FOI bill heads to full Senate
An FOI bill that would cut copying costs and make it easier and faster for citizens to get public records passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday by a 12-3 vote.
The bill, H. 3235, now heads to the full Senate.  It will likely come up Thursday and there will likely be amendments from the floor.
One of the key amendments indicated by comments at the Judiciary hearing will involve the controversial addition of wording to remove the entire Legislative FOI exemption.
“We live to fight another day, but it will be a fight,” said Bill Rogers, SCPA Executive Director.
He noted that if the House bill is amended, it will then have to go back to the House for concurrence.  That could be a problem.  And he said it is far easier in the Senate for one Senator to block a bill from passage.
At the Tuesday hearing, Sen. John Scott of Columbia asked that the bill be referred to a subcommittee because he and others had “real concerns about this bill.”
Chairman Larry Martin of Pickens responded that there was no time.  Martin said pressing Senate business got in the way of a subcommittee hearing  and they needed immediate committee passage “if there is any hope to get this out for a vote.”   
Scott also spoke against changing the law to say public bodies must respond to a request in 15 calendar days.  The current law says 15 working days.  He complained this could cause holiday scheduling problems.
Sen. Paul Campbell of Goose Creek expressed concern about removing the ability of public bodies to charge citizens for research time.

Less than 15 seats left for June InDesign training
Experienced and newer users of InDesign -- You don't want to miss SCPA's upcoming InDesign workshop on June 21 at SCPA Offices in Columbia.
Adobe expert Michelle Kerscher will spend the morning session (9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) instructing attendees on the core features and tools of InDesign, as well as techniques to create powerfully designed pages and graphics. In addition to covering document set-up and formatting characters, paragraphs, objects and graphics, she'll show attendees lesser-known functions that will save you time and increase the quality of your products.
In the afternoon (1:45 - 4 p.m.), Michelle will go over her favorite tips and tricks, as well as InDesign's advanced features including libraries, styles, scripts, effects, paths, master pages, data merge and more. She'll also hit on how to create the perfect PDF. In just one afternoon, Michelle will help you better understand how to use InDesign to optimize your production and streamline your organization's design and editorial processes. We guarantee you'll leave with tips to make your work easier and faster.
You don't want to miss this session! The member rate for this workshop is $45 per session or $65 for the full-day. Non-members are welcome to attend at a rate of $65 per session or $95 for the full day.
This session is limited to 40 attendees and only 15 seats remain. Click here to register.

Sikh group sues blogger
The Post and Courier reported this week that the Sikh Religious Society, where Gov. Nikki Haley's parents are leaders, is suing the blogger behind an anonymously-sourced report on an Internal Revenue Service investigation into the temple's finances and Haley's rumored indictment. The lawsuit claims the blogger, Palmetto Public Record editor Logan Smith, libeled the religious society.
The suit also names "John Doe 1" and "John Doe 2" - two anonymous sources Smith used - as defendants.
Smith cited "two well-placed legal experts" in a post speculating about whether Haley was about to be indicted for tax fraud over her involvement in the religious society's finances.
Haley has not been indicted and her office has said the IRS last year closed an initial inquiry into the society's finances, citing a letter from an IRS official.
Haley also slammed the way some mainstream media outlets picked up Smith's anonymously sourced report.
Proving libel in a case involving a public figure requires showing that the individual or outlet acted with "actual malice" - making knowingly false claims or acting with reckless disregard for the truth, in publishing statements.
SCPA Attorney Carmen Maye said proving actual malice is a high hurdle for plaintiffs.
"It requires more than showing the blogger in this case was sloppy or could have done more to determine the correctness of the statements," she said.
The religious society's attorneys claim in the lawsuit that the society is a not a public figure, which would mean the organization could meet a lower standard of proof in proving it was libeled.
Still, the lawsuit claims that Smith displayed actual malice.
Ellyn Angelotti, a faculty member at the Poynter Institute, said Smith's posts illustrate the danger Internet sites who use anonymous sources can face.
"Really when it comes down to a situation like this, when you make a bold claim, you want to do your homework," she said.
"Use of anonymous sources opens you up to more potential liability."
Deputy Executive Director, Municipal Association of South Carolina

Tell us a little bit about yourself and/or your organization.
I am the deputy executive director for the Municipal Association of S.C. which represents all 270 cities and towns in the state (James Island just re-incorporated to become the 270th city in the state). The Association offers programs and training for elected officials and city staff to give them tools to provide the best possible services and amenities to their residents and businesses. I have been with the Association since 2005. Before that, I was a Capitol Hill press secretary, a VP and lobbyist at ETV, executive director of the Foundation at the Governor's School for Science and Mathematics, and have worked on national, state and local campaigns. I love the intersection of politics and communication.

What's your media background?

I have a journalism degree from USC and have worked in media relations in various capacities for more than 25 years. Working with reporters has always been one of my favorite parts of any job I've had. I also do freelance writing for several lifestyle and professional publications and love the art of telling a story.

