Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  Oct. 1, 2020

SCPA will host Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey on Oct. 9 for virtual discussion on covering President Trump

Join SCPA on Friday, Oct. 9, at 2 p.m., as we host Washington Post reporter Josh 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. In addition to talking about the complexities of his beat, we hope SCPA’s collegiate journalists will enjoy hearing Dawsey discuss his transition from the classroom into professional journalism.  
Dawsey got his start in journalism at The Aynor Journal, where he was named editor at age 17. He went on to study journalism at the University of South Carolina, where he served as editor of The Daily Gamecock.  While at UofSC, he was named SCPA’s Collegiate Journalist of the Year and an SCPA Foundation intern. Dawsey has worked at The Washington Post since 2017. He previously worked for Politico and The Wall Street Journal.
Members must RSVP by Oct. 6 so we can send you the Zoom instructions.

Media Law VIrtual Panel Discussion on Oct. 23

Registration is also open for our "Counselors Off the Cuff," media law virtual panel discussion, which will be held on Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. This will be a no-holds-barred discussion on the legal, First Amendment and open government issues you’re facing.
Members must RSVP by Oct. 19 so we can send you the Zoom instructions.

Both events are part of our #SCPRESS20 Virtual Meeting, and are open to SCPA’s professional and collegiate members. The events will be available live and on-demand so you can watch at your convenience.
Thanks to our generous #SCPRESS20 sponsors, there is no cost for members to attend these events! 

Union Times closes after 170 years

It’s always hard to say goodbye and that’s especially the case today, September 30, 2020, as The Union Times says goodbye to the people of Union County as our 170 years of service to them comes to an end with this, our final edition.
Our time of chronicling the news, sports, human interest, and other stories of the people of Union is now at journey’s end, a journey that began in 1850 when we were then known as The Weekly Union Times.
It’s been quite a journey, those 170 years, the last 30 of which I, Charles Warner, have had the great privilege to be part of.
Union County has changed a great deal during that time, going from being, in the 19th century, an overwhelmingly agrarian community of farms and plantations in an economy where King Cotton ruled to, in the 20th century, an industrialized community of mill villages where King Textile ruled.
In the 21st century, the local economy is more diversified with employers ranging from automotive-related manufacturers to regional distribution centers. It is an economy that is not only diversified but an increasingly globalized and Internet-driven one in which King Knowledge rules and an educated workforce and business community able to quickly adapt to ever more rapid change is vital to community survival.
The Union Times has covered these changes and has adapted to them, changes that were occurring even as I joined this newspaper’s staff in 1989.
By Charles Warner, The Union Times | Read more
Member Spotlight: Christian Boschult
Myrtle Beach Herald Editor and Photographer Janet Morgan took this photo of Boschult while they were working on a story about North Myrtle Beach's proposed mask mandate ordinance. North Myrtle in June was the first city in Horry County to pass such an ordinance. The dog is Bailey, and Boschult had to hold him while his owner (in the background) had to chase after her other dog.
Reporter,; 2019 Weekly 
Journalist of the Year

What do you like best about your job?
This is an impossible question to answer, but I have a few things I really enjoy. Among them: my job gives me a license to stick my nose in other people’s business; it gives me the chance to talk to a diverse group of people and hear different perspectives; it gives me the mandate to question authority and tell the world about injustice and it allows me to go to the beach and call it “work.” Also, I get to meet puppies like Bailey, who I had to hold for a few minutes while his brother went on an unauthorized  doggy adventure down North Myrtle Beach’s Main Street. 

What is your proudest career moment?
A lot of the stories I’m proud of didn’t necessarily win any awards. One story years ago was the catalyst for a neighborhood coming together to build a new house for a woman whose home flooded out. She lost her FEMA money to a contractor who didn’t finish the job and her place was unlivable.  Another story shed light on how a local non-profit was misleading the public about how it spent funds. Recently, I wrote a story about a police department that routinely failed to investigate and prosecute crimes within its jurisdiction, leaving victims without justice. But hopefully, the proudest moment of my career is somewhere in the future.

What's the most exciting thing going on at your paper?
We’re doing some rebranding and expanding our digital readership. We operate several different weekly papers with one website, Because our papers and website have different names, readers don’t always know that every paper is produced by the same team of journalists who go balls-to-the-wall every day to find the stories that matter. So we’re trying to eliminate that confusion and let everyone in Horry County know who we are and what we do. (“Balls-to-the-wall” sounds dirty, but really isn’t, if any readers want to Google it and get a quick history lesson.) 

What’s your favorite SCPA member service?
More of these questions where I’m supposed to provide a singular superlative answer? Again, it’s impossible to pick just one. The SLED background check and FOIA resources are both invaluable to our job. 

What adjustments have you made during COVID-19?
I’m used to working from home. Since I work in a beat that’s 30 miles away from our paper’s headquarters, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to drive into the office when the people I cover are in a different part of the county. But like everyone else, wearing a mask and social distancing have become the new normal. The biggest change is that a lot of events we would normally cover got canceled. Some government meetings became phone-in meetings, and a lot of capital projects I was planning to write about were delayed because of budget cuts. It’s actually pretty hard to think of an aspect of my job that hasn’t been affected by the pandemic. 

