Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  May 13, 2021
By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Study shows increasing U.S. Supreme Court skepticism of the press

 Despite avowed threats to media freedom in recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have showed general fealty to the landmark New York Times v. Sullivan decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that set the modern standard for defamation law and understanding of the First Amendment. In short, First Amendment law has not substantially changed in the last few years, despite the expressed desires of some.
But a new study scheduled to be published in the North Carolina Law Review does show an apparent decline in the U.S. Supreme Court’s view of the press. The study examined all of the official decisional documents issued by the court from its origin in 1798 until July 2020, and concluded that “[t]he vilification of the press by the political branches—a focus of significant concern in recent years—is matched by a marked and previously undocumented uptick in negative depictions of the press by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The study, by First Amendment scholars RonNell Andersen Jones of the University of Utah and Sonja R. West of the University of Georgia, examined all majority, concurring and dissenting opinions issued by the court, as well as dissents from denial of review (denial of certiorari) and statements issued on recusal decisions and stay applications. The researchers included such documents from all of the court’s cases, not just those that involved media parties or issues. Within these documents, the researchers looked for any discussion of the press, and characterized each mention. Read more

Editorial: Support local news, and level the playing field with tech giants

Those who have followed The Post and Courier’s ongoing “Uncovered” series realize that it’s about more than stories of state and local officials abusing the public trust; it’s also about how residents, voters and others struggle mightily these days to learn about this abuse and hold their officials accountable, partly because of the erosion of local newspapers.
Our media landscape has changed dramatically because of technological forces bigger than anyone in the state; the internet, including Big Tech companies such as Google and Facebook, disseminate local news, but not in a way that adequately benefits the companies that did the hard and expensive work to break the news in the first place. As a result, there may be more content than ever online, but increasingly less of it is reliable local news. It’s been a downward spiral for years and remains so.
At least 26 weekly South Carolina papers have shut down since 2007, and while 17 new weeklies have started up since then, many of them serve larger metro areas that already have news outlets. Across the country, about 300 news operations have closed in the past two years.
Congress has an important opportunity to help — one that not only would advance high-quality local journalism across the country but also would improve local communities because of the additional transparency and accountability such journalism provides. That’s why we urge Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, Reps. Nancy Mace and Jim Clyburn, and all other members of South Carolina’s congressional delegation to lend their support to the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act,” also known as the Safe Harbor Bill.
From The Post and Courier  | Read more

Editorial: Congress can preserve local news by backing Journalism Competition and Preservation Act

Quality local journalism is essential to creating an informed and engaged public and ensuring a thriving democracy. But local journalism has been a victim of Big Tech’s dominant practices for years. Google and Facebook use – and benefit from – our news content and audiences, but they don’t return value to news publishers. That’s why we’re asking Congress to support the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act.”
Over the past 14 months, local journalism has been more important than ever. From COVID-19’s devastating blows to cities and towns of all sizes, to the reignited social justice movement and the explosive 2020 U.S. presidential election and its tumultuous aftermath, people have been turning to news publishers to keep them up to date on how the changes happening around the world – and in their own backyards – affect their daily lives. News has been more in-demand than at any other time in recent history. But the local news publishers that provide this invaluable information are struggling in an online environment dominated by a few big tech platforms. 

From Greenville News | Read more

Meet our SCPA Foundation interns

In the coming weeks, we'll introduce you to our 2021 interns and Mundy Scholar.
Joshua Hardee
Francis Marion University
Intern at Myrtle Beach Herald/Carolina Forest Chronicle
Joshua Hardee is a senior mass communication and French double major at Francis Marion University (FMU).
He will spend his summer at Myrtle Beach Herald/Carolina Forest Chronicle growing his reporting, copy editing and multimedia journalism skills.
A native of Marion, Hardee is the son of Elizabeth Green.
Hardee has specialized in print journalism and public relations during his time at FMU. He has also been involved in his college newspaper, The Patriot, since his first semester. He has worked as both a writer and an editor, and within the last year, he has served as co-editor. 
Hardee has been active in the FMU honors program as well as French club and Writers’ Release, a poetry club. He likes to write in a reporting capacity but enjoys writing poetry and fiction, too. He also likes to draw and play piano and guitar.
“I’m so looking forward to being more immersed in the news world and having a wider range of reporting opportunities,” Hardee said. “I know my internship at the Myrtle Beach Herald/Carolina Forest Chronicle will give me a lot of valuable experience, and I’m grateful that I can continue finding stories and sharing them with others after I graduate.”

Invest in the future of our industry

The Foundation's internships and scholarships are provided by contributions from you! Please support the Foundation's valuable work by making a tax-deductible contribution today.

