Foundation offers summer coaching for newsrooms
The S.C. Press Association Foundation has hired an outstanding newsroom coach to work with our member newspapers this summer. The coach is Dr. Deborah Gump, visiting journalism professor at the USC School of Journalism.
At the J-School, Gump's primary responsibility is the school's print/multimedia capstone program, in which students work full time producing news and feature stories, as well as multimedia packages. Much of their work was shared with SCPA members on the SC News Exchange.
As our newsroom coach, she will visit newsrooms across the state this summer to do critiques and training sessions for reporters and editors. This will include advanced preparation so that actual examples of staff work can be integrated into the training sessions and critiques. Gump will spend at least a half day at each newspaper.
Training session topics include: writing the story for the reader, layout, copy editing, headline writing and other topics desired by your staff.
The visits will be scheduled to suit both the editors and the coach starting in early June.
The Foundation is paying for the coach. The only cost to the newspapers visited will be mileage, meals and overnight accommodations, if needed.
Before moving to the Palmetto State, Gump worked as a reporter, editor, teacher and trainer. She has worked at the Rochester (N.Y.) Times-Union, the San Jose Mercury News, the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, the Marin (California) Independent Journal and USA Today before earning her doctorate as a Freedom Forum Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001. She served as the Knight professor of editing at Ohio University, where she created EditTeach.org, a resource site for students, teachers and professionals. From Ohio, Gump joined the Committee of Concerned Journalists as director of print/online, managing its traveling curriculum in critical thinking skills about core values such as accuracy, transparency and engagement. She joined USC's faculty after serving as the professional in residence at Middle Tennessee State University. Deborah is a founding member of the American Copy Editors Society and is a member of the Online News Association, the American Society of News Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to have some top-quality in-house training for your staff at a very modest cost.
The number of newspaper coaching visits is limited to 12 and they will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis to newspaper members only. Five spots have already been claimed. Call or email Bill Rogers soon if you are interested.
SCPA now offers online registration for events
Online registration is now open for several upcoming SCPA training events!
Instead of downloading and filling out a PDF registration form that you fax or email to us, you'll now be able to click a link, fill in your newspapers' attendee information and payment and you'll be all set to attend the event.
When registering, you'll have three payment options. You can pay by credit card through our secure processing center. You are also welcome to pay by check. Or, if you'd like to be invoiced, simply select "Pay at the Door" and we'll email you a PDF invoice that you can submit for payment later.
In the registration portal, you'll be able to register one or multiple staffers on the same registration. You'll also be able to submit questions for the instructor or topics that you'd like to see covered. And, if lunch is offered, you'll be able to pick your lunch option. You can even register on a mobile device!
To make it easier to remember the time and date of the event, you'll be able to click a link that will add the event to your calendar and
give you directions to the workshop.
"We think this secure system will make it easier for members to register and pay for events, and it will save SCPA staffers time entering in registration info, so we can better serve you in other areas," said Jen Madden, SCPA assistant director.
In addition to the receipt and confirmation sent from the registration system, SCPA will still send a detailed confirmation before the event with everything you need to know.
The first event that we're offering online registration for is the Weekly Circulation Roundtable, which will be held at SCPA Offices on Thursday, May 30, from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
This event will feature discussion leaders from our membership and sessions with NNA's Max Heath and James Duffy of the post office. Discussion topics will include: dealing with mailing issues, software, CASS certification, promotions that work, carrier options and tips on maximizing mail service.
The cost to attend is $25, which includes lunch. Click here to register.
More upcoming events include:
If you're uncomfortable with the online registration portal, you can still call SCPA at (803) 750-9561 or email Jen Madden to sign up for an event.
How to stomp on credibility and keep it down
Did you hear about the 2012 General Election in Richland County? The Election Commission provided fewer voting machines than required by state law and only two‐thirds of the poll workers historically assigned to conduct an election in a presidential year.
An investigation was conducted, leading the election director to say some unidentified subordinate made the decision to deploy fewer voting machines than required. No one could explain why a significant portion of the inadequate number of machines deployed weren't functioning and couldn't be repaired.
