Fuzzy reporting confuses your readers

Fuzzy reporting confuses your readers By Jerry Bellune, Writing Coach Be specific, my first city editor drummed into my poor rookie brain.I've not forgotten it.Someone needed to remind this reporter. In an international newspaper, he wrote: Hamas released some hostages held in the Gaza Strip and Israel freed some Palestinian prisoners...

Give readers what they’re interested in

Give readers what they’re interested in By Jerry Bellune, Writing Coach NewYorker.com editor Michael Luo pays close attention to his readers’ habits. He measured the most popular New Yorker stories of 2023 by “engaged minutes” – the time readers spent reading them.He says he was surprised by what was missing. No...

Last call to help judge Nebraska’s contest

Last call to help judge Nebraska's contest By Richard Whiting I’ll not travel down the dark path of Bruce Springsteen’s 1982 album “Nebraska” and its title track, but I will remind you that our compatriots, cohorts, comrades — whatever word suits you best — in Nebraska need our help.If you...

2024 LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW FOR THE MEDIA

2024 Legislative Preview for the Media Posted Jan. 8, 2024 The Honorable Dennis C. Moss: Chairman, House Invitations and Memorial Resolutions (R-Cherokee) The Honorable Bill Sandifer: Chairman, Labor, Commerce & Industry (R-Oconee) The Honorable Dennis C. Moss: Chairman, House Invitations and Memorial Resolutions (R-Cherokee) The Honorable Bill Sandifer: Chairman, Labor,...

2024 LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW FOR THE MEDIA

2024 Legislative Preview for the Media Posted Jan. 8, 2024 The Honorable Brad Hutto: Minority Leader (D-Orangeburg) The Honorable Shane Massey: Majority Leader and Chairman, Senate Rules Committee (R-Edgefield) The Honorable Brad Hutto: Minority Leader (D-Orangeburg) The Honorable Shane Massey: Majority Leader and Chairman, Senate Rules Committee (R-Edgefield) The Honorable...

2024 LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW FOR THE MEDIA

2024 Legislative Preview for the Media Posted Jan. 8, 2024 The Honorable Tom Davis: Chairman, Labor, Commerce and Industry (R-Beaufort) The Honorable Thomas Alexander: Senate President and Chairman, Interstate Cooperation (R-Oconee) The Honorable Danny Verdin III: Chairman, Medical Affairs (R-Laurens) The Honorable Greg Hembree: Chairman, Education (R-Horry) The Honorable Tom...

2024 LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW FOR THE MEDIA

2024 Legislative Preview for the Media Posted Jan. 8, 2024 The Honorable Chip Campsen: Chairman, Fish, Game & Forestry (R-Charleston) The Honorable Katrina Shealy: Chair, Family and Veterans’ Services (R-Lexington) The Honorable Thomas Alexander: Senate President and Chairman, Interstate Cooperation (R-Oconee) The Honorable Chip Campsen: Chairman, Fish, Game & Forestry...

2024 LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW FOR THE MEDIA

2024 Legislative Preview for the Media Posted Jan. 8, 2024 The Honorable Danny Verdin III: Chairman, Medical Affairs (R-Laurens) The Honorable Greg Hembree: Chairman, Education (R-Horry) The Honorable Tom Davis: Chairman, Labor, Commerce and Industry (R-Beaufort) The Honorable Thomas Alexander: Senate President and Chairman, Interstate Cooperation (R-Oconee) The Honorable Chip...

Your active listening skills

Your active listening skills By Jerry Bellune, Writing Coach The best acting advice I ever heard was to really listen to the actor talking to you instead of waiting to deliver your lines. Your attention will show in your eyes.Career coach Jennifer Herrity advises that active listening  helps you  focus.It...

National Newspaper Week Ad

2023 National Newspaper Week Ad Join SCPA in celebrating National Newspaper Week Oct. 1-7! In addition to the ad below, President Richard Whiting will have a column available later this week. Additional  print and digital ads, columns and editorial cartoons are available on the National Newspaper Week site for download at no...

