Jeff Kidd

Address: 56 Francis Marion Circle

Beaufort, SC, 29907

E-mail: jeffkidd.insidepages@gmail.com

Tel: 843-263-6439

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The thrill of 'putting it out there'

   I've spent my entire adult life producing content for others to see, whether as a journalist, freelance writer or communications director. The reception my work receives can be edifying ... but it can also require the crust of an armadillo. I learned this the very first time I was published, well before I knew I wanted to make communications and storytelling my vocation. 

 

   I had just won first place in my middle school's New Year's resolution contest — I came up with something about poison ivy and turning over a new leaf, as I recall — and my entry was printed in the weekly newsletter sent home with us each Friday. Boarding the bus that afternoon — the newsletter tucked inside the cover of my hardback history book so as to keep it crisp, pristine and suitable for framing — I expected the adulation of my classmates.

 

   Instead, an eighth-grade girl read the resolution aloud on the crowded bus ... then declared that the only thing dumber than my resolution was the judge who awarded it first place. Needless to say, that hostile critique dulled my triumphalism.

 

   Somehow, though, that episode neither diminished my urge to be published, nor deterred me from attaching my name to my work. Of course, critics deserve a fair hearing, and I must admit my resolution was pretty dumb. That's the other important lesson that bus ride taught me — if you're going to put your work out there, make it something you'll stand behind.

 

2010 - present

2010 - present

Work experience
 
Administrative Chief of Staff — 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office

September 2020 to present; Bluffton, SC

Direct communications and supervise diversionary programs, administrative and 14th Circuit Victims Services Center personnel for the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office. The office is held by Solicitor Duffie Stone and serves as the chief prosecuting agency for felony-level crimes in Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties. Covering 3,200 square miles of South Carolina's renowned Lowcountry, it is the state's only five-county circuit. Highlights:

 

  • Manage all aspects of external communications, including social-media accounts, website, magazine-style annual report.

  • Coordinate office's grant-writing and budget-request processes.

  • Works with program directors to ensure the efficacy of diversionary programs, such as Pretrial Intervention and Multidisciplinary Courts. These provide an alternative to prison for eligible, non-violent offenders.

  • Works with center director to ensure the efficacy of 14th Circuit Victims Services Center and relations with center partners. The center, a first of its kind in South Carolina, operates on a Family Justice Center model to bring together service providers for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and other crimes against vulnerable populations.

  • Supervises office's administrative employees.

Communications Director

February 2017 to September 2020; Bluffton, SC

Directed internal, media, and inter-governmental communications for the chief prosecuting agency for Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties. Highlights:

  • Bolstered office's social-media presence, launching video-production operation and YouTube channel, and quadrupling Facebook following in first eight months.

  • Helped secure $4.5 million loan to finance purchase of new office headquarters and victim-services center that will be a first of its kind in South Carolina.

  • Directed a top-to-bottom redesign of www.scsolicitor14.org website.

  • Streamlined data collection procedures for intelligence department's data-collection and real-time reporting.

  • Provide staff support for the S.C. Domestic Violence Advisory Committee, a multidisciplinary body formed by the General Assembly to combat and educate the public about a crime that has plagued the state for decades.

  • Helped devise broadcast of continuing-education classes for staff attorneys, which moved in-house during COVID-19 emergency.

Audience Engagement Editor — The State, Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette newspapers

January 2015 - October 2016; Columbia and Bluffton, S.C.

Sought to improve and develop online content, expand the audience, optimize for mobile, and set social-media strategy for these McClatchy-owned newsrooms in South Carolina. Highlights:

  • In my first 15 months, the fan base of our main institutional Facebook pages grew by 22 percent, and unique visitors also grew despite adoption of a paywall.

  • Developed McClatchy's first analytics dashboard for reporters, to provide personalized performance indicators aligned with company goals.

  • The State generated more video views than several larger McClatchy properties, including the Charlotte Observer, and helped company optimize its video-publication workflow after conversion to new player.

  • Conducted weekly staff-training sessions, covering topics such as SEO, data reporting, headline writing, social media, implementation of new print and online CMS systems and smartphone video production.

  • Participated in breaking-news coverage of Columbia floods, Charleston church shooting, Hurricane Matthew and removal of Confederate flag from South Carolina Statehouse grounds.

