Ethics codes are clear about free travel, gifts
Reporters covering the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte could win a trip to Myrtle Beach.
What’s this? Not sure the SPJ Code of Ethics addresses this. Oh wait, it does.
“Journalists should refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
The ASNE code says: Journalists must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety as well as any conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict. They should neither accept anything nor pursue any activity that might compromise or seem to compromise their integrity.
According to an email from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber PR department: “We'll be giving a Myrtle Beach vacation away each day to one member of the press -- you just have to check in with us each day to be entered. We'll be located in downtown Charlotte at Blackfinn Saloon in the Epicentre -- just steps away from the convention center.”
The release says the Chamber will be co-hosting a “Hospitality Central” for members of the press…”Sunday through Thursday, we'll provide free wi-fi, charging stations, an open bar and complimentary breakfast and lunch buffet -- complete with Southern Lowcountry cooking.
Umm, bloody mary’s and chicken bog. Sound’s good, but the trip crosses a line.
Let’s hope the Chamber treats out-of-town journalist better than the local folks. The Chamber has refused to release its budget to local reporters and send one reporter to a non air-conditioned warehouse to look at requested documents while it blasted “Achy Breaky Heart” and the Chipmonk’s Chistmas Song from boomboxes.
SCPA Committee to revise news contest rules next week
In just a few months, it will be time to submit your newspaper's entries for the 2012 News Contest! Can you believe it's almost that time of year?
SCPA's Contest Committee is meeting next week to revise the rules for the 2012 contest, which will be available to all members on Oct. 3.
If you have any comments or suggestions about the annual contest, including ideas for contests we should have or not have, please let Jen know by Thursday of next week so the committee can discuss them.
Also, the contest deadline will be here before you know it on Dec. 7! Ease the time crunch and start getting your tearsheets and PDFs together now. The 2012 contest period is
Nov. 8, 2011, to Nov. 7, 2012.
SCPA Foundation intern learns how weekly newspapers work at the Free Times
USC junior Austin Price got to grow his skillset in several areas of weekly newspapering while completing his 10-week internship at the Free Times in Columbia.
Price, a visual communication major, spent most of his time at the alternative weekly designing ad and editorial layouts and taking photos. Price also did research, wrote a story and helped with the launch of FT Parent, a new parenting magazine the Free Times launched in late July.
"Seeing how the paper as a whole works was really awesome," Price said. "I got to be involved with different parts of the paper, from the ad side to the layout and editorial side and learned a lot about what it takes to put a newspaper out."
Though Price came to the paper with Adobe computer skills and a good eye for design, he worked closely with the Free Times' graphic designers, who offered valuable training and feedback to make his work stronger.
“I had an awesome summer working at Free Times. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot at the same time. Everyone there was great to work with and gave me very useful feedback on my work.”
Price went so far as to say that it was "by far the best learning experience I've had since I started studying journalism."
The newspaper staff also had a great experience having Price as their summer intern.
“I don’t think it could have gone better. [Price] had strong skills, a solid work ethic and an excellent attitude,” said Dan Cook, editor of the Free Times. “If this intern is representative of the overall program, then whatever the SCPA is doing to select and screen interns is working. I hope the program can continue and expand.”
And it wasn't all work and no play for Price and the staff of the Free Times, who are known for their superb table tennis skills (SCPA staffers are still waiting for a rematch).
"Everyone there is amazing at ping-pong, but I'm proud to say I got three hard-fought wins."
Price said the experience was one he would repeat.
"The only way it could have been better is if it lasted longer."
The SCPA Foundation internship program depends on gifts from our newspapers and individual members. If you want to support the education of our future newspaper journalists in South Carolina, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Foundation. No gift is too small. Contact Jen to find out how you can help.
Next week, we'll introduce you to Erin Shaw, a USC student who interned at the Summerville Journal Scene.
Social Media Coordinator
The Post and Courier
What do you like best about your job?
Using social media to interact with the community and help cover breaking news. Check out Andy's Facebook and Twitter accounts.
How do you view the future of the newspaper industry?
I'm one of the optimistic ones. I think newspapers are still appreciated at a local level and, as long as they continue to improve online and communicate with their readers through social media to determine how best to give them what they need to know, I tend to think they'll do moderately well when they have smaller, more local owners not saddled with debt.
What would you say is your proudest moment from your career in the newspaper industry?
