Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Sept. 22, 2022

Family-Owned Newspaper Retreat deadlines fast approaching

Friday is cutoff to get discounted hotel rate
Tuesday is final day to register

SCPA is excited to host family-owned newspaper leaders Oct. 6-7 for a retreat in charming downtown Sumter!
Friday, Sept. 23, is the cutoff to get your hotel room at the Hyatt Place Sumter/Downtown at the discounted rate of $129 per night. Book online or call (803) 774-8100.
After making your reservation, go ahead and register to attend the meeting
This event is for key leaders and owners of S.C. family-owned newspapers to come together to connect, share and learn from each other, as well as discuss the unique challenges that family-run newspapers face. Registrations will be accepted through Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Thanks to the SCPA Foundation Smoak Fund for sponsoring this event!

Last call to register for IRE Data Journalism Bootcamp on Sept. 30

Reporters, don't wait until it's too late... Friday is the final day to sign up for next week's IRE Data Journalism Bootcamp. Join your peers at SCPA Offices in Columbia on Sept. 30, from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. for a day of training and hands-on work featuring the industry’s leading data-driven journalism organization, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). At this event, you’ll learn best practices for effectively using spreadsheets for analyzing data. Roughly ten seats remain for this event. The cost to attend is $65, which includes lunch. Use the code SCPA10 for $10 off your registration!
SCPA hosted 33 members last Friday for sales training featuring Ryan Dohrn of 360 Ad Sales Strategy & Training. Thanks to all who attended, and special thanks to Dohrn for sharing a wealth of helpful advice and tips!
Photographer Allen Riddick snaps a picture Monday afternoon of Terra Carroll, president/CEO of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, and RJ Benner, publisher of the Aiken Standard, during a meet-and-greet event for Benner, in his first few days as the daily newspaper's top leader. (Bill Bengtson/Aiken Standard)

"Extra crispy" 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

Editorial: Quick win in Charleston school case shows AG’s power to keep government in line

Well, that certainly was easy. All it took was a single threatening letter from S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, and the Charleston County School Board folded — quietly conducted a do-over Monday of votes that Superintendent Don Kennedy acknowledged were taken in violation of the state’s open meetings law.
From start to finish, the whole matter took less than two months to resolve. Without requiring individuals to spend their own money to force the district to comply with the law, without wasting judicial time on hearings and a trial and years of appeals, without the attorney general’s office or the school district having to hire outside attorneys — or use more than de minimis time of their internal counsel. ...
If Mr. Wilson would do this sort of thing more often — even for smaller violations that don’t really affect policy — the district would get the message pretty quickly. As would other districts and councils. And state agencies.
And if they don’t, he could bring criminal charges of misconduct in office against board members with a pattern of violations, as he threatened in his letter to the Charleston school board. And he should.
From The Post and Courier | Read more

Editorial: With abundant claims about breaking meeting laws, school boards in SC need more scrutiny

It’s time we start punishing shameless law breakers. No mercy should be given to criminals who routinely mock South Carolina statutes and avoid any punishment. Justice should be swift and penalties harsh for these villains.
Who are they, you ask? Who is it that needs to be under investigation?
Local school boards.
Mounting claims indicate that some school boards regularly break state law by meeting in secret and keeping the public they serve in the dark about what the board members are discussing.
It shouldn’t be left up to citizens to sue in order for school boards to be punished.
State prosecuting agencies need to start looking into accounts of South Carolina open record laws being ignored and, if substantiated, pursue penalties. It’s an injustice and disservice to the public if prosecutors don’t take such action.
By David Travis Bland, The Island Packet & The State | Read more

