|Reporters Committee offers analysis of S.C. Supreme Court ruling
By Amy Zhang, RCFP
The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled last week that the state's public records law does not violate the First Amendment speech and association rights of nonprofits that are subject to the law's disclosure requirements because of their financial ties to local governments.
Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Justice Kaye G. Hearn rejected the South Carolina Association of School Administrators' (SCASA) argument that requiring nonprofits to comply with the Freedom of Information Act violated their rights under the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court ruled that although the state's open records law did burden SCASA's rights because the group could no longer speak and associate privately, the statute did not ultimately violate the First Amendment because there is a strong interest in ensuring government transparency.
The case centered on a 2009 FOIA request from Charleston talk-radio host Rocky Disabato to SCASA. Asking for phone records and other documents, according to reports, his request said the information might expose "collusive efforts" among state agencies to press for stimulus money from Gov. Mark Sanford during the 2009 recession bailout. SCASA moved to dismiss the case because it believed FOIA improperly overreached by requiring nonprofit corporations engaged in political advocacy to disclose their records.
Beaufort school district fires employee; won't say who
Excerpted from The Island Packet, By Tom Barton
The Beaufort County Board of Education refused to disclose the name of an employee it terminated Tuesday, and its chairman retreated from statements made earlier in the day that it might have been former middle school principal Phillip Shaw.
District officials and board members said Tuesday state law bars them for releasing the fired employee's name, but failed to cite a specific provision of the law or a court decision to support their claim.
"It sounds like nonsense to me," SCPA Attorney Jay Bender said Tuesday evening. "If there is a motion to suspend or dismiss a teacher or principal, I don't think there's any way to avoid naming who that person is. There would be no record. The minutes (of the meeting) would not reflect the activity undertaken because there's no name attached to it. ...
"The motion before the board should have identified the employee. I think that name had to be made public because an action was taken," he said.
Morning News publisher to take same post in New Jersey
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is adding a New Jersey newspaper, The Press of Atlantic City, to its collection of more than two dozen small and medium-sized newspapers. BH Media has hired Mark Blum, now publisher of the Morning News in Florence, to take over that role at The Press when the sale closes.
Blum has been with the Morning News since December 2010. Before that, Blum had been publisher of The Sentinel in Carlisle, Pa., since June 2004. While there, he grew circulation and led the newspaper to a Lee Enterprises' Innovation Award. Blum was controller of The Press from 1989 to 1993.
"Although I'm excited about my new position as publisher in Atlantic City, it comes with a sincere reluctance to leave all of the great people I've come to know and work with in Florence. My wife and I have truly enjoyed our time in Florence and will always have a special place in our hearts for it," Blum said.
Buffett has said he thinks smaller papers like the ones Berkshire is buying will do well because they remain the primary source of information about their communities.
Taylor joins Free Times
Otis Taylor Jr. has joined the Free Times as social media coordinator. He'll also be contributing articles, profiles and helping the Columbia weekly build on its online presence.
Taylor was most recently the lead arts and entertainment writer for The State. He
also wrote in-depth profiles, trend stories and enterprise pieces and was a frequent contributor to the Metro, Sports and Business sections.
NNA welcomes next step in postal reform
The NNA recently greeted a comprehensive bill to reform the US Postal Service as a welcome step toward new legislation.
Merle Baranczyk, NNA president and publisher of the Salida (CO) Mountain-Mail, said NNA hoped Congress would complete work on a bill this year to avoid disruption in the mail and the threat of substantial postage rates increases.
“We appreciate the leadership of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa in pulling together a legislative package that reaches out to all postal stakeholders. It is a daunting job to reform an organization with 490,000 employees and underpinning more than $1 trillion in private sector economic activity. More importantly to community newspapers, it provides the network we count on to deliver the news,” Baranczyk said.
The bill would prompt numerous changes in the way USPS operates, including:
Gradually end “to the door” mail delivery and replace it with cluster or curbside boxes; End Saturday delivery of newspapers, First-Class mail and advertising but continue package delivery and would require opening rural mailboxes for publishers’ use on Saturdays; Prohibit no-layoff clauses in new workforce agreements and reform workers compensation rules; Ban Negotiated Service Agreements that would cause “unreasonable disruption of the marketplace; and Mandate 2% annual increases above inflation for mail currently not covering at least 90 percent of costs, such as Periodicals, but only after adjustments have been made for costs created solely by excess postal capacity.
Civitas Media to Close Suburban Newspapers in N.C. and Ohio
Civitas Media, a multi-platform information provider to local communities, announced that it is closing eight suburban weekly newspapers in the Dayton, Ohio, and Raleigh, N.C., areas. The closings are effective Aug. 9.
Centrally located in Davidson, N.C., Civitas Media encompasses more than 100 publications.
In South Carolina, Civitas owns The Union Daily Times, The Cheraw Chronicle & The Chesterfield Advertiser, The Newberry Observer, The Easley Progress, The Herald-Independent in Winnsboro, the Powdersville Post and The Pickens Sentinel.