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Managing Editor — The Island Packet/The Beaufort Gazette

April 2009 - December 2014; Bluffton, SC

Daily newspapers owned by McClatchy Newspapers, serving Beaufort and Jasper counties, SC. Circulation 20,000 and 11,000, respectively. Oversees daily operations for a staff of more than 30 that produces two newspapers and a website. Duties include direct supervision of news reporters and section editors. Writes regular editorials and a blog, project reporting as needed.

Editor — The Beaufort Gazette

October 2008 to March 2009; Beaufort, SC

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Ran daily newsroom operation for newspaper/website, including news reporters’ assignments and supervision of Packet/Gazette merged sports department. Ran daily budget meetings. Primarily responsible for hiring news reporters and editors. Planned long-term projects. Planned workflow, news beat assignments and other logistics for a merger of Gazette and Packet Newsrooms

Sports Editor — The Island Packet/The Beaufort Gazette

July 2008 to September 2008; Bluffton, SC

 

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Ran the merged sports departments of the Packet and Gazette, the first fully integrated reporting effort by the two newspapers. Reorganized beat structure and job descriptions, reformatted page templates to accommodate and retain best features of both newspapers' spots sections. Oversaw all aspects of department operation, including scheduling for eight-person staff and part-time stringers. Maintained a regular beat, designed pages and worked a regular night-desk shift. Tracked coverage trends.

Sports Editor — The Island Packet

June 2000 to July 2008

 

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Managed all aspects of a daily sports section, including assignments and scheduling for five full-time staffers and several stringers, photo and graphic assignments, section budgeting, long-range planning and website development. Maintained a regular beat, designed pages and kept a regular night-desk shift. Tracked coverage trends. Department consistently recognized as among the state and nation's best in its circulation category.

Sports Editor — The Beaufort Gazette

August 1997 to May 2000; Beaufort, SC

 

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Sports Writer — The Beaufort Gazette

October 1992 to July 1997; Beaufort, SC

 

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Sports Stringer— The State/The Columbia Record

September 1986 to September 1992; Columbia, SC

 

At the time, owned by The State-Record Company, then Knight-Ridder Newspapers; circ. 110,000.

Relevant skills
Education

Graduated in May 1992 cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, and The South Carolina Honors College. Cognate in political science. Eight semesters on Dean’s List, one semester on President’s List (3.67 GPA.)

Strategic planning, project management, creating data-informed quality control regimens, audience engagement and growth, staff training, photography and videography, digital content creation, social-media management, website management, line editing, print page design.

Continuing education

  • FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification

  • S.C. Commission on Prosecution Coordination webinars on crisis management, S.C. Freedom of Information Act

  • S.C. Gang Investigators Association workshop on identifying gang threats

  • Participant, Poynter Institute workshops for reporting, page design, smartphone videography and newsroom leadership

  • Participant, Freedom Forum diversity seminar

  • Various company training in search-engine optimization, investigative and online reporting, personnel management

  • Poynter Institute Social Media certificate

  • Poynter Institute Visual Journalism certificate

  • Poynter Institute Improve Your Writing certificate

  • Self study in digital marketing, content marketing, videography, photography, crisis management

Software and digital platforms

Proficient in:
Microsoft Office 365 suite; Microsoft Teams, including meeting and Live-event functions; PowerDirector; Final Cut Pro X; Lightroom; InDesign; Omniture; Google apps suite; piloting DJI unmanned aircraft



Functional in:
Matrix Prosecutor; WordPress; Infogram; iMovie; Audacity; Tumult Hype; Tableau



Familiar with social and mobile media:
Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn, Instagram; Snapchat; Pinterest; YouTube; Spotify; Skype; TweetDeck; Hootsuite; Android and iPhone operating systems; Storify; Tumblr; CoverItLive

Activities & Affiliations
Active:



Former:

  • Leadership committee, Leadership Beaufort Alumni Association

  • Steering committee, Beaufort Three-Century Project

  • Bluffton Family YMCA (now-defunct branch of Wardle Family YMCA of Beaufort County)

  • Member, Golf Writers of America

  • Member, Associated Press Sports Editors

  • Organizer, The Beaufort Gazette’s Adopt-A-Highway group



Occasional:

  • Contest judge for APSE, S.C. Press Association, Community Newspapers, Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce CIVITAS Awards

  • Books Sandwiched In programFriends of the Beaufort County Library'sPresenter,

  • Moderated various community and political forums