Bill to strengthen FOIA act passes S.C. House panel
The House Judiciary Committee passed the FOI reform bill Tuesday after lengthy debate and the addition of an amendment to remove the Legislative exemption from the act.
Rep. Weston Newton, R-Beaufort, withdrew a similar amendment he introduced at the Committee’s meeting last week, saying the Legislative exemption “needs more deliberative study” so the body doesn’t come up with a haphazard approach. He said he plans to introduce a separate bill to go through the committee procress.
But Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington, again introduced a last-minute amendment basically striking the entire Legislative exemption. Quinn said his position was that if the Legislature is going to “increase the burden on public officials” by amending the FOIA, the Legislature should not hold itself out as exempt.
Newton countered that the House “needed the deliberative process” and that rushing a bill through may be “good politics but not good policy.”
Quinn’s amendment passed by a 12-10 vote.
Rep. Chris Murphy, R-Summerville, introduced an amendment that would allow emails sent and received from private email accounts to be shielded from release.
Newton said the proposal was too broad and would bring “Shadow Government” to our state.
The Murphy amendment was defeated by a 13-9 vote.
The FOI bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, now moves to the House floor for action.

SCPA very close to filling group block at Annual Meeting hotel
SCPA members are obviously excited about the Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation next month because we are VERY CLOSE to filling up our group room block at the Westin Poinsett Hotel.
Though our block is officially open through March 2, few rooms remain. If you are planning on staying Friday and/or Saturday night, do not delay in making your reservation. Reserve your room(s) online or call (864) 421-9700. Make sure to mention you are part of the S.C. Press Association Meeting to get our group rate of $139 a night.
The deadline to get the discounted rate of $139 is March 2. After the March 2 cutoff, you will be charged the hotel's standard rate, which at time of press, is listed at $199 per room, and could increase even more as the hotel's occupancy increases.
Call us if you have any problems getting a hotel room.
After squaring away your accommodations, you'll still have plenty of time to register to attend. The deadline to get your registration form returned to us is March 13.
And we know that you can't wait for the Awards Luncheon and Awards Dinner, but we encourage you to come early or stay late to attend these great (and free) educational sessions:

  • Technology Update with Doug Fisher (10-10:45 a.m.) - In an industry where technology seems to change by the minute, we’ll sit down for a briefing of new media industry technology trends with Doug Fisher of the University of South Carolina School of Journalism. Fisher is a veteran journalist who spent nine years as a news editor for The Associated Press. His interests are in reporting, precision writing, ethics, media economics, newsroom sociology, and new ways to manage the increasing flow of information so that reporters and editors, as well as consumers, do not suffer “information burnout.” He began his career in radio and television, became a newspaper reporter and then was a fellow in the Kiplinger Public Affairs Reporting Program at Ohio State University before joining the AP in 1983.He is the founder of the community news project that has shown, in conjunction with the Hartsville Messenger newspaper, how such sites can invigorate local news coverage and form a vibrant online community. In 2007, he became executive editor of The Convergence Newsletter, and he is co-author of Principles of Convergent Journalism (Oxford, 2008).
  • The Ever-Expanding First Amendment with Rod Smolla (11-11:45 a.m.) - Furman University's President Rod Smolla will join us to talk about the First Amendment. He is a nationally recognized scholar, teacher, advocate and writer, and is one of America's foremost experts on issues relating to freedom of speech, academic freedom and freedom of the press. A native of the Chicago area, he is a 1975 graduate of Yale University, where he was a member of the football team. He graduated first in his class from Duke University Law School in 1978. His book, Free Speech in an Open Society (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992) won the William O. Douglas Award as the year's best monograph on freedom of expression. He is also the author of Jerry Falwell v. Larry Flynt: The First Amendment on Trial (St. Martin's Press, 1988) and Deliberate Intent (Crown Publishers, 1999). Deliberate Intent was made into a television movie by the FX cable network, in which actor Timothy Hutton played the role of Rod Smolla, depicting his involvement in a notorious case in which he successfully represented the families of three murder victims in a suit against the publisher of a murder instruction manual.
  • Dealing with Correspondents Panel Discussion (2:30-3:45 p.m.) - Join SCPA Attorney Jay Bender; Lee Harter, editor of The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg; and Benjy Hamm, editorial director for Landmark Community Newspapers, as they discuss how to hire, train and motivate correspondents and how to stay out of legal trouble concerning contracts and legality.

