EBulletin: timelier, quicker read for members
I recently had a long conversation with A.B. Jordan, publisher of The Dillon Herald, and a long-time SCPA member. Mr. Jordan was unhappy that we have stopped the printed version of the SCPA Bulletin.
We are a press association, he said, and should have a printed publication, not an electronic version. He said that he will miss reading the monthly Bulletin, which we mailed to him in hard copy, and then marking it up and sharing it with his staff. He worries that this conversion to digital will hurt our effort to keep legals on the printed page.
In a perfect world, I agree with him. I have long thought SCPA should have a printed Bulletin and a printed Directory.
But here is what I told Mr. Jordan, and share with you:
We converted to the new eBulletin for several reasons after a great deal of thought:
We can now come out weekly instead of monthly, making information timelier.
We have designed the eBulletin to be a quick read with links for more details. Anecdotally, we have found many folks just didn't take the time to read an 18-22 page printed Bulletin. This is designed to offer quicker communication for our time-stressed members.
Ad sales basics training set July 21
SCPA's popular quarterly ad sales training event is coming up on July 21. Register your newer sales people to attend this great session on July 21, from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., at SCPA Offices in Columbia. This workshop is designed for newspaper ad sales employees with less than a year's experience. We'll cover the basics in advertising sales and get your revenue-producing staff off to a great start. Alanna Ritchie, ad director for the South Carolina Newspaper Network and a veteran of weekly and daily newspaper sales, will help attendees understand the basics of sales, including selling against competition, dealing with objections, closing skills and consultative selling. Sign up today ... space is limited to the first 18 people.
SCPA Press Poll: Releasing jurors' names?
Should the names of the jurors in the Casey Anthony case be made public? Give us you opinion.
Editor of the Carolina Forest Chronicle
in Myrtle Beach
SCPA Executive Committee member
What do you like best about your job?
At the Carolina Forest Chronicle we've had a real impact on community and its development through reporting.
What is your biggest challenge and how are you facing it?
Staffing. We have to pick and choose what we think is important, and pay attention to what our community wants. We look for what's most important to Carolina Forest residents and whether it should be done with two or 200 people.
What's the best part of working in the newspaper industry?
Making a difference in people's lives. Newspaper journalists produce what appears on TV that night or next day, so as newspapers we're on the front line of the news. Newspapers do the real leg work and without the industry a lot of news would go unreported.
What's your favorite SCPA member service?
All of the services are very good. I think the Freedom of Information Act campaign is my favorite. I have learned a lot from Jay Bender and Bill Rogers. They both have extensive knowledge on the FOI Act.
Any big plans for the summer?
I'm engaged! The wedding is next year. Professionally I'm looking forward to the next SCPA FOIA committee meeting and hearing about its progress.
Billy Bruce, editor of The Colletonian in Walterboro, has been named publisher of the newspaper. He also retains his role as editor. Bruce has a deep news reporting background that stretches back 25 years. The bulk of his experience reigns in daily newspapers, mostly in Florida, where he worked as staff writer and reporter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Naples Daily News, New Smyrna Beach Observer and Tallahassee Democrat.
Joel FitzPatrick has been named editor of The Greer Citizen newspaper. In making the announcement Publisher Don Wilder said, "Joel has demonstrated in the past and more recently, his desire to lead The Greer Citizen's editorial department. His commitment to both the community and to the newspaper makes him the ideal candidate for this position. We are confident in Joel's abilities as both a leader and a journalist. He has a remarkable grasp of the constantly changing world of journalism and we are happy to promote him to this position of leadership."
Barry Moore is the new publisher of The Press and Standard in Walterboro. Moore started his job July 6.
He replaced Jamey Honeycutt, who had been at the paper since fall 2010.
Moore is a native of Greenwood and has worked at newspapers for 32 years in South Carolina, Alabama and Missouri.
The new GreenvilleOnline.com launched this week with expanded local news coverage. The site is cleaner, uncluttered, friendlier and organized a lot like the daily newspaper. Sections are under tabs at the top of the page. Stories appear to the left of a page, and the right side features advertising and links to our most popular content, like photo galleries and special sections.
The Greer Citizen’s office has moved to a new location -- 317 Trade Street.
“For some time, we have been looking for a suitable location to own for the Greer Citizen,” Don Wilder, Publisher, said. “From the beginning of our search, it has been our Intention to preserve the history of the building we chose and its relevance to the community.”
Walterboro's Press and Standard has turned to a familiar face to lead its news staff. Brantley Strickland, who has served as the paper's sports editor for the past five years, has been promoted to the position of managing editor.
Nearly 5,500 "Public Officials Guide to the FOIA" books have been ordered by SCPA members
Earlier this summer, SCPA's FOI Committee set a goal to get copies of the "Public Officials Guide to the FOIA" to every public official in the Palmetto State. As of Wednesday afternoon, 5,413 books had been ordered. SCPA has been printing and shipping books non-stop since June to meet the demand. So far, more than 4,300 books have been delivered to member papers. SCPA's FOIA Fund paid for the booklets and shipping, but member editors and publishers were asked to deliver the books to their local public officials.