I honestly don't know. Still being able to do what I love ranks high up there.
What's your favorite SCPA member service?
Being able to call Jay Bender up every time local government decides it doesn't want to obey the law.
Any big plans coming up?
We're always planning. Now we just have to make things happen.
Photographer Andy Burriss marks 40 years with The Herald Item appoints new online development manager
By Andrew Dys, The Herald
Whenever Andy Burriss takes pictures for The Herald – starting 40 years ago this week– he always makes it.
He never misses a photo – ever. And, if we’re lucky, that won’t be changing any time soon.
His pictures chronicle what life and love, pain and suffering, murder and joy, are for those of us who live and work here, who love and raise our kids here.
If it’s news in York or Chester or Lancaster counties – sometimes farther afield than that – Burriss is the choice to make the world stop for a second to be memorialized forever.
If something mattered in the past 40 years, Andy Burriss probably took a picture of it. His pictures are what life was, and is, where you live.
An awful killer beats his parents to death, and the jury comes back with a death sentence. At that exact moment, the killer sticks his fingers in his ears to try not to hear clanging bells of execution.
Burriss, silently, takes the picture that allows the world to see a coward try, and fail, to escape his fate.
Elwin Wilson apologizes to the world for his racist past, for beating up a man in 1961 at the Rock Hill bus station – a man who later became a congressman.
It was Andy Burriss who took the pictures of both men when Wilson personally apologized to U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Burriss circled the U.S. Capitol building for six hours, waiting to get that picture.
He got the picture the world saw and remembers.
Andy Burriss always gets the picture.
There were so many other big news events where Burriss took the pictures – from the Rev. Jerry Falwell sliding down a Fort Mill waterslide in a suit, to presidential visits and campaigns, to the devastation of Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Nobody remembers much about what Falwell said that day, all those political speeches, or the words written in the weeks and months after the storm.
Burriss’ pictures are all that remain in our memories.
What sets apart Burriss’ pictures of important news is the people and the faces.
Big events become personal.
Jillian Rigsby has been named new Online Development Manager for The Item. Rigsby previously worked with the 20th Force Support Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, having spent more than three years designing graphic ads, marketing base facilities and creating and managing the base website.
Rigsby is a DeVry University Technical Management grad and moved to the Sumter area from Chicago four years ago.
Rigsby will join the paper's online development team, which will lead the effort to revamp and upgrade The Item website, and create new print, web and mobile sales and marketing solutions designed to help local businesses succeed in new ways.
Former SCPA Foundation intern gets job at the paper where she interned
Claire Byun, who was an SCPA Foundation intern during the summer of 2011, has been hired by The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, the newspaper where she did her SCPA Foundation internship. Byun will work as a page designer and copy editor. Byun graduated from Winthrop University in May with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and Journalism. While at Winthrop, she served in several leadership roles at the campus newspaper, The Johnsonian, including the editor-in-chief position. Byun has received SCPA awards in both the collegiate and professional news contests.
More S.C. papers to charge for online access
By Corey Hutchins, Free Times
A company that owns five newspapers in South Carolina, including The State, announced that it will soon start charging readers to view online news content, erecting what is known in the industry as a paywall.
The McClatchy Company announced July 27 it would start charging for online access to all its papers, with the full rollout beginning in the fourth quarter of this year.
It’s a trend that’s on the rise among big daily papers in the Palmetto State, and it follows a series of layoffs in recent years that have decimated newsrooms and lowered morale among employees.
Newsroom layoffs came in part because big news companies conglomerated when times were good but had trouble maintaining high profit margins as advertising revenue peeled away during the Great Recession. Other reasons include shrinking subscriber bases as more people get their news digitally, and the rise of online services like Craigslist that have replaced newspaper classifieds.
Print ad sales continue to drop. From 2009 to 2010, at newspapers surveyed by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, print ad sales still accounted for 92 percent of overall advertising revenue, but those revenues fell by an average of 9 percent.
“Thus the actual dollar gains were outnumbered by losses by a factor of 7-to-1 for those papers,” the organization wrote in March.
To make up for lost revenue, papers are asking their online readers to pony up if they want to consume the papers’ news via their websites.
South Carolina Press Association director Bill Rogers believes paywalls are vital for the subscription-based newspaper model.
“It’s the wave of the future,” he says. “I just think it’s necessary for the survival of newspapers to not give away the news.”
