Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news
Your connection to industry & member news  |  June 24, 2021

Editor's Note: The eBulletin is going on vacation next week so we'll be back in your inbox on July 8.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Madden and Savely named Co-Executive Directors of SCPA 

Last week the S.C. Press Association Executive Committee named Jen Madden and Randall Savely Co-Executive Directors of the Press Association, effective July 23 when Bill Rogers officially retires.
Jen and Randall have a long-standing working relationship with the complementary skills and knowledge needed to successfully lead the organization. Both noted they’re excited to continue to work together for the good of the Association and our industry.
Jen will continue in her role as Chief Officer for Programs and Membership and will be responsible for member services, contests, training, events, communications, open government matters and lobbying. She will also serve as Secretary of the SCPA Foundation.
Randall will continue to serve as Chief Operating Officer, with daily responsibilities for advertising, finance and operations.
“I think the Board made a great decision in hiring Jen and Randall. They’ve both been here for more than a decade and are dedicated to serving our members,” outgoing Executive Director Bill Rogers said. “This is a rare instance where naming Co-Executive Directors was the way to go.”
The pair is passionate about helping strengthen the Palmetto State’s newspaper industry, and serving the journalists, advertising professionals and others who power South Carolina’s 100+ newspapers. Jen and Randall believe in SCPA’s mission and have a shared vision for the future of the Association, Foundation and S.C. Newspaper Network (SCPA’s advertising division). 
Both have a long history with SCPA.
Jen has worked with the organization for 14 years, serving as Assistant Director since 2011. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where she studied print journalism and political science.
Jen was born and raised in Florence, but moved to Mount Pleasant in high school. Though most of Jen’s career has been at SCPA, she’s been involved in newspapers since high school. In fact, that’s when she first met Bill Rogers!
Jen and her husband, Jeremi, have two spunky, strong-willed children, Grace (6) and Miller (1), who they adore, and a beloved rescue dog affectionally known as Ellie Puppy.
A native of Nashville, Randall joined the SCPA staff in Nov. 1999 as Manager of Press Services and has been the Director of Operations for both SCPA and SCNN since 2007. An innovative leader, Randall has led the combined entities to record profits during a very challenging time for the newspaper industry. He has an MBA from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina and a BS from Tennessee Technological University.
Randall is the proud father of Annie, a senior finance major at Winthrop University. They have a spoiled one-year-old Cockapoo named Theo.
The appointment comes after a unanimous decision from both the SCPA Transition Committee and the full Executive Committee.
“What’s better than one Bill Rogers? How about two?," said Don Kausler Jr., regional editor for the Morning News, President of SCPA and Chair of the Transition Committee. "Jen and Randall have earned these promotions through years of exceptional performance. Bill has groomed each of them well for more responsibility. Their skills and experience made this an easy decision. The split of duties is natural. Jen and Randall have worked quite well together, and we’re confident that this will continue. I’m excited about the future of the SCPA, near and far.”
Jonathan Vickery, editor of The People-Sentinel, has entered into an agreement to take over ownership of the newspaper on July 1. 

Barnwell People-Sentinel returns to local ownership

The People-Sentinel has some big news — it is returning to local ownership.
Barnwell native Jonathan Vickery, who is currently the newspaper’s editor, has entered into an agreement with the current owner, a subsidiary of Gannett Media Corp., to take over ownership on July 1. The newspaper was last locally owned by the late Bob and Kathy Harris who sold the newspaper in 1983 to Community Communications Spartanburg and retired.
“It’s been my pleasure to work for my hometown newspaper since October 2010. I have enjoyed keeping my community informed and engaged in what’s happening locally. I thank Gannett for this opportunity to become the new owner of The People-Sentinel so I can invest in my community and continue to keep my neighbors informed,” said Vickery.
Vickery is a lifelong resident of Barnwell who graduated from Barnwell High School in 2006. He is very active in the community, including on the Circle Theatre board and at Barnwell First Baptist Church. He has won numerous awards for writing and photography from the S.C. Press Association during his decade- long tenure at the newspaper.
The People-Sentinel has been Barnwell County’s source for credible local news since 1852. Vickery looks forward to continuing that tradition for years to come.
Read more in this week's People-Sentinel.