Tell us the best part of working with the media:
The part of working with the media I like the most is hitting the balance that helps a reporter do his job and also lets me do my job. We are both after the same thing --  to get the facts right and tell a story. When we can both do our jobs well, that's the best of all worlds. I also enjoy being in an organization that can be a trusted and credible source for reporters. The Municipal Association has a wealth of data and resources that can be helpful to reporters in doing their work, and we always work to be honest brokers of accurate information.

Any big plans coming up?
Professionally, the Association's annual conference is at the end of June so we are tying up loose ends on that right now. The conference will focus on cities' role in economic development with several great national speakers lined up. Personally, my husband (David who is the president of Chernoff/Newman) and I love to travel, cook and seek out good music. We're out to hit every state in country and checked Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas off the list recently. Unfortunately when we travel we have to leave behind our four-legged floppy-eared child, Dixie. I've recently taken up photography again to try and relearn on a digital camera what I learned on film in college.

S.C. State denies T&D copy of budget report
The Times and Democrat requested a copy of the S.C. State University report on a draft budget, after copies were distributed to board members, but the request was turned down.
In fact, at the end of the board session, the school's administration took up the board's copies of the budget.
When a board member asked why trustees couldn't hold on to a draft budget document, the head of the budget committee told him that he could keep the report.
John Corbitt, acting chairman of the board, said the reason for denying The Times and Democrat's request was that it was a committee report and a work in progress.
Joyce Green, executive director of the board of trustees, said that “there are too many ifs” in the document to give out copies.
SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers said that once a report is prepared, it’s a public document.
“The public has a right to see it,” he said. “I think the public needs to see those early reports.”
Additionally, Rogers said that the administration had no right to take the reports from the trustees.
The T&D also requested and was promised a copy of an enrollment report, but never received one.

Aultman to end career as Chester publisher
News & Reporter Publisher Buddy Aultman has announced his retirement, effective May 31.
Aultman moved to Chester County in 1992 and has been at The News & Reporter since 1995.
Aultman has published newspapers in Kentucky, Georgia, Delaware and Virginia. Prior to moving to South Carolina, he was president of a group of suburban papers in the Washington, D.C., area.
He has mostly worked for other companies but also started a couple of publications, which he sold.
His move to South Carolina was in anticipation of eventually retiring here because his wife, the former Linda Ann “Lynn” Jordan, is originally from Chester County. He and his wife bought her family home place, which has been in the family since 1903.
Aultman will be announcing soon plans for another business, unrelated to publishing.

Hackworth named editor of The Journal
Seneca publisher Jerry Edwards has named veteran newspaperman John Hackworth as the new editor of The Journal.
Hackworth takes the reins of the newsroom from Brett McLaughlin, who will retire effective June 29.
Hackworth comes to The Journal after a 40-plus-year career that began in his hometown of Huntington, W.Va.
A graduate of Marshall University, he began as a sportswriter with the Herald-Dispatch while still attending classes. He left to become the assistant sports editor at the Daily Independent newspaper in Ashland, Ky. While there he covered Marshall, the University of Kentucky, the Cincinnati Reds and prep sports, culminating with a Kentucky Press Association award for first place in column writing in 1987.
His next stop was in Myrtle Beach where he worked under Gil Thelen at the Sun newspaper, which had recently been purchased by Knight-Ridder. He served as assistant metro editor there and was involved in the birth of the Neighbors local news sections.
He left Myrtle Beach in 1994 to become the business editor at the 40,000-circulation Charlotte Sun newspaper in Port Charlotte, Fla. He progressed to metro editor, editorial page editor and finally managing editor in charge of the Suncoast Media Group’s collection of three daily and half-dozen weekly newspapers. While at the Sun, Hackworth won Sunshine State awards for first place in editorial writing and Florida Society of Newspaper Editor awards for first place in column writing.
While Hackworth oversees the daily operation of the newsroom, McLaughlin will remain on staff, handling special assignments and contributing to the newsroom’s primary election coverage. Although he is ending a 40-year career in the newsroom, McLaughlin will continue to edit Eagle Media’s quarterly Upstate Lake Living publication.
McLaughlin and his wife, Maureen, a former schoolteacher who will also be leaving her part-time job as a proofreader at The Journal, plan to continue to make their home in Oconee County.

Reporters Committee to host free webinar on covering courts
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is hosting a free webinar on June 5 to help journalists understand court proceedings. The webinar, to be held at 1 p.m., will focus on court secrecy issues and access to trial information and proceedings. Space is limited for the webinar, so early registration is recommended. The webinar will run about one hour, with time for questions at the end. To register, click here.

AP Stylebook 2012 edition released
The 2012 edition of the AP Stylebook, which came out this week, features more than 270 updated and new entries. There’s a new broadcast chapter, an expanded social media chapter and several fashion-related updates “from A-line to zoot suit,” an AP release says.
The social media chapter, which was added to the Stylebook in 2010, includes new entries for terms such as “direct message,” “cloud” and “modified tweet.” Social Media Editor Eric Carvin, West Regional Desk Editor Carson Walker, Senior Producer Fergus Bell and News Editor Oskar Garcia contributed to the chapter.
In timing with the book’s release, take a look back at some of the most-discussed Stylebook changes this past year.