The investigator, a lawyer with a good reputation for independence, tried to get to the bottom of the fiasco that kept determined voters in line for up to seven hours and discouraged countless others from voting, but even he didn't discover the personnel shortages. That nugget came from an investigation by The State.
The seeds of the disaster were sown when the Richland County Legislative Delegation decided to combine the voter registration office with the election commission. The delegation then passed over the incumbent election director who had run elections without major problems for more than 20 years in favor of the voter registration director who had never conducted an election. Then the new director became the highest paid election director in the state.
In the face of a loud public outcry after the election members of the delegation defended the election director and suggested that calling her incompetent was somehow beyond the bounds of public debate. Ultimately the election director decided to step down from her position to return to voter registration at a reduced but still substantial salary.
Editor's Note: Once The State newspaper started reporting on the qualifications or lack of qualifications of the three candidates for Richland County election director, two have withdrawn their names.
Managing Editor, The Press and Standard, Walterboro
What do you like best about your job?
I've been fortunate enough to have been doing this for most of my adult life, and I've found the things I enjoy the most about my job haven't really changed. I like being able to make a difference with something I've written about or editorialized. I like being able to meet a wide scope of people through my work, and I love when someone stops me in the street to tell me they enjoyed a photo I took or a story or column I wrote or edited.
What is your proudest moment from your career in the newspaper industry?
My proudest moment was probably two summers ago, when I was promoted from Sports Editor to Managing Editor here at the Press and Standard. It was a big accomplishment for me. I was only 27 at the time, and the newspaper had been through a lot of transition. It was certainly a great feeling to know that our management had that much confidence in me.
How do you view the future of the newspaper industry?
The future of the newspaper industry is in a constant state of flux. We're moving away from the print product to digital media. The news cycle is faster than ever due to emergence of social media and smart phones. Still, I believe our industry will survive. Every society since the dawn of time has needed storytellers, and newspapers will continue to fill that void, even when the time comes that they are no longer on newsprint.
What's your favorite SCPA member service?
The accessibility of the SCPA staff. I know when I have question, legal or otherwise, that Bill or Jen is just an email or phone call away.
Any big plans coming up?
There's always something at the newspaper. Our next big project is our Summer edition of Colleton Magazine. We'll see if it can defend it's title as the state's best special publication in the Weekly Division. Personally, I'm looking forward to the home stretch of the University of South Carolina's baseball season and the start of football season. I graduated from Carolina in 2006 and I'm a season ticket holder for both sports. Other than that, I look forward to spending some time with my girlfriend (Erin Culpepper) and enjoying the summer here in the Lowcountry.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career and why?
That's an easy one. It would have to be Tay Smith, who was our editor and publisher from 1992-2010 and a former S.C. Press Association President. Tay gave me my start and he taught me the value of community journalism and the importance of being a credible reporter. Basically, most of what I know about putting together good editorial content for a newspaper and the job I do today, I picked up from Tay.
What are some area attractions/restaurants in your community visitors shouldn't miss?
Anyone visiting Colleton County should definitely check out Walterboro's recently revitalized Downtown area. With all of the improvements and new businesses moving in, I'd describe it as a much smaller and less hectic version of Downtown Charleston. Edisto Beach and Fenwick Island are also in the county limits and just a 45-minute drive away from town. For food, you can't beat Dimitrios, a local Greek and Italian staple, or Duke's BBQ, which has one of the best buffets you'll ever come across.
What is something most people don't know about you?
I'm a bit of a gym rat and have been since January of 2008. I used to weigh somewhere just north of 300 pounds, but I dropped 80 pounds in my first nine months and have never really looked back. Exercise changed my life, and these days you can usually find me at our local gym five or six days a week lifting weights or taking part in a group fitness class.
If you could change one thing about the newspaper industry, what would it be?
If I could change one thing it would be the way editorial staffs have been valued during the recent economic downturn. Journalists are expected to do more and accept less these days, and newsrooms have often been central targets for staff reductions. In many cases, I think newspapers have responded to financial problems by making moves that have only weakened their core product.
Know someone interesting that you'd like to see featured here? Let us know!
