Legislative Workshop registration deadline is
The annual Legislative Workshop for the Media will preview the 2012 legislative session. Make plans to join your state legislators as they discuss various topics including the budget, tax reform, spending limits,
restructuring through the Department of Administration, the state retirement system, economic development, road management, tax fairness and more.
This event will take place on Thursday, Jan. 5, from 9:30 a.m. through 3 p.m., at the Statehouse.
We recommend this event for new and veteran Statehouse reporters, editorial writers, city editors and assignment editors.
This year's workshop is open to newspaper members only, not associate and individual members.
The event will be a one-stop shop that will allow credentialed media to interview key members of both the
House and Senate. Panelists
include Sens. Glenn McConnell, Thomas Alexander, Brad Hutto, Harvey Peeler, Larry Martin, Nikki Setzler, Vince Sheheen and Phil Shoopman, and Reps. Bobby Harrell, Kenny Bingham, Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Jim Harrison, Jay Lucas, Harry Ott, James Smith, Murrell Smith, Tommy Stringer and Brian White.
Les Boles, Director of the Office of
State Budget, will give an overview of revenue and spending projections for the coming year. A representative from the governor's office will also be on hand to give an overview of the
Mike Smith, executive editor of the Herald-Journal will moderate. All discussions are on the record.
The cost to attend this event is $50 per person for members of SCPA, SCBA and the AP. Lunch will be provided. The deadline to register is Dec. 28. A $10 per-person late fee will be charged for registrations made after that date.
This workshop is sponsored by the S.C. Press Association, S.C. Broadcasters Association and the Associated Press.
Click here to register.
FOI request to Haley brought irrelevant material
According to The Post and Courier, Gov. Nikki Haley's office did not release emails exposing its influence over a nonpartisan health care committee, instead releasing innocuous materials when The Post and Courier asked in May for documents related to the panel.
Revelatory emails surfaced last week after a separate state agency responded to a different request for documents under the FOIA.
The two requests are nearly identical.
The governor's response contained press releases, public schedules and some correspondence among staffers, but no emails from the governor.
SCPA Attorney Jay Bender blasted the omission and the lack of response.
"This is consistent with the governor's idea that it is acceptable to destroy public records in spite of a state law that demands their preservation," he said.
Bender pointed to a March email thread in which Haley tells her top aides the outcome she expects of a nonpartisan committee she established to study how the federal health care overhaul should be implemented in the state.
Recommendations in the committee's report, sent to the governor two weeks ago, reflect the directions Haley gave in the March email.
"They're covering up a sham," Bender said. "They're covering the fact that the committee came up with a decision the governor preordained."
to read more from The Post and Courier about Gov. Haley dictating health panel finding.
NNA update on postal situation
Editor's Note: The National Newspaper Association is working to preserve essential postal delivery, so that newspapers may continue distributing their publications in a timely manner through the U.S. Postal Service. NNA sent the letter below to its members Dec. 7.
Earlier this year, we wrote to assure you of the National Newspaper Association’s commitment to preserving essential postal delivery for its members. Now, as news has broken of serious cutbacks in service by the U.S. Postal Service, many members have contacted us to express alarm.
1. USPS does plan to slow up the delivery of First Class Mail and Periodicals by one day. But, your Destination Delivery Unit (local post office) mail should not be disrupted by this plan. Overnight or even same-day delivery of locally entered mail should not be affected by this plan.
2. If you are currently entering mail at a Sectional Center Facility (SCF), or allowing mail to ride up to the SCF from your post office and then to other post offices in your market area to reach your primary market, you should plan immediately to set up Exceptional Dispatch privileges to take newspapers to every local post office that you can reasonably reach through your own transportation. SCF mail will be disrupted as processing hubs are moved farther away.
3. USPS is looking into setting up some “transfer hubs” for 5-digit containers of mail, rather than hauling all of it into more distant processing facilities, just to be trucked back again. This may mean that we can avoid or mitigate some of the service disruption. NNA is working closely with USPS to identify areas where this option may be needed and possible.
