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SCPA Bulletin www.scpress.org jbarclay@scpress.org

South Carolina Press Association P.O. Box 11429, Columbia, SC 29211 · (803) 750-9561 July 2008

104 papers to support FOIA appeal brief More than 100 S.C. newspapers, including all of the dailies in the state, have signed on to file an amicus brief in an S.C. Supreme Court appeal by the Charleston Post and Courier over an FOI ruling that shields employee evaluations by channeling them through an attorney. “As Charleston’s appeal moves forward, South Carolina newspapers and other

interested parties will petition the court to be allowed to submit a brief as amici,” SCPA Attorney Jay Bender said. “So far 104 newspapers have joined the petition indicating the depth of hostility to the decision of the court and the school board’s effort to avoid accountability in the evaluation of the superintendent.” A judge ruled in May that the Berkeley

County School Board could keep Superintendent Chester Floyd’s performance evaluations a secret saying individual evaluations are protected by attorneyclient privilege. Bender said that attorney-client privilege is being abused in this case because it is Please See FOIA page 11

Legal training video available 24-7 on Web

Michelle Kerscher does a final check of SCPA Attorney Jay Bender’s 30-minute online video that covers legal issues at S.C. newspapers. Visit www.scpress.org to view video.

hope people will watch it individually or set up brown bag lunches to watch it as a staff group.” What to Do When is available to SCPA members for free 24-7 on the Members Only section of the site. Future educational training videos are planned. The next video

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Next free training:

July 23 – The Herald-Journal, Spartanburg See page 9 for more details and to register.

to debut will be Overcoming Advertising Objections with SCNN’s Director of Advertising Alanna Ritchie. Go to www.scpress.org and click “Members Only” to view the video. Contact Jen at jbarclay@scpress.org if you do not have your user name or password.

2: Insurance SCPA Attorney Jay Bender discusses libel insurance

Inside

In an effort to provide more cost effective and flexible training, SCPA has launched its first on-demand training, What to Do When. This Web-based seminar focuses on legal issues faced regularly in newsrooms large and small across South Carolina. SCPA Attorney Jay Bender and SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers lead members through a 30-minute question and answer session on the most often asked legal questions in the newsroom. Juvenile arrests, shield law, access to birth certificates, copyright of Google maps and naming rape victims are just a few of the topics discussed. “This video is a great primer and refresher on S.C. laws impacting your newspaper,” Rogers said. “This is a way to provide top-notch training without incurring travel costs and minimizing loss of staff time,” he said. “We really

4: People USC Journalism School names new director

6: Legal Attorney General McMaster joins effort to pass federal shield law


Page 2 • July 2008 • S.C. Press Association Bulletin

How much libel insurance do you need? Lets start here: if you do not have insurance coverage for invasion of privacy and libel claims arising out of your newsgathering and publishing activities, you are exposing your paper to substantial risk. How much risk? By Jay Bender A jury in Charleston SCPA Attorney has returned a libel verdict against a TV station news director for $9 million and against his station for nearly $4 million. The case is as unusual as the verdicts are large, but the point here is that juries have wide discretion to award damages for injury to reputation. A Cherokee County jury awarded a police chief $10,000 actual damages and $300,000 punitive damages based on a 1995 publication of a reader-submitted opinion page comment that stated the chief knew there were people selling drugs in Blacksburg, but he had not

Editor’s note: Steve Thomas of Walterry Insurance says any time you buy liability coverage it is a business decision. “It comes down to how much you want to be protected for,” he said, adding that most of his customers have a million dollar limit policy. He said some go with $500,000 if they don’t publish controversial items, and some go with $2 million to $5 million limits. Typically, deductibles start at $5,000 to $10,000. “Most of the time the awards are less than the policy limits,” Thomas added. done anything about it. The Supreme Court of South Carolina reversed the award on grounds that the chief had not provided proof that met the legal threshold to support the libel claim of a public official against a newspaper defendant. Most libel cases in South Carolina are resolved in favor of the newspaper defendant, many before trial, so how do you calculate the odds to determine how much coverage to buy? Certainly you understand that the amount of coverage determines the cost of the

premiums thus giving your risk analysis an immediate financial consequence. The cost of the coverage is also determined by how much of the claim is to be “self-insured.” “Self-insured” is what would be your deductible in your home owners policy. Obviously a higher self-insured retainage results in a lower premium, but you will need to pay the self-insured amount before any coverage is provided. Setting your coverage limit high enough is important because any verdict in excess of the coverage will expose your paper’s assets to sale to satisfy the judgment. Additionally, you should factor in a realistic cost of defense figure in setting the limit because most policies diminish the amount available to satisfy a judgment by the cost of defending the case. Your insurance policy generally provides coverage for two costs: the cost of defense and the cost of any adverse verdict. Both coverages are important, and both are typically subject to Please See INSURANCE page 6

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July 2008 • S.C. Press Association Bulletin • Page 3

FOI Briefs

Carolina Forest gets big bill for ticket data In a prime example of government using computers to make it harder for the public to obtain public records, Horry County says it will cost more than $284 to fulfill a Carolina Forest Chronicle request for records of speeding tickets that are stored on a county computer. The fee, which county officials say includes labor and copying costs, is 10 times greater than the $25 rate quoted by the state’s public safety department for the same information. Officials say extracting the information from the county’s computer storage network is a costly and time-consuming endeavor. “We’re supposed to be in the information age,” said Bill Rogers, SCPA executive director. “It’s not supposed to be the secret information age.” To obtain the records, a county spokesperson said the county’s IT department would have to write a computer program to retrieve them. The county is charging $130 in programming fees. The county is also charging 10 cents per record for 1,541 records. According to FOIA, public bodies can charge no more than the actual cost for searching for and making copies or a record. “It’s a troubling trend statewide of having public information in a computer and you need a special program to get it out,” he said.

