Voice publisher receives Jay Bender Award

SPARTANBURG – The sixth annual Jay Bender Award for Assertive Journalism was presented to Barbara Ball, publisher of The Voice, at the South Carolina Press Association’s annual meeting in Spartanburg on March 17.

Jay Bender, left, retired attorney for the South Carolina Press Association, and Bill Rogers, Executive Director of the SCPA, presented the Jay Bender Award for Assertive Journalism to Barbara Ball, publisher of The Voice. | Sarah Hinckley

The award recognizes one daily and one non-daily newspaper journalist in the state who stands up to authority in the public’s interest. As one of the top honors presented by the SCPA each year, it includes a prize of $250 and is named for the SCPA’s attorney of 30 years, Jay Bender, whose career has been dedicated to preserving open government and First Amendment freedoms.

“Barbara exemplifies exactly what I had in mind when I established the award: a journalist reporting on public affairs, who will push back against the arrogance, cupidity and stupidity of  people in public office,” Bender said. “She is exactly the kind of person that reflects favorably upon journalism and its history. The person who goes out, sees something wrong and reports on it is vital to our democracy.”

The judges’ comments, which were read during the presentation, made note of Ball’s persistence and dedication.

“Barbara Ball blew us away with her relentless and aggressive reporting,” the judges wrote, in comments that went on to summarize the range of her work over the previous year.

“With limited newsroom resources, [she] pushed to get and publish the video of an assault against a detainee at the county detention center. She was persistent in reporting on animal abusers. She followed the story of a town council abusing executive session to prevent the town clerk from bringing her service dog to work. Ball also worked to let the community know what was really going on with the Jenkinsville Water Company, undeterred by intimidation, threats and the circus-like atmosphere of their Board meetings,” the judges wrote. “Ball stands up for the public and refuses to give up when faced with opposition. Her reporting leads to change.”

“This award recognizes assertiveness in journalism, particularly by journalists who are covering public officials, public figures and public life in general,” Bender said. “To be a reporter, you have to be assertive in the first place, but to go above and beyond like Barbara has done is special.”

Comments

  1. J. P. Ward says

    Congratulations Barbara on receiving this honor!

  2. Frances V. Miles says

    Must be doing things right! Congratulations Barbara.

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