4. Long-distance subscribers will no doubt see bad service become really rotten. Your efforts to convert these readers to electronic subscriptions may soon be helped by a rule change by USPS that will permit you to claim those electronic subscribers as paid circulation on your statement of ownership. The campaign by NNA to make that happen is now in its fourth year, but we hope to see a rule change early in 2012. If you need help identifying vendors to help you create electronic subscriptions, please contact NNA.
5. The status of 6-day mail delivery remains uncertain because of the unsteady situation in Congress. We are closely watching HR 2309, which would mandate the end of Saturday delivery. Right now, we believe this session of Congress will NOT pass this bill. But political pressures related to the federal deficit could change that status on short notice. If Congress recesses this month without action, we believe Saturday mail delivery will be preserved throughout 2012.
6. On Jan. 12, a moderate increase in postage rates in the 2.1 percent range for Periodicals and Standard Mail will occur. A proposal by President Obama to create an immediate, steep “exigency” postage increase failed with the demise of the so-called Super Committee. The postmaster general has assured us that he intends to have only the cost-of-living increase in 2012, though the Postal Regulatory Commission is holding open a case that would permit him to ask for more. USPS is nearing insolvency. Various political forces could seize control and create a major increase. NNA is fighting it.
There will be a lot of change ahead for the nation’s postal system. NNA supports S1789, the Senate bill that we believe has the best chance of preserving universal service. With or without it, the USPS malaise will affect our world in pretty negative ways. Our commitment is to do all we can to shape the outcomes and help you get your news to your readers.
S.C. Press Association & S.C. Newspaper Network
What do you like best about your job?
I like working with the newspaper journalists of South Carolina. They continue to inform their readers, challenge capricious authority and keep newspapers a vital part of their communities. When I got started in newspapering back in the '60s, it was the people I worked with that made going to work fun: the copy editor who walked to work and picked up scrap metal along the way; the fellow reporter who sent his competition in the wrong direction getting to a news event; the cute girl in advertising... well, I won't tell that story. And although we are all more corporate these days, we still have our characters left. And occasionally one will buy me a drink and tell stories.
How do you view the future of the newspaper industry?
I worry that some papers will cut content so much as to lose the reader franchise. That said, I think our state's newspapers will be around a long time in print format. Sure, we've got to look at electronic delivery and move to attract young readers, too. I think paywalls are the future because you can't sell what you have already given away.
Favorite thing about working at SCPA/SCNN:
I like visiting newspapers around the state... and eating at the local barbecueoriums is just a bonus. Plus we have a great staff and a lot of different challenges. It isn't boring and we try to make a difference.
What profession would you have chosen if you could not have worked at SCPA/SCNN?
I would be a charter captain on a sailboat in the Caribbean, looking for Lauren Bacall and a bottle of rum.
Any big plans coming up?
I'm hoping to make one more trip to Cuba... nice folks, great cigars, good rum and beautiful scenery. Wish me luck.
Bills would preserve public officials' emails
The State reported this week that two House members want to stop the deletion of emails sent and received by public officials. State Reps. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, and Mia Butler Garrick, D-Richland, filed separate bills this week to require the preservation of those records, which some say help the public and the news media better understand the inner workings of government. A review of Gov. Nikki Haley's email by The State newspaper last month found that some emails between Haley and staff members are being deleted. Media attorneys say the emails are public records, and the deletions violate the state's open records law.
Public entitled to written record of evaluation
The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg recently wrote an editorial on the importance of making public a local school district's board evaluations of its superintendant. They said that the performance evaluation of the superintendent of Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 is a matter of keen interest to the public. After a closed session, the board released a statement saying the superintendant had received a positive evaluation. The statement did not say how any trustee individually or trustees as a whole rated her performance on the individual measures, but stated that trustees are satisfied with her performance. When the newspaper asked for a copy of the evaluation, the reporter was told by the outgoing board chairwoman there was no paper copy.
