Spurrier press conferences return to normal
The flap over USC coach Steve Spurrier refusing to meet with print reporters if a Columbia columnist was in the room seems to have diffused.

USC president Harris Pastides responded Monday to a letter from SCPA President Bill Hawkins and said in part:

“The University of South Carolina, particularly with our strengths in journalism and law, does
not believe in the exclusion of any media at press events. This was an isolated situation and,
since its occurrence, we have worked closely with The State to find a way to rectify matters.

“I assure you that in my leadership of our Flagship university system, we respect the work and
the role of journalists. We will continue to be open to the press and will move forward from
this incident. Thank you again for bringing the South Carolina Press Association's concerns
to my attention.”

Columnist Ron Morris was on hand and in the front row for Spurrier's news conference on Saturday in
Starkville just after the Mississippi State game. Morris was on another assignment and didn’t attend Spurrier’s Tuesday conference.  Both conferences followed normal format and Spurrier made no mention of walking out on print reporters the week before to do individual TV interviews.

WLTX reported that Spurrier said on his weekly Thursday night call-in radio show that he had no regrets about refusing to do his weekly press last week conference while Morris was in the room. "I'm not proud of what I did," Spurrier said. "I'm not apologizing for it. I don't know if I was right. I don't know if I was wrong. But I can assure you this. It won't happen again. Once is enough. That won't happen again as long as I'm at South Carolina." 

Athletic Director Eric Hyman was asked before a USC Society of Professional Journalists meeting if newspaper reporters would be excluded from future press conferences.  Hyman said “I don’t think so.” He said he had talked to Spurrier and “we have some issues to work through.”  Hyman said he had not discussed Spurrier’s actions with him prior to the press conference.  Hyman later refused to continue his address to SPJ if SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers stayed in the room taking notes.

A movement started by Gamecock supporters on Change.org against The State newspaper and the South Carolina Press Association has brought more than 400 spam emails to SCPA. 

Few spots available for next week's ad design workshop
Do your newer ad sales reps and production employees need help creating ads that work for your customers? Sign them up for Design that Sells. SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers will lead this workshop from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Oct. 27, at SCPA Offices in Columbia. 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 including: headlines, color choices, white space usage, font choices, borders, line art vs. photos, contrast, giving ads stopping power and turning readers into buyers. The cost is $45.

Editor, Independent Mail, Anderson

What do you like best about your job?
With only a few exceptions I've encountered over the years, newspaper people are the smartest, most compassionate and most dedicated folk on the planet. Any time I have wondered why I'm still a journalist, some kid in the newsroom or some oldtimer in the pressroom has reminded me by trying harder than I expected or mentioning how good the paper looks. There's a lot to like about my job, but the people with whom I work at the Independent Mail are reason number one.

What is your biggest challenge and how are you facing it? 
As we all know, there is a litany of issues, from the economy to the changing media landscape on down the list. The big one to me is the lack of engagement in serious thought by the people in our communities. That attaches to everything. At the top of our challenges every day is how to capture the attention of readers and Web visitors in a way that engages those people in what is happening in their world. We face it by being as relevant and fair as we can be.

What's the best part of working in the newspaper industry? 
We are generalists who get to ask the questions that everyone would like to ask.

What's your favorite SCPA member service?
I think we as a member organization do a great job at reminding the General Assembly of why we exist and why we are specifically mentioned in the Constitution. I also think the work of John Shurr (and now Trisha O'Connor) with the FOI committee has kept South Carolina among the top states in allowing the press to hold power accountable.

Any big plans coming up?
Getting the paper out tomorrow and keeping web users and Clemson fans  (OrangeandWhite.com is great!) coming back every day... Personally, getting through physical therapy on my surgically violated knees so I can beat the publisher at golf and go fly fishing in Idaho... Staying alive!

industry news

The Tribune-Times of Simpsonville celebrated its 100th Anniversary last month. Steve Brandt, president and publisher of The Greenville News spoke on Sept. 29 at the celebration. The occasion also marked the official opening of the Fountain Inn History Center. Personal memorabilia of Robert Quillen, who founded the newspaper in 1911, can be found in the history center. Videos and tributes from the celebration can be found online. To read the Tribune-Time's front page, click the thumbnail at the right.

Waccamaw Publishers  in Conway was victorious recently in its challenge to a court order forbidding the publication of information revealed in open court and in an open court file.
The order by the S.C. Supreme court was brief: “The appealed order which imposed a prior restraint upon appellant is reversed.  Oklahoma Pub. Co. v. dist. Court ina and for Oklahoma County, 430 U.S. 308 (1977).”
SCPA Attorney Jay Bender, who represented the newspaper group, said  the opinion was “per curiam” meaning it was by the entire court.  Unfortunately, the court noted, “This opinion has no precedential value.  It should not be cited or relied on a precedent in any proceeding except as provided by Rule 268(d)(2), SCACR.”  In other words, the opinion can’t be used to convince any other court that prior restraints are unconstitutional.

The South Carolina Scholastic Press Association at the University of South Carolina celebrated its 75th Anniversary at the Columbia Marriott on Oct. 16-17. A banquet held on Sunday night was attended by more than 200 people. More than 500 students and advisers attended the educational sessions on Monday.

industry news

Poynter columnist: It's time for metered pay walls
Pioneering efforts with pay walls are yielding encouraging results, Bill Mitchell writes at Poynter.org. Mitchell cites judicious use that leaves free access to some content as reader enticement and a means to maintain social Web relevance. The evidence indicates that a substantial fraction of readers is willing to pay for online access, and newsrooms are responding by generating more content.

Media General local digital ad revenue up 32% in Q3
Media General Inc., a multimedia provider of broadcast television, digital media and print products, today reported operating income for the third quarter of 2011 of $5.7 million, a 50.5% drop compared to operating income of $11.5 million in the 2010 third quarter. A net loss in the current quarter, including non-cash impairment of $26.6 million, was $29.8 million, or $1.32 per share, compared with a net loss of $10.7 million, or 48 cents per share, last year. One bright spot for the company was its local media websites. Buoyed by a 32% increase in local digital advertising, the sites generated more than $8 million in revenue - a 13% increase - and delivered more than $1 million in cash flow. Unique visitors rose 17% during the period, reflecting audience growth from new sources such as tablets and social media, the company said.

Four reasons the Sunday front page now looks a lot like the Monday front page
By Sara Dickenson Quinn, Poynter Institute
Where are all of the truly great Sunday, front page designs in the U.S. these days?
As I do my daily run through the Newseum’s collection of front pages, Sunday looks a lot like Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
“Papers seem to be taking fewer chances,” said Suzette Moyer, creative director of the St. Petersburg Times’ Bay Magazine. “Instead of blowing out that one big story that they know is good, papers are trying to appease every reader by cramming it all on the front page.”
You have a little more time to read on a Sunday, right? And more time to analyze what you’ve read. It should be special.
Granted, there might be a beautifully executed front page on any given Sunday in any given town with the ability to stop a reader in her tracks. Some papers excel at this (see examples below). But, by and large, I think the volume has been turned down to a rather monotonous murmur around the U.S.
“I don’t think there is enough surprise to most Sunday papers,” said Moyer.
And no big surprise as to why.

Deal or No Deal
Since Groupon first launched in 2008, daily deal competitors have flooded the market. While some have reached near-Groupon levels of popularity, others quickly fizzled. Success “boils down to two key areas,” says Unaiz Kabani, an analyst at daily deal site aggregator Yipit.com. “First is acquiring users. Groupon and LivingSocial had that edge early on, and since then, they’ve been spending enormous amounts on online marketing. [Then] you have to generate demand per deal. It’s becoming too expensive for smaller sites.” Which doesn’t keep them from trying. The following lists illustrate some still going strong more than a year after launching, and others that failed to break through in the marketplace.


Disrupters and Adapters: Will the Internet Save Newspapers?
The two visions of higher education's future I described in my column this week - Stanford Professor Sebastian Thrun's mission of a virtual university and Stanford President John Hennessy's devotion to a flesh-and-blood campus - intrigued me because of the larger context. So much of the debate about the impact of new technology tends to be polarizing. The utopians versus the skeptics, the idealists versus the realists, those who throw themselves headlong into the great mosh pit of the new, and those who cherish the familiar and time-honored. read

Rethinking Newspaper Websites: We Got It Wrong. It's Time to Fix It.
There were some flaws in our thinking and our assumptions when community newspapers rushed to create websites 10 to 15 years ago. Three of those flaws stand out:
The decision that most of us made to give away our content for free. (We shouldn't.)
The expectation that a new audience would flock to our websites even though they were not reading our newspapers. (They won't.)
The belief that the increase in online ad revenue would offset the decline in print ad revenue. (It doesn't.) Today we are sadder, wiser and poorer. So where do we go from here? read


Oct. 27: Design That Sells Workshop
SCPA Offices, Columbia

Nov. 4: Media & Military Workshop
Ft. Jackson, Columbia

Nov. 10: Social Media

Nov. 11: Webinar: Anatomy of a Sales Call

Nov. 24-25: Happy Thanksgiving! SCPA Offices Closed.

Dec. 1: Webinar: Understanding the “New Business” of News

Dec. 2: News Contest Deadline

Dec. 8: Webinar: Video Marketing Revolution - Making Online Video Make Money

Dec. 9: Hall of Fame Nomination Deadline

Jan. 5, 2012: Legislative Workshop for the Media
S.C. Statehouse, Columbia

Jan. 18: Ad Basics Workshop
Columbia, SC

Jan. 20: Scholarship & Internship Deadline

March 16-17: Annual Meeting & Awards Presentation