Oldest open FOIA case in S.C., perhaps U.S., filed in Newberry 2011

A lawsuit filed in Newberry 11 years ago has become the longest-ever Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case in South Carolina — and perhaps the longest state FOIA case in the nation.
The FOIA promotes government transparency by giving citizens access to meetings and documents that reveal what public officials are doing.
Jay Bender, of Columbia, was the South Carolina Press Association attorney for over 30 years and is acknowledged to be the state’s leading authority on FOIA. He knows of no other FOIA case in the state that has gone 11 years without being resolved.
“I don’t think the Catawba land claim litigation lasted that long,” he added.
In the landmark Catawba lawsuit, it took about 10 years for the case to be heard once in the U.S. Supreme Court and twice in the Fourth Circuit Court.
The Newberry FOIA lawsuit was delayed for an entire decade before reaching the South Carolina Court of Appeals for a second time in May of 2021.
The lawsuit concerns documents related to the estate of music legend James Brown and was brought against Attorney General Alan Wilson by former estate trustee Adele Pope, of Newberry.
By Sue Summer, The Newberry Observer | Read more

Random searches yielded hundreds of prohibited items, including weapons, last year at CCSD

Charleston County School District will search high school students for weapons and other contraband this year, continuing safety measures that have been in place since 2019.
Parents of CCSD high schoolers were notified the random searches would resume in a letter officials sent out recently. The random search program began in the spring of 2019 but was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021-22 school year was the first full year of the program.
Random searches remain a controversial safety measure after multiple studies found students of color tend to get searched more than their White peers. Michael Reidenbach, CCSD’s executive director of security and emergency management, said that the district has taken great measures to guarantee that the program is entirely random. ...
Data obtained by The Post and Courier through a Freedom of Information Act request found that of students searched, 41.2 percent were Black, 40.8 percent were White and 13.7 percent were Hispanic, which aligns with the demographics of CCSD high schools.
By Devna Bose, The Post and Courier | Read more

Low pay, toxic work culture fueled exodus of employees of color from Clemson

More than 1,300 pages of exit surveys revealed a “silent culture” of white privilege, traditionalism and resistance to criticism that led to the resignation of dozens of employees of color during the pandemic.
...The Greenville News obtained exit surveys from more than 30 people of color who left Clemson, and they have a common theme: Bullying, low pay, toxic work environments and the university's refusal to take diversity, equity and inclusion seriously despite what they called "lip service" to their importance. In 2020, employees and students presented recommendations to leadership on how best to improve diversity, equity and inclusion practices at the majority white school. Later, those recommendations have yet to be implemented but will be presented soon to the executive leadership team, according to Clemson spokesperson Joe Galbraith in a 2021 statement. It’ll be up to that team — a team of 14 people, two of whom are women and four of whom are people of color — to decide when and how to put those recommendations into action.
In 2021, The Greenville News asked multiple times for interviews with members of the Executive Leadership Team, including President James Clements and Provost Bob Jones in, but were denied and sent a prepared emailed statement instead. 
The News requested another interview with members of the Executive Leadership Team and was denied again. ...
[Jerad Green] is one of at least 23 Black employees who left Clemson University between January 2020 and February 2021. From March 2021 to May 2022, 30 Black employees left the university, according to records obtained by The Greenville News through the Freedom of Information Act.  
By Zoe Nicholson and Alexis Hamilton, Greenville News | Read more

Calls grow for Richland County sheriff to take over troubled jail after director was fired

Legislators and attorneys in Richland County are calling for the sheriff to take over the county’s troubled jail, or at least lend a hand in the face of staffing issues.
The Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center has long been understaffed, according to an inspection conducted last September. It has been under increased scrutiny in recent months after Richland County hired Tyrell Cato as the new jail director without conducting a background check.
The county later learned from a Post and Courier report that Cato had been fired from his last job for allegations of sexual misconduct. Richland County quietly fired Cato on Sept. 9 after he had been on the job for more than two months. ...
When initially asked who would act as interim director, the county requested The Post and Courier file a Freedom of Information request under state law, a process that could take a month to complete.
By Skylar Laird, The Post and Courier Columbia | Read more

Industry Briefs

‘Not normal’: What local newsrooms can do now to prepare for a series of historic elections