Also, we just got back one of the contests that was still out for judging. In All Daily Health Reporting, Liv Osby of The Greenville News took first place, Don Worthington of The Herald took second place and Mike Foley of The Greenville News took third place.

We know some folks are very anxious about the remaining contest that is still out for judging-- General Excellence in the Over 6,000 division. We have been assured that the entries are currently en route to us. We'll let you know the second we have the results.

Bill Cranford joins Index-Journal as advertising director
Bill Cranford has joined the Index-Journal as its new advertising director, president and publisher Judith M. Burns announced today.
"I am excited that Bill has joined our newspaper family. Bill is not only a highly experienced advertising executive, but also just a genuinely fun and good person who others will immediately take to on meeting him," Burns said. "I am sure he will not only be an asset to all the Index-Journal's products, but also to the Index-Journal's longtime and future advertisers."
Cranford has more than 20 years in the newspaper industry. His first newspaper job was as a darkroom technician for his hometown weekly newspaper in Cheraw. After college, Cranford worked under the leadership of the late Frank Mundy at the Index-Journal.
Most of Cranford's career was spent as advertising director with The New York Times Co. and The Post and Courier in Charleston. He also was self-employed as a consultant in the newspaper industry.
Cranford served on many boards and organizations, including the Newspaper Association of America, Southern Classified Managers Association, NC/SC Classified Managers, St. Tammany Home Builders Association, Executive Association of Greater Charleston, S.C. Press Association, Lowcountry Tennis Association and Trident United Way.

Newspaper veteran takes helm of The Sun News advertising, marketing departments in Myrtle Beach
A newspaper veteran with 40 years experience has taken the helm of The Sun News’ advertising and marketing departments.
Fred Benson, 59, the company’s new vice president of advertising and marketing, plans to grow revenue and work with area businesses to understand their needs and make them successful.
“My job is to make sure folks on the business side of the house generate revenue,” said Benson, who will oversee 36 advertising and marketing employees.
Benson has more than two decades leading advertising staffs at newspapers and most recently was group publisher at Gatehouse Media in South Tier Region New York, where he built new revenue sources and refined digital solution sales. Benson also worked as sales and marketing director and advertising director for Fayetteville Publishing in North Carolina, advertising director for Stars and Stripes in Washington, D.C., and several jobs -- including business development manager -- for The Miami Herald, which has the same parent company as The Sun News.
A New Jersey native, Benson grew up in the newspaper business, chipping in alongside his father, who had several jobs in the industry including newspaper publisher. A young Benson even helped deliver the daily product to its subscribers.
Benson aims to expand revenue here, especially digital revenue. About 18 percent of The Sun News’ advertising comes from digital; Benson wants that to grow to 30 percent by the end of 2013.
Benson also will oversee the start of a new program in May called Impress Local, which is geared to help small businesses increase their digital presence.
“The opportunity for the advertising team to help grow a customer’s business has never been greater,” Webster said.

The State's Phillips honored for coverage of domestic violence issues
The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault honored four individuals, including a newsroom staffer from The State, at its annual meeting held in Columbia last week.
Noelle Phillips, a Metro reporter with 20 years of experience, was recognized as the coalition’s Media Professional of the Year at the meeting’s lunchtime awards program.
Founded in 1981, the coalition works to represent the needs of survivors and their families by making communities aware of issues, policy and legislation related to domestic violence and sexual assault.
Nominations for Thursday’s awards came from representatives from the 22 advocacy programs that comprise the statewide coalition.
“We’ve always been really impressed with Noelle’s commitment in making sure that sexual assault and domestic violence are portrayed in a compassionate way,” said the group’s executive director, Pamela Jacobs. “Even though she always remains impartial and reports everything fairly, she also makes sure not to do anything that would hurt a victim. ... We are grateful to work with her.”
A Nashville, Tenn.-native, Phillips joined The State in 2004 as a business reporter. She since has covered a range of areas from enterprise reporting, to immigration issues and law enforcement.
Her recent work relating to domestic violence and sexual assault has included the investigation into a Fort Jackson drill sergeant’s sexual assault charges, the search for missing Richland County teen Gabrielle Swainson, and the trial of the Columbia mother, Zinah Jennings, now serving a 10-year prison sentence on a cruelty to children charge related to her missing toddler, Amir.

