columns

Newspaper sales tax exemptions preserved in House panels
The House Sales and Income Tax subcommittee voted unanimously late Tuesday to preserve exemptions for newsprint and circulation.

Rep. Murrell Smith of Sumter introduced the amendment to preserve newspaper exemptions, which got great support from Rep. Lonnie Hosey or Barnwell. In fact, all the subcommittee members -- after a little grousing about editorials in a couple of dailies -- were supportive in questioning.

Special thanks to those who came and testified: President Susan Rowell of Lancaster, VP Jack Osteen of Sumter and former board member Steve Blackwell of Woodruff. They made a difference. SCPA Attorney Jay Bender and Executive Director Bill Rogers also testified.

The bill went on to the full Ways and Means Committee late Wednesday, where it passed out of committee. It now heads to the House floor for final vote.

“The subcommittee was the big hurdle and the full committee vote was gratifying,” said Rogers. “As important as this was for the immediate bill, I think we laid a strong foundation for fighting this in future years."

Also, thanks to all member publishers who completed a survey about how a loss of the exemptions would affect their publications. Participation was excellent, with 100 of SCPA's 115 member newspapers represented. To view a compilation of survey results, click here.


Foundation offers free coaching by senior pros to member papers
Would your newspaper like a coaching visit by a retired veteran newspaper professional?

If so, SCPA has one for you.

Instead of having a single coach this summer, the SCPA Foundation has set up a cadre of retired or senior journalists, professors or publishers who would be available to come to a selected newspaper for a half-day of coaching on a particular news, management or advertising topic. This includes one-on-one work with writers, editors or sales reps.

The visits could also be simply a visit with management to share ideas.

There is no cost to the newspaper. The coaches are volunteering their time and the SCPA Foundation will pay their travel expenses.

Our volunteers to date include Harry Logan of Florence, Trisha O’Connor of Myrtle Beach, Terry Plumb of Rock Hill, Butch Hughes of Anderson, Jeff Wallace of Aiken, Mark Laskowski of Florence, Pat McNeely of Columbia, Henry Price of Columbia, Jerry Bellune of Lexington, Larry Timbs of Rock Hill and Carl Beck of Spartanburg.

If you would like to have a visiting coach, or if you would like to volunteer to be a coach, email or call SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers (803) 750-9561 or brogers@scpress.org.

“These folks have a wealth of experience that they are willing to share,” Rogers said. “We hope member newspapers will take advantage of this opportunity. Just give me a call and we'll set it up.”

SCPA to host weekly circulation roundtable on May 31
The S.C. Press Association will host a roundtable on circulation issues for weekly newspapers on Thursday, May 31, from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., which will feature discussion leaders from our membership and a session with the USPS manager of business mail entries.

From 10 a.m. until noon, discussion topics will include:
• Dealing with mailing issues
• Software, CASS certification
• Promotions that work
• Carrier options
• Tips on maximizing mail service

After lunch, Brad Lammers of the Columbia Post Office will discuss upcoming changes in the state's service centers and how to best deal with them. He will also offer tips and suggestions to cut down postal delivery problems. He will welcome questions.

The cost to attend is $25 and this includes coffee, snacks and a catered lunch.

"Most of all, this is a time to talk to your counterparts at other newspapers and share ideas," said Susan Rowell, SCPA President.

Participants are asked to send in ideas for discussion topics and specific questions for Mr. Hammers.

Register here.

Marketing/Innovation Director
Herald-Journal & GoUpstate.com

What do you like best about your job?
I enjoy marketing our products to the community.

What would you say is your proudest moment from your career in the newspaper industry?
When I was named to Presstime Magazine’s “20 Under 40” class in 2006.

How do you view the future of the newspaper industry?
I believe that print will find its natural subscription level with a core group of readers. I think digital will continue to grow across a variety of platforms (tablet apps, mobile, etc.). We will find new ways to monetize that piece of the business as customers and readers grow increasingly comfortable with those means of delivery.

What's your favorite SCPA member service?
I enjoy preparing for the PALMY awards every year -- I’m glad that SCPA offers member organizations a chance to showcase their best work.

