|Weekly Editors' Roundtable set Aug. 2 at SCPA
Registration is now open for our upcoming Weekly Editors' Roundtable, which will be held on Aug. 2, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at SCPA Offices in Columbia.
"This is a great opportunity for weekly editors to meet with peers to discuss what is working and not working in your market," said SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers. "Similar roundtables for publishers and daily editors have been very well-received."
Topics are up to the group, but will include: story ideas and topics that have worked for you, use of correspondents, dealing with reader reaction to paywalls, increasing coverage with multimedia tools, sports credentialing, social media, mo-jo tools and the ongoing saga of doing more with less.
The cost to attend is $25, which includes a catered lunch. You can register online by clicking here.
Participants are asked to send in ideas for discussion topics and specific questions. You can do this directly on the registration form, or by contacting Jen Madden.
S.C. photographer offers strong views on Sun-Times photo layoffs
Photographers by definition aren’t noted as word people. But a Myrtle Beach photographer wrote an eloquent response to what happened recently as a Chicago daily laid off its entire photo staff of 28 photographers.
We think it is worth sharing, so with her permission, here it is:
“It's easy to blame the evil bean-eyed souless money grubbers. They, of course, bear their fair share of the blame. But, everyone has always thought of themselves as a photographer if they own a camera, have a photo album, have seen a photograph or can even spell the word. Just one glance at the comments from the anonymous posters on any newspaper web site and it's clear the same feeling goes for writers. People, in a way I can't understand, have decided they are better at everything than everyone else.
“I would never walk up to a plumber and tell him he sucks and is incompetent and I could do his job better because I've owned a wrench for 20 years. But, we all get that from plumbers, surgeons, insurance salesmen, etc. I think there is no longer a distinction drawn between an intimate moment pulling the reader to tears and a picture. We've heard the comments in newsrooms, conferences and from the public. "You just take pictures, right?" Damn right. I JUST take pictures. I'm proud of it. I'm a f#@&ing picture taker. I've made people cry. I've made them laugh. I've made them dig into their diminishing bank accounts to give money to those I took a picture of. I've gone into dark places readers would never dare go and introduced them to people they never imagined acknowledging. Damn right. I just take pictures and my heart breaks for the 28 other picture takers in Chicago. Shoot on, my people.-- Janet Blackmon Morgan, 2010 S.C. Daily Photojournalist of the Year
Related photo gallery: We are the Chicago Sun-Times photography department
CNN commissioned former Sun-Times staffer Brian Powers to shoot a series of portraits of his colleagues holding something meaningful from their careers. At 26, he was one of the two youngest photographers on staff. He said he plans to go back to school.
Paper Pages: Why newspapers should still be printed
By 3rd grader Kate Johnston, special to The Daniel Island News
How do you get your news every day? Some people think that we do not need printed news since we can already get lots of information on the Internet. I think that people should still read printed newspapers. American newspapers have been around for over 300 years and I think newspapers will be here for a lot longer. Newspapers stayed around when television and radio news started, so they will survive Internet news, too. I am going to show you why I think printed newspaper will stick around.
Many good newspapers have a paywall on their websites, so online news is not always free. A paywall is a system for making online newspaper readers pay to read digital articles. If you already have a subscription to a print newspaper, you can usually read online news for free (no paywall). The Charleston Post and Courier started using a paywall on its website in the spring of 2012. The Post and Courier gained $1.6 million and lost only 5% of its print customers to digital-only subscription. The problem is that the Post and Courier gained only 1,437 new digital-only customers, which is only 1.5% of its overall readership. Since digital seems to be a big part of the future for news readers, the Post and Courier is going to have to figure out how to get more digital-only readers.
The wedding this newspaper covers
By Otis R. Taylor, Jr, The State
It can be argued that creativity at weddings can only be found in wedding-party introductions and first dances that resort to a flash mob’s surprise tactics. Even ting-ting-ting toasts have lost imagination.
Catherine Hunsinger has edited the theme of her wedding to avoid the obvious and what she considers to be bland decorative choices.
“When I got engaged, I was like, ‘I don’t want to buy real flowers for the wedding’,” she said. “So I was trying to think, I could use silks, but that’s kind of boring. And expensive.”
Hunsinger turned her wedding into a craft project. In fact, if you’re reading this story by turning the pages of an actual newspaper, these very pages might be repurposed for the wedding of Hunsinger, 25, to Nathaniel Krueger, 28.