Bill reforming S.C. open records law again fails to pass
By Stephen Largen, The Post and Courier
South Carolina residents hoping for reform of the state’s freedom of information law will have to wait until at least next year.
A bill by Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, includes a series of changes to the open-records policy. It would force public bodies, such as state agencies and local school boards, to respond more quickly to requests for public information, and restrict what those bodies can charge for that information.
Taylor introduced a similar bill last year that passed the House but died in the Senate in the final days of the session.
This year, the first of a two-year session, the bill met a more unceremonious fate: It failed to meet a legislative deadline that essentially kills the proposal for the session.
The legislation cleared the House Judiciary Committee and reached the House floor, but was sent back to the panel for more study after some lawmakers expressed concerns.
Representatives of local governments and school boards also argued that the bill is unreasonable.
“I think it’s unfortunate the people of South Carolina have to wait another year for any meaningful reform,” said Bill Rogers, executive director of the S.C. Press Association.
The group strongly supports open-records reform.
Remaining sticking points on the bill, Taylor and others said, are the potential cost of preserving state lawmakers’ records and the removal of the exemption that currently allows legislators to keep those records closed.
Click here to read an editorial from the Index Journal about the FOIA bill.
Anderson offers digital, print subscriptions
Earlier this week, the Anderson Independent Mail announced that it will now offer now new subscription options for readers.
Print subscribers will
receive unlimited digital access with their subscription.
The paper will also offer digital-only subscriptions for $9.99 per month. This includes access to independentmail.com, apps and all other digital products. The Independent Mail is also limiting commenting to subscribers.
Non-subscribers will still be able to read some articles, headlines and short summaries. Access to classified advertising including auto, real estate and employment is open to everyone. Public safety information and some important breaking news stories and features will also be available without a subscription.
The Independent Mail's site was the first newspaper website in South Carolina, starting 17 years ago.
Greenville publisher testifies before house hearing on U.S. Postal Service
Steve Brandt, president and publisher of The Greenville News, provided a U.S. House subcommittee in April with a real world snapshot of the impact of USPS Standard Mail pricing decisions in recent years.
Paul Boyle, senior vice president for public policy at the Newspaper Association of America, said the industry "couldn't have asked for a better representative of the industry than Steve."
Boyle said the hearing was a huge success "as Steve was able to express our industry's concerns over the Valassis NSA."
"More importantly," Boyle said, "the hearing provided members of Congress with an opportunity to get on the record to express concerns over the special rate deal given to newspaper's largest direct mail competitor."
Click here to read Brandt's full statement or watch the YouTube clip.
Lancaster publisher named NNA Region 4 director
Susan Rowell, publisher of The Lancaster News, has been appointed Region 4 director (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Puerto Rico) for the National Newspaper Association. Her term of office will be through September 2014.
In 1985, Rowell joined the Lancaster News advertising sales team, being promoted to advertising manager in 1993. Graduating from the Landmark Newspaper Management program in 1996, she continued her newspaper management training as she was named strategic development director for the newspaper in 1998 and then circulation manager in 1999. Rowell was named publisher in September 2002. She is also publisher of Carolina Gateway , a free weekly newspaper. In her role as regional manager for Landmark of South Carolina, Rowell provides management oversight for the Chester News & Reporter and the Pageland Progressive Journal. She has been an active board member with the S.C. Press Association since 2004 serving as president in 2012.
Melendez places in NPPA contest
The State’s Gerry Melendez took third place in the Photojournalist of The Year category for smaller markets in the National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism contest. The NPPA recognizes a winner for both larger and smaller markets and describes the contest as one “designed for photojournalists by photojournalists.” It attracts the very best in still, video, multimedia and editing. This is the second time Melendez has placed in the portfolio category of this prestigious national contest. Click here to see some of Melendez’s photos. In March, Melendez was named S.C. Daily Photojournalist of the Year by SCPA. He was honorable mention Photographer of the Year by the S.C. News Photographers Association. He also received an Award of Excellence from Pictures of the Year International for his “Road to Omaha” sports picture story and two Awards of Excellence from the Society for News Design.
Study: Consumers respond to print ads
Roughly 80% of adults took action in response to a newspaper ad in the past month, according to a new NAA study.
