Next Wednesday is registration deadline
March 7 is the deadline to register for the 2012 Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation.
From the Opening Reception on Friday to a golf outing on Sunday, we have a great lineup planned! Of course the highlights of the meeting will be the Weekly and Associate Member Awards Luncheon and Hall of Fame presentations and the Daily Awards Dinner, but we also have some great educational sessions planned! We'll kick off Saturday morning with the Top 10 Things Every Newspaper Executive Should Know featuring Mark Mulholland, vice president of Marketing for Evening Post Publishing Company's newspaper division. Mark, who previously worked at the American Press Institute, has a wealth of experience working with and training weekly and daily newspaper employees. We're sure that Mark will be a hard act to follow, so we're bringing in SCPA Attorney Jay Bender, who is always a hit. Because we'll also be celebrating Sunshine Week, Jay, along with a panel of weekly and daily editors, will talk about current open government challenges member papers are facing, especially dealing with police reports. The afternoon session will address the challenge of preserving newspaper public notice advertising. John Bussian, N.C. Press Association's attorney, will give a regional perspective and outline the challenges North Carolina faced in preserving legals. Newspaper design consultant Ed Henninger will also be on hand to present some bold ideas for how to better package your public notice ads for better readership. Click here to check out the full schedule of events! To sign up, fill out this registration form and return it to SCPA no later than March 7.

SCPA President Bill Hawkins invites you to attend:

FOIA bill gets hung up on House floor
The FOIA bill that would limit copying costs, require prompter release and eliminate charges for document research remains stalled in the House as epresentatives deal with a late and controversial amendment that would remove the exemption protecting certain legislative documents.
The bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee last week but did not come up for a vote Tuesday.
Just after 11 a.m. Wednesday, the bill was placed on contested calendar when 15 to 20 representatives, including the sponsor Bill Taylor and a good number of Democrats, put their name on the bill objecting.  However, the bill did not come up again Wednesday and will likely come up Thursday morning as Speaker Bobby Harrell and Taylor try to get the problems with the bill worked out.
The bill became politicized when Rep. Rick Quinn added his Legislative exemption amendment at the 11th hour. 
“We would be glad to work with Rep. Quinn on a separate bill to deal with the Legislative exemption, but really hate this has turned the original Taylor bill into a hot potato,” said Bill Rogers, SCPA Executive Director.

Support weakens for FOI bill to limit access to police reports
Eight House members have taken their sponsorship off a bill that would allow the withholding of police incident reports.
They are: Reps. Bill Taylor of Aiken, Chip Huggins of Columbia, Don Bowen of Anderson, Tommy Stringer and Dan Hamilton of Greenville, George Hearn of Conway, Phil Owens of Pickens and Anne Thayer of Belton.
The bill, H.4740, has not been set for a subcommittee hearing yet.
“We are watching this closely and will fight this tooth and nail,” said Bill Rogers, SCPA Executive Director.  “We’ll contact you if we need help.”
The bill by Rep. Chris Murphy of Summerville, still has 25 co-sponsors: Pope, McCoy, Ryan, Sottile, Hardwick, Southard, Merrill, Anthony, Atwater, Bingham, Crosby, Daning, Harrell, Harrison, Horne, Limehouse, D.C. Moss, V.S. Moss, Sandifer, G.R. Smith, Tallon, Toole, White and Young.

AP introduces new logo, invites weeklies to join
The Associated Press will roll out a new visual identity system, including an updated logo, this year. The identity system is the first significant change in AP’s look in 30 years and follows the development and implementation of a master-brand strategy in 2010.
The identity system significantly expands the range of colors and designs available for use in AP products and services. The new logo draws on the legacy of the old one, employing the well-recognized stencil pattern, but the AP logotype is now black, with a bold red line underscoring it. The logotype and line are encased in a white holding box.
The system employs a master-brand approach, with all business units, products and services united under a single logo. The new identity system will be rolled out in stages throughout the next year.
The new logo and color system are visible on a temporary screen for AP’s corporate website.
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For the first time, weekly newspapers can subscribe to home state news produced by AP writers, top national and international news, or "channels" of news concentrated on particular topics, such as military, agriculture, energy, education or health. AP News Choice is a new service tailored to weekly newspapers and their websites.
AP's speed on breaking news will keep websites humming 24/7, and AP's broad coverage of important topics will help newsrooms stay on top of developments and localize stories for their markets readers.  
To find out more about AP News Choice, contact Bureau Chief Michelle Williams.