Charleston police won’t release records The Charleston Police Department has refused to release the police reports for two recent incidents to the Charleston Post and Courier, which is a violation of the S.C. Freedom of Information Act, said SCPA attorney Jay Bender. Police say two incidents in 2007 have similarities to two recent burglaries and sexual assaults downtown Charleston. They also refused to answer whether the 2007 cases included sexual assaults. “If there is specific information in there that comes within one of the specific

exemptions from mandatory disclosure ... then they could withhold it,” Bender said. “But they can’t make a blanket statement that says we’re not going to give it to you.” Bender said Charleston residents could learn valuable information from the police reports. “It is important because it can help the public learn how to protect themselves,” Bender said. ••• Greenville County Council’s vote to suspend its rules and give a new committee the power to approve contracts may have violated the state Freedom of Information Act because the issue wasn’t listed on the council’s public agenda. “That could be challenged,” said Jay Bender, SCPA attorney. “That’s the same as having a secret meeting on the issue.” County Attorney Mark Tollison told The Greenville News that a 1989 attorney general’s opinion for Spartanburg City Council says the council can suspend its rules and take up something not anticipated prior to publication of a public agenda. “We’re not even close to secret meeting status,” he said. The attorney general’s opinion refers to a section of FOI law that says meeting agendas must be posted at least 24 hours prior, and that “if it is anticipated that an item will be on the agenda, it should be placed there.” Bender said that taking up an item not on the agenda prevents access from interested members of the public. •••

The Orangeburg Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees held a called meeting in May without giving 24-hour notice, prompting one trustee to question why and the hospital president to say the failure to notify was an oversight. The meeting was brought to the attention of the Times and Democrat by a trustee who has long questioned the hospital’s operational procedures related to public disclosure. ••• South Carolina legislators are using some of the state’s public universities as funnels, quietly channeling nearly $2 million in tax dollars to their favorite charities during the past three years, a Post and Courier investigation found. The practice raises questions about conflicts of interest and how legislators distribute public money. Here’s how it works: State legislators take money from the state budget and tuck it into universities’ state appropriations – sometimes without the schools’ prior knowledge. The universities then hand over that money to the charities. The Post and Courier requested information, under FOIA, from seven of the state’s largest public universities about money legislators had them pass through their budgets to charity groups over the past five years. Legislators went through all of the schools except the College of Charleston and The Citadel to funnel tax dollars.

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Page 4 • July 2008 • S.C. Press Association Bulletin

USC Journalism School names new director By Ron Aiken, Free Times Come the first of August, the University of South Carolina will have a new director for its School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Carol Pardun, formerly of Middle Tennessee State University, will take over the position vacated by Shirley Staples Carter. Pardun, who grew up “all over the country,” has a background in media advertising research and scholarship. Her soon-to-be-published book, Choosing Sides: An Introduction to the Controversies Surrounding Advertising and Society, is scheduled for release later this year. Next Pardun year, Pardun will become the president of the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. A former faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Kansas State University, Pardun earned her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and her bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College. Speaking to Free Times from her home in Tennessee, Pardun talks about her vision for the program. Free Times: First things first: What most attracted you to the position and to USC? Pardun: What’s particularly exciting is that it’s a really old established program but one that at the same time is very forward thinking. I like that combination of tradition and history while at the same time trying to figure out what’s happening here in the 21st century. So many schools are trying to

do that, but USC really is with the faculty on hand heading into the future. Another thing that really attracted me – and this is rare – is that USC is a program that has had advertising and public relations components for a long time, so to find a school with a strong reputation in traditional journalism and one that doesn’t hate advertising appeals to me a great deal. You don’t see that traditional disparity between the two, and the result is strong faculty and better graduates. Also the uniqueness of USC’s downtown campus was attractive. You’re right down there in the middle of industry and government, which is somewhat unique for a research institution. FT: Obviously the business model for journalism has undergone tremendous change with the advent of the Internet. How has it impacted journalism schools? Pardun: It’s clearly had a tremendous impact; the climate has changed drastically. Still, in a college or university environment, you have to remember that certain things, the basics, won’t change. Strong writing, good grammar and effective communication won’t change and in fact are more important than ever. You have to make sure you’re not teaching the technology but the concepts, basic storytelling, and make sure you’re using the newest technology. Some schools run into trouble trying to create courses about new technology, but as soon as they’re approved they’re outdated. I think mostly due to

faculty, USC is really one of those that have stayed ahead in ways others haven’t. FT: Is there anything you see tackling immediately once you arrive here in August? Pardun: One of the very first things I want to work on is improving the graduate program; I think it needs some attention. It’s not that it’s been ignored, but from talking with faculty we need to put additional focus on what’s happening there. Part of that is because USC has such a strong undergraduate tradition, and you don’t want to take away from that. But I think we need to think some things through a little more strategically there. FT: When you interviewed, was the prospect of the college moving to a new home on campus discussed? Pardun: We spoke about the college’s plans, and my understanding is that we’ll be moving into the old health sciences building at Sumter and Greene. There was talk for years about [moving into] Leconte, but I think we’re now looking [at Sumter and Greene]. That will be an exciting move for the program and for our future. FT: Finally, what do you believe you bring to this position with your experience? Pardun: I’m a huge believer in faculty governance; they actually run the school, and I’m coming there to make their jobs easier. Also, despite my own background in advertising, I’m a big newspaper person and feel a moral imperative to graduate students who want to be reporters. I’ll also be teaching one class, though I don’t know exactly what yet.

