|New publishers named at Post & Courier, Herald-Journal
The (Charleston) Post and Courier has hired P.J. Browning of The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News to serve as its next publisher and the Herald-Journal has hired its regional sales director, Kevin Drake, to take the helm of the Spartanburg newspaper.
Browning, publisher at The Sun News since 2008, will start in Charleston in mid-August and work alongside outgoing Publisher Bill Hawkins, who is retiring in December.
During her time with The Sun News, Browning used her advertising background to help the newspaper compete in a highly competitive market in which tourism plays a pivotal role. She has made extensive contributions toward repositioning the newspaper and The McClatchy Company more competitively.
Prior to her role with The Sun News, Browning was a two-time publisher for McClatchy and Knight Ridder at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., and The Sentinel in Carlisle, Pa.
“P.J. brings a distinguished record as a publisher and a genuine passion for newspapers,” Hawkins said. “She’s an absolutely perfect choice to continue The Post and Courier’s 209-year-old tradition of excellence. She’ll prove to be a major asset to the greater Charleston community.”
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Halifax Media Group announced earlier this week that it has restructured its newspaper administration into three geographical areas to support its recent growth.
Kevin Drake, Spartanburg-based regional director of sales for the company's Western Carolinas Cluster, has been named publisher of the Herald-Journal, effective Aug 1.
Drake replaces Roger Quinn, who has been promoted to serve as regional publisher of the company's new Central Region, covering 12 newspapers in Florida, Louisiana and California. Quinn will be based in Panama City, Fla.
Drake, 43, came to the Herald-Journal in February 2009 after serving as publisher of the Times News in Hendersonville, N.C.
Drake will serve in his new role under Rick Martin, who was named regional publisher of Halifax's North Region covering North and South Carolina. Martin will also take reigns of the Gaston Gazette in Gastonia, N.C.
Martin has been the publisher of the Panama City, Fla., News Herald. He served as regional vice president for the Florida Region of Freedom Newspapers, the Gazette's previous owners.
|Ruling that autopsy reports aren't public records renews privacy debate
By Jeffrey Collins,
Most autopsies in South Carolina are paid for by taxpayers, but a state judge has decided they can no longer be reviewed by the public.
While the ruling took the media and First Amendment advocates by surprise, it isn't unprecedented. About half of the 50 states severely restrict what can be released from autopsy reports or makes them off limits entirely. Much of the debate is over concerns whether an autopsy report is an investigative report that can be reviewed or medical records that should be kept confidential.
"There's no doubt that courts and legislatures seem to be balancing interests differently in the Internet era," said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. "Historically, it has not mattered why you want open records. It's really dangerous to start going down the road of policing access to records based on what we fear people might do with them."
The newspaper involved in the case asked for the autopsy report of a man shot to death by police. When the reporter got the information from another source, it contradicted what officials said in the days after the shooting, including whether the suspect ever fired a gun. The Item of Sumter plans to appeal the ruling handed down earlier this month, but if it is allowed to stand, yet another type of work conducted with public money will remain secret from taxpayers, said Jay Bender, the attorney representing the newspaper.
"Who provides oversight in these cases where there are deaths caused by public officials?" Bender said. "The fact this person was killed by police shows why it is so important the facts are disclosed to the public so they can review them."
Reporter, Anderson Independent-Mail
What do you like best about your job?
I love being able to meet people, and tell their story. I meet some of the most interesting people, and I am amazed at how willing people are to open up their lives to me -- even when they are heart-broken. It is an honor to be able to tell those stories, to honor those lives and to be able to give all people a voice.
What would you say is your proudest moment from your career in the newspaper industry?
I would say that my proudest moments are when an editor tells me that I have done a good job, or whenever someone tells me that the story I have written has brightened their day, or helped them in some way.
How do you view the future of the newspaper industry?
I am hopeful for the newspaper industry. We are the storytellers, and we have important stories to tell, and I believe that a community wants to hear those stories. I don't know how that works out in the end, but I think if journalists can remember that and believe in it, journalism will survive in this democracy.
What's your favorite SCPA member service?
The fact that we have someone fighting to keep records open in South Carolina, and a constant legal resource when we are trying to gain access to those public records.
