Can I talk with a juror?
The recent Anthony decision in Florida stunned those citizens who had watched Nancy Grace announce nightly on her cable show that the defendant, “Tot Mom,” was no doubt guilty of killing her young daughter. The jurors faced immediate criticism for not reaching the same conclusion as that reached by Grace and her slew of “experts.”
Like the O.J. verdict, public opinion on the Anthony verdict ran counter to the jury’s decision.
The Anthony jurors have apparently decided to stick together and not tell their stories. The cynic in me thinks that won’t last because sooner or later some organization will offer enough money to get a juror to talk.
So, can a journalist talk to a juror?
During a trial, jurors are repeatedly warned not to discuss the case with anyone until the testimony is complete and the judge has given instructions on the law. Most judges instruct jurors that if approached by someone who wishes to discuss the case, to state that the juror is prohibited from discussing the case. If the other person persists, the juror is instructed to advise the judge. In South Carolina if the contact can be interpreted as an effort to intimidate the juror, the one making the contact may be charged with a felony under section 16-9-340 of the Code of Laws.
What about after the trial?
Many judges routinely advise jurors as a jury is being discharged at the end of a case that jurors may refuse to discuss a verdict, and that if any person continues to pursue a discussion of the verdict or harass the juror after a refusal, to report the person to the court. Unfortunately, judges who give this instruction have not taken notice that the state statute which contains the requirement that jurors be so instructed is limited to “cases in which an individual is sentenced to death...” So, by giving this instruction to all jurors, judges are extending the reach of the law beyond that set by the General Assembly.
News Exchange features new column
SCPA's news sharing site is adding a columnist. He is Phil Noble of Charleston, who will be writing for us on an experimental basis for several months.
Noble is president of the S.C. New Democrats and will be offering columns that would be classified as having a moderate/independent outlook. These columns will be posted weekly on Thursdays. His current column is on redistricting.
The S.C. Policy Council is also posting stories to the site. Several timely stories are available, including an interesting read about superintendents' salaries.
Other regularly posted content include a weekly NASCAR column by Cathy Elliott, which is posted every Friday afternoon, and editorial cartoons by Stuart Neiman that are posted on Monday mornings.
And this fall, we will again have photo coverage of USC and Clemson home games.
It is easy to sign up for an RSS feed to be notified of new posts. And please share your newspaper's stories of statewide interest. Editor Lisa Chalian-Rock of The News and Press in Darlington posts several stories a week. You can too! The site only works when members are sharing editorials, feature articles, news stories and photos. Email Jen if you need a log-in to post content.
Foundation intern can't imagine working outside of newspapers
The SCPA Foundation's goal is to educate our state's future journalists and prepare them for a career in newspapers. There's no better way to encourage talented young people to enter the newspaper business than to let them experience working at a local newspaper for 10 weeks during the summer. This year the SCPA Foundation awarded three internships to deserving S.C. college students. Winthrop senior Jonathan McFadden worked to refine his reporting skills at the Chester News & Reporter.
McFadden, a print journalism major and religion minor at Winthrop University, is the rising news editor at The Johnsonian, the school’s newspaper. McFadden was able to feed his interest in community journalism by filling the role of a city reporter during his internship, covering stories concerning council meetings and the overall happenings of the Chester community.
While the term “intern” is generally used to describe a training period, McFadden’s supervisor Editor Travis Jenkins assessed McFadden’s reporting skills as “very high” from the beginning.
“I decided pretty quickly to treat him like a reporter and a part of our staff,” Jenkins said.
The experience was beneficial to both The News & Reporter and McFadden.
“I loved going into work every day working alongside veteran editors and reporters," McFadden said. "This is the career for me, bar none. I can't imagine myself doing anything else.”
"Thanks for not only choosing me for the internship, but suggesting I work in Chester," McFadden wrote in an email to SCPA staffers. "I absolutely love it
here. I really, really do. I'm getting the opportunity to do some wonderful things; it's been an awesome experience!"
"This community is filled with so much news -- I didn't expect it at all. I've enjoyed every minute of it. I come to work excited each day... literally," McFadden said. "Print
is not dead! My prayer for these past weeks is that I can land a first
job like this!"
The SCPA Foundation is proud to have provided McFadden with a $4,000 summer internship at The News and Reporter. Because of his outstanding academic achievement and passion for newspapering, McFadden was also chosen by the Foundation Board to receive a Mundy Scholarship of $3,000 to help pay for his senior year at Winthrop.
“I don’t think this internship could have gone better for our newspaper,” reported Jenkins, who was so pleased with McFadden’s work that he offered the student a freelance writing position a week after the internship ended.