Any big plans coming up?
I am looking forward to diving into the 1940 Census as soon as the states are indexed! I am a genealogy buff in my spare time.

Columbia tries to ban video cameras from open meeting
The State newspaper reported last week that a hearing for a former Columbia Police Department chief deputy was postponed after city officials got into a dispute with reporters over the use of video cameras in the hearing.
The former deputy chief gave approval to the media to attend her hearing before a panel of city employees as she protested her dismissal from the department. However, the city’s human resources director told reporters that they would not be allowed to use their video cameras during the proceedings.
City employees are allowed to file grievances against the city when they do not agree with disciplinary action. The grievances are held before a panel of city employees where both sides present facts in the disagreement and the panel members ask questions. Those hearings are open to the public if the person appealing a disciplinary action requests it; city officials who preside over the hearing do not make the decision.
When reporters, including one from The State, challenged the city’s decision to ban video cameras, the city's HR director decided to postpone the hearing until the issue of video cameras is settled.
SCPA Attorney Jay Bender said that the FOIA states that people may videotape meetings and that the hearing was a meeting.
“The city HR director is ignorant of the law,” Bender said. “It’s just another example of public officials making up what they want the law to be rather than actually reading it.”

SCPA names Dawsey Collegiate Journalist of the Year
Former SCPA intern Josh Dawsey was named 2011 Collegiate Journalist of the Year at SCPA's Collegiate Meeting and Awards Presentation on April 13.
Dawsey is a fourth-year print journalism student at the University of South Carolina. Last year, he was editor-in-chief of The Daily Gamecock. In that role, he managed the student staff, newsroom and production facilities, and a budget of $643,386.
When he graduates from USC in May, he will spend the summer as an intern on the metropolitan desk of The Boston Globe.
In a letter to judges, Scott Lindenberg, Director of Student Media at USC, said that Dawsey "had ink running though his veins well before coming to college" and that he jumped head first into daily newspaper operations. "Over the past seven semesters, Josh has honed his skills from a passionate journalist to a seasoned professional," Lindenberg said.
Dawsey was chosen as Journalist of the Year by judges for his contributions to the paper including:

  • Dawsey used FOIA requests to show how USC gave top administrators raises while cutting and freezing salaries for lower-paid employees.
  • He researched public documents to show how USC has more than quadrupled its indebtedness in the past 10 years.
  • He broke the story on USC halting fraternity rush in August 2011. He followed the story for weeks and his reporting was credited by local and national news outlets.
  • He developed and implemented a Twitter strategy for The Daily Gamecock that quadrupled its followers. The paper now has more than 13,000 followers and has the second largest number of followers of any news organization in South Carolina.

Dawsey's past internships include The Island Packet, The Sun News and Fortune Magazine. He also freelances for The State and the Free Times.
Dawsey said The Gamecock had long established a history of being best in the state, but that recognition was “certainly appreciated ... and a tangible tribute to all the work that happened at The Daily Gamecock in 2011.”
Dawsey, who is from Aynor, is the son of Carl and Debbie Dawsey.

SCPA Job Bank can help advertise your openings
Do you have a job opening that you'd like posted on the SCPA Jobs website? SCPA member newspapers can advertise positions for free. Simply email the ad copy to Jen.

