Mark Sanford and the billboard
Johnny Carson won a suit against a California portable toilet firm for using the name "Here's Johnny."
Woody Allen won a suit against a clothing company that featured a billboard with a drawing of a person strongly resembling Woody.
Bette Midler won a suit against an auto manufacturer that used one of her backup singers to imitate Bette in a radio jingle.
The suits all had one thing in common: they were characterized as invasions of the privacy of the famous person. The claim is generally known as "misappropriation of personality or likeness for a commercial purpose."
As most of you now know, an online dating site for those wishing to have an extramarital fling has posted a double billboard along I-26 featuring a photo of former governor, current candidate for Congress and admitted adulterer Mark Sanford suggesting that next time he wants to go on a "hike" he use AshleyMadison.com "to find his running mate."
Does Sanford have a claim?
In theory, yes. That is assuming Sanford did not consent to the use of his image because consent would be a defense to the claim.
|Larry Flynt 'endorsement' ad goes unpublished in Lowcounty
According to the Charleston City Paper, infamous smut mag publisher Larry Flynt reportedly shopped around a print ad to S.C. newspapers this week, including the Charleston City Paper, but as of Wednesday afternoon, the ad has yet to appear on newsstands.
Flynt released a statement to media outlets yesterday, saying, among other things, that the papers who refused his ad were acting as censors.
I was surprised and dismayed that a distinguished newspaper like The Post and Courier decided to act as a censor and refused to publish my paid advertisement endorsing Mark Sanford for Congress. I was even more surprised when the publisher of the Charleston City Paper also refused my family friendly advertisement endorsing Mark Sanford. These newspapers' shameful decisions to act as censors instead of voices of democracy damage their reputations as standard bearers of the First Amendment and freedom of speech. They have both disgraced themselves. I have endorsed Mark Sanford because he is America's great s ex pioneer for exposing the s exual hypocrisy of traditional values. The Post and Courier and Charleston City Paper now stand as the leading examples of hypocrisy in America regarding the First Amendment.
City Paper Publisher Noel Mermer stands behind his right to refuse any ad and rejects the idea of it being censorship. "I was approached about running this ad by LFP, Inc. and rejected it on the grounds that I thought it was an inappropriate mockery of our local election," says Mermer. "I knew it would garner a lot of press, but it wasn't the kind I wanted us to be associated with."
Advertising director Blair Barna and editor Stephanie Barna believe the City Paper should've taken the ad. "I was so excited when I heard about the ad buy that I was shocked we ended up in a weekend-long argument about whether or not to take the ad," says Stephanie. "Larry Flynt is a champion of the First Amendment and we should've run his ad, regardless of whether or not it made a mockery of the election."
“This is not a First Amendment issue,” said SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers. “This is a decision by a publisher not to accept an ad that does not meet his or her publication standards.”
Rogers said the First Amendment protects publishers and speakers from government limitation of their rights, which is not the case with the Flynt ad.
He said newspaper publishers regularly reject ads for reasons that include libel, legality, obscenity, community standards and false information, but they have complete latitude to decide what ads they will publish to their readers. “The right of a publisher to reject an advertisement extends to Mr. Flynt himself.”
Bender, McLean interviews added to newspaper history site
Two new interviews have been posted to SCPA's Oral History website. They are with Tom McLean, retired executive editor of The State, and Jay Bender, media attorney and the Reid H. Montgomery Freedom of Information Chair at the University of South Carolina.
McLean talks about his years at The State newspaper, Hurricane Hugo, and the transformation of the industry, including group ownership and the impact of Vietnam. He also talks about the Jim Fitts case, which led to criminal libel being declared unconstitutional in our state. And he remembers Ben Morris, long-time publisher of the paper.
Bender discusses major legal issues during his career, including the Susan Smith trial, the Lost Trust cases and many other landmark legal cases in our state.
The Oral History project is co-sponsored by the USC J-School and the Humanities CouncilSC.
Others included in the project include: Jim Davenport of AP, Hubert Osteen of The Item in Sumter, Kent Krell from AP and The State, Dean Livingston of The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg, Bunny Richardson formerly of The State/Record, Jack Bass of Charleston, Bill Kinney from Bennettsville, Barbara Williams of The Post and Courier, Lou Sossamon of Gaffney, Bill Collins of Summerville and Harry Logan of Florence.
It pays to be in the SCNN advertising networks
More than $109,000 of second quarter payouts from the S.C. Newspaper Network advertising networks was mailed to member newspapers last week. Papers in the QuarterPage+ Network received $37,038. For the Small Space Display Network (2x2/2x4/2x6), members were mailed $60,830 and Online Network members were paid out $11,817. Statewide Classified Network checks are mailed annually, so they were not part of this quarter's payout checks. "The income from the SCNN networks is an important benefit of SCPA membership and are a simple way for member papers to increase their bottom lines," said Randall Savely, Director of Operations.
Savely attributed the continued growth of the QuarterPage+ Network and strong Small Space Display sales to increased payouts this quarter.