Industry Briefs Florida newspaper outsources editing An Indian company will take over copy editing duties for some stories published in The Orange County Register and will handle page layout for a community newspaper at the company. Mindworks’ Web site says the company is based outside New Delhi and provides “high-quality editorial and design services to global media firms ... using top-end journalistic and design talent in India.”

“This is a small-scale test, which will not touch our local reporting or decisionmaking. Our own editors will oversee this work,” Deputy Editor John Fabris said in an e-mail to The AP. ••• AP has punted on its commitment to clarify how much text it thinks bloggers and social news sites can reprint from its articles without violating The AP’s copyright. Indeed, the giant news organization appears to be insisting that bloggers cannot quote the headline of an AP story or its first paragraph. While the law is not settled, many lawyers suggest that such short excerpts are permitted under the

“fair use” exception to the copyright laws. ••• A subscriber to The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., is suing the paper – for cutting its staff and issue size. Keith Hempstead filed the suit last month. “I wanted to get the newspaper’s attention and the news industry’s attention,” said Hempstead. “I hate to see what companies that run newspapers are doing to the product. The idea that taking the most important product and reducing the amount of news and getting rid of staff to me seems pointless to how you should run a newspaper business.”


July 2008 • S.C. Press Association Bulletin • Page 5

People & Papers

The State awards highest honors The State in Columbia awarded Rick Brundrett and C. Aluka Berry with its top awards. Brundrett, a reporter who covers crime and courts, won the Gonzales award, and photographer Berry won the Hampton award. The awards are named after founders of the newspaper. Each received $1,000 and a trophy, and their names will be added to a framed list of honorees which extends back to 1968. Brundrett has been a reporter for 22 years, the last 10 at The State. In the past year, he has reported on a cheating scandal in the Columbia Police Department, grade-changing for law school graduates by the state Supreme Court, and the need for sprinklers in old buildings after nine Charleston firefighters died in a blaze. Berry joined The State in 2005. His pictures of battered band instruments used in Dillon schools led to donation of better equipment for students there. ••• Bob Scaife, NAA’s Vice-President Marketing/Smaller Market Newspapers has retired. He was responsible for providing sales development services, initiatives and marketing strategies for NAA’s smallermarket newspaper customers. He was also responsible for Yellow Pages research and training. Prior to joining NAA in July 1979, he spent 13 years with the Hamilton (Ontario) Spectator in retail, national and classified sales and management positions. ••• Steve Wagenlander has been named audience development director at The Post and Courier in Charleston. Wagenlander has served as circulation director since 2000. ••• Columbia Free Times writer Ron Aiken won third place nationally in the Feature Writing category, under 55,000 circulation, at the 13th Annual AltWeekly Awards in Philadelphia. Aiken’s story, “Virtual Goods, Hard Cash” was among 123 entries from across the country and has been selected for inclusion on the best technology writing of the year by a university press in India.

••• The Clinton Chronicle and The Dillon Herald have both launched new Web sites to enhance their local, state and national news coverage. Readers will be able to view online slide shows and other features on www.thedillonherald.com and www. clintonchronicle.com. ••• The State newspaper’s managing editor, Tonnya Kennedy Kohn, and veteran sports columnist Bob Spear have left the paper as part of The McClatchy Co. cutbacks. Kennedy Kohn has been managing editor for five years. Spear, 65, started at The State in 1964. He has covered everything from a fox hunt in Orangeburg to Hank Aaron’s 715th home run that passed Babe Ruth’s record. ••• State writer Allison Askins has retired from the newspaper business after working in South Carolina newspapers for more than 20 years. Askins has spent the past six years as food writer at The State. ••• Jerry Vickery, retired former owner and publisher of the Easley Progress, has written a book, The Forgotten Society of the Keowee River Valley. It is the story of a sharecropper’s existence in what was at one time an extremely backward rural corner of Oconee County. For information, you can e-mail Jerry at jvickery3@yahoo.com.

••• Issac Bailey, reporter for The Sun News, is a finalist for a national Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists for his series that explored the lingering effects of murder on families of victims and the accused. ••• Albany Gault has joined the Berkeley Independent as an education reporter and features writer. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina. ••• Senior Editor Bill West of the Lexington County Chronicle and The Dispatch News was awarded an Honorary State FFA Degree at a special ceremony held at Clemson University last month. West and The Chronicle were recognized for their commitment to the FFA students at Lexington Technology Center, Pelion High School, Gilbert High School and Batesburg-Leesville High School. ••• Recent Winthrop University graduate Keri Todd has joined the newsroom of the Chronicle-Independent as a staff reporter. ••• The Herald-Journal in Spartanburg has been recognized for its mental health reporting. The paper was awarded the Pace Setter Award by the P.A.C.E. Center, which provides advocacy, counseling and education programs on mental health issues.


Page 6 • July 2008 • S.C. Press Association Bulletin

Attorney General Insurance joins effort to pass shield law

Continued from page 2

The S.C. Press Association has praised State Attorney General Henry McMaster for his support of the Free Flow of Information Act (S. 2035), a federal shield law for reporters. Earlier this month, McMaster joined 41 other state attorneys general in signing a letter by the National Association of Attorneys General, urging Senate leaders to join the House of Representatives in passing the bill. The Free Flow of Information Act would create a reporter’s privilege at the federal level, bringing federal law in line with the laws of 49 states and the District of Columbia. South Carolina’s state shield law recognizes the crucial role of the First Amendment in our democracy, but our federal law is lacking” said SCPA’s executive director Bill Rogers. “Recent events targeting specific journalists’ personal finances and liberty, with the intent of forcing them to serve as law enforcement resources, clearly show why this law is needed.” The proposed legislation passed the House by a vote of 398-21, and in October 2007, cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 15-4. However, S. 2035 has not yet been brought to the Senate floor for a vote. “By exposing confidences protected under state law to discovery in federal courts, the lack of a corresponding federal reporter’s privilege law frustrates the purposes of the state-recognized privileges and undercuts the benefit to the public that the states have sought to bestow through their shield laws,” the Attorneys General wrote in their letter to Senate leaders. Led by Attorneys General Douglas Gansler from Maryland and Rob McKenna from Washington, the letter was signed by attorneys general, and was sent to Senate leaders on July 8 when Congress returned from summer recess.

the self-insurance range. In most libel cases, the self-insurance limit is reached in attorney fees and costs well before trial. And, in most cases in South Carolina, even if you win the case, the unsuccessful plaintiff will not be required to reimburse your attorney fees. When the Supreme Court reversed the jury award against The Gaffney Ledger the value of the damages plus interest was $500,000. The attorney fees and costs for the pre-trial activities, trial and appeal to two courts would have paid room, board, books, fees and tuition for a student attending a South Carolina state college or university for four years. I am a proponent of getting libel and invasion of privacy insurance through companies that routinely write such policies because the policies will have several features that are important to newspapers, and the claims staff will have vast experience working with newspaper lawyers to successfully defend against these claims. Membership in SCPA and the National Newspaper Association provides discounted coverage for policies written through Walterry Insurance Brokers. You can get a free quote at www. walterry.com. Media/Professional Insurance in Kansas City is another agent for publication coverage, and you can always discuss coverage with your local insurance agent, but insist that your coverage be placed with a company that specializes in media coverage. And, in the Internet age, obtain coverage for your Web activity. One method of reducing your premium is to have a libel and privacy policy which is backed up by an “excess” policy. The excess policy will provide coverage up to its limit once the coverage of the underlying policy has been exhausted. Figuring out the appropriate balance between these two policies should be a point of discussion with every agent you contact to discuss coverage. There are a couple of other features you might find valuable in libel and privacy coverage: the right to select your attorney, and the right to control settlement. Your car insurance policy more than likely gives the insurance carrier the power to select your attorney and the power to settle the claim against you. This system probably works acceptably in the case of a car wreck, but claims against newspapers for libel and invasion of privacy differ signifi-

cantly from car wreck claims. MacLeod and Jerry Bellune’s Lexington County Chronicle was sued by four plaintiffs for the paper’s awardwinning coverage of abuse of clients of the Babcock Center. Settling the cases would have been inconsistent with the Bellunes’ commitment to exposing the neglect and abuse of special needs citizens. Since the coverage for the Chronicle gave control of the settlement to the paper, MacLeod and Jerry stood their ground and were vindicated in court. No auto insurance carrier I know will defend a case on principle when the case can be settled by the payment of money. My reference to the choice of attorney provision may sound self-serving, but it is not about me as there are other attorneys in the state who have significant experience defending these kinds of cases. I am always honored when a paper asks me to represent it, but that isn’t the reason I raise this point. I think it is important for your attorney to know how news is gathered and disseminated, and to appreciate that publishers and editors see a threat to a free press when a paper is sued for publishing what the paper believes to be accurate. It also helps to have someone who has been to the rodeo before who can tell an editor and publisher that a mistake was made and a case should be settled. The specialty media carriers I have mentioned share my belief on these points, but if you get your coverage from a company that writes general liability or homeowners coverage as its business, you might encounter a different perspective. Let me wrap this up before it has to be serialized. Make your decision on carrier, selfinsured retainage, limits and excess coverage with reference to what can go wrong, not what you hope will go right. Be guided by the Jimmy Buffett song, “What you gonna do when the volcano blow?” Finally, when you get a policy, read it. Let me say that again. Read your policy to make certain you have publication coverage at the limits and conditions you have chosen. So, how much coverage should you buy? As much as you can afford in the exercise of sound, realistic evaluation of the possibility that someone will file a suit against your paper because that person objected to what was published even though the publication was true and there was no invasion of privacy. It would not hurt to add to your equation the reality that in today’s environment you are asking younger, less experienced staff to do more in less time with less training than ever before.


July 2008 • S.C. Press Association Bulletin • Page 7

Distinctions without difference? The new AP stylebook is out, which always gets me thinking about language changes and whether it’s time to jettison some of the usages and spellings we cling to. But I need your help. This month, let’s look at some disputed usages By Doug Fisher – or ones I think might USC School be ripe for questionof Mass Communication ing. Then, you tell me whether you observe the distinctions anymore. Please e-mail me at fisherdj@mailbox. sc.edu (that’s a new address), and in an upcoming column we’ll revisit the issue with your thoughts. Over/more than: It’s getting harder to find a desk that really labors over this AP distinction – use more than with numerals – anymore. John McIntyre, assistant managing editor in charge of copy editing at The Baltimore Sun, says there are too many more important things. Plus, most authorities now consider it a distinction without difference. Do you still change “over” to “more than?” Lend/loan: The AP has just weighed in with a new stylebook entry elevating “lend” as the preferred verb. Classic usage manuals counsel similarly. But we see “loaned” all the time in newspapers and other writing. Is this an issue for anyone? Will you enforce AP style? Another/an additional: AP has long held that “another” requires like things or amounts (you can’t have 3 million and get “another” 4 million). I can’t remember the last time I saw this distinction in an AP story, let alone a newspaper. Is it time to ditch it? If/whether: “Working With Words,” a widely used grammar and usage guide for journalists, says that when “whether” works in a sentence, use it. In classic usage, “if” is reserved for conditional (if … then) situations. But even the “Working With Words” authors acknowledge widespread substitution. I’m wondering whether – or if – it’s time to let this fade. Since/because: The AP allows “since” in a casual use where one thing follows logically, but is not the direct cause, of the other. And there are the persistent arguments about ambiguity (Since you won the lottery, we’ve been envious.) But McIntyre, again, says there’s really no longer any practical distinction, and

