Dear [member_name_first]: Welcome to your first issue of SCPA's Weekly eBulletin to be delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning. We apologize for the delay in this edition. We were having some formatting and style issues involving a few email applications, which we think we've resolved. If you have trouble seeing any of the elements below, please let us know so we can work on them. And in the meantime, simply click the "If you're having trouble viewing this email" link above. We'd love suggestions or your news for publication. Have a great weekend! Thanks and enjoy! -- Jen

High Court rules attorney fees allowed
in Hunley case

The S.C. Supreme Court has ruled that attorney's fees would be paid to a plaintiff even after the defendant public body produced the requested public documents in a FOIA lawsuit. The state's highest court made this decision in early June after a Charleston plaintiff sued the Friends of the Hunley for failure to comply with the state's open record laws.

"This is a great decision," said SCPA Attorney Jay Bender.

The Hunley Commission argued initially that it did not have to release records, but after suit was filed released the records. The Supreme Court determined that the release of the records meant there was no longer a case on which the court could rule, i.e., the case was moot. But, that mootness did not preclude the award of attorney fees.
read

County attorney defends
FOIA decision

HILTON HEAD - In December 2008, a letter landed on Beaufort County attorney Lad Howell's desk seeking information about two paramedics who had been accused of mishandling a head-trauma call in Bluffton.

The letter asked for records about the paramedics' past job performance, including any prior disciplinary action against them. As the county's top attorney, Howell often was asked to handle such requests. Answering the letter, Howell said there were no records of disciplinary action.
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Patch coming to the Palmetto State
AOL's Patch has firmed up its plans to come into South Carolina in several hyperlocal markets including the West Ashley and Goose Creek suburbs of Charleston and the St. Andrews area of Columbia.

They've hired veteran newspaper journalist Chris Winston to lead the effort.

Winston most recently worked for The Roanoke (Va.) Times as NRV bureau chief and business editor, but he has South Carolina roots. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1996 with a degree in print journalism and served as sports editor for the Lexington County Chronicle and an agate clerk for The State while in school.  

From 1996-2005, he worked at the Herald-Journal in Spartanburg. During that time he rose from a sports and news reporter to business editor and assistant city editor.

Patch is currently recruiting associate regional editors in our state. read
people and papers

Tommy Howard has been named acting editor of the Georgetown Times. He took helm on June 13. Bob Piazza, Times' executive editor since January, 2009, is leaving to be closer to his family in Virginia.

Page Ivey has been hired as a web and interactive communications writer at the University of South Carolina. She comes to USC after 12 years at the Columbia bureau of The Associated Press. Before that, she worked in various roles at The State newspaper for 11 years. Page is a 1988 USC journalism school grad.

The State's Gerry Melendez placed third in the National Press Photographers Association Photographer of the Year (small markets) competition.

The Aiken Standard has created a PSA to save snakes in tornado-ravaged states. Why would the paper want to protect nonvenomous snakes? Well, they eat rats and mice that could transmit diseases to humans through biting or scratching or through fleas and ticks that become parasites on the rodents.

According to the Common Sense Journalism blog, statehouse reporter John O'Connor says he's leaving The State for a new NPR/WUSF project in Tampa, Fla.

foi briefs
Chester School Board may have broken rules in re-opening search
The search will begin again for an interim school superintendent to replace Dr. Thomas Graves who resigned effective May 1, though the process of reopening the search may not have been handled correctly. 

EMS allegations fuel debate over open records

The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette have been busy trying to shine light on two Beaufort County paramedics' alleged on-the-job disciplinary problems...A flurry of legal paperwork has flown back and forth since 2009 -- raising questions about the county's adherence to state laws requiring government openness. SCPA Attorney Jay Bender reviewed recent filings in the case and said they suggest misunderstandings of the state's Freedom of Information Act. "There are a bunch of very confused people involved in this litigation, it seems to me," Bender said. Also, check out The Island Packet's editorial, "Accountability the loser in county's FOIA response."

Public comment at DOT meetings discouraged
The State reported recently that the state Transportation Commission agreed not to set aside time for the public to comment during monthly board meetings. SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers said there is no requirement in state law that public boards have specific public comment sessions. But Rogers said they should.
industry news

FCC: Local reporting critically lacking
There is a shortage of in-depth local journalism needed to hold government agencies, schools and businesses accountable, the federal agency that regulates television broadcasters concludes in a new report.

Link rot could eat public notices
The average lifespan of a web page is 44 days, a statistic often repeated in discussions of digital preservation. At a time where state legislatures are contemplating proposals to move public notices to government websites, this statistic makes an argument for keeping legals in newspapers, which can be permanently archived. Guess which domains have the highest incidence of link rot? Government domains...