If your newspaper is an SCPA member and does not participate in the SCNN networks, contact Randall Savely to learn how these networks can provide added revenue to your newspaper.
Online News Editor, The Times and Democrat
What do you like best about your job?
I think the best part of my job is not knowing what's going to happen next. Everyday isn't a quiet day and the challenge of finding ways to enhance the news experience for readers online motivates me.
What is your proudest moment from your career in the newspaper industry?
I'd say winning my first SCPA award for best website and best print and online integration project.
How do you view the future of the newspaper industry?
I think the newspaper industry's future is bright. Companies will always have those who have to have the print product and websites will only make newspapers stronger with things that can't be provided in print.
What are some area attractions/restaurants in your community visitors shouldn't miss?
If you're a fan of barbecue, you've got to try Dukes BBQ on Whitman Street. You'd be doing yourself a disservice not going there if you came to Orangeburg.
What is something most people don't know about you?
I'm a big music enthusiast. I love finding undiscovered artists and their work on the Web and just hearing new music.
Any big plans coming up?
I'm getting married in September. So, I'm really excited about starting that new chapter of my life.
Know someone interesting that you's like to see featured here? Let us know!
Judge hears motions in James Brown FOI case
A hearing was held Friday in Newberry on an FOI suit brought by reporter Sue Summer seeking information about the settlement of the estate of singer James Brown.
Judge Eugene C. Griffith, Jr. ruled that the case would be heard in his court and not transferred to Richland County.
“Government is supposed to have open books and she is well within her rights to have it heard in Newberry County,” Judge Griffith ruled about Summer’s suit.
He heard arguments concerning Summer’s request for a copy of the fee agreement in a case where the Attorney General had initiated a suit to remove trustees of a trust created by James Brown. The S.C. Supreme Court has recently ruled that the Attorney General lacked authority to challenge the terms of Brown’s trust.
Assistant Attorney General Emory Smith argued that Summer’s FOI suit should be heard in Richland County because that is where the records sought would be if they existed. Smith noted that another suit involving the Brown estate was currently pending in Richland County.
Summer’s attorney, Tom Pope, argued that it was “not the intent of the Legislature that every FOI case be heard in Columbia…it should be resolved in this county.”
Smith told the court that Attorney General’s office had given Summer everything subject to her request except for the fee agreement, which the Attorney General’s office claims it does not have a copy of, and a diary entry, which Smith said could not be released because of a court order in a third case involving the Brown estate.
Attorney Jay Bender, arguing for Summer, suggested the court hold an “in camera” review of the material so it could rule on its release.
Judge Griffith took the arguments under advisement, along with a motion to intervene from an attorney for one of the trustees acting on behalf of the Attorney General. Bender objected to the intervention in the FOI case, arguing that the release of documents under the FOIA is up to the public body and not an outside party.
FOIA reforms hung up again over legislative exemption
By Curt Olsen, The Nerve, S.C. Policy Council
Patrick Donlon of Irmo didn’t expect a controversy over a $50,000 state grant that the town sought in 2012 for a new park.
After the 74-year-old retiree was informed that the town didn’t have a copy of the grant application, he remained persistent and eventually got it from the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
“If the response (by the town of Irmo) can be a refusal to produce a document when one exists, then the law serves no purpose,” Donlon wrote last week in a letter to The Nerve.
Since last year, citizens and some lawmakers have pushed to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in South Carolina, ranked by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigation news organization in Washington, D.C., and several other groups as the worst state in the nation in terms of public access to information.
But the latest bill (H. 3163) to put more teeth in the FOIA likely won’t be passed this year – once again because of a controversial provision that would eliminate an exemption protecting legislators from releasing their correspondence and “working papers” to the public.
Still, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, remains optimistic.
“This is alive and well,” Taylor told The Nerve last week. “You have to take it incrementally. It’s not dead.”
Government business on private email must be public, Reporters Committee argues
Court says states can restrict out-of-state access to public records
Government officials should not be allowed to conceal their public activities by utilizing private email and texting accounts, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press argued in a letter brief joined by national and state media organizations and filed in the Third Court of Appeals of Texas.
The Reporters Committee brief argues that the county commissioner seeking to keep such communications from the public in Adkisson v. Abbott should be compelled to release emails discussing government business sent from his private account. To do otherwise would violate the very foundations of the Texas Public Information Act (PIA) and give officials cover to conceal misdeeds and illegal behavior from public scrutiny, the brief added, citing numerous examples of both. Even at its most benign, allowing public officials to hide such communications creates significant gaps in the historical record and public understanding of government activity.
States may have little reason to restrict public records access to their own residents, but the practice is not unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.
The unanimous decision, allowing Virginia to favor its residents under its Freedom of Information Act, goes against media organizations and professional data miners that had sided with the law's out-of-state challengers.
During oral arguments in February, several justices had questioned whether the state's law served any purpose, since non-residents can hire residents to get information. In his ruling, Justice Samuel Alito noted much of the data is available on the Internet.
Still, Alito said, the state law "did not abridge any constitutionally protected privilege or immunity" because access to public records is not a "fundamental" privilege, such as employment.