Next week, we'll introduce you to Claire Byun, a Winthrop student who interned at The Sun News in Myrtle Beach.
Scholarships and internships are provided from contributions from S.C. newspapers and interested individuals. If you would like to make a gift to the Foundation, contact Jen.
The Item in Sumter
SCPA Vice President - Dailies
What do you like best about your job?
I like the fact that every day is different in the daily news business.
What's your biggest challenge and how are you facing it?
Our biggest challenge is declining revenue. We have to constantly remind our customers how many folks are still reading the daily newspaper both in print and online every single day and it's still the best bang for your buck.
What's the best part of working in our industry?
The people. Newspapers have all different types of folks because there are so many different areas of expertise necessary to keep things running smoothly.
What's your favorite SCPA member service?
My favorite service is anything that brings this newspaper revenue.
Any big plans for the summer?
I just got back from Central Texas where I left my wife and two kids. We go out every summer to visit my in-laws and enjoy the San Antonio/Austin area. I'm headed back at the end of the summer to get them. Until then, it's bachelor time!
Attorney offers update on SCPA FOI cases
The SCPA FOI Fund is helping finance litigation in two cases of statewide impact.
The first involves the Greenwood Index-Journal's suit against the Dept. of Public Safety over withholding videos and reports until a case has been resolved.
Attorney Jay Bender has moved for summary judgment in the DPS suit, and anticipates a hearing before the end of the year.
The second case is against the Sumter Coroner, who is refusing to release autopsy information claiming he is a health care provider. He has answered the suit again seeking to assert exemptions for medical records and HIPPA. Bender has been waiting for the defendant's attorney to get back from vacation so he can schedule depositions.
Reasons newspapers are suddenly asking print subscribers to pay for full web access
After years of searching for a workable paid digital content model, a wave of small and mid-sized newspapers have all hit on the same solution: Ask print subscribers to pay just a little more to get full website access.
The deal incorporates a key feature of the much-watched New York Times metered model, which rolled out in March. Users get a certain number of article views for free -- then they are asked to pay a monthly subscription fee for unlimited use. ... At Poynter Online, we had the impression that this was a rare, if not unique, strategy.
Quite the contrary, said Brad Dennison, vice president of Interactive for GateHouse Media, by email. His company has been converting several of its 90 dailies per week to this payment system and will have 50 done by the middle of this month. He is also fielding two or three calls a week, Dennison told me in a phone interview, from newspapers or companies contemplating the change.
The "situational stylebook": AP creates a reference guide for the upcoming Sept. 11 anniversary
This September will mark the ten-year anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. It's an occasion that will be commemorated, both on the day itself and, in many cases, in the weeks leading up to it, with journalistic coverage of the events and their aftermath. To assist its members as they create that coverage, the Associated Press just released a style and reference guide whose content is dedicated to 9/11. It includes terms like "airline, airlines" ("Capitalize airlines, air lines and airways when used as part of a proper airline name. American Airlines, United Airlines"); "ground zero" (lower-case), "acceptable term for the World Trade Center site"; and names like "Osama bin Laden" ("use bin Laden in all references except at the start of a sentence
. Pronounced oh-SAH'-muh bin LAH'-din"). The guide is intriguing -- not only as a useful tool for the many journalists who will be, in some way or another, writing about 9/11 over the next few weeks, but also as a hint at what a Stylebook can be when it's thought of not just as a book, but as a resource more broadly.
37% of newspaper subscribers are habitual
More than a third of local newspaper subscribers do so partly out of habit. Thankfully, less than 10% renew purely out of habit. In our monthly Ad Age/Ipsos Observer American Consumer survey, we dug a little into what the remaining newspaper subscribers are looking for when they sign up for the year. Half said it was the local news that was the main driver but one in five said coupons were what compelled them to pick it up off the porch each morning.
HTML5 program promises to be game changer
Just as the massive adoption of Apple’s iPad and powerful apps has threatened Google’s open-source Web stranglehold, the just-emerging HTML5 program language will be a universal “game changer,” says New media investor Roger McNamee. It will enable content producers and marketers to create a self-sufficient audio and video Web experience that can be transformed into an app that allows for immediate interaction with consumers on any connected device. ... HTML5 “will be disruptive in ways we cannot imagine today” because it will be a way to completely bypass the middlemen and gatekeepers, McNamee says. ...
The good news is, whether or not you agree with McNamee, next wave technology such as HTML5 provides an even playing field and powerful opportunity for aspiring content producers as well as established companies to make an interactive go of it. And they’ll be significantly redefining and redistributing value in the process.