Advertising’s slippery slope

Advertising’s slippery slope By John Foust, Advertising Trainer I remember taking a day-long ski trip to Virginia. The charter bus was filled with skiers who had different levels of experience: a few were pretty good, most were average, and some were novices like me.After a morning on the beginners’ slope,...

South Carolina Supreme Court is unanimous in its support of open courts and open records. Are the trial courts paying attention?

South Carolina Supreme Court is unanimous in its support of open courts and open records.  Are the trial courts paying attention? Published Sept. 2023 By SCPA Attorney Jay Bender On September 6 the Supreme Court of South Carolina filed an opinion vacating an order which had reduced the prison sentence...

Interviewing

How to interview anybody By Jerry Bellune, Writing Coach Your guidelines for interviewing anybody are thankfully similar.Your subject may be the President of the United States or the woman who just won best arrangement at the local flower show.1. Do your research, even if it’s only talking with those who...

Free Press Doesn’t Mean Freedom to Break the Law, But Police Shouldn’t Arrest Journalists

Free Press Doesn’t Mean Freedom to Break the Law, But Police Shouldn’t Arrest Journalists Published July 2023 By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications Last month two reporters for the left-leaning The Asheville Blade in North Carolina were convicted of misdemeanor trespassing for not leaving when...

‘Running of the interns’ highlights why federal courts should be open to cameras​

'Running of the interns' highlights why federal courts should be open to cameras Published June 2023 By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications “On your mark. Get set. Go!”These words were not actually called out in the federal courtroom where former president Donald Trump was arraigned...

Carefully screen columns by public officials

Carefully screen columns by public officials Published May 2, 2023 By Jim Pumarlo, Newspaper Consultant How will the Legislature deal with a record budget surplus, and what will it mean for taxpayer pocketbooks? Are there implications for public safety with the proposal to legalize marijuana? Which communities are the winners...

Making The Sea Bountiful

Making The Sea Bountiful Artificial Reefs & Memorial Fishing Grounds Tom Poland Posted April 26, 2023By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netEarly 1980s, it was. We put out to sink a ship. Waves tossed us about as we headed seaward to document the sinking of a Liberty ship. Seems it was the...

Moody Spring

Moody Spring Tom Poland Posted 4/25/23By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netRounding a curve on Highway 107, I saw water spurting from handsome stonework set in a mountain. Moody Spring, I knew we’d stop. I had no qualms about drinking the spring’s water. It had no taste. That’s what made it great....

Your Continental Divide

Your Continental Divide Tom Poland Posted 4/18/23By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netSomething trendy comes along that’s annoying and you resist. Some manager at work decides to implement a new work procedure. You don’t like it. “C’mon now, just go with the flow.” It takes courage to resist others. In going with...

Life’s Healing Elixir

Life’s Healing Elixir Tom Poland Posted 4/11/23By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.net A Sunday sojourn found me at Healing Springs near Blackville, South Carolina. There I stood on Gods Acre, property deeded to God. Palm Sunday it was, and processions came to be healed. Some came to slake a thirst driven by curiosity....

Drumming Up White Feathery Memories

Drumming Up White Feathery Memories Tom Poland Posted 4/4/23By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netLong before I moved to South Carolina, family vacation trips took us over Charleston’s “New Cooper River Bridge.” To be accurate, we drove over the Silas N. Pearman Bridge to Mount Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island—destination surf and seafood....

Highway 61 Revisited

Highway 61 Revisited Tom Poland Posted 4/4/2023By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netFrom 22,000 miles high, a satellite dropped an uncanny merging of highway and music into my path. XM Radio played the comedic ACME siren whistle that rose, then fell smooth as silk. The second that whistle kicked off “Highway 61...

Memories Of Zebco Reels & Red Wrigglers

Memories Of Zebco Reels & Red Wrigglers Tom Poland Posted 3/30/2023By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netI drive west, Georgia bound,and pass it yet again, a place that pulls at my heart. My father had a worm farm, and my grandfather’s country store had a minnow tank. Fishing meant everything to me...

S.C. media and First Amendment advocates must remain vigilant as new ‘hurricane’ brews in Florida

S.C. media and First Amendment advocates must remain vigilant as new 'hurricane' brews in Florida Published March 2023 By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications In 2022, Hurricane Ian barreled across Florida, causing widespread damage and becoming the deadliest hurricane to strike Florida since 1935. Ian...