Common Sense Journalism

and “following” as the verb (in other words, he died “after” the wreck, not “following” it). But this is another case where the dictionary acknowledges much of the world uses “following” as a preposition. Do you spend any time changing it anymore? Stanch/staunch: Even Webster’s, conservative as it is, lists staunch as the preferred form of the verb. AP sticks with stanch. Where do you stand? Include: Do you insist that “include” can cover only part of the whole? The dictionaries and usage guides say it might be worth rethinking that. Is it a distinction you think we need to keep? Proved/proven: “Proved” is listed as the preferred verb in many references and “proven” the adjective. But “proven” is very common usage (“He has proven his point.”). Do you worry about changing this? Stamp/stomp: Notwithstanding places like Stamping Ground, Ky., using “stomp” for “stamp” is so widespread, would you think to change it? We easily could find a dozen others. As one copy editor wrote to me recently: “I will change ‘males’ to ‘men,’ and ‘females” to ‘women’ (we are not lab rats), and I will change ‘gender’ to ‘sex’ every time I see these used improperly, which is almost all the time in medical writing.” I hope to hear from you.

Arnold Zwicky at “Language Log” says the ambiguity argument is suspect because context almost always clarifies. Your thoughts? Because/due to: While we are at it, what about this old shibboleth that these are not substitutes. If a writer writes: “He was overthrown due to the widespread poverty,” would you change it. Would you insist only “His overthrow was due to the widespread poverty” is correct. It is time to acknowledge widespread popular ignorance of this distinction. While: Do you recoil at its use as a conjunction in the sense of “whereas,” especially beginning a sentence. Many of the arguments are the same as since/because, and many of the “it’s a useless distinction” retorts are likewise. Gantlet/gauntlet: Merriam-Webster’s and American Heritage both now show gauntlet as the preferred term for running an obstacle course. Only Webster’s New World, the dictionary favored by AP, sticks with “gantlet.” So let me issue a challenge – do you care about that distinction? Drunk/drunken: Notwithstanding Mothers Against Drunk Driving, this has been a stalwart of AP and newspapers’ style in general. But both the Chicago Manual of Style and MORE INFORMATION DOUG FISHER, a former AP news editor, teaches Bryan Garner, in his widely read usage manujournalism at the University of South Carolina als, suggest “drunk” may be more correct for and can be reached at fisherdj@mailbox.sc.edu or 803-777-3315. Common Sense Journalism can be temporary inebriation and “drunken” for a found at http://www.jour.sc.edu/news/csj/index.html. chronic condition. Maybe MADD has it right after all? “Beg the question” for “pose the question”: Yes, beg the question means a tautological argument. Visit scpress.org to order But as has been noted your photo ID press card in several corners of and windshield decal. the language world, if everyone is misusYou can also order SCPA’s ing it, are we being print publications including priggish in insisting advertising and legal guides. South Carolina rolina Press P Association ssociation otherwise? NEWSPAPER MEMBER 2008-2009 Following/after: SCPA press cards are recognized by state police and emergency officials, The AP prefers “after” and may be used for admission to the S.C. Legislature press area. as the preposition

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Page 8 • July 2008 • S.C. Press Association Bulletin

Column widths Use SWOT to evaluate sales Ad-Libs not standard for S.C. papers If you had any doubts, the standard ad unit is dead. A recent survey of 18 S.C. daily newspapers found that there are 13 different column widths for display ads. As few as four years ago ad sizes were fairly standard across the state using the PASS or SAU, but newspapers have made continuing changes to their web widths, leaving advertisers with no standardization from paper to paper. “Thank God for PDF’s,” said Bill Rogers, SCPA Executive Director. “That technology makes it fairly easy to make minor adjustments in ad size to fit different column widths.” In the late ‘90s, newspapers began moving from the SAU to PASS. SAU was introduced in 1984 to standardize page size and ad sizes. For decades, virtually all dailies and most weekly newspapers followed the SAU system. As papers moved to smaller web widths the PASS was adopted by many to maintain standard ad sizes. If an advertiser wanted to place a three-column display ad in the 18 S.C. dailies, they’d have to create the ad in 13 different sizes to accommodate the different widths, varying from 4.94” to 5.75”. Only six dailies have column widths that are the same as any other daily paper. The Island Packet in Hilton Head, Morning News in Florence and the Beaufort Gazette share the same column widths. Only three S.C. daily papers – The IndexJournal in Greenwood, Times and Democrat in Orangeburg, and The Item in Sumter – remain at the PASS size of 5.75” for a three-column ad. Among S.C. weekly papers that are printed in 6-column format, the width of a 3-column display ad varies from 4.861” to 6.7375”. No daily papers and only five weeklies are still using SAU. “In handling multiple market placements, our approach is to have the designer create one ad in the smallest format needed for the entire schedule. This way, one ad size fits all formats with minimal white space to float the ad in the larger formats,” SCNN’s Director of Advertising Alanna Ritchie said.