While the Constitution's privileges and immunities clause "forbids a state from intentionally giving its own citizens a competitive advantage in business or employment, the clause does not require that a state tailor its every action to avoid any incidental effect on out-of-state tradesmen," Alito said.
News consumption on mobile devices surpasses desktop computers, newspapers
A 2013 mobile news consumption survey indicated the most dramatic increase of mobile media users were over the age of 45.
Researchers were most surprised by the rapid adoption of mobile media devices and their use for news in the past 12 months by people age 45 and older, especially among those who have been the most loyal subscribers to printed newspapers, said Roger Fidler, program director for digital publishing at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.
This was just one of many findings in the second annual mobile news consumption survey conducted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute in collaboration with members of the Digital Publishing Alliance. The DPA is a member-supported initiative of the RJI at the Missouri School of Journalism. Some of the findings:
55% of survey respondents indicated they were mobile news consumers in 2013 -- up from 42% 2012.
About 52% of newspaper subscribers also used a mobile device to read news, while 44% also used a desktop computer.
About 12% of the mobile news consumers said they canceled their print subscriptions in the past 12 months.
Twitter warns journalists: "We believe that these attacks will continue"
Lee Enterprises refinances with Berkshire Hathaway
In a memo sent to news organizations, Twitter warns that it expects high profile account hijackings — like the one that took down the AP's Twitter account last week — to continue. "Please help us keep your accounts secure," the memo pleads. It returns to a similar note: "Help us protect you."
Some of the memo's advice is advice any service would give its users: change your passwords, keep your email accounts secure, look out for suspicious activity — the company warns that hackers are using advanced "spear phishing" tactics.
But other sections reflect a scramble for a solution: "Designate one computer to use for Twitter," the company recommends. "Don't use this computer to read email or surf the web, to reduce the chances of malware infection." Yes: Twitter is telling journalists to stay off the internet on the computers they use for Twitter. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, in other words.
Twitter is currently working on a two-step authentication system to prevent future hacks, but hasn't released it to the public yet. (One possible reason for the slow process: figuring out a two-step system for accounts that are often shared between many people is more complicated than developing one for, say, Gmail.) Until the tool is out, though, Twitter seems to be asking prominent users to go into a sort of wartime mode. Here's the full memo.
Lee Enterprises, parent company of The Journal Times, has reached an agreement with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. to refinance $94 million of long-term debt known as the Pulitzer Notes.
The refinancing reduces the interest to a fixed rate of 9 percent and extends the maturity from December 2015 to April 2017. The current interest rate of 11.3 percent had been scheduled to increase to 12.05 percent in January 2014 and 12.8 percent in January 2015. Pulitzer Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Lee, will be a co-borrower in the new facility with its subsidiary St. Louis Post-Dispatch LLC. Pulitzer Inc. was previously a guarantor of the Pulitzer Notes.
Warren E. Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, said: “Lee fits our definition of locally focused newspapers serving indispensable information in markets with a deep sense of community. We view a larger stake in Lee as a good investment for Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.”
|Service Standards changes last July cause additional delays for non-local mail copies
The U.S. Postal Service last month announced that it would move up 55 plant consolidations scheduled for 2014 into 2013, creating many more changes in service standards that have bedeviled newspapers. That will bring the total number of plant consolidations to 166 by year-end, a recipe for disaster with so much change in one year.
Closings further complicate life for newspaper publishers, who find that each plant closure subjects a larger share of subscribers within their region or state to additional delays under so-called “Modern Service Standards” placed into effect July 2012.
The consolidations, resulting in partial or full closure of some processing plants serving even larger SCFs (Sectional Center Facilities) than ever before, are drastic actions in response to worsening finances of USPS.
|Obesity is a topic for local papers
A big, underlying issue in many rural communities is health.
Many have chronic health issues that don't get much public attention because they generally affect individuals, not groups-and are mostly invisible, the major exception being obesity.
Many community newspapers appear reluctant to point out these problems, because they are simply not inclined to make a special effort to do stories that reflect poorly on their communities.
Others do realize that community health is a community issue, and that a community with health problems is a community that is less likely to attract and retain jobs. Employers don't want a workforce that will burden them with health-care costs. Getting a sense of your community's health status is not difficult. State and federal governments are constantly gathering county-level health data, and local health departments can provide local examples to illustrate the problems.
May 9: Webinar: Overcome Objections and Close More Sales!
May 10: Webinar: What You Could Be Missing in Photoshop
May 30: Weekly Circulation Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
May 31: PALMY Ad Contest deadline
- rules for newspaper members
- rules for associate members
June 6: Daily Editors Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
June 13: Ad Basics Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
June 14: Daily Publishers Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
June 20: Basic and Advanced InDesign Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
July 18: Basic and Advanced PhotoShop Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
August 2: Ad Directors Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
August 8: Weekly Editors Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
August 15: Basic and Advanced Adobe Illustrator Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
September 12: Ad Design Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
Sept. 19: Advanced InDesign and PDF Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia