SCPA welcomes new members
The Executive Committee of the S.C. Press Association voted last week to accept the following new members. Please join SCPA in welcoming:
Free Distribution Newspaper Member:
- The Independent Voice of Fairfield County – Barbara Ball, publisher; James Denton editor. It is published weekly on Thursdays and has a circulation of 2,479.
Associate Members:
- S.C. Association of Community Development Corporations
- University of South Carolina Printing Services

Individual Member:
- Sue Summer, a retired journalist who worked for the Newberry Observer

Attorneys for S.C. Attorney General cancel
reporter's subpoena

Attorneys for S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson have notified the attorney representing Sue Summer that they have dropped the subpoena asking for information on Summers' covering the handling of the late soul singer James Brown's estate.
“Reporters are in the business of gathering and disseminating news, and not being investigators for litigants,” SCPA Attorney Jay Bender said about the case. Bender represents Summer.
South Carolina's Shield Law is meant to protect reporters and their sources from being revealed in court and to prevent reporters from having to turn over unpublished information.
“Reporters are the mechanism by which the public learns of activities undertaken by the government and others, and having a reporter respond to a subpoena interferes with the ability to continue to gather and disseminate news and interferes with the public's ability to be informed," Bender said.

Candidate SLED checks available from SCPA
SCPA is able to run SLED background checks on local political candidates for use in news stories.
All we need is the candidate's name and date of birth.
If you have a large number of checks, please email them to Jen Madden. We will get them done within 48 hours.
For regular news stories, please call in your background checks so that SCPA staffers can get them back to you more quickly.
Since SCPA started doing the SLED checks for member papers two years ago, we have done more than 2,000 background checks, saving members more than $50,000.
If you are not using this service and would like more information, please contact us.
SCPA to host ad sales and ad design workshops in October
There are still a handful of seats left for SCPA's popular quarterly ad sales training session, which will be held Oct. 18, at SCPA Offices in Columbia. The workshop, conducted by SCNN Ad Director Alanna Ritchie, is geared towards sales employees with less than a year's experience, but it is also a great refresher course for veteran sales reps. Ritchie, a veteran of weekly and daily newspaper sales, will help attendees understand sales basics, including selling against
competition, dealing with objections, closing skills, basic design and consultative selling.
The training will last from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and lunch will be provided. The cost to attend is $45. Register here.
SCPA is also hosting an ad design workshop – Design that Sells – on Oct. 25.  During this session, SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers will lead attendees through ad design basics using award-winning ads from across South Carolina. Your staff will learn ways of bringing readers into an ad through the use of effective type and art work.  Basic design principles will also be covered. This hands-on session is limited to the first 20 registrants. Lunch will be provided.  Click here for more details on this session.

National Newspaper Association to meet in Charleston next week
The clock is ticking away and so is your opportunity to register for the National Newspaper Association's 126th Annual Convention & Trade Show in Charleston. The convention will take place Oct. 4-7, at the Embassy Suites in North Charleston.
SCPA members are invited to attend at NNA member rates. So pack your bags and get online and register to join NNA next week for three days of education, networking with your peers, exploring all Charleston has to offer, social activities and lots of fun.
The hotel cut off was Aug. 31 to get a rate of $150, but it has agreed to take reservations on a space available basis. If you have difficulty getting the rate, contact Cindy Joy-Rodgers at for options. Click here to check out the program.

SLED report on convicted sheriff to stay secret
The Associated Press reported recently on details about what led prosecutors to accept a plea deal from a former sheriff that only left him paying a $900 fine for using inmate labor to build a party shed on his land. Details will be kept secret from the taxpayers who paid his salary.
Jason Booth, once the top lawman in Saluda County also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor - not a felony. That means he could work in law enforcement again in South Carolina, though his attorney lamented in court that Booth's actions had ruined a career he had dreamed of for years.
But the only details the public can review about the case are the indictment, sentencing sheet and Solicitor Strom Thurmond Jr.'s less than six-minute review of the facts of the case at Booth's guilty plea and sentencing. That leaves plenty of questions unanswered, including whether Booth may have impeded the investigation or misused other inmates in the past.
The report compiled by the State Law Enforcement Division agent investigating the case, which would normally be released under the Freedom of Information Act, won't be made public. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said state law requires any testimony or evidence put before the State Grand Jury to remain secret. ...
There is no reason why all these details should remain secret because the SLED report should be public even if it was used by the State Grand Jury, First Amendment lawyer Jay Bender said.
"That report became public the moment it was created," Bender

Bender reappointed to Reid H. Montgomery Chair at USC
USC President Harris Pastides has announced that SCPA Attorney Jay Bender has been reappointed as the Reid H. Montgomery Chair for a five-year term.  Bender teaches in the Journalism School and the Law School, and is widely regarded as a champion for open government and the First Amendment.
The Reid H. Montgomery Chair was endowed in honor of the long time executive director of SCPA and the person considered by many to be the father of the Freedom of Information Act in South Carolina.  Bender notes that Montgomery was his undergraduate media law professor and one who instilled a great appreciation for the role of a free press in a democracy in his students.

NAA CEO comments on denial of motion for emergency stay of USPS-Valassis special-rate deal
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has denied the emergency motion for a stay of the Postal Regulatory Commission’s decision on a special-rate deal for the U.S. Postal Service and Valassis Direct Mail. Caroline H. Little, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, issued the following statement:
"We are deeply disappointed that the court has not granted a stay of the Postal Service’s special-rate deal for Valassis Direct Mail until its review is complete," said Caroline Little, NAA president and CEO. “However, we believe strongly that we will prevail on the merits of the case. The Postal Regulatory Commission ignored the very clear standards Congress established for agency review of these types of arrangements. Also, the commission failed to fully evaluate the marketplace harm that will occur if this special-rate deal is implemented."

Press+ survey finds meters tightening
The number of free articles on metered newspaper websites continues to decline, according to statistics released this week by Press+. The RR Donnelley unit, whose digital subscriber platform is used by a number of major publishers including GateHouse Media, McClatchy and MediaNews Group, said nearly 40 percent of its more than 370 users now allow readers to view fewer than 10 articles per month free of charge; more than half of these publishers limit free articles to fewer than five.
“Most had launched their initial paid models with higher meters allowing more free articles,” Press+ said. “But even with the lowered meters publishers have seen no downside in results; across the range of Press+ affiliates there has been no decline in digital advertising revenues and publishers have retained their voice in their communities.”
Said Press+ co-CEO Gordon Crovitz in a statement, “There is no longer any question that the metered model works. We expect this trend of lower meter levels to continue at least through 2013 until the average is in the mid-high single digits. It’s no longer about whether more publishers will lower the meter; it’s just about when.”

Small-town America depends more on traditional media than big-city residents
By Jeff Sonderman, Poynter
Americans living in small towns are “the most likely to worry about what would happen if the local newspaper no longer existed,” according to a new Pew Internet & American Life survey.
But even in those small towns, only 61 percent say there would be an impact if their local newspaper no longer existed. (Among big-city residents, only 54 percent would miss their local paper.)
That’s one of many findings from a survey that compares the different media consumption habits and preferences among people living in big cities, suburbs, small cities or rural areas.
Residents of big cities “are particularly likely to get local news through Internet searches, Twitter, blogs, and websites of TV and newspapers,” the survey says, while residents of small cities and rural areas are more likely to still rely solely on traditional print and broadcast media.
Meanwhile, residents of big cities and their suburbs are significantly more likely to “participate” in the news by commenting or sharing, and are more likely to get news on mobile devices. Nearly half of all big-city residents use a cell phone or iPad to “go online for information or news about their community.”

Reynolds Center offers free business journalism webinars
The Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism is offering free online business journalism courses. Among the upcoming offerings are:

The center also provides free self-guided training, beat basics and daily coverage tips as well as regional workshops. Journalists can also apply for all-expenses-paid financial training at a Strictly Financials Seminar in Phoenix Jan. 2-5. Deadline for application is Nov. 1. 
The center is at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University's Phoenix campus. Access the Webinars and information about other free training at


Oct. 3-7: NNA Annual Convention and Trade Show, Charleston

Oct. 7-13: National Newspaper Week

Oct. 11: Advanced InDesign and PDF Training, SCPA Offices, Columbia

Oct. 18: Ad Basics, SCPA Offices, Columbia

Oct. 25: Ad Design That Sells, SCPA Offices

Nov. 1: Advanced Adobe Dreamweaver (Part Two of Two), SCPA Offices, Columbia

Nov. 15: Weekly Publisher's Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia

Dec. 6: Daily Publisher's Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia

March 22-24, 2013: SCPA Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation, The Westin Poinsett Hotel, Greenville