The Post and Courier sues SLED, Colleton County for public records in Murdaugh murder case

The Post and Courier has filed a lawsuit against the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office and State Law Enforcement Division, accusing the two agencies of violating the S.C. Freedom of Information Act. 
Reporters Olivia Diaz and Jamie Lovegrove were denied access to public records generated by police investigating the June 7 slayings of Paul Murdaugh, 22, and his mother, Maggie, 52, at the family’s home in Islandton, according to the complaint, which was filed June 17 in 14th Circuit Common Pleas Court in Walterboro.
The Charleston newspaper seeks access to reports generated by the Sheriff’s Office and SLED, as well as recordings of any 911 calls related to the case.
The organization also requests damages of attorneys’ fees and costs. 
Under the state’s FOIA law, certain records, including incident reports or other reports that “disclose the nature, substance, and/or location of any crime or alleged crime,” must be provided to members of the public if they are requested in person. The law does permit certain redactions, but the exemptions are narrowly tailored and must be applied on a line-by-line basis. 
“South Carolina law is clear here: Any member of the public should be able to walk into the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office or SLED headquarters and gain access to these records,” said Mitch Pugh, executive editor of The Post and Courier.
By Steve Garrison, The Post and Courier | Read more
Related: First report on Murdaugh murders now public, offering glimpse of initial police response (By Kacen Bayless and Jake Shore, The Island Packet)
Related: SLED releases redacted reports in murder case of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh (By Olivia Diaz, The Post and Courier)

PALMY entries off to judging

PALMY Ad Contest entries are headed off to judging this week to members of the Alabama Press Association.
Participation was down from last year with 364 entries submitted from 27 member newspapers.
A virtual ceremony presenting the 2021 winners will be held July 23, on Facebook Live. Once the winners are announced for proofing (no later than July 12), we’ll announce more details about how we’ll celebrate your wins. Awards will be shipped in late July/early August. 
Thanks to everyone who entered! We’re excited to celebrate the Palmetto State’s best ad designers and sales reps! 

RSVP for Bill's party by July 8

Members and friends, if you plan to attend Bill's retirement party on Thursday, July 15, from 5-7 p.m., please RSVP by July 8.
The party will be held at The River Center in Saluda Shoals Park in Columbia. BBQ and cold drinks will be served. 
Here are more details about the party.
In lieu of retirement gifts, Bill has requested that donations be made to SCPA’s FOI Fund, which helps newspapers fight open government battles. This is a fitting tribute to honor his more than three decades as a leading force in the fight for open government in the Palmetto State. If you'd like to make a gift in Bill's honor, you can donate online or mail a check to SCPA at 106 Outlet Pointe Blvd., Columbia, SC 29210.

Members invited to a free webinar on postal delivery questions and concerns

Thursday, July 1 | 10 a.m. 
Many community newspapers rely on the USPS to deliver their publications. Therefore, it is paramount that newspapers pay reasonable mailing rates, receive efficient service and are treated fairly. In addition, newspaper readers have a reasonable expectation of receiving the printed product on time.  Like many organizations, the USPS had its share of stumbles in the past year. During this session, Dave Webster, Senior Director of Processing Operations for the USPS Chesapeake (PA) Division, will discuss the USPS changes to serve community newspapers’ needs better.  Dave will also offer advice about how community newspapers can work more efficiently with the USPS and answer your important questions. View more details and register here.

More upcoming PNA sessions:

There is no charge for SCPA members to attend these PNA Community Newspaper Forum events, thanks to support from the SCPA Foundation Smoak Fund. A confirmation with log-in instructions will be sent to each registrant one or two days prior to the session. If you cannot attend the live event, a recording will be made available following each event. Let us know if you have any questions.

"Save the Whales" 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

Opinion: Public deserves transparency in sudden departure of popular school leader

The members of the Lexington-Richland 5 school board seem strangely surprised that the public and the press want to know why Superintendent Christina Melton resigned and why a settlement with Melton was reached without a public discussion or public vote.
What’s truly surprising is that another public body overseeing a public institution supported with public funds appears to believe it has no obligation to the public it serves.
Instead, the board privately negotiated a settlement with Melton, granting her $226,368, one year’s salary. The board did not vote on the settlement agreement at a public meeting and, when asked to explain its actions, the board issued a statement expressing disappointment at the “careless way” news of Melton’s resignation was shared.
The board members, when asked by our reporter about the settlement and resignation, also cited the board policy that only the board chairperson should speak to the media.
That same policy, however, also states, “The board believes that one of its paramount responsibilities is to keep the public informed of its actions.”
Apparently, the board also believes it is appropriate to pick and choose which sections of its policies it will follow.
From The State | Read more

Richland County keeps public in the dark in dispute with SC over penny tax spending

Richland County officials talked secretly about a proposed settlement with the state over alleged misspending of county penny tax funds, and later in a public vote continued to keep the taxpayers in the dark about how they decided to proceed in a matter involving tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.
Richland County Council met June 15 and shortly after the virtual meeting was called to order, retreated to executive session, a portion of the meeting held behind closed doors.
For about three hours, the council privately discussed a proposed settlement with S.C. Department of Revenue after the state agency ordered the county last year to repay more than $30 million in transportation penny tax funds that a state audit found had been misspent on projects managers, public relations work, legal work and a mentorship program.
By Stephen Fastenau, The Post and Courier Columbia | Read more

Editorial: Reducing corruption starts with trying to reduce corruption. SC should start.