Newhouse papers in Alabama and Louisiana to cut print publishing schedule and staff
Four major dailies in the South will publish only three days a week as part of a new focus on online news.
The New Orleans (La.) Times-Picayune, the Birmingham (Ala.) News, the Press-Register of Mobile, Ala., and the Huntsville (Ala.) Times will only be printed on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays starting this fall. The papers are owned by Newhouse family group.
The newspapers will dramatically expand their news-gathering efforts around the clock, seven days a week, while offering enhanced printed newspapers on a schedule of three days a week. The newspapers will be home-delivered and sold in stores on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays only.
A second new company, Advance Central Services, will handle production, distribution, technology, finance and human resources.
The change in organizational structures across all departments will lead to a reduction in the overall size of the workforce.

Newspapers have a future, if they can avoid being 'click wh***s'
"The future of the news business is online and I suspect it will come out just fine — as long as all involved can resist the ultimate temptation: becoming a ‘click wh***,’” writes David Horsey. “Sure, any fool can get a lot of page views by running photos of cute kittens, funny dogs, hot cheerleaders and bosomy models in bikinis. It might bring in a lot of money. It might be read all over. But it would not be a newspaper.” read

Newspaper revenues sink 6.9%, auto ads brake

According to the Newspaper Association of America, total ad revenues dropped 6.9% from $5.5 billion in the first quarter of 2011 to nearly $5.2 billion in the first quarter of 2012. This was due to declines in print ad revenues, which fell 8.2% to $4.36 billion over the same period. Online ad revenues edged up 1% to $816 million.
As in previous quarters, the losses were spread across all the major ad categories. National advertising fell 10% from $924 million to $832 million, retail slumped 6.9% from $2.67 billion to $2.49 billion, and classifieds sank 9.9% from $1.15 billion to $1.04 billion. Within the classifieds category, automotive slid 9.5% to $241 million, real estate tumbled 17.7% to $163 million, and recruitment slipped 4.2% to $159 million.
However, online advertising, one of the few bright spots for the newspaper business, has seen growth slow dramatically from an average rate of 6.8% in 2011 and 10.9% in 2010. This is especially ominous because it still remains a fairly small part of the overall business, accounting for 15.7% of total ad revenues in the first quarter of 2012.

NAA calls for rejection of proposed 'sweetheart deal' for newspapers' largest direct-mail competitor
The Newspaper Association of America called for the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission to reject a proposed negotiated services agreement between the U.S. Postal Service and direct-mail giant Valassis, saying this special rate proposal will cause significant financial harm to newspapers throughout the country, and will not improve the financial condition of the nation’s postal system. NAA’s call was made in comments filed with the PRC, which is reviewing the NSA recently proposed by the Postal Service. NAA’s filing detailed how the proposed Valassis NSA violates the statutory and regulatory requirements under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. It specifically listed several points, including that the NSA:

  • Would cause unreasonable harm to the marketplace by granting Valassis unprecedented rebates and other terms that would enable and subsidize a direct attack on local newspaper advertising throughout the nation;
  • Would result in a net financial loss to the Postal Service by driving substantial volumes of newspaper mailings out of the mail system to lower-cost delivery services;
  • Is tailored so narrowly as effectively to be unavailable to any mailer other than Valassis; and
  • Would confer an unreasonable rate discrimination in favor of Valassis granting this one national mailer rebates as high as 36 percent, and a rate advantage up to 72 percent lower compared with rates paid by other mailers in the system, such as local newspaper companies.

Digital Plays Outsized Role At McClatchy
Chris Hendricks, McClatchy Co.'s VP of interactive, explains how digital is playing a huge role at his company, edging towards 20% of its revenue coming from digital, incentivizing growth at every level of the company. Hendricks: "Digital-only revenue growth is the fastest growing piece of the business, and as print stabilizes then you're going to see even more of an uptick."


Greenwood multimedia specialist Lance Anderson dies
Lance Noel Anderson, 61, of Greenwood, died May 24 following a battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Anderson joined the Index-Journal's staff Jan. 3, 2011, as its multimedia specialist.
As multimedia specialist, he maintained the newspaper's website. More than that, he was the creative man behind many of the newspaper's website ads and even some of its print ads. Anderson was the genius behind the action comic book look of last season's Pigskin Preview, "The Football Heroes of Friday Nights!" He also helped the newspaper develop and launch its Facebook page.

Longtime N.C. AP bureau chief Ambrose Dudley dies
Ambrose Dudley, a retired chief of bureau for The Associated Press, died May 26 after a long battle with cancer. He was 72.
During his 33-year career at AP, he covered legislatures in North Carolina, Kentucky and Rhode Island, served as broadcast supervisor in North Carolina and South Carolina, and worked as a correspondent in Rhode Island.
He was named news editor in Hartford, Conn., in 1971, and a year later, was named chief of bureau in Hartford. He became bureau chief for North Carolina in 1980, and retired in 1999.