Column Archive

Meet them where they are

Meet them where they are By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Tim manages an ad sales team. “When I started my career in the newspaper business, I quickly learned that advertisers can be worlds apart in their knowledge of marketing,” he said. “That’s why one of my favorite sales principles is...

Garnet Media Group national wins

USC's Garnet Media Group wins multiple first-place honors in prestigious national student media contests Efforts by creative services team and student-run organizations recognized with 17 awardsGarnet Media Group, also known as the Office of Student Media at the University of South Carolina, recently earned national honors in four awards contests...

I love you guys

I love you guys By Ed Henninger, Newspaper Design Consultant I’ve been a consultant for 30 years…a newspaper editor and manager for 20 years before that. At the end of this year, I’ll retire — officially, and for good. It’s been a wonderful, exciting ride and I’ve been blessed in...

The value of simplicity

The value of simplicity By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Statisticians disagree on the number of commercial messages we are exposed to each day. Some say 1,000. Some say as many as 3,000. And others claim the number is closer to 20,000. With estimates all over the map, all I can...

25 on-the-job ideals

25 on-the-job ideals By Ed Henninger, Newspaper Design Consultant After more than 30 years as the Director of Henninger Consulting, the time has come for me to shift my attention to Julia, family, grandkids and guitar. I’m not the “retiring type,” but I will become so at the end of...

October Media Law Updates

Media Law Updates: ADA Suit Against S.C. Newspaper; FCC Net Neutrality Repeal Upheld, While Repeal of Cross-Ownership Ban Vacated Published Oct. 16, 2019 By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications ADA Lawsuit Over South Carolina Newspaper’s Web Site: In August I wrote about the question of...

Legal Q&A: Can/should an agency require a person filing a FOI request include name, telephone number, physical address?

Legal Q&A (10.16.19) Q. Can/should an agency require a person filing a FOI request include name, telephone number, physical address? By SCPA Attorney Taylor Smith A. Public bodies, including, but limited to, state agencies, are not required to gather contact information of a SCFOIA requester beyond what is necessary to...

Times may change, but the need to support a free press has not

Times may change, but the need to support a free press has not By Kathy Kiely, University of Missouri School of Journalism Editor's Note: National Newspaper Week is coming up Oct. 6-12. This column is part of the promotional materials available to SCPA members on the NNW site.Once upon a time, having...

The price of fake news

Column: The price of fake news: Is this a true threat to 1st Amendment rights? By Jerry Bellune, Chairman & Editor Emeritus, Lexington County Chronicle & The Dispatch News Fake news and politically-motivated reporting are testing all newspapers’ 1st Amendment guarantees.The culprits include The New York Times and Washington Post,...

Right and left brain selling

Right and left brain selling By John Foust, Advertising Trainer Diane was telling me about her early days in selling. “One day stands out in my mind,” she said. “I had back-to-back appointments with two different prospects to talk about a special section. The first person was interested in what...

You’ll never hear me say…

You’ll never hear me say… By Ed Henninger, Newspaper Design Consultant Thirty years is a long time for a career as a consultant. It’s time for me to shift my attention to Julia, family, grandkids and guitar. I’m not the “retiring type,” but I will become so at the end...

The power of restraint

The power of restraint By John Foust, Advertising Trainer On an out-of-state trip, I saw a billboard that compelled me to pull off the road to take a closer look. What was so unusual? It had more words than I had ever seen on a billboard – 45 words. “What...

Trustees’ attorneys release details of Scott settlement

Trustees’ attorneys release details of Scott settlement By Graham Williams, Union County NewsPublished in the newspaper on Aug. 19, 2019Picked up by the SCPA eBulletin on Aug. 28, 2019As part of the settlement agreement between Billy Scott and the Union County Board of School Trustees both parties agreed to release...

Does your website violate the law?

Does your website violate the law? Published August 2019 By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications When signing the Americans with Disability Act in late July 1990, President George H.W. Bush said that under the law “every man, woman, and child with a disability can now...

