Columbia Free Times won nine 2008 South Carolina Press Association awards, and Charleston City Paper won five. City Paper placed first in four categories (Feature Writing, General News Photo, Lifestyle Feature Writing and Photo Series or Photo Story), while Free Times took home first-place wins in three categories (Critical Writing, Illustration and Reporting in Depth). The awards were officially announced at the association's winter meeting last weekend.
The South Carolina Press Association announced the winners of its 2007 news excellence competition Friday, and two AAN members were among the papers that were honored. Columbia Free Times finished first in three categories, including Mixed Media Illustration in the competition division open to all papers. In the weeklies division, Free Times swept the Illustrations category, placing first, second, and third; and took home a first-place award in Sports Column Writing. It also took home one additional second-place and one third-place award. The Charleston City Paper placed first in two categories -- Best Beat Reporting and General News Photo. City Paper also won one second-place and one third-place award.
"Our early years were fun and full of possibility, but man, were they lean and mean," founding editor Stephanie Barna writes in an editor's note introducing the paper's anniversary issue. "We moved here in the middle of the summer from other cities, confident that we could figure out Charleston fast enough to put out an informed and relevant newspaper," she writes. "We relied on our previous experience in the alt-weekly world to establish a newspaper that reflected the city, not so much the people who put it together."
Evening Post Publishing, parent of the daily Post and Courier, has offered cash to at least 50 local retailers and restaurants to replace the various newspaper racks in their establishments with single multi-publication boxes, Charleston City Paper reports. The Evening Post would then turn around and charge the city's free publications for space in the new boxes. City Paper publisher Noel Mermer says the alt-weekly will not be involved in this distribution "partnership." "The City Paper cannot and will not pay the Post and Courier for the relationship that we have built with local businesses over the years," Mermer says. The situation in Charleston is similar to ones increasingly faced by alt-weeklies in other markets, such as Jackson, Miss., where the Jackson Free Press and the publishers of other publications developed the Mississippi Independent Publisher's Alliance and distributed their own consolidated boxes.
Linda Erickson could be awarded millions of dollars in actual and punitive damages, her lawyer told The Post and Courier in Charleston. Erickson sued the City Paper's parent company, Jones Street Publishers, claiming that the newspaper defamed her in a January 2000 story on court-appointed guardians for children. The story contained "unfounded allegations against Erickson's professional abilities" made by the grandmother of a child for whom Erickson was a guardian, even though Erickson was not identified by name, according to The Post and Courier. A new jury will be seated to award damages.