The research, conducted for the association by Frank N. Magid Associates, measured patterns of behavior in U.S. consumers, including advertising media usage for shopping and purchasing, the role of newspaper media in purchase decisions, the use of preprints and coupons, and online shopping actions. The study -- called “How America Shops and Spends 2013” -- revealed the following:
- Newspapers ranked first or tied for first place in seven of 12 benefit statements related to advertising platforms, with the top three being “you check for your regular shopping,” “most valuable in planning shopping” and “most believable and trustworthy.”
- Print newspapers scored highest at 62% out of 19 advertising sources used by survey participants to plan shopping or make purchasing decisions in the last seven days. When combined with newspaper websites, the net number totaled 66%.
- Survey participants who self-identified as nonreaders of newspapers nevertheless reported using them. Three of the top five actions from a list of 13 related specifically to advertising: clipping a coupon (16%), checking sales in local stores (16%) and comparing prices for items they intended to purchase (12%.)
- Nearly 9 out of 10 – 86% – of those who used online circulars also took some action as a result of a print newspaper insert in the past 30 days.
Trend Watch: Digital Marketing Services
By Ellen Sterling, Editor and Publisher
There are essential elements that have always gone into building a successful newspaper. Among them are writing, design, knowledge of the community and its readers, ability to sell sustaining advertising, and, in reporting the news, the ability to spot trends and look into the future. All the skills that go into those elements of success remain the same, but they have been adapted to the new world of newspapers, enabling diversification of the traditional business model.
Of course, the process of diversification and of introducing new products to staff and clients doesn’t happen overnight. At the Kenosha (Wis.) News, managing director of digital media and director of client media Nicole McQuestion said, “We spent a year developing staff that does a needs analysis of a client’s business. We taught them how to look at the client’s whole business and future needs, rather than just how to sell an ad. We have an 11-person staff with three who specialize in digital media.”
Adobe Creative Suite to become subscription-only products
Adobe is making a major move into the cloud. The company has just announced the next version of its flagship digital editing tools, Creative Suite, and for the first time the new products will only be available through the company's online subscription service. Adobe previously offered standalone editions of each product, which users could choose to keep or upgrade as new editions were released, but now the only way to receive major feature updates to the product series will be to remain subscribed to the $49.99 per month service.
The company is giving its application suite a new, but familiar name to emphasize the change: Adobe Creative Cloud will be replacing Creative Suite 6, the version released last year. The product series has been on a yearly release cycle since 2011, and this latest upgrade includes new features for nearly every product in the series, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro, all of which now have their name appended with CC, instead of CS.
All of the apps in Creative Cloud will be replaced with the newly upgraded ones when Adobe releases them on June 17. The company will continue to sell standalone copies of Creative Suite 6 applications for now, but it will not continue to update them with new features.
The Dallas Morning News' paywall is getting a makeover to try to capture digital-only readers
By Justin Ellis, Neiman Journalism Lab
If 2012 was the Year of the Paywall for American newspapers, 2013 is turning into the Year of Paywall Tinkering.
Last month, it was The New York Times that announced it planned to diversify its digital subscription model with a set of lower- and higher-priced offerings — “to use a wider family of New York Times products to reach new customers,” as NYT Co. CEO Mark Thompson put it. And there was the Orange County Register offering up its own unique spin on a hard paywall.
The latest newspaper to tweak its model is The Dallas Morning News. The Texas paper debuted its paywall in March 2011, a hair before the Times, and it was on the harder end of the paywall spectrum — no meter, with content sharply divided into available-to-all and available-to-subscribers tranches.
But now the Morning News plans to tinker with that paywall to try to capture a larger readership. Publisher Jim Moroney says the company is exploring its options — including adding a meter that would allow for a limited number of free stories, creating specialized tiers of digital access to Dallasnews.com, or creating time-limited access to the site, like a 24-hour pass.
“We didn’t really give people enough reasons to subscribe digitally. We made it too hard for them to subscribe digitally. We didn’t market it hardly at all,” Moroney told me.
Moroney wouldn’t go into specifics on what the new model would look like, only to say they want to launch the new system later this year that would be a “greatly improved, metered paid-access model that is much more consumer friendly in every way.”
