Carolyn Murray

Dear Reader: Answering your questions, helping Myrtle Beach area students

By Carolyn Callison Murray

A few of the school supplies collected by The Sun News employees for the Help4Kids Backpack Buddies program.
A few of the school supplies collected by The Sun News employees for the Help4Kids Backpack Buddies program.

It’s unusual for a day to go by without an email or call from someone asking why we covered something, or why we didn’t. The July 22 launch of our new approach in print and online has brought even more reactions and questions.

Sometimes the questions cancel each other out. For example, one comment pointed out that we live in a beach town and our coverage should reflect the fun it offers for tourists, rather than articles about homicides or transportation issues. Others want to know why we aren’t digging more deeply into local crime issues or doing more to investigate the use of county funds.

A few of our questions and my answers:

“I want the Sun News to be an upbeat happy ‘beach’ newspaper for retirees and visitors.”

We try to provide a mix of news that addresses issues and challenges faced by residents, such as the continuing coverage regarding the paving of International Drive, and articles that reflect the personality of the area, such as the feature on 1A Sunday about the sea turtle population. It’s not an either-or proposition.

“I especially don’t like the puzzle page.”

There actually have been no changes to our puzzle pages. I hope within the next few weeks to be able to offer some additional puzzles, however, as soon as the ink on the legal paperwork dries.

“It’s hard to find Local in the new design.”

If we have a strong local enterprise article, it generally will be the main display piece on the front page. In addition, other local and Carolinas news can be found in the A section on Page 3.

Back to school (and off to college)

Hard as it is to believe, students will soon be back to class, if they aren’t already. At The Sun News, we’re having a school supply drive for students whose parents or guardians are unable to afford the increasingly costly items each student is required to bring.

Our drive will benefit the Help4Kids Backpack Buddies program (http://help4kidssc.com/) and I’m sure they’d appreciate more donations. Area churches and schools likely also have programs to make sure students are equipped to learn as they return to class.

I’ve written before about The Sun News Educational Foundation and its annual scholarships awarded to incoming college freshmen. One of the best things about my job is a chance to interview the finalists for the scholarships. I always come away from those interviews inspired, humbled and confident the world will be in good hands.

It is always hard for our panel to make the call on which of the finalists should receive the scholarships because all the candidates seem to already have accomplished a lifetime of achievements. But after much discussion, here are this year’s recipients: Noah Vieira, Socastee High School, $6,000 Mark & Nancy Leadership Scholarship; Matthew Stanaland, North Myrtle Beach High School, $1,000 scholarship; Sarah Ellen Floyd, Scholars Academy, $1,000 scholarship; Vijay Mishra, North Myrtle Beach High School, $1,000 scholarship.

Carolyn Callison Murray: cmurray@thesunnews.com, @TSN_ccmurray

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