Aug. 4

The State runs gay wedding notice; survey finds most don't have policy yet

If you've been putting off a decision on how to handle gay wedding announcements, the day of reckoning may be near.

The State ran its first gay wedding announcement Sunday, July 31.  The announcement was for an interracial couple married in New York, but with strong S.C. ties.

Reader response was nil.  Even when a local TV station put a story on their website, comments were almost all positive.
           
An SCPA survey of daily papers done two weeks ago found that most respondents hadn't given the topic much thought and have not faced the issue yet.  Most did not have a policy.
           
The decision has been shifted from the newsroom in most newspapers now since wedding announcements are now paid advertising.
           
Of the six respondents, all but one believed they would run the announcement of a legal gay wedding.  (That one said they would wait until it was legal in South Carolina.)  One paper said they would run it, but not with the wedding announcements.
           
Most said they would not run commitment ceremonies.

Legalities of same-sex marriage announcements
When New York's legislature approved marriages between same-sex couples recently, the state became the seventh state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  The District of Columbia also issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  Five states recognize civil unions between same-sex couples and accord those couples spousal status.

The State published an announcement Sunday of the marriage of Gregory Maurice Smith and William Leonard Hasty III in Mamaroneck, N.Y.  Other South Carolina papers may have run wedding announcements by same-sex couples, but I don't recall seeing one.  The Smith-Hasty announcement read like a traditional announcement, and included a photograph of the couple.  From a historical perspective, both the announcement and photo were distinctive.  The participants were both men and the couple is inter-racial.  Either issue would have been grounds for unceremoniously rejecting the announcement in days gone by.

From a legal perspective, several questions arise.  May we publish such announcements legally?  May we decline such announcements legally?  Are there other legal pitfalls with similar announcements?

Papers in South Carolina may publish wedding announcements of same-sex couples without violating any law, and any attempt by the South Carolina General Assembly to prohibit such publications would be unconstitutional.

Papers in South Carolina may decline to publish wedding announcements from same-sex couples without violating any law. If a paper publishes wedding announcements as news items, editors are always free to determine what is news. If a paper charges for the placement of wedding announcements, it may always choose with whom the paper will do business.read

Disaster Checklist will help prepare your newspaper
This week S.C. newspapers have been reporting that National Weather Service computer models continue to show Tropical Storm Emily coming close to the Palmetto State.
In times of natural disaster or crisis, eyes turn on the press for immediate and accurate news coverage. But what happens when the press becomes the victim of a disaster?
From hurricanes and other natural disasters to power outages or a loss of an important staff member, trauma is almost impossible to predict. But through effective preparation, newspapers can continue to function in spite of setbacks. Take a moment to review SCPA's Disaster Checklist for Newspapers, a preparation guide to aid damage control at your newspaper.

mimi

Group Publisher of the Barnwell Newspaper Group which includes The People Sentinel (Barnwell), The Citizen News (Edgefield), The Hampton County Guardian and The Jasper County Sun (Ridgeland)

SCPA Immediate Past President

What do you like best about your job?

It's NEVER dull! I love the fact that my job gives me the opportunity to be diverse.

What is your biggest challenge and how are you facing it?
Like everyone -- the economy. Actually the answer is classic - looking for new ideas, working with our local advertisers, finding new sources of revenue, reaching into the deep well of resources within our organization. It is the answers that are different and it is how we pay attention to them that will give us growth.

What's the best part of working in the newspaper industry?
The opportunity to talk with and learn from so many interesting and talented people.

What's your favorite SCPA member service?
It's like when my sister and I asked my mom who she loved the best -- it was whomever needed her the most at the moment. I truly appreciate all the services available to SCPA members and the fantastic staff that provides those services. My favorite is the one I need at a given moment because it is helping me in some way.

Any big plans for the summer?
Personal -- My husband and I are going to New York with Omar Shriners. This will be a train trip and tour.
Professional -- expanding our digital footprint as the best information delivery source in my market.

Judith Mundy Burns, president and publisher of the Index-Journal in Greenwood, has been elected to serve on the SCPA Executive Committee. This mid-term election by the Executive Committee was called after former Executive Committee member Kim Woods of The Herald in Rock Hill moved out of state to take a new job. The vote was unanimous to elect Judi as a daily newspaper representative. She will serve the remaining eight months of Kim's term, then serve a regular two-year term.

Michael Leonard is the new publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald (N.C.). He most recently served as publisher of The Journal in Seneca.

The Beaufort Gazette sold the building on Salem Road that has been its home for more than 40 years and relocated to Boundary Street. The Gazette's new office at 1809 Boundary St. is about 900 square feet and will house a receptionist and advertising representatives. Reporters and photographers also will use the building. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. About five years ago, printing operations for the McClatchy-owned Gazette moved to a state-of-the-art plant in Bluffton, where the company also publishes The Island Packet. "We've consolidated our office needs, as well," said Sara Johnson Borton, publisher and president of both newspapers. "We just didn't need 10,000 square feet of office space in Beaufort anymore."

Josh Dawsey, a senior journalism major at the University of South Carolina is the first recipient of the David J. Morrow Business Journalism Scholarship. This scholarship was established in memory of David J. Morrow, ’83, USC journalism school alumnus and former editor-in-chief of TheStreet.com. Dawsey has worked at several newspapers in South Carolina including The Sun News and The Aynor Journal. He spent the summer of 2010 as an SCPA Foundation summer intern at The Island Packet in Hilton Head.