How do local newsrooms cover elections at a time when democratic principles are under attack, basic voting procedures are questioned, and many people fear the future of personal rights? 
It’s a challenge that fiercely emerged during 2020’s political and social unrest. Now, with another unusual and significant election cycle underway, a growing number of journalism organizations and newsrooms are responding. From community meetings in Ohio to “democracy reporters” and a focus on diverse voters, journalists are experimenting and finding better ways to cover an election like no other. 
This American Press Institute report is meant to help news organizations think about their politics and campaign coverage in different and more effective ways. The report is part of API’s Election Coverage & Community Listening program, which awards grants to several organizations to help fund ideas to create journalism that better serves the needs of the public. 
By Jane Elizabeth, American Press Institute | Read more

Younger audiences show different attitudes toward news. A new report offers suggestions on how news outlets can adapt to them

For young people, news is not just digital, but social. They have grown up with the social, participatory web, which has conditioned how they consume news, what they consider ‘news’ to be, and who they trust to deliver it. 
To better understand younger audiences’ relationships with news, the Reuters Institute commissioned the strategic insight agency Craft to conduct qualitative research with 72 people aged 18–30 (24 per country) in Brazil, the UK, and the US. This work, which took place between February and March 2022, included news diaries, screen recordings, blogging, vlogging, and in-depth interviews with young participants representing a range of demographic traits, life stages, and news habits.
Instead of speaking about young people as one, this report details a kaleidoscopic variety of news behaviors and attitudes as well as topical and executional preferences—driven by a fragmented news media landscape, a proliferation of news formats and brands, and the natural diversity of this group. Here are key findings from the report. 
By Dr. Kirsten Eddy, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford | Read more


By Richard Whiting,
Executive Editor,

Readers respond to questions about their newspaper

Last week I tossed a few questions your way and invited you to email me with your thoughts. It was an exercise in “what if” scenarios.
In summary, here’s what I asked:
— What would you think if the paper eliminated any outside source of reporting?
— What if we had no editorial page? At all.
— How about no comics pages?
— Last, and certainly not least, I posed a more extreme scenario. What if the Index-Journal provided no local reporting at all? No news, sports or features in your newspaper. In essence, the newspaper would cease to exist in such a scenario.
Much to my surprise and delight, quite a few people took me up on my offer and thoughtfully responded. I’ll readily admit that based on some of the comments I’ve read on our Facebook page and some emails I’ve gotten from regulars who, if they are married must have very tolerant spouses or horrid marriages, I expected a handful of replies along the lines of “shut it down,” “let it die,” “kill the editorial page” and “fire the editors.”
Instead, however, those who did write were quite supportive of the IJ, which is now in its 104th year of serving the readers.
Without revealing who they are from, since I did not state from the outset that I planned to share responses, below are some excerpts gleaned from readers’ emails.
After some discussion, one couple said the newspaper contains two features they “consider most important.”
Those are:
“1. Local news — giving a sense of community.
“2. Professional columnists — giving both sides of issues.”
And they closed with this: “WE NEED THE INDEX, now more than ever.” The all-caps emphasis was theirs, by the way. Read more



Bill Click, former chair of Winthrop Department of Mass Communication, has died

Dr. John William Click, the longtime chair of Winthrop University’s Department of Mass Communication, died Sept. 15 after a brief illness.
He was 86.
Click, known as “Bill” to his many friends and acquaintances at Winthrop, in the community, in academics and in the journalism profession, joined Winthrop as chair of the department in 1987. He retired as chair in 2013 after having led the department through many changes, including advances in technology that have revolutionized the profession and mass communication education. ...
Faculty lauded Click for his outstanding leadership, patience – and exceptional memory.
“I don’t think he ever forgot a name or a face,” said Guy Reel, current chair of the mass communications department. “He set a foundation for the department that has been demonstrated over and over by the incredible success stories of the students that came here over those years.” After his retirement, the department established a Mass Communication Scholarship in his honor.
The family is planning a memorial service and a celebration of his life in October. Read full obituary.

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