The evaluation was done by phone, another trustee said.
Evaluations are necessary for tracking the superintendent's performance over time, and necessary for the public to make its own determination of performance based on their elected representatives' actions.
The FOIA makes the evaluation public information.
SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers noted that superintendents, teachers and other district employees are public employees. Their evaluations are public record. Along with the written summary, even any notes used in compiling the evaluation are accessible to the public under the law.
SCPA names Madden assistant director
Jen Madden has been promoted to assistant director of the S.C. Press Association, effective immediately.
In her new role, she will become increasingly involved in SCPA management decisions, lobbying and FOIA support.
“We are so fortunate to have someone with Jen’s skills and passion for our industry,” said Bill Rogers, executive director. “Jen also is extremely knowledgeable about social media and what that means for our newspaper members.”
Jen has been with SCPA since 2007, most recently as Member Services Coordinator.
"I am thrilled to be given this opportunity and I appreciate the confidence that SCPA's leadership has in my capabilities," Madden said. "I look forward to the challenge this new position presents and hope that I can help South Carolina's newspaper industry evolve during this time of fundamental change, and I love our members."
Online metrics inch closer to standardization
Nine months into an industrywide initiative to overhaul and standardize the Wild West landscape of online metrics, organizers are taking cautious steps into a pilot testing phase through 2012, acknowledging the profound implications of their work for everyone on the buying and selling sides of the media ecosystem, not to mention those who currently measure its traffic.The Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative, a joint venture of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), has progressed from outlining general goals and operating principles toward a six-month testing period slated to begin in the first quarter of 2012, noting even that shift has been a tender one given its seismic potential for advertising in a cross-platform world.
Newspaper Thanksgiving editions set records
Advertisers and consumers who focused on the 2011 Thanksgiving weekend holiday shopping kickoff enthusiastically turned to local newspapers and advertising preprint inserts for information on the best deals. The exceptional value consumers find in their local newspaper inserts was reflected in a spike in circulation revenues across the country. Meanwhile, the continued effectiveness of inserts in driving consumers to action was evident in resurgent advertiser demand, which resulted in a record number of inserts in many markets. According to a sampling of major newspaper groups and independent properties conducted by the Newspaper Association of America, newspapers across the country reported Thanksgiving newspaper bundles frequently weighing 5 pounds or more. For example, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer (published by The McClatchy Company) carried an unprecedented 87 shopping inserts and weighed in at a record-breaking 6.5 pounds.
Newspapers' digital audience skews younger, more affluent
People who read newspapers' digital content tend to be younger, better-educated and more affluent than the print audience for newspapers, according to a new national survey of 5,034 households by Pulse Research conducted from July-September of this year. The research confirms newspapers' success in building a substantial, and desirable, online audience. Pulse found that the average age of digital newspaper readers is 44, compared to an average age of 51 for print readers, with disproportionate representation for young adults in digital readership. Among adults 30 and under, there are 60% more digital readers than print readers, for a breakdown of approximately 61% digital versus 39% print in this age set. In terms of income, the average household income of digital readers was $65,480, compared to $53,776 for print readers, and the proportion of digital readers in households with incomes over $100,000 per year was 82% higher than print readers. Turning to education, digital readers are 22% more likely to have a college or post-graduate degree than print readers. They are also more likely to have families, with 48% of digital readers reporting they have children at home, compared to 32% of print readers -- perhaps reflecting the fact that older print readers children have already left home.
Gannett bans anonymous Web comments
Most Gannett newspapers have switched or are switching to Facebook's comments platform. Other media companies, including Media General, have done the same. Some websites report a loss of traffic after putting new controls on online comments. Paul C. Grzella, general manager of a Gannett newspaper in New Jersey said that comments on his paper's website were too often mean and off-topic. “By holding commenters accountable for their actions through Facebook, the hope is that this will help keep the conversation interesting and stimulating for the rest of us,” he writes.
