Bills would strip newspaper exemptions
Bills were introduced in the House Tuesday that would remove the current sales tax exemptions for newsprint and circulation.

The bills were part of a seven-bill tax package introduced by the GOP caucus.

“As these bills move forward, we will need maximum involvement by member publishers to lobby to keep our exemption,” said SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers. “Both would have a major impact on an industry already strained by market conditions.”

The bill would mean readers would be taxed, making newspapers the only medium taxed at the consumer level, Rogers said.

Paid newspapers would not likely be impacted by the removal of the newsprint exemption, but free papers would have to start paying taxes on their newsprint, since they would be the end consumer.

The bills, S. 4996 and S. 4995, have been sent to the Ways and Means Committee. No date has been set yet for a hearing.

Rogers said the association will be undertaking a survey of publishers next week to quantify the impact of the tax on newspapers large and small.

The GOP press release says the bills: “Eliminate two-thirds of the special interest sales tax exemptions while preserving the ones that benefit families (gasoline, food, electricity, water, medicine). This is achieved with a corresponding sales tax rate decrease to offset the increased revenue collections.”  Click here to read the entire release.

Rogers said having access to a newspaper is a great family benefit that didn’t make the cut of exemptions to be saved. 

He said he believes the most effective argument is one outlining the financial harm to local newspapers, which are employers and pay their fair share of taxes.

Click here to read the SCPA talking points.

New applicants for membership
The following organizations have applied to become members of the S.C. Press Association. They will be voted on by the Executive Committee on March 16.

Newspaper Member: Chesterfield County News & Shopper, Don Swartz
Associate Member: S.C. Business Publications (SCBIZ), Grady Johnson
Individual Member: Tom O'Dare,

Contact Bill Rogers if you have any questions or comments.

We can't wait to see you at the Annual Meeting this weekend!

View the Schedule of Events

Directions to the Tides hotel: For directions to the Tides, please click here or GPS: 1 Center St., Folly Beach, SC 29439.  

If you are staying at the Tides, parking is included in your room rate. If you are coming down for the day, parking is free on the side of all streets surrounding the Tides, but make sure your tires are not touching any part of the bare road or you will be ticketed.

Dress for Events:
  • Opening Reception - business casual
  • Weekly and Associate Awards Luncheon and Hall of Fame presentation - business, Sunday best
  • President's Reception and Daily Awards Dinner - business, cocktail

Weather Forecast -- Looks like sunny skies in the 70s!

Order plaque bases, duplicate engraved plaques and certificates: If you order your 2nd and 3rd place plaque bases before or at the Annual Meeting, you'll pay only $15 per base. To receive this discounted rate, you must pick up your bases at the registration desk during the Annual Meeting. After the event, the price increases to $20 per base, which includes shipping. Duplicate engraved plaques are also available for $35 each and duplicate certificates are $2 each. These can be ordered now, but will NOT be available until after the Annual Meeting.

Special Offer for Meeting Attendees: During the Annual Meeting, any newspaper owner or publisher that contacts Kidsville News, Inc., a gold sponsor, will receive six months licensing fees at no cost during their first year. It’s a great program with solid value and “no strings attached." Check out Kidsville's booth at the meeting!

Gov. Nikki Haley announces records retention policy
Governor Nikki Haley recently announced that she has taken the historic step of finalizing with the South Carolina Department of Archives and History (DAH) an updated records retention policy for the Office of the Governor, a process that has not been undertaken by any Governor’s Office in 40 years.

The updated policy includes retaining all records, including the governor’s and staff e-mail, which are of long-term and enduring value as required by law and defined by DAH.  The Governor’s Office has also asked DAH to provide additional guidance and clarification to all public agencies regarding e-mail retention.

A copy of the new retention policy can be found here.

“This is another major step toward making this the most transparent administration in our state’s history,” said Gov. Haley. “When we took office, we adopted the same policy that has been used by previous administrations, but, even as we preserved thousands of records and correspondence, we found room to strengthen the policy. We couldn’t be more excited to announce the first record retention policy a governor’s office has developed with and that has been approved by DAH in 40 years -- it’s the right thing to do.”

DAH Director W. Eric Emerson said, “We are grateful that Governor Haley has asked the Department of Archives and History to create specific retention schedules for the Office of the Governor. The creation of these schedules is historic and marks the first time in the nearly forty-year history of the Public Records Act that a gubernatorial administration has allowed the Department of Archives and History to prepare specific retention schedules for their use. We are certain that the creation of these schedules will result in the retention of documents that will be of considerable historic value in the future.”

This is one of several major steps toward transparency that Gov. Haley’s office has undertaken. Gov. Haley releases a detailed public schedule every week, maintains a flight log updated in real time and posts press conferences and media availabilities online.

Anderson Independent Mail publisher Mike Jameson is leaving to take a job in Pennsylvania.
The Independent Mail reported Jameson will become president and CEO of Calkin Media Inc.'s GPM properties. GPM is a group of three newspapers covering two counties in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey. Jameson was in Anderson for a year, boosting advertising revenue and profits. His last day is March 21. He came to Anderson in February 2011 after serving as president of Tucson Newspapers, a partnership in Arizona owned by The Gannett Co. and Lee Enterprises.
He has worked for newspapers in seven states over the past 30 years.
Bruce Hartman, vice president for sales for Scripps Newspapers, says the company has started a national search for a new publisher.

The Post and Courier's Gene Sapakoff was named 2012 South Carolina Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Sapakoff has written on a variety of sports and non-sports subjects for The Post and Courier since 1986. This is Sapakoff's fourth NSSA award. National and state winners will be honored at the annual NSSA banquet in Salisbury, N.C., on June 11. Sapakoff, a Colorado State graduate, also has won multiple awards presented by the Associated Press Sports Editors, U.S. Basketball Writers Association and South Carolina Press Association and has written for Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, Baseball America and

David Cay Johnston, one of the country’s top investigative journalists, will deliver a lecture March 21, 6:30 p.m. at the University of South Carolina Law School Auditorium in Columbia. Johnston, 2001 winner of the Pulitzer Prize and now a columnist at Reuters, will discuss how to uncover wrongdoing at businesses and in the government.
Johnston is the author of "Free Lunch," a national bestseller that exposed large transfers of wealth from the poor, middle class and affluent to the super rich. He also wrote “Perfectly Legal,” a national bestseller about the flawed U.S. tax system and its impact on average citizens. The book won the 2004 Investigative Book of the Year award.
Johnston won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for a series of articles in the New York Times about the U.S. tax system and Internal Revenue Service. The stories explained, among other things, how poor people are more likely to be audited than the wealthy.
Johnston has reported for the San Jose Mercury News, Detroit Free Press, Los AngelesTimes, Philadelphia Inquirer, and The New York Times. He retired in 2008 after 13 years with the Times, and began teaching at Syracuse University’s College of Law as a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer. He joined Reuters in July 2011 as a columnist.
Johnston’s appearance is sponsored by the Baldwin Business Journalism Initiative at the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.