House panel delays action on FOI bill
The House Judiciary Committee Tuesday passed an amendment to Resp. Bill Taylor's FOIA bill that would change the legislative exemption, but then voted to delay action on the bill for a week.
The delay request from Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington, who asked that debate be adjourned so he would have time to look at the Legislation exemption wording.
Prior to Quinn’s motion, the committee passed a subcommittee amendment submitted by Rep. Weston Newton, R-Bluffton, that would remove the current legislative FOI exemption but allow for documents relating to proposed legislation to be withheld until the bill was filed, and to also shield correspondence from constituents.
Newton said citizens “have a level of expectation that communication won’t end up in the newspaper the next day.” His proposal would apply to all elected officials, not just legislators.
Another amendment was circulated to the committee that would shield from release “telephonic communications or records” that are not publicly supported. No discussion or action came on the amendment by Chairman Greg Delleney, R-Chester.
Friday is deadline to submit winners' PDFs for Annual Meeting displays
The deadline to submit your winning writing and design entries as PDF files for use at the Annual Meeting is Friday, Feb. 22.
PDFs will be used in the awards presentation, tabloid of winners and in the contest exhibits.
Files should be uploaded to your newspaper's Sharefile folder. If you need the link or are having trouble trouble uploading, email Jen Madden.
For the two contests still out at judging (Over 6,000 General Excellence and All Daily Health Reporting), winners will have an extension on submitting corrections and PDF files of wins. We expect to have those winners back any day.
Another deadline that's fast approaching is the
cut-off date to make your reservation at the Westin Poinsett Hotel in Greenville. March 2 is the last day SCPA members can make a reservation at our group rate of $139 a night. There are still plenty of rooms left at the hotel, but we strongly encourage you to go ahead and make your reservation now. Click here to make your reservation online or call (864) 421-9700 (mention you are part of the SCPA meeting).
You still have plenty of time to register to attend the meeting. We've got some great educational sessions lined up all day Saturday, March 22. Click here to check out the full schedule of events! SCPA members are also invited to watch the S.C. News Photographers Association's judging of their Pictures of the Year competition, which will be held on Friday and Saturday at the Westin Poinsett. This is a great opportunity for members of your newsroom to see SCNPA's commitment to our photojournalism. They'll also have a print auction at the Awards Dinner.
We can't wait to see you next month in Greenville! Click here to let us know that you're coming! The deadline to register is March 13.
The State makes over its website
Earlier this week, The State launched a redesigned site that makes information easier to find on a site that's easier to navigate and faster to load.
Starting today, those upgrades also extend to their popular sports website, gogamecocks.com.
Aiken Standard starts Advantage Membership program
The Aiken Standard kicked off its Advantage Membership program earlier this month.
The program gives special rewards to home delivery subscribers and also provides subscriptions for those who prefer to view the Aiken Standard digitally.
Both print and digital Advantage Membership subscribers are also eligible for rewards that include discounts to local stores, special prizes and even special events sponsored by the Aiken Standard.
As part of the switch, readers who had been enjoying complete and free access to Aiken Standard digital products will no longer have full access without a subscription. Beginning Monday, much of the Aiken Standard's web content will be metered.
Publishers say paywalls, price hikes are working for newspapers
Four top publishers this week reaffirmed their commitment to print and discussed revenue ideas for bolstering their products. The discussion was part of an executive roundtable at the Key Executives Mega Conference in New Orleans. The publishers of the Star Tribune Media Co., USA Today, The Omaha World-Herald and The Dallas Morning News talked about the revenue opportunities for their content.
For Jim Moroney at The Dallas Morning News, his company is converting the story archives into revenue through content marketing. Companies in the Dallas area are in need of content to populate company newsletters, websites and blogs, and the paper is making its archives available for customers of its digital agency. Clients’ monthly bills average $4,000 a month for services that include access to the archives.
“Marketing has become a content war and nobody is better positioned to win a content war than a content company,” Moroney told the more than 500 attendees at the national conference. “I urge you to have a conversation with your newsroom about it. … I think it can work on any scale in all markets.” Moroney said when the paper first started the service, there was a minor uproar in the newsroom about it. But, he said, he explained that if American Airlines wants a story to put in its employee newsletter, the paper historically would allow that. The stories, he said, run with a byline and aren’t edited by the client. The newsroom then got it, he said.
