bob Sillick for Editor & Publisher | Read more


By Richard Whiting, Executive Editor, Index-Journal

'Council of Errors' a lesson for any public body and official

It’s really too bad that the Municipal Association of South Carolina doesn’t expand its reach somehow with its workshops and informative magazine, Uptown.
We receive the magazine here in the newsroom and I find it always has helpful information any of its members — city and town staff and council members — can and should use. It should be required reading. But again, I wish something akin to what they do was provided to public school boards, county councils and the like. Oh, and their attorneys as it seems all too often attorneys who are on retainer and provide counsel and attend the public meetings of the bodies and administrations they service are in the dark about what is right and wrong.
Recently, Scott Slatton, director of advocacy and communications at the Municipal Association, led a group discussion that included a mock council meeting called “Council of Errors."
He opened the session by saying he hoped those in attendance wouldn’t learn a thing from it. That was not to indicate the session and mock council meeting were void of educational opportunities. Rather, it was his way of saying he hoped attendees were already well versed in the laws of conducting public meetings.
Here’s the lead of the story in the April edition of Uptown read:
“A council taking votes over items not placed on the agenda. Motions to enter executive session without any given reason. An altercation breaking out between a disgruntled resident and a council member accused of not residing inside the municipality — followed by a mayor picking fights with the newspaper reporter in attendance.”
Those were part of the mock meeting, so they wouldn’t really happen, right? Read more
By John Foust, Advertising Trainer

Do you know where your fire extinguishers are?

We all want to take care of our advertisers and coworkers. Well, there’s no better way to do that than to help them stay safe in the workplace. There are some simple things we can do to accomplish this.   
Some years ago, I attended a series of meetings at a large company which had a number of offices in the area. In each of the meetings – whether attended by 10 people or 50 people – someone opened the meeting with a brief safety announcement. Typically, he or she pointed out the fire alarm locations, how to exit the building if the alarm sounded, where to assemble in the parking lot for instructions, etc. Everyone took the information seriously, and it was easy to see that employees were accustomed to starting their meetings that way.
I remember thinking that it was an impressive way to begin any kind of get-together. After all, in a sizable meeting room, most employees may not be as familiar with those details as they would be in their individual work areas. And visitors like me may have never been to that building before. As a result of those brief presentations, everyone felt safer and more confident. I know I did. 
This list can be a good place to start.

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