Voice publisher receives Jay Bender award

Open government attorney Jay Bender, left, presents the 2022 Assertive Journalist award to The Voice publisher Barbara Ball during the SC Press Association annual meeting last week. At right are former Exec. Director of the Association, William Rogers, and Association President Charles Swenson. | GWINN DAVIS MEDIA

COLUMBIA – The tenth annual Jay Bender Award for Assertive Journalism was presented to Barbara Ball, publisher of The Voice, during the South Carolina Press Association’s annual meeting in Columbia on March 9-10.

The award recognizes one weekly newspaper and one daily newspaper journalist in the state each year who stands up to authority in the public’s interest.

Ball won for the weekly newspapers and Tony Bartelme, an investigative reporter for the Charleston Post and Courier, won for the daily newspapers.

It was the fourth year in a row that Ball has won the award.

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, noted Ball’s “incredible strength in standing her ground against small town government.

“We’ve never seen such an attack on a local journalist by a public body,” the judges said. “Withstanding those attacks and continuing to report is the essence of assertive journalism.”

“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 is special.”

Ball also won both first and second place awards in “In-depth Reporting” as well as first and second place for “Government Beat Reporting.”

She also won second place in General Photography for a photograph taken at the Fairfield Ag + Arts dinner on the bridge over the Broad River, titled ‘Dinner on the Broad.”

Also, during the two-day meeting, Ball, a member of the SC Press Association’s Executive Board, was elected to serve as the Board’s treasurer.


  1. Linda Franklin Moore says

    Congratulations Barbara. A well deserved award!

  2. Diane B Lockwood says

    Congratulations, Barbara. I’m so proud of you.

  3. Wanda Bright says

    Another well deserved recognition for Barbara Ball!

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