Sumter Item's Studio Sumter named most innovative project in state

S.C. Press Association announced PALMY Advertising Contest winners

FROM STAFF REPORTS
editor@theitem.com
Posted 9/23/18

The new video operation of The Sumter Item was named Best Innovation in South Carolina, the South Carolina Press Association announced Friday.

Studio Sumter, featuring commercial videos for local businesses and organizations …

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Sumter Item's Studio Sumter named most innovative project in state

S.C. Press Association announced PALMY Advertising Contest winners

Posted

The new video operation of The Sumter Item was named Best Innovation in South Carolina for 2018, the South Carolina Press Association announced Friday.

Studio Sumter, featuring commercial videos for local businesses and organizations as well as daily video programming on TheItem.com, won the top innovation prize at the annual PALMY Advertising Contest in the Open Division, meaning the competition included every newspaper in the state. The Post & Courier in Charleston finished second in the category.

Studio Sumter's flagship news program, Sumter Today, was recognized as a large part of the innovation by contest judges, which included members of the Mississippi Press Association.

"(This was) by far the most innovative project in this category," judges commented. "This is the exact type of innovation needed in our industry so that we can compete in a changing marketplace. The hyper-local news show is engaging and fun to watch, and the ads are beautiful. We'd watch this every weekday."

Studio Sumter launched in February 2018 and has produced videos for the local industrial association and the local school system, as well as various other public and private entities. Micah Green serves as chief digital officer, and Ty Cornett is the director of video. Kayla Robins, executive editor of The Sumter Item, hosts Sumter Today on TheItem.com.

"This is a great honor for our staff and our community," Sumter Item Publisher Vince Johnson said. "We're committed to being not just a reliable newspaper, but also a dynamic and well-rounded media company for the Sumter region. Studio Sumter is a big part of that."

Since its launch, Sumter Today has been viewed nearly 500,000 times, and The Sumter Item reaches more than 150,000 unique visitors online each month, according to analytics from Facebook and Google. Overall digital audience has increased more than 40 percent in the past year.

"Sumter has really embraced everything we've thrown their way. I'd really like to thank C. Anthony's Menswear, the Sumter Opera House, USC Sumter and Colonial Healthcare, who really believed in this project from the early stages," Johnson said.

In addition to developing and producing video content for local businesses, Studio Sumter plans to launch more regular programming in the coming months, featuring everything from local athletes to real estate to home and gardening.

"This is just the beginning in terms of what this can help do to raise the profile of our growing region," Johnson said.

Other products from The Sumter Item, including BEST OF SUMTER, Life Is Good and Lakeside magazines, were also chosen as PALMY finalists in their respective categories. Cary Howard and Ryan Galloway led the design work in each of those projects.