Libby provides her advertising clients with creative services that extend far beyond ad layouts and headlines. "I found a helpful idea in one of our staff meetings at the paper," she told me. "We were doing a SWOT By John analysis on a new business Foust Advertising Trainer recommendation, and I was impressed by the way the formula helped us see the situation objectively. So I decided to add SWOT to my sales toolbox." SWOT represents four areas in the evaluation of prospective business initiatives: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. By focusing on these four areas, decision makers are able to gather and organize relevant information. "What I like about it," Libby explained, "is that the SWOT formula is simple and effective. Clients grasp the concept quickly, and it doesn't require a lot of explanation. Libby told me about a new business that had opened in her market. In their first appointment, the marketing manager said that top management was considering putting the entire advertising effort into one big announcement – a full-page, full-color ad. Libby knew it was a bad idea to run just one ad, but also knew that she had to be diplomatic in talking about it. So she suggested a SWOT analysis. Strengths: "It was important to start with positives," Libby said, "and it was important to work through the process together. I took out my legal pad, and we made a list of the good things about a full-page, color ad. For example, the ad would stand out in that issue of the paper, it would present the advertiser as a serious entry

in that product category, and it would give employees a sense of pride." Weaknesses: This step allowed Libby to help the advertiser understand the value of repetition in advertising. Their list of weaknesses included things like: One ad would quickly disappear from readers' radar screens, and competitors could get the "last word" by running ads to answer their message. Opportunities: By the time they got to the third step, the advertiser was ready to discuss alternative plans that could be of interest to top management. They examined how a budget could be distributed throughout the year, potential campaign themes, and the best times to advertise certain products and services. Threats: Here they talked about internal and external threats to the opportunities they had listed. Internal threats included budget issues, as well as possible resistance from others in the company. Most of the external threats dealt with questions about how competitors might react to their marketing tactics. "After our analysis, it was easy to develop an action plan," Libby concluded. "The marketing manager shared his concerns with his immediate boss – note that the concerns were now his, not mine – and we set up a meeting for all three of us to discuss possibilities. The result of that meeting was a long-term ad campaign in our paper." Add the SWOT formula to your sales toolbox. Properly used, it can help you become a better marketing partner. MORE INFORMATION JOHN FOUST conducts on-site and video training for newspaper advertising departments. Contact: John Foust, PO Box 97606, Raleigh, NC 27624 USA, E-mail: jfoust@mindspring.com, Phone 919-848-2401.

Something to cheer about... Mark your calendar for the SCPA Winter Meeting March 13 – 14, 2009 Myrtle Beach Hilton


July 2008 • S.C. Press Association Bulletin • Page 9

Plan ahead for November election coverage Unless you’ve been living in a cave the past few months, you’re probably painfully aware there’s an election this November. This year, we’ll elect a President as well as members of Congress. Many states will also By Ed Henninger elect state senators Henninger is and representatives. an independent And your communewspaper nity may also conduct consultant elections for county and director of Henninger council, city commisConsulting in sion and school board, Rock Hill among others It’s a biggie – and we need to super-size our planning to prepare for the challenge. With TV, radio and the internet, odds are we won’t be first with the results. After all, TV has been “calling” elections for years. But we can be the most complete and provide our readers the most meaningful and most accessible coverage – if we plan properly. Some suggestions: GET MUGS: Over the next few months, build a library of mug shots of candidates. Some you can access from candidate web sites. Local candidate mugs you can shoot as the campaign builds up. PLAN CHARTS: You’ll want to offer your readers a look at final vote tallies for all candidates. Showing vote totals as column charts carries more impact than just the raw numbers – especially if a particular

race is either a landslide or very, very close. PLAN MAPS: A map showing votes for X and Y candidates offers a look at how those candidates finished in various areas in your community. ASSIGN YOUR TEAM: Make sure everyone in your newsroom knows how the copy and visual elements are to flow. Who is the lead designer? Who is the lead copy editor? Who’s going to snap election night photos? Even in the smallest newsrooms, it helps for everyone to have an understanding of who’s responsible for what. ASSIGN STORIES: Don’t just assume that your schools reporter will cover the school board election. Make sure she knows how to cover an election – and that she knows where to reach her sources late into the evening. PLAN WITH SOURCES: You’ll want to know where you can reach local candidates on election night so you can call for a quick quote. You’ll also want to know the person to call at the elections board to check on the latest vote tally. PRE-WRITE: There’s no reason to wait until election night to write your stories completely. Other than the lead two or three paragraphs, you can pre-write and pre-edit those pieces days before and even have them placed on your pagination file pasteboard. Most of that deadline story will be background anyway. PLAN PAGE 1: Know where your lead stories and lead visuals are going to go on the page – but be prepared to adjust as the election news changes. Where will you put those charts? Maps? Mug shots?

Regional Photography Seminars to help reporters learn to take better pictures

Refers? Pull quotes? Perhaps you need to design three or four options. PLAN THE INSIDE PACKAGE: How much space are you going to need? One page? Two? More? Where will the jumps go? Sidebars? Charts? Maps? DEVELOP A THREE-ISSUE PLAN: Remember that election coverage isn’t just for election evening (or the following morning, if you’re a p.m.). You’ll want to do a good job the issue before election day, by helping prepare your readers to vote – perhaps with a list of voting places and times. On election day, you want to do your best to cover the election itself. Finally, your next issue offers you the opportunity to clean up any undecided races, get candidate reaction and put the entire election into context. WATCH TV: I know, I know…it’s heresy – but having a TV in the corner of the newsroom will help you keep up with latebreaking surprises. Oh, and keep and eye on internet coverage, too. Election night is always an adrenalin experience. It’s like a high-stakes poker game: Hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. But you can make election night at your paper go much more smoothly. If ... you begin to plan now. MORE INFORMATION ED HENNINGER is an independent newspaper consultant and the Director of Henninger Consulting, offering comprehensive newspaper design services, including redesigns, staff training, workshops and evaluations. You can reach him at: 803-327-3322. E-mail: edh@henningerconsulting.com. On the web: www.henningerconsulting.com

Contact Info: Newspaper: ___________________________________ Contact: ______________________________________

The SCPA Foundation is sponsoring three free photography workshops that will be taught by USC J-School professor Dr. Keith Kenney. Sessions will start at 9:30 a.m. and run until noon. Bring your camera.

