Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  April 7, 2022

S.C. newspapers cover UofSC's National Championship win

View a page gallery covering UofSC's NCAA basketball title win. If you have a page you'd like to add to the gallery, please send it to us.

Why Dawn Staley’s plans for sharing 2022 championship net has deep, personal meaning

The first time I became cognizant of being the only woman in a press box was when I was sitting between two men with two more on either side while covering high school baseball in Plainview, Texas in 2019.
Two years later, I couldn’t help but notice that I was the only Black woman reporter covering a charity golf event for Brian Mance, a former Clemson football player. In 2015, I got my first job in sports journalism at the Fairmont Sentinel, two hours south of the Minneapolis-based Target Center where South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley fielded a question about the importance of diversity within newsrooms.
The aforementioned memories and other instances where I was the only person of my gender and race at my newspaper flooded my mind as she spoke.
“We bring a different perspective that, a lot of times, we’re not in the room,” she said, looking directly into the eyes of the Black journalist who presented the question. “Pretty much everybody could think the same way because that’s the way the system works. But the moment you bring a diverse person in the room, it’s a lot different than what the norm is.”
Within Staley’s local media corps in Columbia, to my knowledge, there are only two Black broadcast sports journalists covering the Gamecocks and none in print media. The deeper South Carolina got into the NCAA tournament, the number of journalists in general grew as more national outlets joined the ranks. One look around the media area in Target Center showed there could still be a few more voices of color, however.
Staley took a moment in her press conference after downing UConn for the national title to recognize the Black media members. She encouraged each to reach out to her so she could send them a piece of the championship net.
“Some of our Black journalists don’t get an opportunity to elevate,” said Staley, who also said she wants to send pieces of the net to Black male coaches. “So we’re going to try to cut this net up, give them a piece of it, and just hope that it will be something that they can utilize to advance in the area that their heart desires to in their field.” 
By Alexis Cubit, The State | Read more

"Meddlin’ in our schools" 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

Oconee School District: Nearly $4K spent on suit, records request

WALHALLA — Through the end of February, the School District of Oconee County had spent nearly $4,000 on an open records request and lawsuit filed by a local resident earlier this year.
District spokeswoman Jennifer Dodd told The Journal in an email the most recent billing cycle showed $3,710 had been spent dealing with Matthew Perry Smith’s Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit. Approximately $3,300 has been spent since the lawsuit was filed on Jan. 14.
Earlier this year, Smith filed a lawsuit against the school district alleging it had refused to turn over public documents promoting critical race theory.
The original complaint was filed in the Oconee County Court of Common Pleas on Jan. 14 by Walhalla attorney Keith Denny, representing Smith. The suit called for a ruling on whether the district failed to lawfully respond to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and to properly fulfill it, asking the court to award attorney fees and “grant such other and further relief as this Court may deem proper.” Exhibits filed show Smith retained Denny as counsel in October after he requested a copy of a “Be The Change” presentation made to the staff at James M. Brown Elementary School “that was used by the defendant to promote critical race theory by the defendant and its teachers to the school district students and employees.”
By Riley Morningstar, The Journal, Seneca | Read more

Legal Briefs

Editorial: SC school boards can’t gag their members, but that doesn’t mean they don’t try

We’d love to believe that a bizarre incident last week at a Midlands school board meeting was an anomalous instance of a rogue chairwoman drunk with power and angry over a news report about out-of-control spending in her district.
Unfortunately, we suspect this was not quite as far outside the norm as we hope. And even if Cheryl Harris’ delusional claim that she could bar her fellow board members from criticizing her or the district was a first, the general idea it flows from is one that’s widely adopted by school boards across South Carolina.
As The Post and Courier’s Avery Wilks discovered, the S.C. School Boards Association recommends that these boards adopt a policy like Richland One’s that names the chair as the official board spokesperson and that says board members “may refer the information seekers to the board chair or the superintendent’s designee.” That doesn’t gag anyone, but since that’s something they obviously don’t need permission to do, it’s hard to see such policies as anything other than an attempt to encourage board members to keep quiet.
From The Post and Courier | Read more

Reporters Committee reviews Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s record on First Amendment, Freedom of Information Act cases