Athlon acquires rights to publish American Profile, Relish, Spry Magazines
Athlon Sports Communications, Inc. and Publishing Group of America have announced a partnership agreement for Athlon to acquire the rights to publish PGOA print properties, American Profile, Relish, and Spry magazines. PGOA Media will retain the digital properties of the three brands—amercianprofile.com, relish.com and spryliving.com—as well as its other web properties, moneyliving.com, dailyparent.com, PGOA Studios, the Relish Daily Dish mobile app and the Relish tablet edition.
PGOA Media and Athlon will work together to provide integrated marketing solutions across platforms for advertising and newspaper partners as well as consumers. As the largest publisher of niche publications to men, Athlon complements American Profile’s CD county reach as well as the audiences for Relish and Spry, the largest food and health/wellness advertising supported newspaper magazines in the nation.
10 tips for understanding your audiences and targeting new ones
By Dena Levitz, API.org
News companies, especially newspapers, were historically organized to pursue mass audiences. The goal was to build up the biggest possible audience by covering the widest array of general interest topics.
That’s no more.
In a consumer-driven media age, in which charging for digital content is becoming a large part of the business model, publishers have to focus more on individual users’ needs and desires.
The new goal, then, for news companies is to inspire active engagement with focused groups of loyal users. Specialization is the only way to do this.
Strategies to determine your target audiences and develop plans to to serve them desirable content were key areas of discussion at the most recent American Press Institute workshop, held at The Arizona Republic. The event, “Growing Your Audiences, Growing Your Business” was the final stop on the Transformation Tour, a series of training sessions put on by API in concert with the Poynter Institute.
AAM Unveils Cost-Saving Rule Modifications
The board of directors for the Alliance for Audited Media, formerly the Audit Bureau of Circulations, on Tuesday made a number of rule and reporting changes to help publishers reduce audit and record-keeping costs, improve advertisers' access to relevant data and reinforce AAM's leadership as a cross-channel, data-centric media auditing organization. The board also endorsed several strategic recommendations to enhance AAM's digital auditing services and build a foundation for the future.
Among the changes, the board announced plans to create a new audit program for U.S. niche magazine publishers. The new optional service is designed for magazines with circulations of 100,000 or less to reduce cost and audit preparation time, the organization said. Participating magazines will report top-line circulation averages and streamlined issue-by-issue data beginning in the first half of 2014.
|‘Newspaperman’ adapts over 55
years of change; William P. Rickenbaker dies at 75
More than half-century with T&D was extraordinary behind-the-scenes career
Few people can say they worked in the same field for more than a half-century. Even fewer can say they worked for the same enterprise for a career. William Preston Rickenbaker Sr., 75, of Orangeburg, known to many as “Rick” and to many others as “Billy,” did both.
He began work at The Times and Democrat in 1958, continuing into 2013 – an extraordinary 55 years.
Rickenbaker, who died this past Friday, was not a household name among newspaper readers as he did not have bylines. But his story is as much the story of change and adaptation at newspapers, and this newspaper in particular, as that of any individual. During his career, Rickenbaker was involved with production of The T&D, processing and distribution of print editions, and even delivery of the newspaper.
Rickenbaker began in production at The T&D in the days of “hot type,” a 19th-century technology that involved injecting molten metal to create the letters and words that ultimately would be used to press ink to paper. It was laborious work about which Rickenbaker could tell fascinating stories of the trials and tribulations.
People seem to have a lot of questions
concerning layout software
these days. I suppose it's only natural
with all the changes at Adobe
and Quark. Let's look in my in-box and see
what's on people's minds this month:
From Beverly in Nebraska
Thanks for your input on the Adobe Creative
Cloud issue. It causes me to wonder
if there is any open source page layout
software out there?
That's a good question, Beverly.
For those not familiar with the term, open
source software is free. You may have used
OpenOffice or some other free application
that fits under the open
source heading. There's one
often-referred to application
called Scribus that
is used for page design.
Unfortunately, as good as
it is, it's not nearly good
enough for professional
designers. With the type
of pressure newspapers
work under, dealing with
quirks in applications and
tools that just "don't work
right" aren't luxuries we can
|Age-old question: Fit in or stand out?
Advertisers – like the rest of us – often struggle with “fit in or stand out” decisions. While we all want to share an identity with our chosen group or groups, at the same time, we want to be recognized for our uniqueness.
That’s one reason why a real estate advertiser will claim a desire to stand out from the crowd and then run an ad that looks like all the other real estate ads in the paper. The same goes for department stores, car dealers and local insurance agencies.
When things get stale and repetitive, a bold advertiser might venture off the beaten path and develop something that is truly different. If it is effective, others may follow. And later – perhaps years later – that different approach could become the new standard that everyone follows. Then another advertiser will take a new approach. And so it goes. New becomes old. And old leads to new.
July 26: PALMY Ad Contest corrections due
Aug. 2: Weekly Editors Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
Aug. 5: PALMY Ad Contest winning PDFs due
Aug.15: Essentials of Adobe Illustrator Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
Aug. 16: Webinar: How To Reinvent Your News Media Brand
Aug. 22: Digital and Database Marketing, Georgia Press Association, Atlanta, GA
Aug. 28: Webinar: The Latest Apps For News Reporting
Sept. 12: Ad Design Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
Sept.13: Daily Publishers Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
Sept. 19: Advanced InDesign and PDF Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia