Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  June 24, 2020

SCPA launches virtual training events

Until it is safe to be together again for in-person workshops, SCPA will offer free virtual sessions for the members through Zoom. This includes individualized in-newsroom training and group webinars for the full membership. There is no charge to attend these events thanks to sponsorship from the SCPA Foundation Smoak Fund. Here's what we having coming up in July:

Advertising Roundtable | Thursday, July 16 | 11 a.m. - noon

SCPA is hosting a virtual roundtable for ad managers and publishers on Thursday, July 16, from 11 a.m. until noon. This is a great opportunity for us to come together and discuss the issues your organization is facing and what’s working in your market. Topics are up to the group, but could include: advertising/marketing grants, Shop Local campaigns, voluntary pay/donate campaigns, training/marketing webinars for local advertisers, and other ideas to help re-open your community’s businesses and get advertisers back. 
Rhonda Overbey, publisher and ad director of the Aiken Standard, will moderate the discussion. 
Please RSVP by July 10. Participants are asked to send ideas for discussion topics and specific questions for the group.

LegalEase Discussion: Dealing with Law Enforcement | Thursday, July 23 | 2-3 p.m.

SCPA’s popular LegalEase Web discussion series is back starting Thursday, July 23, at 2 p.m., with a discussion on dealing with law enforcement.
First Amendment and open government topics will include accessing law enforcement documents, how to respond to police, photographing/recording police activity and what to do when police deny your FOIA request because it is under investigation or relates to personal privacy. We’ll also discuss the need for more public oversight and transparency among law enforcement agencies, especially the need to remove the body cam exemption from South Carolina's FOIA.
SCPA Attorneys Taylor Smith and Jay Bender, along with Executive Director Bill Rogers, will lead the discussion. During this session you'll be able to ask questions and have them answered in real time by Bill and our attorneys.
There is no cost to participate, but you must sign up by July 20 so we can send you the Zoom instructions. 
Our August LegalEase session will focus on open government issues related to COVID-19. More details coming soon.

SCPA collegiate members release joint statement on protests and First Amendment rights

SCPA's collegiate members have released the following joint statement:
As institutions that send young journalists into American newsrooms, we stand with our professional colleagues in affirming our First Amendment right to cover all news events without fear of attack by police or those intent upon violence. Journalists are integral to democracy and crucial to helping the American public understand the unfolding of history. We aim to affirm progress and call out wrongdoing. As crusading journalist Ida B. Wells said, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

SCPA partners with Free Speech Center to support First Amendment campaign

The S.C. Press Association has signed on as a supporter of the “1 for All” First Amendment campaign.
1 for All is a national nonpartisan and nonprofit educational effort to build understanding and respect for the five freedoms of the First Amendment.
On July 4, the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University, is launching the national campaign, which features ads with celebrities explaining what First Amendment freedoms mean to them. For example, one ad shows S.C. native Darius Rucker explaining the importance of free speech.
If you have space, please consider running ads (print and/or digital) to support the First Amendment.
To add your newspaper's name to the list of supporters, email

PALMY Ad Contest Deadline is July 10

Less than three weeks remain to enter the 2020 PALMY Advertising Contest!
The deadline to submit your entries is Friday, July 10.
The PALMY Awards recognize the Palmetto State's best, brightest and most enterprising advertising professionals and advertisers, and the impact they have made in their communities.
Thanks to the SCPA Foundation, all member newspapers will receive 5 free entries in this year's competition.
Contact SCPA if you need your newspaper's login information or if you have any questions about entering the contest.