How McClatchy teaches 30 papers to sell digital
A critical strategic goal for most local media companies is to learn how to grow digital revenue – rather than focusing most resources on managing traditional revenue streams. This is especially critical for newspapers, where print ad revenues have dropped markedly since 2006.
Among the newspaper companies, The McClatchy Co. has one of the most highly developed digital sales operations in the country. It has even created what it calls McClatchy University, a company-wide, self-directed online certification program that trains the staff at its 30 newspapers and McClatchy Interactive, which provides technology and product development company wide.
McClatchy’s digital approach can be distilled into seven essential concepts:
1. Structure matters less than commitment
2. The five essential elements to sustain digital: focus, commitment, accountability, compensation and viable solutions
3. Quality journalism is the ultimate goal
4. Follow the reader
5. Many products, many revenue streams
6. Implementing a digital subscription model
7. Training and more training
Click here to read a full synopsis of McClatchy's digital approach.
Four (slightly offbeat) revenue ideas for newspapers
As ad pages and subscriber numbers dwindle at many newspapers, publishers need more creative ways to monetize their paper’s brand. Some larger papers are already using alternate revenue models such selling as daily deals or hosting sponsored content.
Some newspapers have been quicker to innovate than others, and it’s unclear which strategies will pay off, so Ebyline turned to some experts from outside the journalism world—from corporate branding to fashion—for ideas that could help newspapers stay solvent in 2013 and beyond.
- Have your best journalists host events
- Create branded apparel
- License content to the rest of the web
- Sell the printing press
Click here to read more about these revenue ideas.
The New York Times paywall is working better than anyone had guessed
Ever since the New York Times rolled out its so-called paywall in March 2011, a perennial dispute has waged. Anxious publishers say they can't afford to give away their content for free, while the blogger set claim paywalls tend to turn off readers accustomed to a free and open Web. More than a year and a half later, it's clear the New York Times' paywall is not only valuable, it's helped turn the paper's subscription dollars, which once might have been considered the equivalent of a generous tithing, into a significant revenue-generating business. As of this year, the company is expected to make more money from subscriptions than from advertising — the first time that's happened. Digital subscriptions will generate $91 million this year, according to Douglas Arthur, an analyst with Evercore Partners. The paywall, by his estimate, will account for 12 percent of total subscription sales, which will top $768.3 million this year. That's $52.8 million more than advertising. Those figures are for the Times newspaper and the International Herald Tribune, largely considered the European edition of the Times. It's a milestone that upends the traditional 80-20 ratio between ads and circulation that publishers once considered a healthy mix and that is now no longer tenable given the industrywide decline in newsprint advertising. Annual ad dollars at the Times, for example, has fallen for five straight years. More importantly, subscription sales are rising faster than ad dollars are falling. During the 12 months after the paywall was implemented, the Times and the International Herald Tribune increased circulation dollars 7.1 percent compared with the previous 12-month period, while advertising fell 3.7 percent. Subscription sales more than compensated for the ad losses, surpassing them by $19.2 million in the first year they started charging readers online.
|S.C. needs stronger FOIA
It's probably fair to say that a lot of people in our society feel a healthy dose of skepticism toward many politicians.
It's not unreasonable to feel that way, either.
After all, if you read the paper or watch the news, it's not very hard to find reasons to raise your eyebrows, or even your voice, over decisions they make about spending your money. I really do believe that most elected officials try to be considerate in making these decisions. And some positions in government are actually designed with specific watchdog functions to help ensure that the public interest is being protected.
My office – the Comptroller General's Office – is one of these positions. That's why I support an effort that has been gathering steam for several years to strengthen our state's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Selling ads in a world of bright shiny objects
Meet Erica, a veteran of many years of sales presentations. “There’s a lot of talk these days about people who are drawn to Bright Shiny Objects,” she told me. “In most cases, that’s a reference to consumers rushing to purchase the newest technical gadget, even if their older version works just fine. But in reality, Bright Shiny Objects can refer to anything new and different.
“One of the lessons I’ve learned over the years,” she said, “is that some people are restless. For whatever reason – desire for novelty, competition with peer groups, or plain old boredom – they are always on the lookout for new things. In the business world, they are constantly trying new procedures, new initiatives, new vendors – even new employees. If the new thing works, fine. If not, there’s always another new thing around the corner.”