This weekend brought sad news for journalism in South Carolina, with word of the death of John Schurr, longtime Associated Press bureau chief and Freedom of Information champion.
He died Sunday, at age 67, after a career that paved the way for open records in the state.
“South Carolina’s public may not have known the name of John Shurr, but every day our people get information about officials and records they wouldn’t have otherwise had if it hadn’t been for the right-to-know fights he led,” Jay Bender, press association lawyer and University of South Carolina media law professor, told The (Columbia) State newspaper.
“If it weren’t for John Shurr, we might not have cameras in courtrooms today,” said Bill Rogers, executive director of the S.C. Press Association, who praised Shurr’s years-long crusade to bring more transparency to criminal and civil legal proceedings.
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It’s clear, at least to those of us who work to hold public officials accountable for their actions and spending, that their is still much work to be done. But without Schurr’s dedication and persistence, taxpayers of South Carolina would know even less about how their state is governed.
I spent three days in Sacramento last month meeting with other editors, publishers, advertising directors for our company, talking about some exciting changes in the way we deliver news and other content to you online, on tablets, on your smartphones and even in print.
Our newsroom will be embarking on a process that we believe will make us more responsive to reader interests and provide even more ways to tell great stories.
That’s as specific as I can be about it for now, but we will be seeking volunteers in the community to help us as we adjust to changing times and tastes.
For those who have called, emailed and written asking about Bob Bestler and his regular “On the Loose” column, which appears on Saturdays, you’ll be glad to know he is out of the hospital and improving more each day.
He’s not sure when he’ll be able to resume his column, but we’re sure that when he does his recuperation will provide plenty of subject matter. Meanwhile, he thanks all for their kind words and thoughts while he is on the mend.