WHY WOULD AN INNOCENT MAN LIE?

WHY WOULD AN INNOCENT MAN LIE? Published March 2023Editor's Note: Member editors can pick this column up and run it in print and online as they see fit. By SCPA Attorney Jay Bender Why would an innocent man lie to police about the last time he saw his wife and...

The magic and mess of a blank page

The magic and mess of a blank page Reba Campbell Posted 3/21/23By Reba CampbellI started the year trying to resume the discipline of keeping a handwritten journal. This process of deliberately writing by hand has reminded me how it so often results in a flow that’s very different from writing...

If it’s 10:08, it must be a watch ad

If it’s 10:08, it must be a watch ad By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”That’s certainly true in advertising. Consider the nuances of photography. For example, the next time you...

Behind the Lens

Behind The Lens Tom Poland Posted 03/20/2023By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThirty-seven years ago I wrote “Worth The Wait,” a feature on photographing wildlife. South Carolina Wildlife magazine photographers Ted Borg, Robert Clark, and Phillip Jones gave me tips on seasons and subjects, cameras and lenses, film speed, light and color,...

Editor ‘can handle mean,’ but can’t stand ‘baseless cynicism and unwillingness to think’

INTO THE ISSUES Editor ‘can handle mean,’ but can’t stand ‘baseless cynicism and unwillingness to think’ Published Feb. 21, 2023 By Al Cross This month’s column is mainly from someone else, because it illustrates a serious problem facing rural newspapers: How do they manage increasingly contentious public discourse and still...

What are they selling?

What are they selling? By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Greensboro, NCMy wife and I once visited with Rick and Karen, a couple who had served as missionaries overseas. As part of their work to get involved in the community, Rick was assigned to teach a class at a local school....

Prime time to take inventory of your newsmakers

Prime time to take inventory of your newsmakers Published February 2, 2023 By Jim Pumarlo, Newspaper Consultant Here’s a periodic action item for every newspaper: The exercise can be quite revealing in evaluating how you are connecting with various audiences. It is even more important in today’s fractured media landscape...

The power of enthusiasm

The power of enthusiasm By John Foust, Advertising Trainer There’s a story about a professor of literature at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. As he approached retirement, someone from the newspaper interviewed him. During the course of their conversation, the reporter asked the wise old professor about...

Resolve to be accessible, stay relevant

Resolve to be accessible, stay relevant Published Jan. 2023 By Jim Pumarlo, Newspaper Consultant Surviving in today’s fractured media landscape depends on your ability to identify, collect and deliver the relevant community news. That job becomes more challenging if readers become frustrated in their attempts to connect with reporters. The...

Suing the Media for Revenge and Profit

Suing the Media for Revenge and Profit Published Jan. 2023 By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications In his new bestselling book and slew of media interviews promoting it, Prince Harry rails against the British media and their alleged collaborators within the British Monarchy, blaming them...

We’ve got some explaining to do

We’ve got some explaining to do By John Foust, Advertising Trainer People usually say “no” to things they don’t understand. It’s a salesperson’s job to help prospects understand what he or she is selling. What makes media choice A better than choice B? What’s all this talk about target audiences...

Advertising’s Bill of Rights

Advertising’s Bill of Rights By John Foust, Advertising Trainer In the advertising business, there are things which must be done in order to create an effective campaign. Think of it as Advertising’s Bill of Rights: Send the right message…to the right audience…in the right medium…at the right time…about the right...

Oboes and leadership

Oboes and leadership By John Foust, Advertising Trainer If you’ve been to a symphony concert, you’ve witnessed the cacophony of sound before the concert begins. Every instrument seems to be in its own world, independently running through the musical scale.Actually, this is a traditional and deliberate process to tune all...

Libel without a name?

Libel without a name? Published October 2022 By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications A parent’s apparently false allegation at a public November school board meeting that an administrator in Richland County School District Two had strip searched his daughter led to a defamation lawsuit against...

Say it and do it, or renegotiate

Say it and do it, or renegotiate By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Joanne is an ad manager with a common-sense approach to managing her team and their goals. She believes in communication – not micro-management – but real communication on how things are going.“For years,” she told me, “I often...

