Joseph Kasko

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Charles Perry, the 2019 S.C. Press Association Journalist of the Year and a Winthrop University alum, told students they need to acquire a myriad of skills to work in the field of journalism, during the school’s annual Mass Comm Week.

“Students need to be able to not only write clearly, write powerful stories, but they also need to be able to take compelling photographs, shoot and edit video. They really need to be generalists,” said Perry, who spoke with the Palmetto Report about his career.

He was the keynote speaker at the three-day event hosted by the Department of Mass Communication, which included a series of speakers and panel discussions, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

Perry, who graduated from Winthrop in 2005 with a degree in mass communication, was honored as the department’s distinguished alumnus.

He serves as the editor of and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, where he covers county government, the justice system and agriculture.

“I spend some time in the office, but I like to spend a lot of time out in the community reporting,” he said. “I also just like to drop into places where folks congregate, you’ll hear stories and get story ideas.”

Perry said he expects newspapers to continue to shift away from print, in favor of telling stories through digital resources.

“You continue to see circulation declines, but we do see traffic continue to grow on our websites,” he said.

“The idea is trying to find ways to relay information to people in a compelling way. Newsrooms are taking on podcasts now and that is something we’re obviously interested in,” he said.

“While it’s unclear where we’re headed (as an industry), one thing is certain and that is there is a strong demand for local news. And I saw a study the other day that indicated that 60 percent of local news is generated by newspapers, so newspapers are still carrying that weight.”

However, Perry said he expects to see fewer newspapers, especially smaller ones, in the future.