Congratulations, Cindi!

Just wanted to make sure y’all saw that Cindi Scoppe got another award:

Associate editor Scoppe received the eighth annual Hovey-Harkness award from Governing magazine for “journalistic coverage of state and local government.” The magazine cited her “insightful analysis and commentary” on South Carolina’s state government in her editorials and columns on the editorial pages of The State newspaper and The award is named for the late Hal Hovey, a reporter and public official, and Peter Harkness, founding editor and publisher of the magazine.

The magazine said: “Scoppe has been a dogged advocate for the restructuring of government in the state of South Carolina. Her ability to explain in clear language complex state policy issues has given her columns broad-based appeal. She has written with candor about the need to strengthen ethics in the South Carolina State House and is not afraid to point out certain inconvenient truths that are glossed over by the rhetoric of politicians.”

Scoppe was presented the award Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Obviously, The State was pleased with this award — the last time anyone on the editorial board (and that was me) went to Washington on the company dime was 1998, near as I can recall. But they’re not as pleased as I am to see Cindi get this well-deserved recognition.

I mean, congratulations to Sammy Fretwell and Ron Morris and all, but I single out Cindi because I feel responsible for her. She started working for me when she was 23 and more or less fresh out of UNC, so I taught her everything she knows. Or some of it. OK, maybe some of the bits she’d rather forget. But I’m sure I had some impact.

Whoever deserves the credit, there is none better at understanding and explaining South Carolina government and politics. And that counts for a lot in a state that badly needs more good analysis of what goes on at the State House. Governing magazine agrees:

Scoppe is being honored for her insightful analysis and commentary about South Carolina’s state government.

Scoppe has been a dogged advocate for the restructuring of government. Her ability to explain, in clear language, complex state policy issues has given her columns broad-based appeal. She writes with consistency and candor about the need to strengthen ethics in the South Carolina statehouse and is not afraid to point out certain inconvenient truths that are often glossed over by the rhetoric of politicians. In a recent column about the politics of government waste, Scoppe pointed out that cutting government waste has become “a rallying cry for politicians who don’t have a clue how to reduce spending and don’t want to make hard choices.”

13 thoughts on “Congratulations, Cindi!

  1. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Cindi deserves the Order of the Palmetto and an interchange, at least, named after her for her truly valuable dogged work!

  2. bud

    Cindi is a very intelligent, insightful and knowledgeable columnist who brings insight to a number of issues. Today’s article about restructuring is one of them. Although her arguments are well made there needs to be some balance brought to that important issue. As best I can I’ll try to provide that balance later.

    In the meantime, congratulations Cindi for a job well done and a reward that is truly earned.

  3. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    @ Doug T–there’s still some investigative reporting–who broke the Appalachian Trail story, for one, and Adam Beam is a great resource for Columbia politics. Sammy Fretwell has written some environmental stuff, too. Alas, John Monk seems to have been leashed.

    There was a great piece on all the things that budget cuts were making seriously unsafe, like eating restaurants, drinking water, driving the highways and bridges….

  4. bud

    Kathryn, I agree with you about John Monk. His writing is just not very edgy or particularly relevant. He seldom challenges anything he is told by the various department chiefs especially at DPS.

    On the other hand the Appalachian Trail story was a genuine scoop. But where was the State when Alvin Greene first started running for Senate? On balance I’d have to give the edge to Free Times for relevant, illuminating political stories. The State really is falling behind.

  5. Greg

    Cindi does a great job, though I don’t always agree with her.
    I found it funny that when she came up in conversation with some “lobbyist types”, the word they used to describe her was “controversial”.
    She must be doing her job.

  6. Brad

    Oh, by the way — The State did NOT pay her way to Washington — Governing magazine did.

    Basically, they offered to pay, because they really wanted her there. Cindi wasn’t planning to go before that. You have to know Cindi. She really HATES going out of town. Some of her worst memories in her career are when I sent her out of town as a reporter and wouldn’t let her come back, for days on end, until she had the story. (Ever see “His Girl Friday?” Remember how hilariously manipulative Cary Grant was of his reporters? That was me as an editor.)

    But when they offered to pay, she figured she had to go. Since they were giving her all that money, too…

  7. Doug T

    Thanks Kathryn for reminding me of those stories, but the fact we’re debating The State vs Free Times is a sad statement anyway.

    I disagree with bud on the Super Bowl ads, but I’ll make up for it here.

  8. Brad

    A word about John Monk…

    You want to know where he is? Look in the paper. He’s doing a lot of GA (general assignment) stuff. Such as this and this and this and this and this. For awhile there, he had Sunday duty, which means you saw his byline a lot on crime and other breaking stuff on Monday mornings. (Apparently, he’s still pulling Sunday duty, based on some of those stories I linked to.)

    What John does best is spend a lot of time digging on a complex story — which means you don’t see him in the paper for awhile, when he’s doing what he does best. When you DO see him a good bit, it means he’s not getting much time for the investigative stuff.

    Some of us in senior management realized John wasn’t best utilized in editorial, where he was working for me. I needed every member of my team cranking stuff (writing, editing, attending board meetings, etc.) every day. I tried giving John his head to do what he did best, but when he did, other stuff went neglected on our small team (I say small — I had 8 people besides myself; editorial now consists of 2). That caused me to realize that he was of more use to the reader in news, where they could give him the time he needed.

    But they can no longer afford that time, now. Or at least, that’s what the editors have apparently decided.

    Mind you, John doesn’t complain — at least, not in my hearing. He goes after those routine stories with all the thoroughness and dedication he devotes to the investigative stuff. It’s just, as y’all have remarked, not the best use of his talents. I say that not to be critical of anyone. The situation — one of a lack of personnel and a lot of stuff to cover — is what it is.


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