Media General tells employees to take 15 furlough days
"The furlough program will cause financial disruption for employees and scheduling challenges for our operations," CEO Marshall Morton writes in a memo sent to Media General staff. "It's little comfort that we are not alone. Other media companies have implemented layoffs and furlough programs this year. In addition to the impact of the weak economy, it's a sign that traditional media business models continue to be in transition."

IRE announces new online Census service
Investigative Reporters and Editors has created an online interactive tool for journalists to crunch and download data from 2010 Census data. The goal of the IRE Census Data website is to provide reporters a simpler way to access census data so they can spend less time importing and managing the data and more time exploring and reporting the data.

Raleigh N&O to shift newsroom production work to Charlotte

The News & Observer is transferring newsroom production work to a new center in Charlotte. Beginning in August, the new center will perform copy editing and page design for The N&O and its community newspapers, as well as The Charlotte Observer and The Herald of Rock Hill.

The Greenville News readership increases
Readership of The Greenville News on Sunday plus the new e-Edition has increased 5.5 percent over last year, according to independent research by Scarborough and Associates.

The health of your paper is tied to the health of the community
Community newspapers know where big grocery stores are, because supermarkets are a lifeblood of newspaper advertising. Lose one and you lose pages. The greater loss, of course, is for a community -- its retail base, and perhaps its health and wellbeing.

AP gets Knight funding to create journalistic tool
The Associated Press received a grant from the Knight Foundation to help journalists mine large documents for stories. The system, called Overview, will create an interactive, visual display that maps out frequently occurring keywords and shows the relationship between topics, people, places and dates. The AP plans to share its tool with other news organizations, groups and individuals. The tool would be useful for journalists to analyze data obtained through FOIA requests.

Gannett lays off 700 newspaper division employees
That's about 2 percent of the workforce, according to Gannett US Community Publishing division president Bob Dickey. “The economic recovery is not happening as quickly or favorably as we had hoped and continues to impact our U.S. community media organizations,” he says in a memo that’s posted here.

Auto advertising on the rebound
Automotive advertising is finally on the rebound. Borrell Associates' annual look at this important ad segment pegs it at $22.6 billion this year, running about 7 percent ahead of last year.

AP expands sports coverage
The Associated Press is expanding a popular initiative designed to help overworked sports desks that can't staff away games. In March, as baseball season got underway, the wire service began offering "hometown leads" -- a.k.a stories about the losing club -- in addition to the usual game-over story. Now AP sports writers will do the same for top college football games and all NFL games.

legal issues
NJ court: No shield law for message boards posters
The New Jersey Supreme Court says people posting in online message boards don't have the same protections for sources as mainstream journalists.

Supreme Court rules legislative votes not protected speech
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled recenly that a legislator's act of casting a legislative vote is not protected personal speech for First Amendment purposes. The Court's opinion reverses a decision by the Nevada Supreme Court, which had held that a state recusal law infringed on the free speech rights of local legislators.
obituaries
Bob Ford
Columnist and Former Reporter, Photographer
The Herald, The State

Robert Wayne "Bob" Ford, 82, died June 19, 2011, at his home in Columbia. Ford worked at several S.C. newspapers and spent the past 20 years writing an award-winning weekly newspaper column, Bob Ford's Call the Cops.

Doug Nye
Former Writer and Editor
The State

Doug Nye, a former writer and editor for The State and the Columbia Record, died Sunday morning after a year-long battle with lung cancer. Nye retired in 2004 after serving as a sports writer, editor and television editor at both the Columbia Record and The State. He was 69.

Jayne Speizer
Former Publisher
The Herald

Jayne M. Speizer, former publisher of The Herald in Rock Hill and former SCPA President, died June 13 at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., after battling complications that arose after she received a May 24 heart transplant. She was 61.
columns
henningerEditors and page designers are busy people. Often, they're the same person - and when they're on deadline, they're working at breakneck speed. That's why the temptation is strong to make the job faster and easier, looking for shortcuts as they scramble to beat the clock. One of those shortcuts is to write a headline then size the headline to fill the space across the top of the package.
read
fisher

Now, we tweet. We post on Facebook and Flickr. The chunks are smaller, but still chunks. The assembly is done with things like Storify that can pull together varied media threads into a sort of coherent narrative. And for the initial wave, that may well be all we need. In fact, too much of what we call "story" isn't story at all. It's factual exposition that tries to impose structure on often unstructured events. Perhaps it is better told in chunks.read

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