SCPA brings back eBulletin Member Spotlights

It's been a few years since we stopped running weekly Member Spotlights in the eBulletin.
One thing we've heard from members over the past few weeks is how much you miss seeing each other so we're bringing this fun feature back starting next week.
To be included, please answer a few of the following questions (or make up your own questions and reply). Then email your responses and a casual photo of yourself and we'll share with fellow SCPA members. The photo can be of you participating in your favorite hobby, of you and your family or pets, or anything else of interest.
  • What do you like best about your job?
  • What is your proudest career moment?
  • What's the most exciting thing going on at your paper?
  • What’s your favorite SCPA member service?
  • What adjustments have you made during COVID-19? (interviews/beat/working remotely, etc.)
  • When it’s safe to get out and about again, what are some area attractions/restaurants in your community we shouldn’t miss?
  • What is something most people don’t know about you?
  • What do you like to do outside of work? (hobbies, talents, etc.)
If there's anything else you'd like to share with the members, please feel free to include it. We can't wait to hear back from you!

FOI Briefs

Editorial: Police body cameras are essential gear

Police body cameras probably won’t stop all abuses. The video that prompted their statewide rollout — the shooting death of Walter Scott in North Charleston — was captured by a passerby.
So was the video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck. A private camera also caught the prelude to Floyd’s  in-custody death. In Louisville, officers who failed to turn on body cams amid a riot-related fatal shooting have been fired, along with their chief.
Police body cams aren’t a perfect answer for stopping illegally violent arrests, but at this point, people need to accept that electronic eyes are as essential to police work as to many other professions. And local police chiefs and sheriffs need to take responsibility for buying them, training officers on how to use them and storing the recordings.
...[B]ody-cam video should be assumed to be public, just like video from cameras mounted in police cars, with police having to convince a judge that releasing it would clearly impede an investigation. The only thing more provocative than a video showing police brutalize someone without cause would be finding out those images were withheld.
From The Times and Democrat | Read more

Richland County launches investigation into use of credit cards

Some questionable purchases are listed on credit card statements of Richland County Council members, including tickets to a drive-in movie theater, multiple gas purchases made on the same day and expenses related to a trip to Greece.
Records, obtained by The State Media Co. through a public records request made in May, were released late Thursday, revealing that council members’ county-issued charge cards, called procurement cards, may have been misused or fraudulently billed for thousands of dollars in recent years.
By Andrew Caplan, The State | Read more

Bid to toss $1 million settlement to fired Richland County administrator heads to court

A $1 million settlement that Richland County paid after firing Administrator Gerald Seals should be thrown out because it was decided in secret and voted on by council members who should have recused themselves because of conflicts, according to a court filing.
By Mike Fitts, The Post and Courier | Read more

People & Papers

The Colletonian closes

Last week The Colletonian of Walterboro announced it was closing its doors.
The newspaper has been privately owned by Colleton County residents for nearly a decade, with the most recent owner, Mandy Hathcock, taking ownership of the weekly newspaper in May of 2018.
In an interview with the owner, Hathcock she said she is very sad about her decision to close the paper. “There are no words to describe the number of emotions that I’m feeling right now. I’ve spent countless hours working on this newspaper,” she said. “I’ve sacrificed so many weekends, vacations and holidays, but I wouldn’t change a thing, because I love what I do. The Covid-19 pandemic placed a huge financial burden on The Colletonian, but that’s not the only reason for making this difficult decision.
“My father was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and I’ve chosen to spend more of my time helping to care for him.”
Hathcock went on to say that she will continue working in the community to bring residents’ stories to light. “On the brighter side of the closing, I will say, you haven’t seen the last of the ‘Colletonian Girls.’ We will still be working within the community, still doing what we do and loving every moment.” Read more

The Twin-City News returns to print on July 3

The Twin-City News recently announced on Facebook that it is bringing its print edition back on July 3. The COVID-19 outbreak temporarily stopped the presses of the Batesburg-Leesville newspaper. The newspaper also announced the launch of an online radio station as a way to connect with readers and serve the community.