Survey: Community papers still tops for local news
Community newspaper readers, surveyed recently, still say they prefer their local papers for getting their news and information. The survey was conducted in small U.S. towns and cities where the circulation size of the local newspaper was 15,000 or less.
The survey was conducted for the National Newspaper Association by the research arm of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. This is the survey’s seventh year.
NNA President Merle Baranczyk, publisher of the Mountain Mail in Salida, CO, said the survey shows that without a doubt, people read their community newspapers.
“The numbers are self-evident. They indicate the level of connectedness people have with their community newspaper,” Baranczyk said. “From year to year, the studies have shown that people believe in their local papers, for the news they need and the advertising they rely on.”
Since 2005, NNA has done research on how people read and what they think about their local newspaper. Results have been consistent over the years, even as sample and community sizes have been adjusted slightly.
Of those who participated in the survey, 52 percent were daily newspaper readers, and 48 percent were non-daily readers. The circulation sizes of the newspapers ranged from 309 to 14,943.
The trend for readership of community newspapers is consistent with earlier surveys. The study showed that 71 percent of the respondents read a community newspaper at least once a week. Analysis showed that readership of local newspapers was significantly and positively associated with age, suggesting that older adults read local newspapers significantly more than younger adults. This finding is consistent with those of the NNA surveys in 2010 and 2011, and those reported by the Pew Research Center in 2012.
The pass-along rate in the 2012 survey was 2.18 people, compared to 2.33 in 2011.
On average, readers of the 2012 survey spent 39.92 minutes reading local newspapers, up slightly more than the 38.95 minutes in 2011 and 37.5 minutes in 2010.
Similar to previous research, 96 percent of readers paid for their newspaper.

Daytona crash video tests fair use, copyright for fans and journalists
NASCAR’s attempt to have a fan video of Saturday’s horrific Daytona crash removed from YouTube is a perfect example of the pressures that journalists face daily, says Mickey Osterreicher, a former news photographer who is now a lawyer and general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA).
Fans like Tyler Andersen, who recorded the crash video, are signing over their rights to do whatever they wish with the still images, videos and audio they record during sporting events. If they read their tickets, “fans can see that they [may] give up their copyrights,” Osterreicher said by phone Sunday. “The tickets say NASCAR owns anything the fans capture as pictures, video or sound.”
Similarly, journalists feel forced to sign over their rights to cover all sorts of events — from high school competitions to professional sports. The American Society of News Editors lists the most common restrictions, which, increasingly, are tilting away from free and open coverage and toward severely restricted access.
Saturday, NASCAR claimed it was a violation of its copyright for a fan to post video of the crash that sent 14 people to the hospital. YouTube took down the video. Later, NASCAR said the real reason it wanted the clip removed was out of concern and respect for the injured fans who might appear in the video. YouTube re-posted the video.
But if you capture “news” — even at an event like a car race or a football game — doesn’t that come under “fair use”?
On the one hand, journalists want wide latitude when it comes to the “fair use” of copyrighted material. On the other hand, Osterreicher says, photographers and news organizations do not want their work to be lifted and reposted online. And just as you want copyright law to protect your work, NASCAR has a strong interest in protecting coverage of a race for which it has sold revenue-generating licenses.


March 2: Cut-off date to reserve a room at the Westin Poinsett in Greenville at our group rate of $139 per night

March 10-16: Sunshine Week

March 22-24:
SCPA Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation, The Westin Poinsett Hotel, Greenville

March 28: Webinar: Fair Game For Republishing In The Digital Age

April 11: Webinar: Localizing International News

April 12: Collegiate Meeting and Awards Presentation, Claflin University, Orangeburg (More details coming soon!)

April 18: Ad Sales Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia

April 25: Adobe Illustrator Training, SCPA Offices, Columbia (More details coming soon!)