In an editorial in The Post and Courier, editors said they were glad that the state highway commission now is willing to consider providing an opportunity for the public to speak at its regular meetings, after initially rejecting the idea. The paper reported that the highway commission has been chided for failing to provide adequate public notification for its discussion of a $344 million bond issue. The commission also met last month for dinner at the lakeside house of the transportation secretary. SCPA Attorney Jay Bender said this was a violation of the FOIA because when a quorum of the commission gets together, it is a public meeting. At the commission's next meeting, Commissioner Harrison Rearden took strong issue with Bender's remarks, saying that no public business was conducted during the dinner. Nevertheless, he inadvertently raised a related issue, as quoted in the minutes of the meeting. Talking about the commission's need to "be doing the big picture business," Rearden added, "At lunch today we were talking about where do we go from here, what are the big projects?" The Post and Courier's editorial brought light to an important issue -- the highway commission ought to be talking about "the big projects" at the regular meeting of the commission, where the public can hear what's being discussed -- not at lunch.

The Greenville News reported earlier this week that the Taylors Fire and Sewer District is reviewing its new Freedom of Information Act policy after sections of the document were called into question.
Commissioners said its previous policy was approved in 1992 and needed to be updated after receiving an increased number of FOIA requests that the said meant hours’ worth of research at the expense of staff. The new policy sets a rate structure that charged a minimum $18, $28 or $33 an hour to make records available. If records were examined at the district office, another hourly rate was applied for the time it took an employee to monitor the process. SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers said a public body can’t charge a minimum one hour rate or a fee for people to review records, even if staff oversees the examination. “Public access to documents shouldn’t be a fundraiser for these groups. It’s meant to cover the actual cost, and this seems to be far more than that,” he said. “This is a barrier to keep people from having access to their records. This is in total violation of the spirit of the law.” The commissioners will review the new FOIA language at their next meeting.

industry news

GreerAmong affluent Americans,
print media is tops
Throughout 2011, Ad Age used the Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer to track new and traditional media use among American Affluents. This monthly survey consists of more than 1,000 online interviews with respondents making at least $100,000 in annual household income -- in other words, the 20% of Americans who account for about 60% of U.S. income and approximately 70% of U.S. net worth. The survey was conducted between March and May 2011. When asked how they read magazines, 93% said they read hard-copy print versions; in contrast, less than a third read them on computers, and no other format garnered more than 10%. The same pattern is evident for newspapers, which 86% read in print, compared to the 39% who read them on computers, and 14% who read them via smartphone.

Some Lee Papers adopt metered model, even for print subscribers in West
Six Lee Enterprises newspapers are adopting a metered pay model on their websites. Starting earlier this month, even print subscribers will have to pay a small charge to read above a certain number of articles online -- but they do get a discount. The participating Lee newspapers are the Missoulian, Ravalli Republic, Billings Gazette, Helena Independent Record, Montana Standard and Casper Star Tribune. Lee owns The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg, which has not announced a paywall.

Transparency, iteration, standards: Knight-Mozilla's learning lab offers journalism lessons of open source
The Knight Foundation and Mozilla took the premise of hacks and hackers collaboration and pushed it a step further, creating a contest to encourage journalists, developers, programmers, and anyone else so inclined to put together ideas to innovate news. Informally called "MoJo," the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership has been run as a challenge, the ultimate prize being a one-year paid fellowship in one of five news organizations: Al Jazeera English, the BBC, the Guardian, Boston.com, and Zeit Online... There was a theme running through the talks: openness. Not only were the lectures meant to get participants thinking about how to make their projects well-designed and up to web standards, but they also generally stressed the importance of open-source code. ("News should be universally accessible across phones, tablets, and computers," MoJo's site explains. "It should be multilingual. It should be rich with audio, video, and elegant data visualization. It should enlighten, inform, and entertain people, and it should make them part of the story. All of that work will be open source, and available for others to use and build upon.") ...So, after all that, what can we begin to see about the common threads emerging between the open source movement and journalism? What can open source teach journalism? And journalism open source?

columns

My new phone book arrived on the doorstep recently, or at least half of it - the yellow pages, but no more white pages. It was expected. The white pages had been disappearing from other cities, lost to the costs of printing, the shift of people to unlisted cell phones and the proliferation of online directories. But it set me to thinking how intertwined the phone book and journalism were and how, in many ways, they remain on similar paths. How many of us, when the phone book got plunked down on the doorstep, rushed to make sure we were in it, our name and number correct? read

Let's say you're a newspaper designer. If you were to go blind, could you still do design?Yes,depending. If you've had years of experience designing pages, then it would not be very difficult for you to:
Visualize a design as it is being described to you.
Tell another how you would want a particular page to look. Those hundreds and hundreds of pages you've designed make it easy to design a page in your head.read

email

August 5: Webinar: Perfecting InDesign's Secret Weapon to Saving You Time: Tables

August 12: Webinar: Selling to Main Street - Growing more local ad revenue

Sept. 1: Basic and Advanced PhotoShop Seminar
SCPA Offices, Columbia

Sept. 8: Daily Publishers' Roundtable
SCPA Offices, Columbia

Sept. 9: Webinar: Making Objections Obsolete - Sept. 9

Sept. 16: Collegiate Boot Camp
Coastal Carolina University,
Registration info available soon!

Sept. 20: Webinar: Lessons From the Joplin Globe Tragedy: Covering and Managing the Newsroom During a Crisis

Sept. 22: Webinar: Leading the Way, Today!

Sept. 29: Webinar: Leveraging Facebook to Drive Readership

Oct. 2-8: National Newspaper Week

Oct. 7: News Contest Rules Available

Oct. 20: Ad Basics
SCPA Offices, Columbia

Oct. 27: Design That Sells
SCPA Offices, Columbia

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