Member Spotlight: Andy Shain

Managing Editor of The Post and Courier Columbia/Myrtle Beach

What do you like best about your job?
I get to tell people news first and share context and insight they might have not considered.
I like the energy of breaking news and working with reporters and editors to build a story and weave a compelling narrative. 

What is your proudest career moment?
I spent a week in Kuwait with a local Air Force unit ahead of the first Gulf war.
I lived for two weeks in an RV in the infield of Charlote Motor Speedway. 
And within a short span, I covered a Sweet 16 NCAA tournament game and a Democratic National Convention.

What's the most exciting thing going on at your paper?
We are expanding and looking ahead to the digital future.
We have added reporters and editors in Greenville and Myrtle Beach.
The Columbia newsroom has tripled in size in the past four years and now counts 13 staffers.
We focus on unique stories that grab readers' attention and engage them, and not chase every turn of the screw.

What’s your favorite SCPA member service?
The secret slushy machine. 
OK, I appreciate the SLED searches.

What are some area attractions/restaurants in your community we shouldn’t miss?
Riverbanks Zoo: I find something new every time I visit.
Congaree National Park/Sesquicentennial State Park:  It's great to have two large walkable parks not far from the city. Also check out the riverwalks near downtown.
Soda City Market: A lively weekly market on Main Street featuring food and craft vendors.
Baseball: The region has three notable teams - minor league Columbia Fireflies, collegiate summer league Lexington Blowfish and the University of South Carolina.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I went to jail -- but for a good reason.
I spent parts of two days confined in 1991 with current Post and Courier colleagues Cindi Ross Scoppe and Schuyler Kropf, as well as Sid Gaulden, for refusing to testify in a federal court case during Operation Lost Trust. 

What do you like to do outside of work?
I like to grill, go to the beach and tailgate. I read nonfiction and biographies.
I love watching sports, especially teams from my native Philadelphia and Arsenal.
I am a huge Star Wars and Star Trek fan. 
My main talent outside work is identifying songs playing on the loudspeakers inside noisy stores.

Who would you like SCPA to spotlight? Email us your recommendations.

FOI Briefs

USC promises transparency but will begin charging to release public records

After being sued at least twice in recent years for withholding public records, the University of South Carolina says it will now charge to gather, review and release public documents.
The charges are allowed under state law. Other local and state agencies already charge the public and the media for access to records.
The university will charge $25 per hour to search and retrieve records, unless the requested documents include emails or texts, in which case USC will charge $40 per hour. It will cost $20 per hour to redact records and $.10 per page to print the documents, according to USC’s website. The charges will not apply to records requests that have already been filed.
By Lucas Daprile, The State | Read more

‘I can justify every hire’: Horry County releases amount spent on lawyers in last 3 years

Horry County Government paid outside law firms nearly $1.5 million to represent the county in 136 cases over the last three years, according to a report released by the county on Thursday.
That amount is not unusual given the size of the county and the complexity of some of the cases, county officials said. They also pointed out that the county attorney’s budget — which includes funding for hiring private sector lawyers — hasn’t seen dramatic increases. Records show the proposed attorney’s office budget for the next fiscal year is nearly identical to what it was in 2009.
Yet in recent weeks the amount of lawyer spending has become the subject of an internal council debate, one that spilled over into the public sphere this week when council members suddenly voted to adjourn a meeting just before councilman Al Allen was scheduled to discuss the topic.
Allen, who received the attorney spending report Thursday, maintains that some council members shielded him from public information that should have been made available sooner. Other councilmen have questioned how Allen, who has publicly criticized the county attorney, would present the report’s details and why he requested the research at all. Most council members did not object to releasing the two-page document, which county staff provided to myhorrynews.com a day after the news outlet submitted a public records request.
By Charles D. Perry, myhorrynews.com | Read more

Editorial: SC Senate finally said ‘enough’ to Commerce giveaways. House should too.