AP's 'New Distinctiveness'
A memo to Associated Press staffers says: "AP wins when news breaks, but after an hour or two we're often replaced by a piece of content from someone else who has executed something more thoughtful or more innovative." Often, the memo says, it's done by someone who has taken AP's reporting "and pushed it to the next level of content." AP senior managing editor Michael Oreskes adds: "We can't let other people win by cannibalizing our content. We need to do it ourselves each day, to parlay our reporting into work with a longer shelf life." He continued, "
More than ever, we need to infuse that sensibility into our daily process of news and planning. We need to institutionalize it. And we need to do it everywhere in the AP -- across geographies, across formats, across subject matter. ... We're calling this The New Distinctiveness."
The initial glimpse into what it means details: fast response, thematic thinking, multiple story forms, journalism with voice and rethinking the planning process.
In $2.5 million judgment, court finds blogger is not a journalist
Academics and Web thinkers have spent a lot of time jawboning about whether a blogger fits the definition of a journalist. It’s an endless discussion, but this week in Oregon, the debate turned costly for one blogger. A blogger was sued in January by an investment firm over several opinionated and critical blog posts. The firm sought $10 million in damages. Although the judge threw out several of the firm’s claims, he ruled against her on a single post and ordered her to pay $2.5 million in damages.
According to The Associated Press, a district judge found that as a blogger, the defendant "was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.”
The judge wrote: "Although the defendant is a self-proclaimed 'investigative blogger' and defines herself as 'media,' the record fails to show that she is affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system. Thus, she is not entitled to the protections of the law.
Study finds frequent newspaper readers are more trusting
A study out of Washington State University shows that people who are frequent readers of a daily newspaper tend to be more trusting of others than those who read newspapers less frequently. The effect holds for both residents of small towns and big cities, even though researchers found small town residents are more trusting in general than city dwellers. The study underscores the importance of newspapers in their communities. By reinforcing feelings of trust, the researchers said, newspapers can help make communities better places to live. When people trust each other, they are more likely to work together to improve their communities.
AOL's Patch gets a little less hyper-local
AOL had hoped to reach 1,000 Patch sites by the end of 2011. But now comes word that Patch is slightly scaling back its efforts in some markets, fueling speculation inside the hyper-local news organization that Tim Armstrong's big local bet was a bit too ambitious. Patch spokeswoman Janine Iamunno said that Patch has merged sites in one-off cases in the past, and did not deny the possibility of future mergers. "It's not some shift away from what we're doing," she said, "but if it makes sense to do it again, we will."
Publicly funded organizations
should operate in the open
Entities that spend taxpayer dollars should show taxpayers how that money is used. That's true for government entities -- like your local town, county and school district -- and for nonprofit groups that accept government grants. Transparency shows respect for the public, which in turn encourages the trust of the citizens. And when that happens, we all win. Unfortunately, the cause of government transparency suffered a setback a few weeks ago. According to media reports, the S.C. Association of School Administrators had been refusing requests to open its meetings -- and its books -- to the public. SCASA advocates on behalf of school district administrators. Many of its activities are political, and its Website announces it has a "full time lobbying team" at the State House. Here's the problem: the S.C. Association of School Administrators is funded in large part by public dollars.
Kevin answers questions concerning overprints, sizing & upgrades
The mailbox has been full the past few weeks with questions from readers. Must be something in the air. Perhaps it's the smell of eggnog. From Liz in Louisiana: Hi Kevin, I'm contacting you regarding a problem we are having when we print a PDF file. On certain issues, we put a huge magenta "SAMPLE" across our flag. I've been working here four years and have never had a problem or a second thought about this. We recently changed printers, and now they're telling us that on our PDF, "SAMPLE" is a knockout and that we should print it as an overprint. No problem, except that no one can tell us how to do this. No one except you! Any help that you can give would be greatly appreciated.