Localize national rural health issues

Localize national rural health issues By Al Cross, Into the Issues Rural communities have been disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic, but rural newspapers have been disproportionately quiet about it. They seem to cover it as a criminal-justice problem, when it is primarily a health problem. Smart law enforcers and...

Don’t accept “I don’t like it”

Don’t accept “I don’t like it” By Ed Henninger, Newspaper Design Consultant I’ve been consulting since June, 1989. Thirty years is a long time and it’s time for me to retire and shift my attention to Julia, family, grandkids and guitar. Over for the next few months, I’m offering some of...

Creating believable advertising

Creating believable advertising By John Foust, Advertising Trainer “Willing suspension of disbelief” is a cornerstone of entertainment. The term was coined in 1817 by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, author of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” It refers to the fact that an audience must temporarily suspend rational judgment in...

Words and Deeds

Words and Deeds Published July 2019 By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications In 2017, when signing a law to strengthen the state’s Freedom of Information Act, Governor McMaster said that “[g]overnment has to be accountable to the people it serves, and its citizens should have...

USC president search skirts FOIA

USC president search skirts FOIA Published July 2019 By SCPA Attorney Jay Bender Well, this is a fine kettle of fish. The group that hired a president who treated public money as a slush fund, then replaced him with a president who moved out of the president's residence in a...

How writers can do better

By Ed Henninger, Newspaper Design Consultant | I have often stated—both on my blog and during presentations—that I am not a friend of writers. I am a friend of readers.

The stock market for ad ideas

By John Foust, Advertising Trainer | Daniel told me about an ad he created for a commercial real estate firm. “They prided themselves on the hard work they did for their customers. Their marketing manager said ‘shoe leather’ was their secret of success. When I heard that, I knew it...

Legal Q&A: Selling photo goods

Legal Q&A: Selling photo goods (July 2019) Q. Is it legally appropriate to offer an online marketplace through my newspaper’s website whereby a customer can have an image or video published by the paper to be placed on a new product for sale (i.e. coffee mug, calendar, digital picture/video frame)?...

Continuity, Cooperation, Credibility and Commitment

By Peter Wagner | One of our printing customers includes the following observation just above the signature line on all his emails: “To say you don’t need newspapers because you’ve got the internet is like saying you don’t need farmers because you’ve got a grocery store.” In almost every community...

Social Media Insights Lab opens at University of South Carolina

Tom Reichert, Dean, College of Information & Communications | From how we get our news to how we connect with other people, there’s no doubt that social media has changed the game when it comes to communications. The sheer number of users is staggering. Social media companies measure their base...

Can anti-trust law save newspapers?

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | Federal and state anti-trust laws date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, way before the emergence of the modern internet-fueled economy. But increasingly these old laws and concepts are being seen as the means of limiting...

Things designers don’t want to hear

By Ed Henninger, Newspaper Design Consultant | IT HAPPENS all the time at newspapers: Things we don’t want to hear: “We just lost the Hamilton account.” “Now Adobe wants us to pay a monthly subscription price for the software.” “Bob just fell off a step on the press and broke...

A little more, a little less for sales meetings

By John Foust, Advertising Trainer | Kristen told me how she handles one of the biggest challenges of managing her newspaper’s sales department. “Sales meetings – like a lot of other things – fall into predictable patterns,” she said. “The boss talks, the staff members listen, and more often than...

Is your ‘designer’ a designer?

By Ed Henninger, Newspaper Design Consultant | DURING A RECENT phone conversation with a publisher, she said: “We have a designer who does that.” I had seen her paper. She doesn’t have a designer.

Legal Q&A: Advertising CBD oil

Q: Can I publish advertising for CBD oil? The sort answer is yes. The longer answer is that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that advertising for lawful products may be published without restriction where the advertising is neither false nor misleading. CBD oil may be sold lawfully in South...

Behaving badly in Mount Pleasant

By SCPA Attorney Jay Bender | I don’t live in Mount Pleasant, but if I were a newspaper columnist writing regularly about the shenanigans of local officials, I’d want to live there. I would never run out of material. Not so long ago the Office of the Attorney General of...

Cut out the attacks on the press

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | There was widespread condemnation when Hope Carpenter returned on March 31 to the Greenville church that she and her husband Ron founded in 1991 and expressed her support for the church’s new leaders, John and Aventer Gray.

FOIA suit against S.C. House Republican Caucus

By SCPA Attorney Jay Bender | News organizations and associations, The State Media Company, The Post and Courier, Inc., Gannett GP Media, Inc., South Carolina Press Association, South Carolina Broadcasters Association, and the Associated Press, were rejected in their suit to have the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) applied to...

Does South Carolina’s FOIA end at the border?

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | Common Pleas Judge Robert E. Hood’s ruling that the House Republican Caucus is not subject to South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act is a disturbing result. The caucus uses government resources without charge, and much of the state...

The government doesn’t dictate media here

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | On Jan. 6, 60 Minutes aired an interview with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi with two notable revelations: el-Sisi denied that his country has political prisoners, despite documentation; and he confirmed prior reports that Egyptian and Israeli forces have coordinated in...

Freelancing FOIA

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | South Carolina’s Freedom of Information law provides that “[a]ll materials, regardless of form, gathered by a public body during a search to fill an employment position, except that materials relating to not fewer than the final three applicants...

First Amendment protects free distribution pubs too; new Horry litter ordinance could bring test

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | As newspapers have faced economic challenges, many have developed slimmed down versions that feature a few stories and both display and insert advertising. These new publications are offered for free, and are often delivered to individual homes without...

Frustrating FOIA

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | Through South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act, diligent journalists and others have discovered much revealing information about the actions of state and local government in our state. Things recently revealed through FOIA requests have included Anderson County’s failure...

Amending the agenda

By SCPA Attorney Jay Bender | I was in Mount Pleasant recently. It had been years since I had driven north of Shem Creek on Coleman Boulevard. My drive north in search of lunch put into context the Save Shem Creek movement and the desire of many residents to slow...

When perceived libel gets deadly

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | There is obviously no justification for the shootings at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., which killed five of the newspaper’s staff and injured two. But in the aftermath of the incident many have looked for causes, including...

Source secrecy in the modern era

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | The Justice Department’s accessing of reporter Ali Watkins’s email and phone records as part of a leak investigation is just one of several recent incidents in which the federal government has obtained the digital and other information about...

Money laundering made easier

By SCPA Attorney Jay Bender | Money laundering had its origins with crime syndicates. Former SLED chief Robert Stewart said that one of the dangers of South Carolina’s legalization of video poker was that it provided a state-wide network of money laundromats.

Facebook, privacy and you

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | Facebook and its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg are being criticized far and wide for the company’s lax privacy practices after it was revealed that the political data firm Cambridge Analytica had used a seemingly innocuous personality test to...

Legal Q&A: Right to inspect

Q: Do you have to be a member of the press to inspect incident reports, the minutes from a public meeting, booking/detention information, or all documents that were distributed to or reviewed by a public official during a public meeting?

Legal Q&A: Recording public officials

Legal Q&A: Recording public officials (Feb. 2018) Q: Can you record public officials on public property? By SCPA Attorney Taylor Smith A: Yes. The rights under the First Amendment are not absolute but assuming the act of recording does not substantially interfere with the public official’s performance of his or her...

The Dilemma of Group Libel: How big is it?

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | An ongoing story in the state in recent weeks has been the suspension of the Coastal Carolina University cheerleading team amidst allegations that some team members worked as strippers and escorts, provided alcohol to minors and payed other...

What Trump can do to thwart the press

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | During his campaign, president-elect Donald Trump notoriously promised that he would “open up our libel laws so when they [the media] write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money."...

Donald Trump and Libel

By Eric P. Robinson, USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications | Whatever you think of Donald Trump, it is clear that he does have much regard for the media. In addition to threatening to sue news outlets that published stories about his comments and behavior – despite his poor...