The Royals and the Press

The Royals and the Press Published September 2022 By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications The death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II after a reign of more than 70 years has prompted a cascade of retrospectives and reminiscences of the major events and changes of the...

The power of being specific

The power of being specific By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar used to ask, “Are you a meaningful specific or a wandering generality?” He related his comment to a number of areas: long and short-term goal setting, day-to-day activities, and dealings with family members, coworkers...

Trial Gag Orders Are No Laughing Matter

Trial gag orders are no laughing matter Published August 2022 By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications South Carolina Circuit Judge Clifton Newman was praised (here and here, for example) in early August when he rejected requests for gag orders from both the prosecution and the...

Plan now to recognize first responders

Plan now to recognize first responders Published August 9, 2022 By Jim Pumarlo, Newspaper Consultant Are you looking for a project that can energize your news staffs, generate new advertising revenue and underscore the value of a local newspaper to potential new subscribers?Mark Oct. 28: National First Responders Day.Full disclosure...

Tell them why – and sell more

Tell them why – and sell more By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Like some other kids, I learned how to drive before taking the drivers’ education class in high school. My father took me to the school’s football stadium on weekends when the expansive parking lot was empty. The car...

A key question: What’s next?

A key question: What’s next? By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Gregory talked to me about a lesson he learned in his early days of selling advertising. “In one of my first presentations, the prospect rejected my ideas for a new campaign. Back at the office, my ad manager must have...

South Carolina needs a good SLAPP law

South Carolina needs a good SLAPP law Published June 2022 By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications In late May, the Judiciary Committee of the North Carolina State Assembly approved a legislative bill, which would allow for early dismissal of lawsuits making libel or other claims...

Post and Courier advances digital subscriptions business with sports newsletters, in partnership with GNI

Post and Courier advances digital subscriptions business with sports newsletters, in partnership with GNI Published June 2022The Post and Courier and Google News Initiative (GNI) published a case study highlighting the impact of new paid newsletters to the paper’s digital subscription business. In partnership with the GNI, The Post and...

Two advertising goals: Attention and Retention

Two advertising goals: Attention and Retention By John Foust, Advertising Trainer As mentioned in previous articles, there are two types of advertising: image and response. Image advertising – sometimes known as institutional advertising – is designed to give people a good impression of the advertiser. (“We’re the dealership that cares.”)...

A good idea is worth the wait

A good idea is worth the wait By John Foust, Advertising Trainer When I was a kid and jumped to conclusions about something, my father often said, “Hold your horses, son.” That’s an old saying that means, “Whoa! Stop and think carefully before making a decision.” Dad had a lot...

The importance of proofreading

The importance of proofreading By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Proofreading is one of the most important skills in the advertising world. While anybody with a sense of humor can appreciate a harmless blooper (one of my favorites is the sign that read, “Ears pierced while you wait”), no advertiser wants...

Advertising’s blast from the past

Advertising’s blast from the past By John Foust, Advertising Trainer In order to look ahead to a new advertising idea, sometimes it helps to take a look at the past. When an advertiser has been in business for a number of years, there are plenty of possibilities.Let’s take a look...

Examine, evaluate reporting shortcuts

Examine, evaluate reporting shortcuts Published Feb. 9, 2022 By Jim Pumarlo, Newspaper Consultant I fondly characterize newsrooms as organized chaos. I witnessed that firsthand guiding staffs when resources were plentiful and community newspapers had captive audiences.Dynamics are even more frayed in today’s changing media landscape as editors grapple with diminished...

Into the issues

INTO THE ISSUES AP lets non-member weeklies republish its investigative story about 2020 election fraud Published Jan. 10, 2022 By Al Cross Almost a year ago, this column urged community newspapers to tell their readers the truth about the 2020 presidential election — that it was fairly held — to...

Would you mind showing me around?

Would you mind showing me around? By John Foust, Advertising Trainer One of the most important questions you can ask an advertising client is, “Would you mind showing me around?”Think about it. When you have a conversation in a client’s office, you get a filtered version of that person’s business....