Any big plans coming up?
A weekend in the mountains in October! :-)
Study shows S.C., N.C. public record laws weakest in U.S.
The Charlotte Observer reported earlier this week that a recently-released report ranked access to public records in the Carolinas as among the worst in the country.
The study by the State Integrity Investigation, which ranks states by their corruption risk, found that both South and North Carolina public record laws fail to provide an appeals process for denied requests or impose penalties on agencies violating public records laws.
South Carolina’s access to public records ranked 50th in the study, which also evaluated state budget processes, lobbying disclosure and judicial accountability. The Palmetto State also received an “F” in public access to information.
“I don’t think we have a bad law,” SCPA Attorney Jay Bender said. “We have a political culture that has never been supportive of democracy.”
South Carolina also does not have an oversight organization for requests or provide an alternative to court for appealing denials. The study said South Carolina’s records request process can also be costly and poor quality.
SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers said he was surprised by his state’s low ranking.
“I think we have a better law than many states,” he said. “However, it does need to be improved.”
He said the state’s major problem is enforcement.
“There is no realistic penalty for violations, and violations are more and more common,” he said.
Reporters Committee launches mobile app for reporters
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has launched RCFP FirstAid, a mobile application that gives reporters in the field immediate access to legal resources, particularly in situations where newsgathering or access may be stymied. If reporters need more help, the app also provides an instant connection to the Reporters Committee website and its 24-7 media law hotline.
RCFP FirstAid is available free for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. To find the app, users can visit the Apple, Google or Amazon app stores or search them for "Reporters Committee". Visit our own app page for more information.
Users can view legal topics covering: Gathering the news; Court access; Public meetings; Public records; Reporter's Privilege; and Libel. Within each category, users can narrow in on their particular need. For example, under Court access, they will find access information including juror questionnaires, arrest records, pretrial records and more. Many of the questions also include state-specific law if the user has selected one or more states.
Editor's Note: SCPA also has a mobile website that can be accessed from your smartphone or tablet. The mobile site has FOIA resources will be especially helpful. We've got the full text of the law, information on how to file an FOI request, a clickable phone and email link to the FOIA hotline and scripts for what to say when they close court or a meeting. Additionally the mobile site has industry news, a newspaper directory and calendar of events.
Camden announces promotion, new hire
The Camden Chronicle-Independent recently announced the promotion of staff reporter Michael Ulmer to assistant editor and the hiring of Tenell Felder as Localife editor.
Ulmer began working at the C-I in May 2011 following his graduation from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in political science where he also minored in print journalism. While at USC, he worked for the Daily Gamecock, USC’s student newspaper as a writer for the news and sports sections, and later as the weekly Viewpoints staff writer. Ulmer previously attended the College of Charleston, during which he worked for the George Street Observer as sports editor.
As assistant editor, Ulmer will assist Editor Martin L. Cahn in leading the C-I’s newsroom. He will continue to act as the paper’s county reporter, covering Kershaw County Council and other county-related issues. Ulmer will also become the editor of the West Wateree Chronicle, Camden Media Co.’s free weekly newspaper for residents living in the Elgin and Lugoff areas of the county.
Felder recently earned a master’s degree in communications focusing on magazine, newspaper and online journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, one of the premiere journalism programs in the country. While there, she handled page design for GreenMom magazine, a Newhouse magazine management project being published online. Felder also produced and edited videos for a Newhouse multimedia iPad application, and produced and edited video published on The Stand website.
Prior to attending Syracuse, Felder graduated cum laude from Furman University where she earned bachelor’s degrees in communications and political science. At Furman, she worked at The Paladin, the university’s student newspaper. First assigned as the Diversions editor, Felder became The Paladin’s editor-in-chief during her senior year. She also interned at the College Prowler and the Greenville Journal. Felder is a 2007 Al Neuharth Freedom Forum Scholar award winner, has earned SCPA collegiate journalism awards, and has been a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha national political science honor society, and Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society.
In additional to becoming the C-I’s Localife editor, Felder will be responsible for the C-I’s overall design, laying out the front page as well as inside news pages. She will also handle church news for the C-I, and assist with production of The Camden Horse, Camden Media Co.’s quarterly horse magazine.