SNPA Research: Weekly publishers optimistic about future
Despite an unfriendly economy and changes in reader and advertiser behavior, most weekly publishers are bullish on the future of community newspapers. In a recent survey, 72% expressed optimism about the future of newspapers. And while they see some promise in digital revenue, they believe print will play an enduring role: Two-thirds don't envision a time when they'll no longer produce a print edition.
While weekly papers haven't moved as quickly as the dailies into creating mobile phone and tablet apps, they have kept pace with smaller dailies in the adoption of paid online models.
The survey of publishers shows that 42% of non-daily newspapers now charge users for digital content. ...
The extensive survey of publishers was paid for by the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and the Missouri School of Journalism's Houston Harte Chair. Using the database of non-daily newspapers provided by the National Newspaper Association, more than 400 in-depth telephone interviews were conducted in October by the Center for Advanced Social Research, the research arm of MU's Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Media General exploring potential sale of newspaper properties
Richmond-based Media General Inc. said last week that it is exploring the potential sale of newspaper operations. The company said it had received inquiries from several third parties regarding the potential purchase of some of its print assets. Media General said it could offer no assurances that any sale would take place, and it did not disclose which properties might be included. In South Carolina, Media General owns the Morning News in Florence, The Hartsville Messenger, The Lake City News & Post, The Marion Star and Mullins Enterprise and The (Hemingway) Weekly Observer.

Deals build longer term ad business for papers
Daily deals aren't done for newspapers. If anything, they're just warming up.
Three different media companies reached this conclusion through somewhat different paths they reported on Tuesday, when they made a forceful case for daily deals as a vehicle to build a broader advertising base, develop a closer direct commerce relationship with readers and continue to deliver and expand upon a brisk business despite a crowded marketplace.
And the companies -- Shaw Media, Deseret Digital Media and the Omaha World-Herald -- fired one other shot across their daily deals competitors' bow, summed up by Jeff Shabram, director of digital at the World-Herald: "A media company is the only one that can build a sustainable business out of it," he said.
Take that, Groupon and Living Social.

People don’t care about scoops, they care about trust
A survey of media attitudes that Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has just released shows the number of people who care about who reported something first is rapidly diminishing -- if it was ever that big to begin with. Instead, what matters most to readers is the trustworthiness of the source.
The survey, which was done by a polling firm in January, came out of Newmark’s new venture Craigconnects, which he has said is an effort to help nonprofit entities of all kinds connect with supporters. But the Craigslist founder also has an often-stated passion for the issue of trust and the media -- he has called a trustworthy press the “immune system of democracy” -- and the survey was designed to look at consumer perceptions of both social media and mainstream media sources such as television, radio, Internet news sites and newspapers, and it was focused specifically on news coverage of the upcoming U.S. election.
When it comes to “perceived credibility,” traditional news outlets can take some comfort from the fact that the survey showed newspapers, cable news and network news sources have the highest levels of credibility, much higher than blogs and social media sources.

Voters say political ads least annoying when in local newspapers
Political candidate ads appearing in local newspapers are rated as annoying by just 18% of registered voters, while ads appearing on local TV are seen as annoying by 54%, according to results of a survey released in February 2012 by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). Network TV (50%), cable TV (43%), and radio (39%) ads are also rated annoying by a significant proportion of registered voters, though political ads on the internet (27%) garner the frustration of far fewer.


Why newspaper advertising still matters
By Tom Edmonds
Convinced that fewer and fewer voters are turning to newspapers? Think again.
Just as soon as you're sure about a new trend, a survey comes out and says, "Not so fast. That's not exactly true."
For instance, take a look at the "givens" in this year's political landscape. Young voters are increasingly turning to the Internet for campaign news, right? Wrong. But at least Twitter and Facebook play big roles when it comes to getting campaign information, right? Wrong. And nobody but senior citizens gets their news from newspapers anymore, right? Wrong. Wrong.

Digital editions engage readers, thrill advertisers
By Martin Hensel
Engagement -- This term is in the forefront of discussions in the marketing and advertising communities. Consumers want highly targeted advertising on their schedule, and in their preferred medium, or they are tuning-out. Not only do advertisers need to present the right message to the right audience, but they also need to deliver it in a medium that engages the consumer. To accomplish this goal, advertisers create customized messages in multiple media formats to serve readers' varying needs and preferences. One rapidly growing tool for reaching online consumers is