How the New York Times invented disaster coverage with Titanic sinking
Does it feel as if we've had more than our share of disasters in the last five years? Make a list: earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes galore. Tractor trailers flipped into the air like Styrofoam.
Don’t forget the man-made varieties: oil spill in the Gulf, nuclear meltdown in Japan, even a cruise ship on its side off the coast of Italy.
Oh, there’s an asteroid heading this way.
Whatever disaster looms, the journalists who cover it will be walking in footsteps of a giant.
A strong case could be made that the inventor of full-speed-ahead, story-of-the decade coverage was a cigar-smoking, hand-wringing legend named Carr Vattel Van Anda, known in the New York Times newsroom as V.A. or Boss.
Born in Ohio in 1864, Van Anda worked for the New York Sun for 16 years, but was persuaded to switch to the Times by its publisher, Adolph Ochs. Together, Ochs and Van Anda created the sober and comprehensive approach to news that turned the paper into a beacon.
All of this is recorded in a wonderful book, “The Story of The New York Times,” by one of its greatest writers, the late Meyer Berger, who chronicles the paper’s first century, 1851-1951. Van Anda emerges as one of the book’s odd heroes, nowhere more powerfully than in the story of his spearheading the Titanic coverage.
The date was Sunday, April 14, 1912 -- almost 100 years ago to the day -- and V.A. was working his usual shift, past midnight and into the early morning hours. A sleepy news cycle turned electric when an alarm was sounded out of the copy room. The A.P. bulletin read: “At 10:25 o’clock tonight the White Star Line steamship Titanic called ‘CQD’ to the Marconi station here, and reported having struck an iceberg. The steamer said that immediate assistance was required.” read

McClatchy newspapers go Kobo
Seeking to expand its digital distribution platform, McClatchy Co. is making all its daily newspapers available in digital format via Kobo, which operates an e-reading service, as well as an eInk-based e-reading device and apps. To promote the new offerings, Kobo customers can sign up for a two-week free trial of any of the newspapers.

The newsonomics of small things
The days when publishers could rely on two big revenue streams -- advertising and circulation -- are over, and they’re not coming back. It’s time to search for smaller golden eggs.

Forget that survey. Here's why journalism is the best job ever.
A survey ranking journalist as the fifth-worst job to have in 2012 has been getting a lot of attention for the last few days, in case you haven’t noticed. The report, by CareerCast, says being a reporter at a newspaper, magazine or TV show is worse than waiting tables and only a tiny bit less lousy than working on an oil rig. Blame the combination of high stress and scarce career opportunities. ...
Inadvertently, all this survey does is highlight the truth: Being a journalist is the best. That’s all there is to it. Yes, there are too few really good jobs and too many people fighting for them. Yes, salaries start out quite low. Yes, the hours can be long and irregular. Yes, the industry is in a period of extreme disruption, with lots of old jobs being destroyed, and the new ones typically offer less security and require different skills.
None of that changes the core fact here. For those who are cut out for it -- and that’s definitely not everyone -- journalism is a uniquely rewarding, wonderful career. Here are just a few of the reasons why.

 

Bigger = Better?
It's been an interesting four weeks. In five out of six cities, chairs had to be added to the rooms to accommodate attendees. In New York, I received spontaneous applause when I told the audience to "quit running their newspapers as if all their business is coming from mobile" when most of their profits are coming from print. In Texas, I was introduced by a publisher as "the most important voice in the newspaper industry today." Geesh. The things people say. In Pennsylvania, the woman who introduced me instructed the audience to stand so I could tell everyone I had another "standing room only" group in Harrisburg. So they did. Here's what I'm noticing. People are having fun again in our business. For a few years, conventions were overshadowed with a feeling of gloom and doom. It seems to me that 2012 may be the year that the vale of gloom is lifted and we start enjoying our work again as an industry. Convention registrations have been up. Audiences have been larger. More people have been out on the dance floor. These are all good signs. In South Carolina last week, an editor told me his paper had sent more than 20 attendees to their annual state convention. "It's the first time we've done that in recent history," he said. read

Advertising by the numbers
Let's take a look at four important numbers in advertising. One: The best ads make one point. The point can be made in several different ways, but the bottom line is that an ad should make only one point. A lot of advertisers think they can multiply their impact by putting numerous selling points in every ad. Unfortunately, that doesn't work. Years ago, I heard that one of the most important advertising formulas is E=0. Everything equals nothing. When an ad tries to say everything to everybody, the end result is zero impact. That's especially true in today's over-communicated society. To break through the clutter, keep it simple. Two: There are two types of advertising – image and response. Image advertising is intended to strengthen a brand in a general sense and give consumers a good feeling about the advertiser. For example, you'll find the "good hands people" at Allstate. Wrangler sells "Real. Comfortable. Jeans." And John Deere says, "Nothing runs like a Deere." read
email

archives