...As part of our Uncovered investigation, The Post and Courier’s Tony Bartelme reviewed more than 1,100 ethics and professional discipline cases against S.C. educators, law enforcement officers, judges and other state employees who clearly crossed ethical lines since 2018. He found two clear patterns: All but the most notorious cases are handled quietly, almost always outside the criminal justice system, even though many cases involve criminal violations, and it takes a lot of knowledge and determination to find out about them.
In case after case, officials handed out written reprimands or suspensions ... to DOT employees who accepted cash from contractors, elected officials who refused to disclose campaign donors or voted for projects that enriched their relatives, teachers who stole from their students, principals who threatened subordinates. Magistrates stayed on the bench despite serious conflicts of interest because the governor reappointed them without knowing about reprimands. Police who assaulted completely harmless citizens were allowed to resign rather than face trial. 
These are not the sort of unvetted complaints whose secrecy we’ve decried before. These are findings of wrongdoing by disciplinary bodies, and as Mr. Bartelme reports, many disciplinary records are “tucked in agency filing systems or obscure corners of government websites,” leaving the general public “hard-pressed to find them without determined digging, knowledge of the state’s Freedom of Information Act and a checkbook to cover fees many agencies slap on people who ask for this information.”
From The Post and Courier | Read more

Press Freedom Briefs

This week's edition of the Orangeburg Leader featured an above the fold banner and story supporting Hong Kong's pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, and the right to publish. 

Apple Daily to close, last pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper

Hong Kong’s sole remaining pro-democracy newspaper will publish its last edition Thursday, forced to shut down after five editors and executives were arrested and millions of dollars in its assets were frozen as part of China's increasing crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous city.
The board of directors of Apple Daily parent company Next Media said in a statement Wednesday that the print and online editions will cease due to “the current circumstances prevailing in Hong Kong.”
The silencing of a prominent pro-democracy voice is the latest sign of China's determination to exert greater control over the city long known for its freedoms after huge antigovernment protests there in 2019 shook the government. Since then, Beijing has imposed a strict national security law — used in the arrests of the newspaper employees — and revamped Hong Kong's election laws to keep opposition voices out of the legislature.
By Zen Soo and Matthew Cheng, Associated Press |  Read more

Related: Statement from the Committee to Protect Journalists


James Lowery in The Herald press room, where he worked from 1959-1999.

Retired Herald employee of 40 years, James Lowery dies at 84

James Lowery, 84, who worked in the press room at The (Rock Hill) Herald for 40 years, died Sunday.
Born June 18, 1937 in Chesterfield County to Paul and Edna Lowery, he lived in Rock Hill most of his life.
His son, Shawn Lowery, says his father first worked as a paper boy for The Herald before enlisting in the Air Force, where he worked on a base in Greenland. James Lowery returned to work in the press room, eventually becoming manager, at The Herald from 1959 until his retirement in 1999.
By Tobie Nell Perkins, The Herald | Read more
Tribute to Jim Lowery by retired Herald editor Terry Plumb (Plumb said he's almost certain Jim was the first African American press foreman at The Evening Herald and likely was the first Black press foreman at a SC daily newspaper.) 

Related Obituary


George Willhite (left), D.G. Schumacher (middle), and Bill Judy (right), in The Courier newsroom, Urbana, Illinois, in August 1972.

60 years of newspaper journalism and unimagined changes in the industry

By D.G. Schumacher, The Sun News
When I started my first full-time reporting job in Carbondale, Illinois, 60 years ago this month, I was as full of journalistic zeal as a 22-year-old could be. Even so, I never imagined being a newspaperman for this long.
We made notes in a “Reporter’s Notebook” or folded pieces of copy, wrote news articles on manual typewriters. In the Southern Illinoisan building on Main Street, reporters and editors were jammed into the same space where printers retyped our edited copy to create perforated tape for the typesetting machines.
The typesetting machines were mechanical marvels that produced lines of hot lead from which newspapers were printed on presses. I knew about Linotypes and printing presses from working in the back shop of the twice weekly newspaper and commercial printing business my dad was part of for more than 50 years. Read more
Supporting local means supporting local newspapers. Last week, Dean Ridings, CEO of America's Newspapers, shared a great editorial and editorial cartoon that urgers readers to support their local newspaper, saying it is "one of the best things that you can do to directly strengthen your community." 

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