News Contest winners announced
Deadline to submit corrections is Feb . 10
Winners of the 2011 SCPA News Contest were posted yesterday to SCPA's website. Congratulations to all of the winners!

“The quality and quantity of entries this year were excellent... winners should be very proud,” said Bill Rogers, SCPA Executive Director. 

He noted that the number of entries was up from last year and our contest is one of the best in the South.

“Placing in our contest is a significant honor,” he said.

Please note that these are posted for proofing purposes only and are not for release until March 17.

Please check the spelling of your newspaper's winners carefully. The deadline to submit corrections for plaques and presentations is Feb. 10. Email Jen and she will make the corrections in our database and online.

SCPA also needs PDFs of all winning writing and design entries to display at the Annual Meeting! The deadline to submit your PDFs is Feb. 17. Sorry, no exceptions to this deadline can be made. We already have your photo and online winners, so there's no need to re-submit those.

It is very important that you send your PDFs in in as they will be used at the Annual Meeting in the tabloid, presentations and in the exhibit of display boards. 

We've made it easier than ever to submit your PDFS this year! Later this week, Jen will email all editor's a link to an online folder where your PDFs can be dropped. All you need to do is gather your newspapers' PDFs and place them in a folder on your desktop. Then click on the link we send you, and follow the instructions on how to upload your photos.

If you cannot access the online file folder, please do not email your files. Instead, save your PDFs to a disk or flash drive and mail it to us.

Details about the meeting, registration and sponsorship information will be available later today by clicking the link above. We have a great meeting planned and we can't wait to honor your newspaper's winners next month!

SCNN pays out $217,000 to member newspapers
More than $217,000 of combined revenue from the SCNN networks was mailed to member newspapers during the final week of January.
These totals include the annual Statewide Classified Network payout of $161,240; the quarterly 2x2 Advertising Network payout of $43,900; and $11,980 for regional Online Network and QuarterPage+ Network placements.
The Statewide Classified Network payout was down 12% from last year.
"We thank the newspapers for their participation in the networks. The income from the SCNN ad networks is vital to the continuing operations of SCPA," said Randall Savely, Director of Operations. "The growth of our networks in recent years to include quarter page and online ads help us continue to attract new advertisers and maintain relevance in today's changing media landscape."
If your newspaper is an SCPA member and does not participate in the SCNN networks, contact Jimmie Haynes to learn how these networks can provide added revenue to your newspaper.

PALMY Ad Contest Rules now available
More than ever before, our industry needs determined, bright and enterprising ad designers and sales representatives to fulfill our mission of serving readers and advertisers, all of whom deserve our very best effort. Now is the time to recognize the Palmetto State's best ad designers, sales reps and advertisers for their hard work in 2011.
Detailed rules, entry form, tags and arrows are available here.
For newspaper members, we've made a few changes:

  • We've brought back a contest for best political ad.
  • We have done away with the vendor-supported ad category and combined it with Merchant Group or Signature Page Ad.
  • You can now submit video ads in the online animated or video ad contest.
  • We've simplified how you enter automotive ads.
  • Innovative Concept now includes mobile and social media initiatives.
  • We have added a circulation division for Associate Member Newspapers.
  • If you can't find the tearsheet where your ad ran, we'll take an e-tearsheet or PDF print-out.

Additionally, SCPA has a contest for non-newspaper Associate Member ads and a contest for Best Agency-Produced Ad. The Agency-Produced Ad contest awards a $100 First Place prize sponsored by the S.C. Newspaper Network QuarterPage+ Advertising Network.

The deadline to enter is April 6.

The awards presentations will be made at the 2012 PALMY Awards Luncheon this summer in Columbia. A special banquet is being planned to recognize the best and brightest professionals in our state's newspaper advertising departments.