Consumers saved $2 billion with coupons in first half 2011
According to the NCH Resource Center, U.S. Consumer Package Goods (CPG) marketers distributed 167 billion coupons in the first half of 2011. Although the number of available coupons was down 6.2% from the same period in 2010, it was 5.7% higher than the first half of 2009, when CPG marketers were rapidly increasing coupon distribution due to economic conditions. It was also 18.4% higher than the first half of 2008, prior to the economic impact. ... Although fewer coupons were offered during the first half of 2011, consumers remained responsive to the coupons available to them. Total redemption reached 1.75 billion coupons, a moderate 2.9% increase over the same period in 2010. As the first half progressed, coupon redemption saw a marked increase due to a number of factors, including: the permanent shift toward a value-oriented consumer mindset; rising food and gas prices; and increased availability of digital offerings.
The largest share of coupons, 89.6%, was allocated to Free-Standing Inserts (FSI) via newspaper and shared mail delivery methods. This reflects an increase of 2.1 share points from the first half of 2010.
Dow Jones circulation chief calculates, by platform, the news people will pay for
As Dow Jones senior vice president of circulation, Lynne Brennen probably sells more subscriptions on more platforms than any other American news executive.
Brennen was musing recently that “my job would be so much easier if I had a simple algorithm” that could predict a product launch’s odds of success. ...
Writing in the newsletter of the International News Marketing Association, Brennen proposes five attributes to measure “a consumer’s willingness to pay.” She also assigned a percentage weighting to each.
Keep in mind this is a measure not of what people would like to have as they consume news, but what they will actually pay for. What advertisers want is outside the scope of this particular exercise.
Brennen’s big five and the weighting she assigned are:
- Broad reliability of content -- 30 percent
- Vertical nature of content -- 30 percent
- Longevity of content -- 30 percent
- Immediacy of information -- 8 percent
- Social “trustworthiness” -- 2 percent
With that established, Brennen turned to the five main platforms du jour for news organizations and gave each a “commercial viability” score. Print newspapers, with reliable content in durable form that can be read cover-to-cover in the course of a day, thus scored 60. ...
Browser-based websites offer fairly similar content to the print edition. They get points for immediacy but are not so durable. So they lag print with a score of 38. Smartphone access has little going for it except immediacy. The “limited real estate” to display content makes for an inferior news experience. She assigns a score of “about 10.”
Thomas W. Chadwick
Reporter, The State
Thomas W. Chadwick, 87, raised on Wadmalaw Island and in Charleston died of congestive heart failure on June 21 at Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia.
Tom served in the U.S. Navy as a SeaBee during World War II. Shortly after the War, he attended the University of South Carolina where he majored in journalism. He left school to work for The State newspaper in Columbia, covering a variety of topics, including the governor's office, the federal courthouse, the U.S. Senate and political elections. In addition, he had a column that was called 'Executive Session.' He worked for The State from 1947 until 1951. Tom left the newspaper in 1951 to work as the Director of Public Relations for the S.C. Office of Price Stabilization. In 1955, Tom moved to the Washington, D.C. area to work as Press Secretary, Legislative Assistant and Campaign Manager for the late U.S. Senator Olin D. Johnston of South Carolina.
While working for Senator Johnston, Tom would help manage the Senator's re-election campaigns in South Carolina, as well as the presidential campaigns of Adlai Stevenson, President Kennedy and President Johnson. After the death of Senator Johnston in 1965, Tom went to work for the U.S. Postal Service, where he retired after 21 years.
Civic organizations are the fabric of our communities.The number of groups and their range of contributions mean editors are routinely approached with requests for coverage. The "asks" range from the Lions Club annual brat feed fund-raiser to volunteer of the year recognition to a candidate forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Most all are worthy of attention, but not all warrant the presence of a reporter and/or photographer. Let me explain before incurring the collective wrath of service clubs. Newsrooms, no matter their size, have finite resources.It's impossible to produce a story and photo for each event. And, as difficult as it may be for some organizations to accept, all of their work does not merit full-blown coverage. That doesn't mean that newspapers cannot promote the many activities.
Not long ago, I heard someone say that aspirin sales probably outrank vitamin sales.Why? Because aspirin solves immediate problems, while vitamins do not.In my Good Ads file, there is a trade publication ad with a great headline: "Electric nutrunner system overcomes 11 critical assembly problems." I know what you're thinking, because I thought the same thing. No, a nutrunner is not some kind of food delivery system for squirrels. It's a manufacturing device that tightens threaded fasteners. If you and I operated a manufacturing company, nutrunners could be a big concern -- especially if our current system had some shortcomings.
Problems motivate people to find solutions.That's why a good problem can be an advertiser's best friend.