On Feb. 25, President Joe Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. In this report, the Reporters Committee surveys Judge Jackson’s decisions in First Amendment and Freedom of Information Act cases from her tenure on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Although Judge Jackson was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2021, none of the opinions she authored for that court pertains to issues affecting journalists.
Perhaps most noteworthy to journalists is Judge Jackson’s extensive judicial record on FOIA. She has authored dozens of FOIA-related opinions while serving on the district court from 2013 through 2021. In the analysis below, the Reporters Committee has concluded that Judge Jackson’s FOIA rulings demonstrate a deference to agency exemption claims, especially in the national security context, but a willingness to deny an agency summary judgment where government officials failed to provide sufficient evidence to keep records hidden from the public. Her record also reveals a willingness to rule in favor of record requesters on non-exemption issues pertaining to the sufficiency of an agency’s search for records and record fee disputes.
From RCFP | Read more

People & Papers


Former Morning News regional editor Kausler earns Alabama sports honor

Former Morning News Editor Don Kausler Jr. was recognized as one of the 50 legends of the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
A 1979 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Kausler began his career in sports journalism. He was a sports reporter and/or sports editor at the Milwaukee Sentinel, The Birmingham (Ala.) News, the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune and the Birmingham (Ala.) Post-Herald.
In South Carolina, Kausler was the managing editor and editor at the Independent-Mail (Anderson). Later, he was the editor of the Morning News from 2013 through 2021.
In Alabama, Kausler covered Bear Bryant's last season as the University of Alabama's football coach and three national championships in four seasons while the Crimson Tide was coached by Nick Saban.
From Morning News | Read more

Fast-growing brewery company buys Island Packet, Beaufort Gazette building in Bluffton

The building that has housed The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette since 1999 now has a new owner.
Watterson Brands, the owner of Burnt Church Distillery in Bluffton, purchased the property at 10 Buck Island Road for $6.3 million in a deal recorded in Beaufort County public documents on March 17.
The 9.08-acre site includes more than 72,000 square feet of office and warehouse space at the intersection of Buck Island Road and U.S. 278.  ...
As printing operations have been consolidated across the industry, newspapers have sold their old buildings in favor of smaller, often more-modern, locations and adopted hybrid working arrangements that allow for both in-office and work-from-home opportunities.
Employees of the Packet and Gazette will work remotely until a new office location has been chosen, according to Brian Tolley, president and editor of the papers. Customers will still be able to reach the papers by phone and email.
By Lisa Wilson, The Island Packet | Read more

The Post and Courier, The State named finalists in IRE Awards

Two S.C. newspapers were recently named finalists in the 2021 Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards.
The winner in Print/Online (written word) Division IV is “Death Sentence" from The Indianapolis Star.
Finalists include: 
- "Uncovered," The Post and Courier
- “Secrets of the Death Chamber,” The State
“The winners of the 2021 IRE Awards not only represent the best of the best in investigative journalism, but they serve as a true reflection of why our work is so critical right now,” said Zaneta Lowe, chair of the IRE Awards contest committee. “We saw powerful storytelling, projects with immediate impact and pieces that served as a true public service to their communities. This year's winners also included student work that made me proud to see where our industry is headed. Congratulations to the winners and finalists!”
This year’s winners were selected from more than 500 entries. The awards, given since 1979, recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of the year. The contest covers 17 categories across media platforms and a range of market sizes.

Industry Briefs

The Conversation offers news articles to S.C. media for free republication

Faculty from the University of South Carolina and at research universities throughout the U.S. are tackling pressing news topics in articles they contribute to The Conversation, which are available for free republication by news outlets and organizations.
The Conversation is a nonprofit news service funded by research foundations and universities that are committed to having scholars inform the public conversation.
Recent examples of articles written by UofSC faculty that could be republished by South Carolina news outlets include:
Will the COVID-19 variant BA.2 cause another wave of infections in the U.S.
The Russian oligarchs and why they won’t topple Putin 
Why numbers like 2/22/22 have been too fascinating for over 2,000 years
America’s cost of defending freedom in Ukraine
Editors at The Conversation identify top experts to write 800-1000 word articles based on their research on topics in the news or that would have broad public interest. Every day nearly a dozen stories are published from editorial areas that include politics and society, economy and business, education, environment and energy, ethics and religion, health, science and technology.
The editorial staff comprises former journalists and editors to ensure that stories are focused and accessibly written, providing news outlets a stream of timely and journalistically written articles. Media outlets can publish the articles for free under a Creative Commons license.
More than 22,000 news sites around the U.S. and nearly 100 countries republish The Conversation, including the Associated Press, The Washington Post, PBS, Salon, International Business Times and CNN.
To republish an article, news editors can click the button “republish this article” to the right of an article. HTML code will be revealed, which can be copied and pasted into a CMS. View the republishing guidelines here.