AP updates social media guidelines, including newsgathering in sensitive situations
By AP Social Media Editor Eric Carvin and Standards Editor Tom Kent
When there's been a mass killing, a natural disaster or a breaking event in a war zone, AP journalists need to use every tool at their disposal to get the story — and, when possible, the images.
As always, we need to work quickly. But when potential sources of newsworthy tips, witness accounts and amateur content are in dangerous or otherwise sensitive situations, it's critical that we make smart and ethical newsgathering decisions.
Here's the latest version of AP's social media guidelines for AP employees, and a key update is a new set of guidance on how (and whether) to use social networks to get information and amateur content from people who are in danger, or who have suffered a significant personal loss. That newsgathering guidance is an abbreviated version of a broader set of tips recently written for AP staff by AP social media experts Eric Carvin and Fergus Bell, in collaboration with other editors.Here are some of the other updates in the new version of the guidelines.
- Staffers are advised to avoid spreading unconfirmed rumors through tweets and posts.
- A new section explains how staffers can use personal sites and blogs to share a portfolio of work they've done for AP.
- New guidance offers tips on how to handle breaking news that surfaces first on a public figure's social media account.
Tips for investigating a story like Cleveland's missing women
By Al Tompkins, Poynter
How do you dig up information in a story like the one unfolding in Cleveland when all you know is three women missing for nearly a decade suddenly escaped their captors? When the story broke, government offices were closed, the usual sources were hard to find and neighbors knew next to nothing of substance about the main suspect.
I asked Investigative Reporters and Editors Executive Director Mark Horvit and some of the country’s best investigative reporters to help me compile a checklist of public records that would be useful in reporting a story like this. Horvit and the IRE folks have compiled a first-rate collection of “essential tipsheets” to help journalists with stories like this one that require you to be find reliable information quickly. I also emailed with a reporter who used such tools in her own work on the Cleveland story. Here are ideas and suggested resources drawn from our conversations:
|Classifieds deserve design attention
Years ago, a client publisher boasted that his classifieds section was second only to the big area mall in the number of customers per month.
Yes, there's been some downturn in classifieds lineage, but classifieds are very much an important part of
our revenue stream — and the classifieds section requires the same level of design attention as other pages and packages in your newspaper. Some elements to check:
THE HEADER: Is it uncluttered, or are you trying to put too much there? How about clip art, bursts and the
like? Too many elements make a classifieds header unappealing - and make your paper appear less professional. One element you don't want to leave out: Your phone number. Give it prominent placement
in the header and make sure you use it large enough, 24 point at the smallest. Your phone number is the front door to your classifieds store. If you want people to advertise in the classifieds, make it easy for them to get to you!
|Don't be "sales-ey"
I remember talking to a frustrated advertiser who was complaining about a certain media sales rep. "I was interested in his publication," the advertiser told me, "and in fact I had called him to set the appointment. But from the moment he walked into my office, he was insincere and sales-ey. He spent the whole time boasting about how great his paper was. After a few minutes, it was obvious that all he cared about was making a sale. He never made an effort to learn about my business. I couldn't get rid of him fast enough."
I've heard the same complaint from a number of advertisers. Sales people who are "too sales-ey" don't sell much. Without a doubt, there's a lot of truth in the old saying, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
This leads us to one of the most effective phrases a salesperson can use: "Help me understand." Begin with these three words, and you'll open the door to rapport and information.
May 30: Weekly Circulation Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
May 31: PALMY Ad Contest deadline
- rules for newspaper members
- rules for associate members
June 6: Daily Editors Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
June 13: Ad Basics Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
June 14: Daily Publishers Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
June 20: Basic and Advanced InDesign Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
July 18: Basic and Advanced PhotoShop Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
August 2: Ad Directors Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia (More details coming soon!)
August 8: Weekly Editors Roundtable, SCPA Offices, Columbia
August 15: Basic and Advanced Adobe Illustrator Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia (More details coming soon!)
September 12: Ad Design Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia
Sept. 19: Advanced InDesign and PDF Workshop, SCPA Offices, Columbia