SCETV recognizes T&D publisher for her leadership

Orangeburg Times and Democrat Publisher Cathy Hughes is among 11 women leaders who will be recognized by South Carolina ETV.
SCETV announced the return of its “Women Vision SC” initiative, which will recognize women leaders from across the state in a television program airing July 2 at 8:30 p.m.
The one-hour special, entitled “Women Vision SC: Finding Our Voice,” will profile the 11 honorees, telling their stories and asking about their vision, values and the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.
Executive produced by Linda O’Bryon, “Women Vision SC” serves as a platform to highlight trailblazing South Carolina women that have made an impact.
As Lee Enterprises’ Tier 3 group publisher, Hughes oversees seven newspapers in seven states from her office in Orangeburg. 
From The Times and Democrat | Read more

Browning named SNPA Foundation Chair

The Board of Trustees of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation elected a new slate of officers for 2020-2021 at its meeting on June 17.
P.J. Browning will be the new chair of the SNPA Foundation, succeeding Tom Silvestri.
Browning is the president and publisher of The Post and Courier and immediate past president of SCPA.
Silvestri, who retired on Dec. 31 after 15 years as president and publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, will continue his service on the board as a foundation trustee. Read more

Three Aiken Standard employees retiring

The Aiken Standard wishes three employees happy retirement in the month of June.
Brad Berg, production director with 40 years’ experience in the industry and with the Aiken Standard since 2017 where he oversaw the installation of a new printing press, retired in early June with plans to move to Florida and enjoy some much-deserved time fishing and boating.
Cindy Kubovic, who mastered visual storytelling as a television videographer and photographer early in her career, brought her talent to the Aiken Standard in 2012 and retired in early June. She plans to stay in Aiken and enjoy the community and events she has covered for so long.
Larry Wood, education reporter with the Aiken Standard, will retire June 26. He plans to take some time off to relax and enjoy the summer before deciding what he wants to do next. Read more

Sumter Item-designed Chamber magazine guide wins award

One of The Sumter Item's annual magazine products was recently recognized throughout the Carolinas.
The Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce won in the over 700-member publications category for its 2019-2020 Guide to Sumter, the organization's annual membership guide it produces in partnership with The Sumter Item. The newspaper designs and illustrates the magazine, and the Chamber provides the content. Cary Howard, who worked at newspaper at the time, designed the magazine.
The award was announced at the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives' 2020 Communication Excellence Awards ceremony during a membership meeting last month.
By Kayla Green, The Sumter Item | Read more

Industry Briefs

Tennessee newspaper investigating 'horrific' end of times ad

Editor's Note: If you're ever unsure about an advertisement, letter to the editor or story, please contact SCPA's Legal Hotline. An important benefit of SCPA membership is that our attorneys are available to review ads and stories prior to publication.   
A Tennessee newspaper said Sunday it is investigating what its editor called a “horrific” full-page advertisement from a religious group that predicts a terrorist attack in Nashville next month.
The paid advertisement that appeared in Sunday's editions of The Tennessean from the group Future For America claims Donald Trump “is the final president of the USA” and features a photo of Trump and Pope Francis. It begins by claiming that a nuclear device would be detonated in Nashville and that the attack would be carried out by unspecific interests of “Islam.”
By John Raby, Associated Press | Read more

AP changes writing style to capitalize ″b″ in Black

The Associated Press changed its writing style guide Friday to capitalize the “b” in the term Black when referring to people in a racial, ethnic or cultural context, weighing in on a hotly debated issue.
The change conveys “an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa,” John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president of standards, said in a blog post Friday. “The lowercase black is a color, not a person.” Read more

How citizen journalists, cell phones and technology shape coverage of police shootings

In August, I will present the following findings from my award-winning paper, There’s a Camera Everywhere: How Citizen Journalists, Cell Phones, and Technology Shape Coverage of Police Shootings, virtually at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. However, my work on media coverage, police brutality/shootings and the role of journalists is far from over. The issue continues. This work is my passion.
My hope is that there is some change in our system so that another black life does not become a hashtag. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of research for me to conduct into this matter. There are also continuous cries for justice. My hope is that our country continues to shift gears and we can start to heal and rebuild.  I do not have the answer. Unfortunately, none of us do. But I, as well as others will keep doing the work.
By Denetra Walker, Ph.D. student at the UofSC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | Read more

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