Newspaper readers are voters; voters ‘hungry’ for ‘professional integrity’

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — In monitoring current events and political updates, community newspapers continue to grow in trustworthiness (7.38/10) and newspaper readers are voters (96%), Susquehanna Polling and Research Inc. found in a March 2022 survey.
The survey of 1,000 adults from rural and urban communities across the U.S. conducted for the National Newspaper Association and NNA Foundation of Pensacola, Florida, also studied opinion of public notices and advertising.
There does in fact exist a strong correlation between those who read community newspapers and those who cast ballots in elections.  A combined 96% of readers of local newspapers specifically (N=769 out of the 1,001 total sample), say they plan to vote this November -either “very” or “somewhat” likely.
Overall, 89% of the respondents said they are “very likely” to vote in upcoming elections this year for U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate and other federal and state elections, 6% said “somewhat likely” and 4% said “not at all likely.”
The study found local newspapers as the most “trusted” source (of all mediums tested) when it comes to learning about candidates for public office.  On a 10-point scale (with 10 being the “highest”), local newspapers are rated a 7.38, higher than TV stations (6.45), radio (5.58), political mailings (4.63) or social media platforms (2.65). 
By Kate Decker, National Newspaper Association | Read more

Veteran journalists are finding a place in America’s media, but their numbers are low

While the first saturation-coverage war in years unfolds in Europe, many may look to journalists with military backgrounds for context grounded in experience. Yet the ranks of vets in the U.S. media are thin. Around 7 percent of Americans have served in the armed forces. Still, only 2 percent of media workers are veterans, according to a Census data analysis from Military Vets in Journalism (MVJ), a group founded in 2019 with a mission to attract more veterans to the industry. Veterans haven’t flocked to the field despite their proximity to current events and the developed skill sets and specialized knowledge many possess.
Journalism is a challenging field to break into is a common refrain from veterans moving into and already ensconced in the U.S. media. “There was a time where I didn’t want to be a journalist because I was getting people saying it’s hard to get into and it’s cutthroat,” says Altasia Johnson, a former Air Force sergeant now building a career in journalism. ... 
In Johnson’s case, she couldn’t turn away. “This is the only thing that I’ve ever been passionate about or ever wanted to do. So I’m fully invested. Now I can’t go back.” After two deployments to Afghanistan, where she worked as an executive assistant, she’s now getting a bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of South Carolina. She’s also working as an analyst for Huntington Ingalls at Shaw Air Force Base outside Sumter, South Carolina. Johnson has done freelance work for the North Carolina National Guard Association, the Tarheel Guardsman magazine and AmeriForce Media for their Reserve & National Guard Magazine. She’s interested in on-camera reporting.
By Mary Reardon for Editor & Publisher | Read more

5 strategies that grew reader revenue for participants in the Meta Journalism Project Accelerator

Thirty news organizations in the U.S. and Canada grew their total customer lifetime value by almost $10 million as a result of what they learned and applied in the Meta Journalism Project’s Reader Revenue Accelerator program. ... 
Participants set “SMART Goals” (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) and kept track of growth in at least three areas: new registrations (such as newsletter subscribers), new paying subscribers or new members, and customer lifetime value. In total, the cohort generated:
$9.9 million customer lifetime value
24,000 new paying subscribers
103,000 new free subscribers and 31,000 new site registrations
Here are five strategies a news organization can execute as a way to grow reader revenue.
By Penny Riordan, Local Media Association | Read more

Congress passes Postal Service Reform Act of 2022, but ‘our work is not done’

