Voice receives Jay Bender Award

COLUMBIA – The ninth 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 Columbia on March 11.


The award recognizes one daily newspaper and one non-daily newspaper journalist in the state each year 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.

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

“In the small town of Blythewood, Barbara Ball has spent more than a year standing up for her work and her newspaper, despite financial repercussions. In this entry, Ball highlights the great lengths the mayor has gone to intimidate her related to her newspaper’s in-depth reporting on the hiring [and subsequent firing] of a marketing firm to help promote the town. While The Voice has faced public, false allegations, Ball has stood up for the integrity of her reporting, offering readers insight and evidence on complex developments. Kudos for using the FOI to shine light in dark places. With some members of local government trying to sully The Voice in the community’s eye, it’s nice to see readers stepping up to support The Voice with subscriptions and donations. Ball is unshakeable and we honor her for her persistence.”

This is the third time Ball has won the award, winning previously in 2018 and 2019.

“This award recognizes assertiveness in journalism, particularly by journalists who are covering public officials, public figures and public life in general,” Bender said when Ball won the award in 2019. “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.”


  1. Congratulations.

  2. Jeff Greenlaw/Ridgeway says

    Congratulations! It’s well deserved. If not for your efforts, the current county council would be running Fairfield County into the ground. Actually, they are still doing just that, but at least the public is being informed of it through the Voice. I wonder how many recreation fields we would have now or if there would ever be any public record of what the council is doing or how it’s spending OUR money behind closed doors. You’re an asset to the community!

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