"We've had outstanding participation by the members on this significant project," said Executive Director Bill Rogers. "I originally thought a max of 3,000 books would be ordered, but we have well surpassed that estimate. It's clear our members share our mission to educate public officials on the FOIA. Thanks to all who participated in this important project."
There are still a handful of newspapers that have not ordered books. The final deadline is July 29. Contact Bill for an order form.
Myrtle Beach Chamber and The Sun News battle over records
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce responded to a public records request from a newspaper on how it spent taxpayer money with 50 boxes of jumbled records.
The chamber made a reporter from The Sun News of Myrtle Beach review the records in an un-air-conditioned warehouse as music including "Achy Breaky Heart" and the Chipmunk's Christmas song blared over a loudspeaker and a forklift operator moved boxes a few feet away. The newspaper said many of the documents appeared irrelevant to the request.
The newspaper asked the chamber for records pertaining to any work paid for with public money under the FOIA. The documents the newspaper reviewed over three hours included blank sheets of paper, Horry County news releases about a public hearing on fireworks and an internal email about a chamber office's voice mail problems.
When The Sun News sent questions about the documents and the conditions in the warehouse to Myrtle Beach Chamber President Brad Dean, a lawyer for the chamber, Cherie Blackburn, sent back a cease-and-desist letter, threatening legal action for what she wrote was an "unlawful campaign against the chamber."
S.C. State withholds president's evaluation
South Carolina State University will not release the results of its annual evaluation of the college president, trustees decided Tuesday. But an attorney for the S.C. Press Association says that's not legal.
SCPA attorney Jay Bender says the public is entitled to "see and copy" any public documents created by the board, including each individual trustee's evaluation of the president.
As soon as any document is created, it is a public document, he said. S.C. State needs to realize that it's a public institution and that means it has to follow the law.
Spartanburg County Council's email habits
may violate FOIA
Several Spartanburg County Council members are using personal email accounts to conduct county business that could be hidden from public scrutiny.
The practice could violate the FOIA, which states that, with few exceptions, all documentary materials, regardless of physical form, prepared by or in possession of public officials are public records, open for any person to view or copy.
The council members' personal emails aren't included in responses to FOIA requests from reporters, watchdog groups or citizens unless a council member corresponds with a public employee who is using a government email account.
Behavioral health center discussed by town committee behind closed doors
The troubled Palmetto Behavioral Health treatment center was discussed behind closed doors at a Summerville Town Council committee meeting recently, apparently in violation of the FOIA. Councilman Walter Bailey, the Public Safety Committee chairman, said only that the panel discussed legal matters concerning the center and did not specify what they were.
"Legal matters is not a sufficient reason" to go into closed session, said Jay Bender, SCPA attorney.
FOIA access to records still slow
Federal agencies are still taking too long to open records to the public, with the oldest requests at eight agencies now dating back over a decade, a new study finds.
A report by the National Security Archive found continued backlogs and little progress more than two years after President Barack Obama ordered the government to respond more quickly to public requests for records. The findings were released on July 4, which is the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.
Man fined for stealing newspaper
A Bamberg man will have to pay restitution for stealing a newspaper out of a box, a judge decided recently.
The man was told to pay a $50 fine and the cost of the paper, Bamberg Chief Summary Court Judge Craig Threatt said. He faces 30 days in jail if the fine is not paid within 15 days.
How journalists, community can connect with Google+
Google Plus offers news organizations a useful forum to connect with their community and cover specific beats and topics. There's some really rich potential for journalists who do it right and lots of room for experimentation.
U.S. has same number of newspapers now as in 1890s
Stanford has used data from the Library of Congress to illustrate the spread of all kinds of newspapers across the U.S. from 1690 to 2011. Users can see which cities had multiple papers and click on them to learn more about them. The presentation shows an incredible boom in newspapers between the 1880s, when there were about 4,400, to the 1890s, when the number exceeded 13,000 -- about the same number as now. It also includes an interesting history lesson on newspapers' role in the Gold Rush.
SPJ decries checkbook journalism with news coverage of Casey Anthony
The revelation that ABC News paid a second source close to the Casey Anthony murder trial -- raising the total price of exclusive coverage to $215,000 -- underscores a growing trend of buying news content and it stands to undermine journalistic credibility, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Ethics Committee said recently.
ABC News and other networks have paid licensing fees for exclusive information in the past, and those practices have been challenged by SPJ as undermining news legitimacy and creating an environment of “truth-selling.”
Most papers I've visited are making major revisions to their websites. I'm not talking minor updates here. It seems like just about every weekly and small daily I visit is making a significant investment in their online products. The question is no longer, "Do we need to have a website?" It's,"Here's a list of things we want to do with our online presence. Can you help us find the right vendors
and products to help make that happen?" Most newspapers I've visited this
summer are taking steps to create or
improve their presence on mobile devices. The number of readers accessing our products through smart phones, iPads and other devices will increase with each passing day.
In addition to the basics of operating an advertising department (staffing, administration, account
assignments, sales goals, technology procedures, etc.), there are other things that successful
publications do to boost effectiveness. 1.They encourage in-house leads. At a lot of papers, there is a fence between the news and ad staffs. In today's media environment, where there is increased competition for stories and advertising, both departments should act like they are on the same team. After all, they're both
out in the community, talking with sources and drumming up ideas.