Newspapers are the design centerpiece of Hunsinger’s wedding. Table centerpieces, flowers and even the chandeliers hanging at 701 Whaley for the Saturday evening reception were made using newspapers.
|General Manager – The Union Daily Times
Regional Editor – S.C. Newspaper Group, Civitas Media LLC
The Union Daily Times, The Newberry Observer, The (Winnsboro) Herald Independent, The Easley Progress, Powdersville Post and The Pickens Sentinel
What do you like best about your job?
Being able to concentrate my efforts on the editorial aspect of the newspapers that fall under my umbrella. The experience of my staffs runs from seasoned to experienced to green and that keeps me on my toes – and very busy.
What is your proudest moment from your career in the newspaper industry?
I have three that were big milestones for me: Being part of the staff that won a Freedom of Information Award from the Georgia Press Association, being tapped to be a publisher and being an inaugural President's Award winner for CNHI for driving revenue growth in 2011.
How do you view the future of the newspaper industry?
The newspaper industry is more fluid now than it ever has been and will become even more fluid as the business model changes, as we face new challenges, deal with old challenges and continue to try and hit a moving revenue target. But, that being said, the printed products will never die, despite the death knell sounds from some. Our printed products are the foundation for what you see on the Internet, for what you read on Facebook, for what we Tweet about. Newspapers themselves are stronger now than they ever have been. They have to be. But that foundation is allowing the industry as a whole to gain strength as well. For that reason, I see the newspaper industry itself growing stronger and more resilient than ever.
What's your favorite SCPA member service?
The accessibility of the SCPA staff. You call or email and they answer. It's nice having that resource.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career and why?
Bill Collins from The Index-Journal, Tommy Toles from the Rome News-Tribune in Georgia and Jeff Masters from Valdosta, Ga. Those three men have served as mentors for me and each has positively influenced my life in one way or another, the most important being that they gave me a chance when they didn't have to. They each influenced a different part of my career in a positive way and have shown me how to be a better person, a better journalist and a better manager.
What is something most people don't know about you?
That I was a math nerd in high school and my career plans involved numbers not letters. And that one day I will write the novel that's been running through my head for the better part of my life.
If you could change one thing about the newspaper industry, what would it be?
Outside of the industry: The public's perception about what we do and why we do it. We don't just write stories or just take photos or just make the pages look pretty. We live and breathe what we do and our passion burns every single day with every word we write, every click of a shutter, every design we envision. Inside of the industry: the perception of the editorial staff and their value. The newsroom is usually the first to take cuts to staff or services and are always expected to do more with less. That perception needs to change if we expect our talent pools to stay buoyant.
What do you like to do outside of work? (hobbies, talents, etc.)
My favorite pastime is being outdoors – fishing, camping, hiking, yardwork therapy – but I also love photography and exploring where I currently hang my hat.
Know someone interesting that you'd like to see featured here? Let us know!
Charleston airport board goes into executive session without giving specific reason
By Warren L. Wise, The Post and Courier
Charleston County Aviation Authority met behind closed doors last week for more than an hour for “personnel” reasons without giving a specific reason, a violation of the state’s FOIA.
The Post and Courier objected, asking for more specificity, but the board voted 5-4 after the objection to enter into the closed session to get legal advice on the objection and to discuss a contractual issue.
The board, in open session, was about to take up the issue of hiring a deputy director to oversee terminal redevelopment, when former Judge Larry Richter, an airport board member, made the motion to go behind closed doors to discuss “personnel” matters.
Public bodies must give the specific reason for meeting in private. “Personnel” is not one of those reasons.
They may meet behind closed doors to discuss “employment, appointment, compensation, promotion, demotion, discipline, or release of an employee, student or a person regulated by a public body or the appointment of a person to a public body,” according to state law.
They cannot just say “personnel,” and they must give the specific reason for the closed-door session.
Opinion: Openness would help economic development
By The Island Packet
This week, we expect to learn what we're getting for our $850,000 when state and county officials tell us about "Project Robot," a company planning to locate in the Beaufort Commerce Park.
We should learn the terms of the state and local incentives to get the company to come here and what we can expect in jobs as a result. We can begin to weigh whether what we put into the deal is worth it.
Unfortunately, the deal will be done before the public can assess it. Economic development as practiced here and in most other parts of the country can be summed up in two words: "Trust us."
