Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Oct. 8, 2020
By Bill Rogers, SCPA Executive Director

Support your local paper this National Newspaper Week 

Editor’s Note: National Newspaper Week is Oct. 4-10. In addition to this column, the national content kit includes ads, logos, columns, editorials and other features available free to newspapers.
Just a reminder, National Newspaper Week is Oct. 4-10.
National Cheeseburger Day was a recent event, and it prompted me to go out and get a cheeseburger. Newspapers are far more important to recognize, and they aren’t as fattening.
Let me prompt you to please take time to think about what your local newspaper means to your community and your family, and urge you to continue your support.
Whether in print or online, newspapers keep you informed about what is happening on so many fronts: school news, government actions, crime reports, sports, who died and who got married, and election news. The list goes on.
Newspapers also stand up for the rights of citizens to know how their elected officials – be they town councils or school boards – are planning to spend public money.
Want examples of how important newspaper reporting is?  Read more

SCPA hosts Washington Post White House reporter on Friday for Zoom chat 

It’s not too late to sign up for this Friday’s virtual discussion with Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey. Join us Oct. 9, from 2 - 2:45 p.m. on Zoom, as we host Dawsey for a discussion on White House reporting in the age of Trump. With a month until the election, Dawsey, a South Carolina native, will join us to talk about what it’s like to cover the President.
There's no cost to attend thanks to our #scpress20 sponsors.
Please RSVP by Friday morning so we can email you the log-in info. 

News Contest entry platform live today; Deadline is Dec. 4

The 2020 News Contest rules and digital entry platform will go live later today. This includes rules for the News Contest, Associate and Individual Member Contest, and the Collegiate Contest. 
Each member editor will receive an email from SCPA today with your newspaper’s log in credentials and a copy of the rules. Reporters and other staffers should get the log-in credentials from their editor.
The deadline to enter is Friday, Dec. 4.
The contest period is from Nov. 16, 2019, to Nov. 15, 2020.
Contact SCPA if you have any questions about the rules or if you have any trouble with the digital entry platform. 

SC Scholastic Press Association seeks professional, collegiate volunteers for student training, panels

The South Carolina Scholastic Press Association is looking for speakers for its annual fall conference. Due to COVID-19, the event will be held virtually Oct. 26-27. Sessions can be pre-recorded video lessons (15-20 minutes), live Q&A sessions with attendees or live panel discussions. Topics covered can include broadcast, photography, creative writing, social media, or print and content may include starting a career in journalism, protest coverage, COVID-19 coverage, diversity in the newsroom and more. Students and advisers are especially interested in holding live panel discussions with professional and collegiate journalists about current events.
All content will be available on the virtual event platform for one full year for speakers and attendees of the event. SCSPA director Leslie Dennis needs pre-recorded videos, bios and headshots by Oct. 15. If you can help, please contact her directly at
SCSPA promotes responsible scholastic journalism in South Carolina and empowers students and advisers who work with middle and high school broadcast, literary magazine, newsprint, online and yearbook programs in the state.

Sports reporters should contact school district to see if a sideline pass is needed

We've recently heard of a few cases where high school football reporters and photographers were not allowed on the sidelines because of COVID-19 safety protocols. If you are covering an away game, it's probably a good idea to call the local school district to see if you need a special pass or other clearance to get on the sidelines for game coverage. You may not need to, but it is better to be prepared than drive all the way there and not be able to get any good shots!
Member Spotlight: Ken Ruinard
Ruinard in his favorite custom photo face mask which features the "kindness rocks" he and his wife, Janice, painted for health care workers.
Photojournalist, Independent Mail and Greenville News; 2019 Daily Photojournalist of the Year
What do you like best about your job?
I love trying to get something different from events that I have been to before. Naturally, each event is different than the time before, and I like to look for that. It’s also really nice catching up with people in the community that I know, and meeting new people, too.

What is your proudest career moment?
Proudest career moment is probably the first day I started work at the Independent Mail 32 years ago. I was so happy to get out of school and get down to what I worked for.  

What's the most exciting thing going on at your paper?
I’d say the evolution into the digital world is the most exciting thing. I can remember photographing games on the road and sending one color and two black and white printed images on a transmitting drum out of an AP lab or at a big newspaper. Today, I can move 200 photos and seven videos without having to drive back to our lab, from the stadium workroom with screaming fast internet. The digital age is certainly fun.

What’s your favorite SCPA member service?
I like being able to call up SCPA if I have a question on a topic they may have dealt with before.

What adjustments have you made during COVID-19? 
The changes with COVID-19 has offered the opportunity to start a collection of face masks. My favorite one I made through Walgreens photo upload with a photo of rocks my wife Janice and I painted for health care workers. Before we gave away the rocks, I got a photo of them and had the mask made.

When it’s safe to get out and about again, what are some area attractions/restaurants in your community we shouldn’t miss?
Smokin' Pig BBQ, for sure.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I was born in Holland, but became an American citizen when I got to South Carolina, mainly because my late father did the same so he could vote. I thought, ”good idea.”

What do you like to do outside of work?
Yardwork. LOL. Really though, I like gardening. Painting rocks with Janice is great, it’s therapeutic and hide the “kindness rocks”  in our nearby  park for people to find joy in them. 
Know someone that you’d like SCPA to spotlight? Email us your recommendations.

People & Papers

Index-Journal debuts Weekender edition

...[We] at the IJ are excited to introduce Weekender. Yes, it’s true that the Sunday paper has come to an end, but we believe this is the best alternative we can give our readers during these leaner days all newspapers are facing. And we heard from many of you when we had to cease delivery of a printed product on Saturdays and Mondays. Monday’s back in print and we hope you will find it easy to adjust to a beefier paper on Saturdays that can last through Sunday.
There’s no mincing words; these are tough times for newspapers. You might have read that just this past week alone, several Palmetto State newspapers announced they were shutting down. For good. That’s sad. Bamberg, Holly Hill and Santee are losing a key member of their community with the closure of those papers, and the residents of Union are having to bid farewell to a newspaper that has served their community for 170 years.
Well, we’re not joining that group. The Index-Journal has been serving this area for 101 years now and, while times have changed and the financial impact has been great on newspapers, we are adjusting, not closing our doors. We know that we are in the news and information business, not just the printed newspaper business. Turns out the internet is here to stay and we’ll have to take advantage of that even more, but we don’t work for free, so don’t expect us to give away everything we do in reporting news and features.
While painful for us to have to turn off the ink wells and silence the presses one day a week, we believe our compromise plan — the Weekender and a return of the Monday paper in print — will help us remain open.
By Richard Whiting, Index-Journal | Read more

Post and Courier Columbia/Free Times publishes print edition

The first print edition of the co-branded Post and Courier Columbia/Free Times rolled off the press this week.
The paper is published on Wednesdays and will have two sections.
Parent company Evening Post Publishing has also launched to focus on local Columbia news while also maintaining the site of Free Times.
Starting Dec. 2, readers can get a copy delivered in the mail.
Chase Heatherly will continue to serve as publisher/ad director. Andy Shain has been named managing editor of The Post and Courier Columbia. Jordan Lawrence will remain managing editor of Free Times. 

The Sumter Item's historical archives are available online

[Countless] events from Sumter's recent and long-ago history are now available in a digitized, searchable online database at The Sumter Item joined the largest online newspaper archive as a content provider, its 125 years of news coverage to the 615 million-plus pages of historical newspapers from more than 19,600 newspapers across the United States and beyond.
By going to, archives date back to 1881 when The Watchman and Southron covered the area and to 1894 when The Sumter Daily Item was founded in the same offices by Noah Graham Osteen, whose father became owner of The Watchman and Southron in 1881.
From The Sumter Item | Read more

Industry Briefs

Publisher’s Guide to navigating COVID-19

We’ve been following the pandemic’s impact on publishing closely over the past few months. While it has been sad to read of the inevitable closures of titles as margins are squeezed, there have also been some really encouraging successes.
This free-to-download report brings together the best examples we’ve seen of how organizations have risen to meet the challenges of COVID-19. Damian Radcliffe looks at a range of tips and tactics to help all kinds of publishers, from subscriptions to eCommerce, the state of ad tech, and tools for building loyalty.
By Damian Radcliffe, What's New in Publishing | Read more

Inserters available

4 Muller Martini 227 inserters available. 2 – 8/1 and 2 – 12/1 with electronic drives. Inserters equipped with in-line ink jet heads, can be used with low or high voltage. Currently located in Shelbyville, KY, removed from plant in Maine. Contact Joyce Ford at or call 502-513-1107.


Founding Charleston City Paper publisher Noel Mermer dies

... [Former Charleston City Paper Publisher] Noel Stephen Mermer, 53, died late Saturday after a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He is survived by his wife Christine, and sons, Noel and Bennett. ...
Mermer and the Barnas started their “scrappy little newspaper” in 1997 at the dawn of the modern Charleston renaissance. “Rents were cheap, bars were open all night long, and Granny’s Goodies — our first advertiser — was a mecca of hippie weirdness,” Mermer and [Editor Stephanie Barna and Ad Director Blair Barna] wrote last year. 
The publication dedicated its coverage to food, music, the arts and local news. It was “more about the fun stuff going on than the bad stuff happening. Not only did we get to observe Charleston transform from a sleepy Southern town into a much-less-sleepy Southern town, but sometimes we had influence on that change too, writing stories and conducting investigations that highlighted issues and problems that weren’t being looked at by the daily newspaper, which at the time was way more entrenched in the South of Broad aristocracy than it is these days.”
In October 2019, the owners sold the newspaper to a publishing partnership owned by Ed Bell of Georgetown and Andy Brack of Charleston. 
“We are incredibly saddened by Noel’s passing,” said Brack, the current publisher. “His energy, determination and spirit to excel continue to permeate the pages of the City Paper — and always will.” Read more


By Tom Reichert, Dean of the College of Information and Communications at the University of South Carolina

Support local – especially when it comes to news

In September, the Union Times announced it was closing its doors after 170 years, citing the economic effects of COVID-19. It’s a sad thing when newspapers like the Union Times close, but it’s no longer shocking. Newspapers have been plagued by declining circulation numbers and shrinking newsrooms for the past 15 years, and nearly a quarter have shuttered, according to a June report from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With a pandemic added to the mix, it’s likely many other small-town papers will soon follow suit.
Researchers have a name for communities where daily newspapers have disappeared – news deserts. UNC’s report says 200 counties in the U.S. don’t have a local newspaper, and that number is climbing faster than digital news sites.
These communities might have access to national and world news thanks to the internet, but when it comes to what happened at last week’s school board meeting or how county council voted or whether their tax dollars are being spent responsibly, citizens are often left in the dark.
That’s a problem because local news drives civic engagement. It also gives local citizens information about local meetings and events. It also gives people a voice in how they’re governed and shines a light on injustice. News deserts aren’t just less informed – they’re also vulnerable to the damage that can be done by decision-makers with unchecked power. And the voids journalists leave when their papers die create frightening opportunities for rumors or even deliberate disinformation campaigns to thrive.  Read more

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