When it’s safe to get out and about again, what are some area attractions/restaurants in your community we shouldn’t miss?
I don’t want to advertise for anyone, but there’s a local restaurant in North Myrtle whose chef and owner goes out and catches his own fish for their local “fresh catch” special. The food is great, so the special usually doesn’t last very long following the fishing trip. It’s a local secret but folks who know how to use the internet can figure out who I’m talking about. In fact, they’re open right now. But if you’re not in North Myrtle, there’s nothing wrong with making an effort to support your own locally-owned businesses that are hurting from COVID-19.  

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’m a pretty open book, and I definitely share way too much information about myself. But one thing people probably don’t know is that I’m a big Shakira fan and I have a lot of her songs on my running playlist. Searching for truth is the most basic purpose of journalism and Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie. Also, I have a rescue dog named Terry. But I tell people about Terry within the first five minutes of meeting them, so it’s not a secret.

What do you like to do outside of work? 
As my Tinder profile says, my skills include “cooking, dog park-ing and correcting your grammar,” which I know is ironic because I just used a noun as a verb. I also like swimming in the ocean as the sun comes up, going for night runs and playing guitar. And I make a mean margarita. 

Know someone that you’d like SCPA to spotlight? Email us your recommendations.

FOI Briefs

Top Hilton Head leaders, Rodman met in secret to discuss US 278 project

Between sips of iced tea and hot coffee at a high end Sea Pines Resort restaurant Tuesday afternoon, five top Hilton Head and Beaufort County leaders spoke in private.
The view from their table on the covered porch outside Fraser’s Tavern was of clear skies, sunshine and the driving range of a nearby golf course.
Though their words were muffled, their mannerisms were animated as they rifled through pages of documents.
The government leaders — Hilton Head Mayor John McCann, Assistant Town Manager Josh Gruber, Town Council members Tom Lennox and Bill Harkins and Beaufort County Council member Stu Rodman — were there to talk business with prominent Hilton Head resident Tom Sharp.
Sharp, a Sea Pines resident who frequently advocates for bicycle facilities on the island and who helped form the town’s Circle-to-Circle committee regarding Pope Avenue, told a reporter Tuesday he invited the government officials to the meeting. He’s also a former commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation.
The papers strewn across the table suggested the group was discussing the planned $272-million U.S. 278 corridor project. One of the leaders who attended the meeting later confirmed that.
If that’s what they were talking about, some of the attendees were breaking the law, legal experts said.
By Kacen Bayless, The Island Packet | Read more

Behind the scenes as South Carolina lost its grip on the coronavirus

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster faced a defining challenge this year as a new and deadly disease ravaged the state, forcing difficult decisions that often pitted public health concerns against the needs of a cratering economy.
A Post and Courier review of more than 10,000 emails from South Carolina’s early response to the pandemic, coupled with interviews with key figures involved, reveals how state leaders struggled to balance those concerns in the face of an invisible threat.
In the month after the state’s first reported case of COVID-19, hundreds of South Carolinians flooded McMaster’s office with emails that reflected a growing sense of alarm. 
By Avery G. Wilks, The Post and Courier | Read more

Police are using the law to deny the release of records involving use of force, critics claim

Two months after the family of Daniel Prude tried to obtain police body-camera footage showing Prude naked, handcuffed and hooded on a Rochester, N.Y., street, nationwide protests against police violence were gaining momentum — and officials did not want the video to be made public.
“I’m wondering if we shouldn’t hold back on this for a little while considering what is going on around the country,” a police lieutenant wrote in a June email. Officials suggested citing an “open” investigation. Days later, they raised concerns about the medical privacy of Prude, who died a week after the video was filmed in March.
“Can we deny/delay?” a top city attorney wrote in a flurry of emails between city officials.
The video was ultimately given to Prude’s family after a months-long legal battle and made public, sparking outrage and protests and costing the police chief his job.
The case highlights what some families, victim advocates and lawyers say is a persistent issue amid a nationwide push for police transparency: As viral videos bring unprecedented scrutiny to police officers’ use of force, they allege that authorities are using and sometimes abusing the law to deny and delay the release of police records.
By Hannah Knowles, Mark Berman and Shayna Jacobs; Washington Post | Read more


By Jim Pumarlo, Newspaper Consultant

Who do you support on the election ballot?

Election season is in its final stretch, and newspapers have been there at every step. You’ve introduced candidates. You’ve quizzed them on the issues. You’ve covered the debates. Your coverage has laid the foundation for a rich exchange among readers on who they support or oppose – and why.
I encourage you to take the final step: Offer your own recommendations on which individuals are best suited to fill the offices on the November ballot.
admit that editorial endorsements become more scarce each election cycle. It troubles me, and it confounds me. During my tenure as editor of the Red Wing (Minn.) Republican Eagle, we endorsed in every primary and general election race from the local city council, school board and county board to legislative contests to U.S. president.
We considered endorsements a natural progression of our coverage of public affairs. We considered endorsements a right and a responsibility as a community institution.
I’ve heard the arguments against endorsements. I politely – and firmly – offer my rebuttals.
 Read more

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