E-mail: ________________________________________

Yes! I’d like to attend this free seminar on: ☐ Wednesday, July 23, The Herald-Journal in Spartanburg ☐ Thursday, August 7, The Morning News in Florence ☐ Wednesday, August 13, Orangeburg Chamber of Commerce

______________________________________________

Phone: _______________________________________ Attendees

Print names as to appear on name badges.

______________________________________________

Questions? Call SCPA at (803) 750-9561. Fax back to (803) 551-0903.


Page 10 • July 2008 • S.C. Press Association Bulletin

Favorite products for your paper It always surprises me when I visit a newspaper and see one of my columns posted on a bulletin board. I hear it all the time. “I’ve been trying to get the publisher to buy (fill in the blank) for years, By Kevin but couldn’t get him Slimp (or her) to budge. Then Institute of Newspaper I showed them your Technology column and, voila, they ordered it for everyone in the building!” It works the other way, too. Publishers will tell me they read my column and decided to purchase new hardware and/or software based on what I wrote. Kind of scary, actually. After noticing a lot of empty spaces on bulletin boards lately, I decided to do my part by sharing my list of products I’d have around if I were the king of your newspapers. (Note: Be sure to highlight the words “products I’d have around” before tacking this to your bulletin board.) OK. Here’s my list: Computers: New iMacs for everyone. It never ceases to amaze me when I hear a publisher tell me how much production has increased after getting new computers. And the iMac is the computer to get. Two megabytes of RAM is fine. Oh, by the way, buy some MacBooks for your sales staff while you’re at it. They’re a mobile group, you know. Video Camcorders: Ever since I wrote a column on the Flip video camcorder a few months ago, publishers have been stopping me at conferences to show me the ones they carry in their pockets. Everybody seems addicted to their Flip. At less than $150 for the Flip Ultra, it seems like a “no brainer” to get one for each reporter. That way they can shoot a video for your Web site while covering a story. Audio Recorders: Going out to cover the county commission meeting? As exciting as they can be, it’s possible to miss a thing or two. That’s where the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder comes in. I finally spent my own money to get one last month, and it was $199 well spent. Actually, I found it on sale for $179. The Zoom records in brilliant ste-

reo on a memory card just like you’d find in some of your digital cameras. Just copy the files from the card onto your computer and you have sound. It’s also great for recording your daily podcast. Font Management Software: Have you heard about the new serverThe based font management applicaZoom tion from Extensis. Of course not. H2 Handy I haven’t written about it yet. But Recorder reI have it. And for those of you who have asked about server-based font cords in stereo management only to learn it could cost as and saves sound much as a few dozen iMacs, I have great clips to a memory news. Extensis has just released Universal card. Type Server Lite, which allows serverbased font management for up to 10 users create. Fortunately, scanners cost less than for less than $1,400. It works with both a dinner for two (maybe one, with an appeMacs and PCs. tizer) at Ruth Chris. Buy an Epson scanner. AutoDesk Cleaner: Man, is it expensive They’re the best. ($595). At least it’s not as expensive as it Miscellaneous Software: GIMP (it’s free used to be. But if you’re going to have vidand it rhymes with my name) for folks who eos on your Web site, you’ll want to make don’t have Photoshop on their computers. them as small as possible while retaining Visit gimpshop.com for more information. the quality. That’s what Cleaner does. The ProSoft Drive Genius 2 is a great utility for PC version is called Cleaner XL. Don’t take keeping Macs humming. Adobe Acrobat my word for it. Try the free demo at http:// 9.0 Professional is a must for newspapers usa.autodesk.com. that haven’t upgraded to 8.0 Professional Adobe Flash: I don’t have enough space yet. You need one of the two. to get into the whole QuarkXPress 8.0 vs. I could go on for days about hardware InDesign CS3 (soon to be CS4) debate. But and software. But this is a good start. Now we can all agree on one thing: Every newsgo ahead. Put it on the bulletin board. paper should have someone on staff who knows how to use Adobe Flash. Whether MORE INFORMATION KEVIN SLIMP is director of the Institute of you use it to create animated ads for your Newspaper Technology. He can be reached at Web site or to convert videos to Flash kslimp@newspaperintstitute.com. files, Adobe Flash is quickly becoming as necessary as Photoshop. OK, maybe Job Listings I exaggerate. But on scpress.org Flash is something I wouldn’t do without • Copy Desk Chief, Staff Writer – The at my newspaper. Index-Journal Scanners: Replace • Editor – The Loris Scene your desktop scan• Ad Rep, Reporter – Greer Citizen ners every two years. • Advertising Manager, Education Writer Actually, every 18 – Summerville Communications months is a better • Marketing Director – The Daily Journal idea. Scanners lose •Reporter – Chronicle-Independent their quality after 18 •Page Designer – The Independent-Mail months or so, and users spend all their time trying to clean up noise they didn’t


July 2008 • S.C. Press Association Bulletin • Page 11

Obituaries Dr. Perry Ashley Retired journalism scholar, USC COLUMBIA

Dr. Perry J. Ashley, retired University of South Carolina journalism professor and interim dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communication from 1985-88, died July 7. Dr. Ashley died from lung cancer. Dr. Ashley held a PhD. from Southern Illinois University and a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Kentucky. He was Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of South Carolina in Ashley the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He was a dedicated teacher and a scholar of the history of American journalism, and edited the five volumes of the Dictionary of Literary Biography, which detail the history of print journalism in the United States. Dr. Ashley was a member of many professional and honorary societies, including Omicron Delta Kappa, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. Dr. Ashley was active in civic organizations, including Chairman of Richland County School District 2 Board of Trustees and Chairman of the East Richland Public Service District during its time of expansion in northeastern Richland County. He served in the U.S. Army in Europe from 1950 - 1952.