Competitive disadvantage is the oft-cited reason for keeping these deals close to the vest until they're completed. That goes for the public entities offering incentives and the companies seeking them.
But is all this secrecy really necessary? Would economic development be turned on its head if we knew who wants extra help from the government, why they want it, how much help they want and what we're to get in return?
State and local officials point to the state's Freedom of Information Act, which exempts these negotiations from disclosure until the deal is made public or the company agrees to it, whichever comes later. But the law doesn't require secrecy; it only says officials "may" keep the negotiations secret.
School board restricts public comment
By Stefan Rogenmoser, The Berkley Independent
The Berkeley County School Board made a change to restrict certain public comments at its last meeting, and some experts are calling this change unconstitutional.
Taking effect at the June 11 meeting, school board chairperson Kent Murray changed the citizen public comment card to restrict comments on the district's involvement with the $198 million school improvement referendum the public voted for in November.
The change surprised SCPA Attorney Jay Bender.
“It would be astonishing to me that the chairperson would have the authority to change the policy unilaterally,” Bender told The Independent.
Bender is an expert on the state's FOIA. “If all the members of the board were not polled to change it, that's a violation of FOIA,” he said.
The card stated that comments are restricted because the investigation by state agencies is ongoing and confidential, and because matters connected to the investigation may come before the board for action.
The S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is investigating the “Yes 4 Schools” campaign after a request from the South Carolina Attorney General's Office.
The danger of journalism that moves too quickly beyond fact
By Tom Rosenstiel, Poynter
The best thinking about journalism’s future benefits from its being in touch with technology’s potential. But it can get in its own way when it simplifies and repudiates the intelligence of journalism’s past.
That is happening, to a degree, in a discussion gaining momentum lately that journalism should now largely move beyond fact gathering and toward synthesis and interpretation.
The NSA story is just the latest case that shows the importance, and the elusiveness, of simply knowing what has really happened.
In a Nieman Journalism Lab post, Jonathan Stray made the case recently for moving beyond facts, or what might be called The Displacement Theory of Journalism. “The Internet has solved the basic distribution of event-based facts in a variety of ways; no one needs a news organization to know what the White House is saying when all press briefings are posted on YouTube. What we do need is someone to tell us what it means.”
In their manifesto on Post Industrial Journalism, C.W. Anderson, Emily Bell and Clay Shirky argued something similar, though more inclusively. “The journalist has not been replaced but displaced, moved higher up the editorial chain from the production of initial observations to a role that emphasizes verification and interpretation, bringing sense to the streams of text, audio, photos and video produced by the public.”
Newspaper execs embrace online news delivery
10 Secrets of Successful Meters, Pay Walls and Reader Revenue Strategies
By Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON — Executives at some of the nation's largest newspaper companies say they are more hopeful about their future after seeing readership grow for digital subscriptions.
Speaking at the American Society of News Editors' annual convention, the newspaper executives said earlier this week that increased use of their digital products is resulting in higher revenue.
Patrick J. Talamantes, president and CEO at The McClatchy Co., said that his company was getting an additional $25 million in revenue this year from its new subscription models that charge for online content.
Mark Thompson, president and CEO of The New York Times Co., also reported success from its digital subscriptions. Readers typically must pay to read stories on The New York Times' website after viewing 10 stories for free each month.
Newspaper companies have struggled in recent years with declining circulation for their printed editions. They are still reaching large audiences through their websites and mobile apps, although readers have grown accustomed to receiving that content for free.
By Dena Levitz, American Press Institute
Moving a media organization from free to paid content requires more than a meter. It also demands new skills, a deeper understanding of the audience, and improved content, both to maximize revenue and ensure consumers continue to see value worth paying for.
Listening to innovators from several companies—from the New York Times to Gannett, Atlantic Media recently, the American Press Institute identified 10 core ideas.
The Times launched a successful digital subscription model that's now the biggest area of revenue growth for the organization. At Gannett leaders instituted a content revolution across its newspaper properties to refocus coverage areas in anticipation of charging for digital access. And Atlantic Media has utilized the strength of its brand to earn revenue using nontraditional streams like selling e-books and hosting high-profile events.
Those experiences were the substance of the most recent gathering of the American Press Institute's Transformation Tour. The Transformation Tour is a series of 14 in-depth training sessions presented around the country and being developed into e-learning courses with The Poynter Institute.