Editor, Lee County Observer in Bishopville

What do you like best about your job?
There is so much to like "best" about my job. I consider myself very fortunate to have a job that I truly enjoy and look forward to each day. I enjoy the fact that my job is really never the same from one day to the next. We may be a small weekly newspaper but we cover our share of exciting stories! The bonus of being small is that not only am I the editor, I'm also a writer, photographer and layout person. When needed, I sell ads and deliver the paper, too. In addition, I love being able to run stories on a variety of topics that are important to our readership.

How do you view the future of the newspaper industry?
That is a question I ask myself fairly frequently. Like everyone else, I see the changes in the newspaper industry (some good, some not so good) that have come about in the past few years, based on the explosion of the internet and a weak economy. I see the industry adapting to survive but I do see it surviving because the newspaper is a vital part of our society. And I will always prefer reading a real newspaper over my morning coffee to clicking and scrolling on a computer.

What's your favorite SCPA member service?
When I have a question or concern about something I'm writing, the SCPA website is my first stop. The FOIA section is invaluable. I also enjoy being able to find out how to get in contact with other newspapers around the state.

Any big plans coming up?
My oldest daughter is getting married in March so I'm getting ready for a wedding!

Police chief says report will be available
The Daily Gamecock at USC reported this week that the Columbia Police Department failed to provide a reporter with an incident report.
SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers said by not providing the incident report upon The Daily Gamecock’s initial request, the police department broke the law. The public is entitled to know the crime occurred as well as its details, Rogers said.
The police department's spokesperson said that the report would not be released due to an on-going investigation and sensitive nature of the allegation.
Rogers said a crime under investigation does not provide exemption from obeying the law.
SCPA Attorney Jay Bender said the law states if a person appears at the police station, then that person can see police reports from the previous 14 days without a written request.
Police Chief Randy Scott said a redacted police report would be made available on Wednesday, but it had not been released by the time the eBulletin went to press.

School Board asks half million dollars to fulfill email FOI request
A Columbia area school board has told a local weekly newspaper that it will cost them more than half a million dollars to get copies of trustee and administrator emails. The Irmo News submitted a request to Lexington-Richland District 5 for email records for all current school board members, as well as those of the chief financial officer, the superintendent and the PR spokespersons.
The request covered emails sent via the districts web servers over a two year period. The district said it would cost $550,000 to provide the documents. The district said providing the emails for just one of the 11 officials names would cost $50,504. The breakdown included $504 for employee time and $50,000 for the paper to print the emails. The district said providing the emails in electronic form would be even more costly.
"This is an amazing abuse of the FOIA and makes me think they have something major to hide," said Bill Rogers, executive director of the SCPA. "The public and Legislators should be outraged by this abuse." The law says a public body may charge only the actual cost for researching and copying records. The newspaper has re-filed the request asking only to view the emails.

Memo told police officers to hide key crime details
While Charleston's police chief was pledging to be more open with the public about crime details this month, a top commander was at work instructing officers how to hide that information from reports available to residents. The strategy is outlined in an internal memo obtained by The Post and Courier.
The memo explains that "sensitive information" about crimes should be kept from incident reports available to the media and public. The memo states that descriptions of robbery suspects, injuries to sexual assault victims and weapons used in homicides are examples of information that should be placed in supplemental reports. The memo erroneously states that supplemental reports can be withheld from the public until investigations are completed.
SCPA Attorney Jay Bender called the police memo "nonsense," saying it instructs officers to violate the state's sunshine law and undermines the public's ability to offer tips and help solve crimes.
The memo was sent out the day after The Post and Courier reported on officers submitting bare-bones incident reports, and hiding details in supplemental documents officials refuse to release.

Scott Hunter, publisher of the Aiken Standard, was named Man of the Year at the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce awards banquet last month. Scott Hunter joined the staff of the Aiken Standard nearly 40 years ago as a sports editor.
In 2003 he initiated monthly "Quality of Life" lunch meetings, where leaders of faith, government, education and human services could come together to discuss and address community issues. Those meetings have contributed to the establishment of Aiken 2-1-1, the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County and support in improving the Aiken County public schools. Hunter has served or continues to serve with the Aiken Rotary Club, ACTS and the United Way.
The award "is a credit to all the people at the newspaper," Hunter said. "This is very humbling, and I've known a lot of the previous winners. I'm not sure I'm in the category, but it's very nice to be mentioned."