Prior to joining the Observer, King was a state political writer, metro news and features writer for the Morning News in Florence.

Howard MacDougall Former news editor, The Evening Post SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.

Howard W. MacDougall, former executive news editor of The Evening Post, died July 2, at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., after a long illness. He was 78. Formerly of James Island, MacDougall, known as “Mac” to his friends and colleagues started his newspaper career in high school, covering sports for the Collingswood (N.J.) High School newspaper. From 1948 until 1971 MacDougall held several jobs at the Camden, N.J., Courier-Post, including city editor. He then worked in public relations and published a weekly newspaper until moving to Charleston to join The News and Courier staff in 1976. He was named news editor in 1977 MacDougall and city editor in 1980. MacDougall retired in 1990 as executive news editor after more than 43 years in the newspaper and advertising business. A Navy veteran, MacDougall was a member of the American Legion, Sigma Delta Chi and the Society of Professional Journalists. He served on the board of the Scottish Society of Charleston and was active in Lutherans for Life.

Carpenter Earl King Christopher Former editor, Lee County Observer Howard McCarter HARTSVILLE

Carpenter Earl King Jr., 56, died May 31, in Hartsville. Carpenter was born in Washington, D.C. He was former editor of the Lee County Observer. He joined the paper in 1989 as an assistant editor and was promoted to editor in 1992. He stayed in the position until 1996. Most recently, he worked as a photojournalist with the Hartsville Messenger.

FOIA

Continued from page 1

being used to “screen the public from the public’s business.” Bill Hawkins, executive editor of The Post and Courier, is thankful for all the papers that signed on in support of the case. “It is immensely gratifying to see this level of support for our efforts to overturn a bad court decision,” said Bill Hawkins, executive editor of The Post and Courier. “The support of more than 100 newspapers reflects the strength of the South Carolina Press Association and the willingness of its members to fight for an issue that is clearly in the public interest.” The school district has spent $47,267.33 defending the district in this case. To view the full brief, visit www.scpress.org.

Foundation for the future... Your donations to the SCPA Foundation help aspiring journalists by funding internships and scholarships. But these things can’t happen without your support. So at the end of the tax year, remember the SCPA Foundation with your gifts. And a donation to the Foundation in the name of a departed colleague is an excellent remembrance that lasts far longer than flowers.

Former business reporter, Greenville News GREENVILLE

Christopher Howard McCarter died June 1. He was a business reporter for the Greenville News and later volunteered his talents to alternative papers in South Carolina. He also worked as a financial journalist in Washington, D.C., for 20 years.

bbkyzer@mindspring.com


Page 12 • July 2008 • S.C. Press Association Bulletin

Longtime Charleston editor retires Williams was first woman to cover S.C. Legislature; Rowe named to post By Robert Behre, The Post and Courier

The Post and Courier turned a new page last month as Editor Barbara S. Williams retired after 44 years with the newspaper. Charles R. Rowe has assumed her duties as editorial page editor. Williams will continue to serve as a weekly columnist and consultant. Her retirement marks a milestone in a groundbreaking career that included being the first woman assigned to cover the South Carolina Legislature and to serve as editor of a daily newspaper in the state. Ivan V. “Andy” Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Evening Post Publishing Co., said that during Williams’ 44 years in Charleston, “Barbara has done just about every newsroom job there is, from reporter to top editor. Her impact on our newspaper and our community has been extraordinary.”

Williams

Rowe

Post and Courier Publisher Larry Tarleton said, “Barbara’s well-earned retirement leaves a tremendous void. She knows more about the inner workings of government and politics than anyone around. We will continue to call on her vast knowledge for guidance on issues.” Williams joined the newspaper’s staff in 1961 and soon became The News and Courier’s legislative reporter. She also covered city and county governments. Williams became that newspaper’s assistant managing editor in 1976, and in 1981 became editor of The Evening Post. That promotion made her the first female editor in modern times of a major daily newspa-

per in South Carolina. She succeeded Arthur Wilcox in 1990 as editor of The News and Courier while retaining her position as editor of The Evening Post, and she presided over the merger of the two newspapers in October 1991 to form The Post and Courier A year later, she served as president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, which includes newspapers in the United States and Canada. Rowe, currently the newspaper’s assistant editor, has worked for The Evening Post, The News and Courier and The Post and Courier for almost a quarter century either as a city hall reporter, news desk editor, Washington correspondent or editorial writer. He also wrote “Pages of History, 200 Years of The Post and Courier.” Rowe has assumed his new role and he vowed to continue to provide fair-minded opinion on the editorial pages and to maintain an emphasis on growth management, land conservation and governmental accountability.

8/13: Florida Ad Contest Judging SCPA Offices, Columbia.

CALENDAR

8/13: Photo Seminar @ Chamber of Commerce Orangeburg. Free. 8/7: Photo Seminar @ The Morning News Florence. Free. 7/23: Photo Seminar @ The Herald-Journal Spartanburg. Free. 7/17: Ad Sales Basics SCPA Offices, Columbia, 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Serving South Carolina’s Newspaper Industry since 1852 S.C. Press Association P.O. Box 11429 Columbia, S.C.29211

U.S. POSTAGE PAID COLUMBIA, SC Permit #487 PRSRT STD

SCPA Bulletin July 08  

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