In South Carolina, the Greenville News was a beta test for the online paywall model for its parent company Gannett, Rogers says. In May, the independently owned Charleston Post & Courier rolled out a metered paywall for its website.
At least a dozen other daily or semi-daily papers across the state use paywalls, including the Sumter Item; the Pageland Progressive Journal; the Lancaster News; the Lexington County Chronicle; the Horry Independent; the (Cheraw) Link; the (Seneca) Journal; the (Camden) Chronicle Independent; the (Greenwood) Index Journal and the Gaffney Ledger, according to the state Press Association, of which Free Times is a member.
Newspaper forecasts not all bad; industry executives see some potential for improvement
Despite stories questioning the health of the industry, newspaper executives find some reason to be optimistic, according to a new study of media executives conducted by American Opinion Research, of Princeton, N.J.
One in four newspaper executives say the industry will be more relevant to consumers five years from now than they are today, a third higher than the percentage saying newspapers will be less relevant. About half say there will be no difference.
Executives say they are working to stay relevant by focusing more on local news and events in their communities, information many consumers can’t get elsewhere. They are also focusing more on digital content to keep pace in our changing media environment. These are some of the findings of a study of daily and weekly newspaper executives in North America, conducted for Newspaper Association Managers, Inc. (NAM) by American Opinion Research.
Cheaper junk mail? Newspapers decry U.S. Postal plan
The U.S. Postal Service is proposing to cut its rates for one of the nation's top direct marketing companies, a move that threatens the newspaper industry's biggest money-maker: the Sunday advertising bundle.
The post office expects to generate $15 million in profits over three years by cutting what it charges Valassis Communications Inc. for new mass mailings. Livonia, Mich.-based Valassis sent more than 3 billion pieces of so-called junk mail through the post office last year. Under the proposal, Valassis has promised to send even more bulk mail. On those additional mailings, the Postal Service will give the company a discount of up to 34 percent. Valassis has agreed to pay a penalty if it does not boost its use of the mail service.
The newspaper industry says the deal is unfair and could wipe away $1 billion in annual revenue it gets from Sunday newspaper inserts and the advertising fliers it sends to non-subscribers during the week.
Valassis would be able to cut prices and attract advertisers like The Home Depot, Lowe's and JC Penney away from Sunday newspapers and toward its midweek bundle of fliers, called RedPlum. Valassis reaches 100 million homes every week and its clients include companies ranging from L'Oreal to DirecTV.
Study: Journalists’ lousy understanding of fair use leads to self-censorship
Few journalists understand the rules of fair use, but they often successfully fake their way through the issues it raises. That’s one takeaway from “Copyright, Free Speech, and the Public’s Right to Know: How Journalists Think About Fair Use,” a study by Patricia Aufderheide, Peter Jaszi, Katie Bieze and Jan Lauren Boyles, who interviewed 80 journalists and compared their often-comical understanding of legal matters to reality.
Among their findings, people who work in newsrooms had the advantage of colleagues they could consult:
“Interviewees who work within institutions had confidence that their editors had established a newsroom practice that they could comfortably follow. Journalists also referred often to ‘common sense,’ or as one put it, ‘You just know in general you shouldn’t park too close to a hydrant.’ Through this process, most journalists acquire baseline knowledge of fair use, often without realizing they are even relying on it. Those who lack newsroom support often display less confidence.”
Amazingly, they often got it right:
“Interviewees demonstrated a robust confidence in their ability to access other people’s copyrighted material without permission or payment, in some situations, typically without knowing they were employing fair use. Further, when they employed fair use without identifying it as such, they often accurately used the reigning logic of the doctrine — transformative purpose and appropriate amount.”
Photo editors were more sensitive to copyright concerns than others, maybe because so many of the people they work with get their stuff stolen all the time.
While most people the researchers spoke with knew they couldn’t take images they found via Google searches, there was less clarity about pictures posted on social media. …
When it came to text, the study’s authors found a wide range of misperceptions informing journalists’ work, leading them to do “risk analysis” that’s “usually ungrounded in any information about actual risk.”
How to handle plagiarism and fabrication allegations
The way an organization responds to plagiarism or fabrication can affect its relationship with its community, its staff, and its standing in the profession. The right response can help build or maintain trust. A weak response fuels distrust.
With that in mind, here's a guide to handling an incident or plagiarism or fabrication.
Review newsroom policy regarding attribution, plagiarism and fabrication. Does one exist? Is it current? Who manages it? If need be, bring it up to date by designating a person or newsroom committee to take ownership. As part of the policy, require that managers meet with team members quarterly to openly discuss standards, answer questions, and gather feedback on ways the policy might need to be amended, updated, or supported by training and communication. A good policy should address these questions:
- How should writers attribute quotes or other material gathered from outside publications, including wire services, or other stories published by your own newsroom?
- What is your newsroom standard for using press releases, video packages provided by public relations agencies, and other marketing material?
- How should journalists reveal the means by which they gathered information? For example, if an interview was conducted by email, on the telephone or in person, should that be noted?
- Some stories required a repeated block of background text. What's the best way to create, display and attribute that text?
- How should editors respond when evidence of plagiarism surfaces?
Designate a person or committee (of no more than three people) to routinely refresh the policy.
AP publishes 2012 election style guide
The Associated Press has compiled a list of U.S. political terms, phrases and definitions to assist in coverage of the 2012 national elections. The guidance encompasses the Democratic and Republican conventions to nominate presidential candidates; terminology for presidential races; campaign rhetoric; and elections for the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. Many of the terms are from the AP Stylebook. Others include writing with context and avoiding clichés.
For communication grads, a modest job recovery
For the second year in a row, the employment situation for recent journalism and mass communication graduates has improved, according to a new survey from the University of Georgia. But placed in the context of a “terrible” job market in recent years, the report says the latest job numbers represent only a “modest...recovery.”
Among those earning a bachelor degree in journalism and mass communication in 2011, 62.2% reported finding full-time employment within six to eight months after graduation, an increase from 58.2% one year earlier and from 55.5% in 2009. As recently as 2007, the employment rate for new graduates was 70.2%.
The report also found that women fared somewhat better in the job market, with 69.7% of the 2011 female bachelor degree recipients finding a full-time job compared with 61.7% of the male grads.
There was also a notable rise in the percentage of minority graduates in 2011 who found full-time work-58.7%, up from 49.9% a year earlier. Even so, that rate of hiring lags well behind the non-minority level of 69.9%
The survey also found that, for the first time since 2006, the median salary earned by bachelor degree recipients inched upward, moving to $31,000 from $30,000. Still, when adjusted for inflation, that’s almost $2,000 a year less than new graduates were earning in 2000. And it’s well below the $40,735 that the National Association of College and Employers reported as the median starting salary for all 2011 college grads.
JC Penney looks to newspapers in revamped marketing push
In the wake of bleak second-quarter results, JC Penney says it is shifting its marketing from brand building to business building.
During a meeting with analysts to discuss second-quarter results, CEO Ron Johnson detailed the marketing shifts that have taken place since its chief marketer and merchandiser, President Michael Francis, abruptly departed after just eight months. JC Penney "went dark" in mid-June -- the same time Mr. Francis departed -- turning off TV ads, canceling the July catalog that was already printed and scrapping July newspaper inserts, Mr. Johnson said.
The upbeat, colorful marketing rolled out during Mr. Francis' tenure made people rethink JC Penney and was entertaining, Mr. Johnson admitted, but it didn't reach the core customer and didn't build the business. Mr. Johnson also believes the brand was spending too much money on TV and not enough on print.
Aug. 16: PhotoShop Training, SCPA Offices, Columbia
Aug. 17: Collegiate Committee Meeting, SCPA Offices, Columbia
Aug. 23: Contest Committee Meeting, SCPA Offices, Columbia
Aug. 29: Webinar: The Art of Selling Deals: Strategies for Securing the Best Offers
Aug. 30: Webinar: Online Promotions: Tapping Into a New Revenue Source
Sept. 3: Happy Labor Day! SCPA Offices closed in observance.
Sept. 13: Webinar: How to pursue an investigative project while juggling other stories
Sept. 14: Webinar: Digital Monetization
Sept. 20: Executive Committee Meeting, SCPA Offices, Columbia
Sept. 28: FOI Committee Meeting, SCPA Offices Columbia
Oct. 3-7: NNA Annual Convention and Trade Show, Charleston
Oct. 18: Ad Basics, SCPA Offices, Columbia
March 22-24, 2013: SCPA Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation, The Westin Poinsett Hotel, Greenville