The Weekly Observer in Hemingway and The Lake City News and Post have combined their coverage capabilities to bring the best, most in-depth coverage to Hemingway, Lake City, Johnsonville and Williamsburg County. According to Matt McColl, editor of The Weekly Observer, the changes applyonly to physical manifestations of the newspapers as both offices will continue to operate as normal, providing the most quality local news and feature coverage in the area. Although the coverage within the paper will be split between the two areas, the paper will generally be of the larger variety and provide more coverage for the buck than ever before. Prices for the paper will remain at those set for The Weekly Observer, with The Lake City News and Post now being priced as 25 cents. For the most part, the changes made to the papers will be very minimal, with almost all being beneficial to the reader. Our new combined coverage will allow for more longer form journalistic pieces that we wouldn't have been able to provide you with otherwise. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Lake City Editor Donna Tracy at 843-394-3571 or Hemingway Editor Matt McColl at 843-558-4416.

SCPA eBulletin columnist Jim Pumarlo has released a new book -- “Journalism Primer: A Guide to Community News Coverage. ” The 49-page book, available in both e-book and print format, is intended to be a toolbox for practical and effective community journalism. For the rookies, this book offers the ABCs to covering the gamut of headlines from  proclamations to business news to local public affairs. For the veterans, they can use this book to test and tweak some of the things they have been doing all along. Journalism Primer, which costs $9.99 for the e-book and $14.99 for the print edition, can be purchased at major book outlets including Amazon.

Mary E. Junck, the CEO of newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises Inc., was recently named chairman of The Associated Press board of directors. As chairman, Junck will help steer the AP's efforts to boost revenue, in part by further expanding the cooperative's video, Internet and mobile services. Junck, 64, has been an AP director since 2004 and became vice chairman in 2008. She is the first woman to head the board. Junck began her newspaper career 40 years ago, when she joined the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer as a marketing research manager.

PRC supports NNA recommendations for better selection criteria for post office closings
The Postal Regulatory Commission has recommended that the Postal Service take another look at its approach to closing post offices, supporting many criticisms made by National Newspaper Association in its fall 2011 testimony. The PRC released its opinion in the USPS proposal to close retail offices, laid out in the case Retail Access Optimization Initiative. The Postal Service is required to seek the PRC's input whenever it embarks upon major service changes. NNA participated in the case to argue that although it did not categorically oppose small post office changes, the selection of offices to be closed and the manner in which USPS sought public feedback were flawed. The PRC agreed with NNA and strongly suggested that USPS revise its plans.

Survey shows classified advertising opportunity
Pulse Research has released the results of the just concluded readership and shopping survey that has interesting findings for newspaper advertising. Even though general classified revenue has not fallen as sharply as real estate, automotive and recruitment over the last 10 years, competitors like Craigslist have taken a significant share of private party transient advertising. Some very positive news for daily and weekly newspaper publishers include:

  • Of those who ran a newspaper classified ad, 76% stated they got results from their ad; 31% sold what they advertised and another 45% stated they got "many calls."
  • Newspaper classified ads have high readership. 62% always or frequently read classified ads in the local newspaper.
  • Classified opportunity: 78% of newspaper readers and newspaper website visitors did not place a classified ad in their local newspaper in the last 12 months.

Florida bill to publish foreclosure notices online only dies in committee
Florida lawmakers this week killed a Republican-backed push to move legal notices of foreclosures to the Internet and away from the newspaper industry, which has benefited from the notice requirement for decades. A divided House panel weighed the benefits of continuing to provide elderly, poor and less Web-savvy state residents with the ability to read the notices in a local newspaper vs, allowing county clerks to move forward in the digital age.

New York Times releases code to help journalists collaborate on WordPress, other platforms
More and more journalists use blogging platforms to write and edit stories, but those text editors are pretty basic: It's not easy to see what changes others have made to a post. And two people can open the same post, overwriting one another's edits. The New York Times has solved those problems for online journalists by building a tool that will track changes in a browser-based text editor. The tool, called ICE (for Integrated Content Editor) was built so that it will work with a variety of text editors; the Times has already built plugins for WordPress and TinyMCE, a common text editor used in blogging platforms. In effect, the Times has combined the ubiquity and ease-of-use of browser-based text editors with the accountability and scale of newspaper word processing systems. Changes made by different users are marked with strikethroughs or highlights. A user can press a button to accept or reject a particular change or all of them. It looks a lot like revision tracking in Microsoft Word.

Lee Enterprises refinancing takes effect Jan. 30
Lee Enterprises, Inc. has successfully completed the remaining steps to enable its refinancing agreements to go into effect on Jan. 30. The agreements extend the maturities of Lee's borrowings to December 2015 and April 2017. Implementation required a voluntary, prepackaged Chapter 11 process to bind a small minority of nonconsenting lenders to the terms. The plan of reorganization was confirmed by Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross in the District of Delaware, where Lee is incorporated. Lee is scheduled to emerge from Chapter 11 on Jan. 30, when the plan of reorganization becomes effective. "This is the favorable outcome we fully expected, and it provides Lee with a nearly four-year runway to continue improving our balance sheet," said Mary Junck, chairman and chief executive officer. Lee owns The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg.


How do you tell an account that possibly their business (not the ad) is the problem?
"The ads aren't workingÂ…" How many times have you heard that and inside you want to scream any number of responses such as:
"These are the dumb ads you insisted we run, Grrrrr."
"The ad is fine, you and your store are the problem."
"Did your parents have any kids with common sense?"
We know you can't be that direct, you need to be nice. But, if you're about to lose a customer and gain a critic, then maybe some tactful honesty and candid are in order. My advice is don't wait for that conversation, be proactive. You know what a bad ad is and you know a store with problems when you see one. You might have a chance of talking them into a new ad, but it's real tricky to tell them the store has problems. It can be a dilemma, because even the best of ads will not fix a terrible store and a different ad bring in more people sooner to decide the store is not for them.

The role that community newspapers play
During my consulting career, I've often been invited to conduct design workshops for various newspaper groups. We'll gather editors at a central site and spend the day looking at design techniques and approaches. Then we'll spend the afternoon evaluating the design of their papers. Before my visit, I like to get an idea of how those editors think...especially on design issues. Following are 20 questions I email to those editors. You may find them valuable as you evaluate the state of design at your paper. Or... you may have some better questions to offer. If you do, please send me a quick email. Best suggestion wins a free pdf copy of my book: "101 Henninger Helpful Hints." Here are the questions:What is the extent of your news design training? Have you had formal training such as college courses and the like or is most of your training on-the-job? Have you been to any news design workshops or presentations? When and where? What was the last book you read on news design? How often do you refer to your paper's Design Style Guide? What is the purpose of news design? How important is news planning at your paper?What is the extent of your design planning for each issue? How many people on your staff shoot photos?
How many people on your staff create information graphics?read


Feb. 10: Contest corrections due

Feb. 10: Webinar: Managing Your Changing Workload

Feb. 16: Webinar: Extending Advertising Campaigns - Looking Past “Now”

Feb. 17: Winning contest PDFs due

Feb. 23: Deadline to make hotel reservations for the Annual Meeting

March 1: Webinar: MAXimize Your Postage Savings and Delivery

March 2: Deadline to register for the Annual Meeting

March 11-17: Sunshine Week

March 16-17: Annual Meeting & Awards Presentation