The ideas are distilled from presentations by Tim Griggs, executive director of cross-platform monetization at The Times; Maribel Perez Wadsworth, Gannett's vice president of audience development and engagement; and Kimberly Lau, The Atlantic Digital's vice president and general manager.
AOL's Patch limps toward profitability
By Edmund Lee, Bloomberg Businessweek
AOL Inc.'s Patch, with more than 900 sites supplying news to communities or neighborhoods, has become a test case for both the online-news industry and AOL's ability to transform itself from a dated dial-up service to an ad-driven Web publisher.
CEO Tim Armstrong has spent more than $600 million on media content in recent years, half of that on the money-losing Patch venture. The rest was for the Huffington Post, acquired in 2011 for $315 million, and other sites such as the technology blog TechCrunch.
Following investor complaints that Patch has been holding back AOL's turnaround, Patch now faces a do-or-die year in 2013, said Benjamin Schachter, a media analyst with Macquarie Securities USA Inc. in New York. If the company can't make Patch profitable, it may close down the division, he said. …
Armstrong vowed that Patch will break even by the fourth quarter of this year – a feat that would probably require both a big sales gain and a sharp reduction in expenses. Still, he made clear that won't be easy. …
Even so, Patch more than doubled its revenue last year from the $16 million in made in 2011. At that growth rate, the unit would have sales of about $70 million this year, or $78,000 per Patch. The average cost to operate each site is $140,000 to $180,000, Armstrong told investors in June, leaving a wide chasm between revenue and expenses.
6 mistakes newspapers make with data journalism
By Kylie Davis, inma.org
It's high time newspapers harness the data at their disposal to generate good, long-form stories that answer the questions readers are wrestling with.
Too much of what is claimed to be “data journalism” in today’s media is really just ego-driven “data porn” — pretty pictures created around numbers with no real reader value, according to an international “data guru” with strong journalism credentials.
Justin Arenstein, the chief strategist and Knight International Fellow at the International Center for Journalists in South Africa, told the World Editors Forum in Bangkok that news companies needed to stop trying to “get into” data journalism.
Instead, they should ask themselves how good storytelling can be aided by data.
“New tools don’t replace traditional journalism,” Arenstein told a captivated audience, as he took them through a three-hour data workshop that felt like three minutes.
Data journalism is “no longer just entertainment and no longer just voyeurism but creating decision-making tools based on news reporting.”
When crime is sensational, news coverage shouldn’t be
Ariel Castro has immediately become a household name after being arrested in connection with the three women held captive for years in his Cleveland home. His trial is probably months away, but it’s a safe bet that if you poll Americans today, the resounding public verdict is “guilty as charged.”
The Cleveland story became national news instantaneously. The breaking news reports and the public reaction underscore the delicate path editors and reporters must walk in their everyday crime coverage. Most community newsrooms will likely not encounter circumstances as sensational as those in this kidnapping. But the principles of balance are just as important whether covering a homicide or a home burglary.
Newspapers face a special difficulty and sensitivity in reporting crime, especially in high-profile cases. The point commands attention in all newsrooms, especially those that are aggressive in coverage of cops and court. Attention to thorough and objective reports must begin with the initial arrest and continue through a court judgment.
Flush left: It’s a choice
Most newspapers set their body text justified. It runs from the left edge of the column to the right edge and the spacing between words is evenly distributed.
Some choose to set body text flush left for columns, features and the like, pushing the extra word spacing the the right side of the type.
I’ve recently received some inquiries about the difference between the two and if one is better than the other.
Although there are editors (and typographers) who will go to their graves screaming that one is superior to the other, there is no incontrovertible proof that either is easier to read. There also is no incontrovertible proof that one is longer than the other over the length of a full story.
Nevertheless, justified text is clearly the choice at most newspapers.
Why? For many newspapers, it’s because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Or the editor learned long ago during a J-school class that “justified should always be used for hard news, though you may use flush left for features and columns and the like.” It’s my belief that the professor who laid down that rule was told many years before that “justified should always be used for hard news, though you may use flush left for features and columns and the like.”
July 4: Office closed. Happy 4th of July!
July 18: Basic and Advanced PhotoShop Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
August 2: Weekly Editors Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
August 15: Basic and Advanced Adobe Illustrator Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia (More details coming soon!)
September 12: Ad Design Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
September 13: Daily Publishers Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
Sept. 19: Advanced InDesign and PDF Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia