Use caution when running mug shots
There is something about a mug shot.

If the mug isn't yours, you may be among the throng of people who have a fascination with mug shots. Websites devoted to mug shots categorize the mugs by fame, attitude, attire (Hawaiian shirts), and other attributes. Some sites are devoted exclusively to celebrities -- did you know that you can see a mug shot of a very geeky Bill Gates who the site says was arrested in New Mexico in 1977?

Newspapers have picked up on the trend and some publish a mug shot page in the paper or start special mug shot publications.

Certainly someone has done some research to ascertain that readers want to see the mugs of the unfortunate.

Now newspapers reporting on crime and criminals isn't new -- that subject has long been a staple of the newspaper business -- and agate type listings of the names of those charged with crime have been a part of almost every paper at one time or another.

Is there any legal liability from publishing crime lists and mug shots?

I have long been worried about the agate type crime lists since they are often compiled by the least experienced person in the newsroom. "Jones, go over to the police station and get a run-down on the incident reports," barked the editor. Jones, fresh from J-school or her high school paper charged off to compile the list.

At some papers, Jones would return to the newsroom and compile the list from her notes. It would be rare for copies of the reports from which the list was compiled to be brought back to the newsroom for a copy editor to use to compare the public record with the paper's listing. In today's environment there may not even be copy editors looking over Jones' shoulder. read

Social Media e-Roundtable set Nov. 10
SCPA will host its first social media online roundtable for newspaper editors, reporters and social media coordinators on Thursday, Nov. 10, from 11 a.m. until noon.

We invite you to join the Spartanburg Herald-Journal's multimedia editor Tom Priddy, The Post and Courier's social media coordinator Andy Paras, Kurt Knapek of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach and the University of South Carolina's Doug Fisher, as we discuss all things related to social media. We'll chat about various topics including social media for newsgathering and publishing, tools to help you do your job, and best practices and policies.

There is no fee to take part. To participate, you must have sound on your computer.  And if there are topics you want to put on the agenda, please send them to us.

To sign up, please click here.

Hall of Fame nominations due Dec. 10
SCPA is seeking nominees for the S.C. Journalism Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame was established in 1973 to recognize and honor men and women who have excelled in their craft and made significant contributions to journalism and their communities.

Close to 70 newspaper journalists - from Colonial and Civil War days to the present - have been chosen by their peers for recognition.

Requirements for admission specify that a nominee must have made his or her journalistic reputation in South Carolina. If the reputation reflects achievements outside the state, the nominee must have been a native of South Carolina. Nominees must have been deceased for four or more years.

Nominations may be made by anyone now or previously employed by or associated with a S.C. newspaper.
Download nominating materials.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 9. Applications can be emailed to Jen or mailed to SCPA, P.O. Box 11429, Columbia, SC, 29211.

Editor and General Manager
The Herald Independent, Winnsboro

What do you like best about your job?

Serving the community by holding accountable the stewards of taxpayer dollars, by bringing back-room politics out into the light, and by highlighting some of the things we, as a community, do right. 

What is your biggest challenge and how are you facing it?
Doing more with less. At first, we faced this by curling up into a little ball and whimpering. Finding no one was feeling sorry for us, we regrouped and pushed on. The community has, for the most part, been very receptive to our circumstances. There are more people out there willing to contribute for little or no recompense than we would have originally imagined. That said, one often has to put extra care in the editing process in order to maintain the quality of the content, and our readers have come to expect a rather high quality when it comes to our content.

What's the best part of working in the newspaper industry?
Serving the community as a vital instrument of democracy. You also get to meet some very interesting people, particularly in a small community such as we serve. And it's these folks who are really at the bottom of it; it's all about them. This is their newspaper. They subscribe. They read. The newspaper is really their voice, and this community is particularly good at utilizing that voice. Just read our letters to the editor some time and you'll see.

What's your favorite SCPA member service?
The fantastic legal advice we receive regarding open government laws, as well as the mentoring and training sessions. 

Any big plans coming up?
Fall is here, at last, so, as a rabid baseball fan I am looking forward to postseason play, as well as the college football that comes with this time of year. I predict some good tailgating in the near future.

industry news

Beaufort County coroner refuses to release state official's autopsy
The Beaufort County Coroner's Office, in apparent violation of the state's open records law, denied a request to The Post and Courier last week for the autopsy report of a state official who died in Beaufort on Aug. 27.
In a follow-up phone call, Coroner Ed Allen said, "We do not release autopsy reports except to families. ... We have never released them to the press."
When told the newspaper has received copies of autopsy reports from other counties, Allen said: "I don't care about what other South Carolina counties do."
SCPA Attorney Jay Bender said reports produced by coroners are public records.
Bender is litigating a case involving the coroner of Sumter County, who said in July he cannot release autopsy reports because doing so would violate medical privacy laws.

Summerville hires chief in secret
The Town of Summerville hired a new fire chief with little formal review by Town Council and no public disclosure, The Post and Courier reported last week.
The town has neither released the name of the candidate to be recommended nor the five candidates interviewed.
Town staff whittled a pile of 88 applications for the position down to five candidates, side-stepping a FOIA requirement that states councils are required to make public a selection of "not fewer than three" finalists before hiring anyone.
The Post and Courier requested information on those five candidates, including the selection. Mayor Bill Collins said he would not release the documents because the candidates had not been notified yet.
The rapid hiring was pushed by Mayor Bill Collins, a former newspaper publisher.

industry news

Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins has been named president of The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle. Atkins will assume his new duties Jan. 3, after his retirement as commander of Alaskan Command, Alaska NORAD Region, Joint Task Force Alaska, and 11th Air Force at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Atkins will succeed Don Bailey, who resigned in July after holding the post for seven years.

industry news

Newspaper Web traffic up 20% in Sept.
Traffic to newspaper sites was up 21% in September, compared to the same month a year ago, according to comScore data prepared for the Newspaper Association of America. Newspapers also performed well in other key engagement categories, including time spent and unique visitors. Unique visitors (up 9%) and total page views (up 10%) also rose in September. Users also spent more time with newspaper sites during the month, with total minutes spent rising 11% compared to the same period a year ago. For the third quarter, newspaper sites attracted an average monthly audience of 110.4 million unique visitors ages 18-plus -- some 64% of all Internet users.

Seeking success for newspapers in the social media marketplace
Breaking news stories on your website is so 2007. Today it’s all about social media, promoting your “brand,” and maxing out your Twitter stream. If you’re loud enough, you might just break through the chatter and gain some recognition for yourself, but will any of this actually move the needle?  Social media has been integrated into just about every facet of everyday life, and newspapers around the world have jumped on the bandwagon in hopes of cashing in. The theory is that social networks will help you connect with readers, acquire paid subscribers, and generate better stories, but how? The words “likes,” “followers,” “engagement,” and “influence” have been heavily discussed, but is social media really the godsend newspapers have been searching for?    

How people use tablets and what it means for the future of news
Eighteen months after the introduction of the iPad,11% of U.S. adults now own a tablet computer of some kind. About half (53%) get news on their tablet every day, and they read long articles as well as get headlines. But a majority says they would not be willing to pay for news content on these devices, according to the most detailed study to date of tablet users and how they interact with this new technology.   The study, conducted by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism in collaboration with The Economist Group, finds that the vast majority of tablet owners-fully 77%-use their tablet every day. They spend an average of about 90 minutes on them. posing greater threat to print
AdWeek says that is the silent, cash-rich killer of the once-fat Sunday paper ad section. And soon it will be going public. The promotions platform is largely responsible for the migration of ad dollars from clippable coupons to printable ones, and it has a $1 billion valuation and more than $100 million in the bank to show for it. (Redemption rates on old-school paper coupons have fallen from a sad 1.6 percent to an even sadder 0.6 percent in the last decade;'s rate is more than 18 percent.)

industry news

Martha Elizabeth Espedahl
Writer, Charleston News and Courier and Charleston Evening Post
Martha Elizabeth Espedahl, born and raised in Columbia, died Sept. 11, in Little Switzerland, N.C.
A talented writer in print journalism, Martha worked for several years at the Charleston News and Courier and the Charleston Evening Post. She won numerous press awards for her feature writing. For the rest of her career Martha was the Fashion Editor, Garden Editor and Women's Editor for the Wilmington News-Journal in Wilmington, Delaware. Yearly she covered the women's fashion shows in Paris, New York and Los Angles plus the men's ware fashion shows in various locations. The Paris Women's Fashion Openings were her favorite. She met and knew well many of the world famous designers.
Espedahl graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in journalism. At the university she was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority.


Double Vision: See your computer screen on your phone
The Institute of Newspaper Technology offers a good time for me to"stretch" a little, as I prepare for the barrage of questions that will come my way from some of the smartest "geeks" in the business. It's also a good time to become acquainted with new tools that are available to improve the work of the newspaper professional. According to evaluations from the attendees, one application, Splashtop Pro, offered more "wow" moments than any other this year. read

Five reasons it's time to put up a metered paywall
For media executives awaiting reassuring evidence before experimenting with digital subscriptions, the time has arrived.

Simply put, their more adventurous colleagues at other companies have discovered multiple paths around the biggest risk attached to the pursuit of subscription revenue: diminished audience reach.

Here's how they've navigating that tricky challenge:read


Nov. 10: Social Media

Nov. 11: Webinar: Anatomy of a Sales Call

Nov. 11: Webinar: Offering Social Media to Your Advertisers: What You Need to Know

Nov. 18: Webinar: How to Go From Successful Print Sales to Successful Online Sales

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