For as long as South Carolina has had a Commerce Department, lawmakers have given it free rein to hand out incentives, often in the form of massive tax breaks, often in secret, in order to bring jobs to South Carolina.
The results have generally been good — in many cases excellent. But we’ve always suspected that the agency was sometimes too generous — that it could have spent less to persuade some businesses to move to our state or expand. That was the central issue in 2019 when the department offered Charlotte’s Carolina Panthers football team a huge package of incentives to build what it called a headquarters in Rock Hill: The package required a tweak to state law, and it looked for a bit like the Legislature might not sign off.
The department won that battle but triggered a war that has been waging since, led by the unlikely duo of Democratic Sen. Dick Harpootlian and Republican Sen. Wes Climer, one of the biggest critics of the Panthers deal and one of its biggest advocates, to force the department to tell us more about how it spends our money.
From The Post and Courier | Read more

People & Papers

Post and Courier publisher PJ Browning named to INMA Board

PJ Browning, publisher of The Post and Courier and president of the newspaper division at Evening Post Publishing, has been elected to the board of directors of the International News Media Association (INMA) effective June 1.
INMA is the world's leading provider of global best practices for news media companies looking to grow revenue, audience, and brand amid profound market change.
The INMA Board of Directors is the association's governing body, responsible for the strategy and direction of INMA worldwide. Often referred to as the “International Board,” volunteers serve two- and three-year terms and are elected annually by INMA members.

Jamie Self of The State leaving paper for West Coast nonprofit newsroom

Jamie Self, Senior Editor of Politics at The State, announced she's leaving the newspaper to become deputy managing editor of inewsource in San Diego.
Self has worked for S.C. McClatchy newspapers for the past decade.
She's spent the past eight years at The State. For the past two years, she has led a team of six reporters covering politics, state government, COVID-19, the courts and more as Senior Editor of Politics. She previously worked as politics, state government and K-12 education reporter at The State and a politics and county government reporter at The Herald in Rock Hill. 
Self is a graduate of College of Charleston . She has a Master's degree from the University of South Carolina. 
inewsource
 is a nonprofit newsroom in San Diego focused exclusively on investigative reporting. 

The State recognized nationally for excellence in sports journalism

The award-winning sports team at The State added to its trophy case recently when the Associated Press Sports Editors honored the capital city for excellence in sports journalism.
The State staff earned nine Top 10 awards in the annual national APSE contest, including being recognized as a Top 10 daily and Sunday sports section nationally in its circulation size category. Here are the Individual Top 10 awards.

Post and Courier receives National Headliner Award

A Post and Courier journalist won a 2021 National Headliner Award, and the newspaper’s climate change series placed second.
Jennifer Berry Hawes received first-place honors in feature writing among all newspaper sizes. The staff-wide project Rising Waters placed second in the news series category.
Founded in 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City, the National Headliner Awards program is one of the oldest and largest annual contests recognizing journalistic merit in the communications industry. The Los Angeles Times, The Intercept and the Tampa Bay Times received other top awards.
From The Post and Courier  | Read more
South Carolina Super Lawyers, a service recognizing outstanding lawyers, has recognized 20 Wyche attorneys in its 2021 South Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine. The 2021 cover story of the magazine features Wyche attorney Wallace Lightsey, also named among the Top 10 Lawyers in South Carolina by Super Lawyers. Wyche is an Associate Member of SCPA. 

Obituaries

Judy VanSlyke Turk, former dean of the UofSC journalism school, dies

The University of South Carolina College of Information and Communications mourns the death of Judy VanSlyke Turk, the eighth dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, who died in Richmond, Virginia, on May 2 after a long illness. Turk took the reins in 1991 after the retirement of Joseph W. Shoquist, becoming the first woman to hold the position — and at 43, the youngest.
In her first interview after joining the college, Turk said she favored a hands-on, very visible, very involved management style. "The best way to learn about a place is to roll up your sleeves and get involved," she said. "One of the most exciting challenges is to be a lightning rod for the faculty and the students, sparking creativity and being a sounding board getting people to talk about things." 
Van Kornegay, an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, remembered Turk as a tireless “let’s get stuff done” kind of leader. "You could always hear her coming down the circular halls of the Coliseum before you ever saw her — her heels clicking at a staccato pace and often accompanied by her distinctive, rowdy laugh." Read more

Columns & Editorials

Editorial: This time, government really is helping you

Have you ever heard the phrase “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” and immediately felt your rear end tighten up a bit?
Well, this time you can relax. And you can thank your state lawmakers for some sensible spending that is for your benefit, for the benefit of every taxpayer in South Carolina. While you’re at it, you might even consider thanking newspaper journalists.
State Law Enforcement Division — commonly known as SLED — is the state’s top law enforcement agency. If another law enforcement agency needs investigated, SLED swoops in. SLED is actively involved in a host of investigations across the state, but there has long been an area where the agency lacks the manpower it needs: forensic auditing.
When Charleston’s Post and Courier reported a couple of months ago that SLED doesn’t have a white-collar crimes investigator, SLED’s chief, Mark Keel, asked lawmakers for $159,000 to hire a forensic auditor. This detective would likely be equipped with a computer, not a gun, and would be specially trained to sleuth patterns in illegal spending.
From the Index-Journal | Read more

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