The State honors Dominick, Hinshaw
Two journalists received The State Media Co.’s top honors earlier this week.
Tim Dominick, a photojournalist, received the newspaper’s Hampton Award, and Dawn Hinshaw, a reporter, received the Gonzales Award. The awards are named after key figures in the newspaper’s history.
Hinshaw and Dominick each received $1,000 and a plaque as they were honored by colleagues.
The Gonzales Award, which recognizes outstanding reporting and writing, has been awarded since 1968. The Hampton Award, presented for outstanding design, editing or photography, has been awarded since 1980.
Originally from Aiken, Dominick worked as a lab technician at The Charlotte Observer in the early years of his career before returning to South Carolina, in 1983, to join The Columbia Record and The State as a photojournalist. Over the years, Dominick has photographed everything from sports to state politics to the circus’ annual elephant walk to the rock group KISS.
A native of Springdale, Ark., Hinshaw joined The Columbia Record, The State’s former sister paper, in 1985, before moving to The State’s newsroom. Through the years, she has covered a range of areas, from community issues and public safety to the city of Columbia, and, most recently, Richland County government.
NNA postal expert receives public service award
Max Heath, postal chairman of the National Newspaper Association received the Al Smith Award for Public Service during a dinner at Eastern Kentucky University last week.
The award is named after longtime Kentucky journalist Al Smith, who received the inaugural award in 2011.
Heath was nominated by Benjy Hamm with Landmark Community Newspapers who detailed the many reasons he nominated the former executive editor of LCNI.
Few journalists have had as much positive impact on as many communities as Max Heath. He left a strong legacy of leadership during his years as executive editor of LCNI, recruiting, training and advising editors at the company's 50-plus papers. In retirement, he has continued his contributions to the health and future of community papers by serving as a consultant to them on increasingly critical postal issues.
The award was sponsored by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
NAA presentation shows newspaper industry's vitality
NAA has created a presentation designed to address where the newspaper industry is today in 2012 and where we are headed as we move forward. The newspaper industry is evolving
to address the structural changes in the marketplace and capitalizing on emerging
technology. Newspaper media will succeed because we have three essential
components. We have strong brands, great assets and talented people. To view the presentation, click here.
Florida university plans to remove newspaper racks, charge for space in new ones
The University of Florida’s independent student newspaper is protesting a change in distribution policy that it believes could have a detrimental effect on readership and First Amendment freedom. Earlier this month, UF informed The Independent Florida Alligator that it will be replacing 19 of the newspaper’s bold orange racks with large black modular racks owned by the university. In order to use the new modular racks, the Alligator will have to sign a licensing agreement and pay a fee to use the space.
While the newspaper will retain the majority of its approximately 70 privately-owned racks, it is concerned because the 19 racks targeted for change represent some of the most heavily-trafficked distribution sites on campus.
The Alligator is “leaving all options open,” said Thomas Julin, the newspaper’s attorney, and has not ruled out the possibility of filing a lawsuit against UF.
Numbers, without interpretation,
leave readers in dark
Spend any time in a newsroom and numbers readily become a fact of everyday reporting. Reporters' eyes can easily become glazed by the stream of statistics.
A city council raises sewer rates – 7 percent for homes, 12 percent for commercial properties. A school board recommends passage of a school building referendum on the premise of nominal increases in property taxes, only $150 a year on a home valued at $250,000. A sheriff 's yearend report presents a mixed picture of public safety – a 10-percent decrease in burglaries and break-ins vs. a 15-percent jump in serious crimes. The examples are numerous.
||Five tactical tips for small advertisers
The first order of business for a small advertiser is to make some strategic decisions (including competitive points of differentiation, budget, schedule, web presence and co-op availability).
When it's time to move on to the ads themselves, consider these points:
1. Make an offer. This tip goes for all advertisers, especially Mom and Pop businesses that are competing with large, national chains. If you don't give people a reason to buy from you, they'll buy from someone else. It's as simple as that.
Shoppers expect low prices from big box stores. A widget at Walmart or Best Buy costs less than the same widget at a local retailer. As a result, it is unreasonable for Mom and Pop to compete on every-day, item-by-item pricing.