Bill Rogers retires after 33 years leading SCPA

Governor Henry McMaster and House Rep. Chip Huggins surprised Rogers with The Order of the Palmetto during his retirement party. | Contributed

MARGARITAVILLE – After Bill Roger’s retirement party last Thursday, we knew we would all be in good hands with Jen Madden and Randall Savely (Bill’s replacements). But we also knew we would miss him terribly. Over his 55-year career in journalism, he’s been there for each of us in different ways.

For me, it was his willingness to offer every possible avenue of support to help me grow my newspaper. I’ve been a member of the Press Association since 2000, and Bill has been my guide, my mentor, and my friend since then, and before that for many others in the industry.

I started a bi-weekly newspaper in Blythewood in 1999. Without a journalism degree and no newspaper experience, I would have been lost without Bill’s guidance. When I requested to join the S.C. Press Association, he didn’t blink, even though I realize now that it was apparent to a journalist of his caliber that I didn’t know what I was doing. The front page of my publication had four columns and none of them were the same width.

After looking at my newspaper, Bill said he liked it, but suggested I send it to him regularly for a while so he could make suggestions on how I could improve it. For about six months, I mailed it to him every other week, and he would mark it up, scribbling in the margins – do this, never do this, always do that, etc. etc. After several months he began making fewer marks. 

My newspaper soon became an Associate member of the Press Association, and when it became a weekly, we received full membership. In 2004 we won the Montgomery Freedom of Information award for weekly newspapers. It was one of the highlights of my life.

Over the years, Bill has always been there for my newspapers (I started a second one in 2010).

I am still amazed and thankful that he took so much time from his very busy schedule to help me improve my newspaper. Today, it’s a fairly successful, award winning weekly, thanks to Bill and the SCPA staff, the workshops, and other training sessions they provide.

I can’t say enough about what Bill has done to help me and the other South Carolina newspapers.

Starting a weekly newspaper from scratch was a struggle at times. But Bill has always been there to support and encourage me and help me overcome obstacles. I have always felt he treated me no different than he treats the publisher of The State or the Post and Courier. And I’m sure there are still going to be times when only his advice will do.

Bill was my mentor, my journalism teacher and he is a dear and trusted friend.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Bill. We at The Voice wish you all the happiness in the world and happy trails in your VW.

Former hippie Bill Rogers and his staff featured on a Christmas card with his VW bus.

Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]