The National Newspaper Association capped a decade-and-a-half legislative campaign in March when Congress passed the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022.
The legislation, long promoted by NNA and other organizations whose members depend upon the mail, lifts more than $50 billion in debt to the federal government from the United States Postal Service balance sheet, restructures its payments for future retiree health benefits and seals in a mandate for Saturday mail delivery. USPS is expected to see a balance sheet that is more than $100 billion lighter in accrued obligations over the next 10 years, according to NNA experts.
The bill also enacts the Rural Newspaper Sustainability Act requested by Rep. James Comer, a western Kentucky Republican, to allow within-county newspapers to send out sample copies for nearly half of their total in-county distribution. The current ceiling on sample copies is 10% of the total. NNA assisted Comer in drafting and promoting the provision, with the assistance of the Kentucky Press Association. NNA advised members that they can soon use the enhanced allowance to affordably send out copies to attract new subscribers, according to NNA Government Relations and Postal Committee Chair Matthew Paxton, publisher of the News-Gazette, Lexington, Virginia.
President Biden was expected to sign the bill by early April. The sampling provision becomes available immediately when Biden inks the bill.
By Tonda Rush, National Newspaper Association | Read more

9 tips to fix and learn from corrections

If you’re reading this article, then chances are you’ve just gotten or are about to get a correction. Maybe you’re a student journalist and it’s your first time experiencing this. Maybe you’re a seasoned reporter but still find yourself wondering how to deal with a mistake. Or maybe you just want to be ready the next time you have an error to fix.
You’ve come to the right place — there are ways to make the process easier and to learn from your corrections. Here are a few ideas from academics who have researched the topic and journalists who have been there.
Don’t rely on what you read online.
Gail Rhodes, an instructor and Ph.D. candidate at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has seen students use online materials to fact-check their stories. While that’s helpful, reported stories can carry their own errors. Always check with a source first before using a spelling or title that you haven’t independently confirmed.
“We do live in the digital age — young journalists use their phones to look stuff up and think, ‘I read this article and there it is,’” Rhodes said. “Unfortunately, the digital age is wonderful for a lot of things, but you can check things in a hurry.”
By Elizabeth Djinis, Poynter | Read more

Compelling Writing by Jerry Bellune

ByJerry Bellune,
Writing Coach

Turn your experiences into stories

Do you have vision problems?
Lots of writers do.
When my cataracts got so clouded I could barely read, my eye surgeon stepped in.
I can see clearly now.
Here is the beginning of what I told my readers about my eye surgery experience:
Cataracts have lived with me for at least 20 years. 
It was one of those unofficial marriages in which at least one of us tolerated the other.
This year that changed.
The cataract in my left eye began to grow cloudier and the right eye was not far behind.
I said nothing at first because I didn’t want my family to have to drive me everywhere.  
But I began to worry that I would run into somebody.
When I confessed I had cataracts, one friend joked, “I thought you drove a Chevrolet.”

This short example may give you an idea of how you can share your life experiences with others in a letter, a blog, even just an everyday journal entry.
Your friends, family and readers will enjoy it.
It will tune up your own Big Eyes and Big Ears to precious moments in your own life.
If you don’t know what Big Eyes and Big Ears are, you might dip into my book, The Art of Compelling Writing. 
For a copy, please email me at

Next: Make it funny
For more on reporting and editing, read writing coach Jerry Bellune’s The Art of Compelling Writing, available for $9.99 at


By Jim Pumarlo, Newspaper Consultant

Seize opportunity to steer, moderate election noise

Election coverage was a priority when I toiled behind the editor’s desk. It was all-hands-on-deck in the newsroom as we sought information to help voters make their choices.
As a final step, we endorsed in all races from the city council to U.S. president. Many newspapers today, small and large, have regrettably dropped weighing in on the editorial page. I believe it’s a missed opportunity, but that’s a topic for a different column.
Newspapers do have the opportunity to provide meaningful coverage at a time when substantive debate is often lost in the volumes of campaign rhetoric. Campaigns are increasingly sophisticated in targeting their audiences. The messages, unfortunately, are all too often sound bites that lack meaningful context.
Newspapers should step up and fill the void – use your community knowledge to provide an inside look at candidates, to set a framework for constructive debate on issues. It takes work, and now is the time to start planning for the November 2022 elections.
Comprehensive election coverage can be exhausting and strain newsrooms already strapped for resources. Focus efforts on those races that matter most to your readers and those contests where you have the greatest insight. Local contests should take priority.
Here is one checklist, in no particular order, to consider as you prepare for elections. You can certainly expand during a brainstorming session with staffs. Read more

Upcoming Events

As a service to its member newspapers, SCPA lists employment opportunities on our site upon request. There is no charge for this service to SCPA member newspapers. Please email openings to Kassidy Wright.
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