Seeing Cindi like this is weird on several levels


So I tried yet again to read the story in The State headlined “SC Gov. McMaster takes side on Strom, but not on colleges’ push to change building names.” My point was to try again to determine what “side” he had taken on the Strom thing.

I didn’t find out. It’s a fairly long story, and it’s not in the first few inches, so I gave up again. Maybe it’s toward the end. Or maybe the person who wrote the headline didn’t actually read Maayan’s story. I did see where “McMaster’s spokesman gave the first indication of where the governor and former state attorney general stands on the Heritage Act.” But it wasn’t much of an indication. He said if trustee boards ask for changes, Henry “is supportive of them doing so and the General Assembly debating them, with public input, as they have done in the past.” And of course, we know how that has gone in the past.

I'm running this small because I know Cindi would hate it. She always hates pictures of herself.

I’m running this small because I know Cindi would hate it. She always hates pictures of herself.

Anyway, that’s not my point. I’m not even much interested in whether that building is named for Strom or not. (I was just somewhat curious as to what Henry had said about it, if anything.) My point is that I was using the maddening browser interface, and as always it urged upon me a video at the top of the story. If you have experience with this sort of thing, you know these videos tend to be two things: 1. Only marginally related to the story, shedding little light on what you came to read about, and 2. Quite old.

But I saw something on that little box at the top of the screen, and for once I didn’t just click on the little X to make it go away, but stopped and watched it.

That something was the face of my longtime friend and colleague Cindi Scoppe. As much as I enjoy seeing Cindi any time, it was weird on three levels:

  1. I still can’t get used to seeing Cindi do stuff like that. She’s a writer, a writer about South Carolina government and politics, and easily the best at it among those still paid to do it. (Actually, she was the best at it even when lots more people were thus employed.) Therefore, back when there were other people to do other things, she insisted upon sticking to writing about S.C. government and politics. She let the rest of us (actually, me, back in the day) do blogs and social media and video commentary.  But now she does those kinds of things, and as always does a good job at them. But it’s not her chosen line of work. If you think you see something like that in her expression on this video, well, congratulations. You’re right. That’s her “I’m doing a job here, dammit” look.
  2. When I still worked with Cindi, even if you HAD seen her do a video, she wouldn’t have been doing one on the flag. It would have been Warren Bolton or me. Cindi has never wanted to set herself up as the expert on something that is someone else’s beat. Of course, by the time this video was made, pretty much everything was her beat. Warren must have been gone, and I was long gone. Of course, again, she does a great job with it. It was still weird — to me.
  3. Cindi has not worked for The State for almost two years. I’m not sure on that date. I was working for James’ campaign at the time. I’m thinking it was about September 2018, although it may have been either August or October. Anyway, she’s been working at a whole other paper, a competitor, for way over a year.

That last one is probably the weirdest. At least, you don’t have to be me to get it.

But am I suggesting The State take down the old video on that basis? No. Not if they want to have a clip explaining the history of the flag that used to fly at the State House. No one who works there now has that kind of perspective. (There are good people at the paper, but I can’t think of anyone who has that kind of broad perspective on the flag, even though it wasn’t Cindi’s beat back in the day.) I suppose they could get someone else to do it and just say all the same words, but that would be a lot of trouble to go to just to achieve the same thing…

6 thoughts on “Seeing Cindi like this is weird on several levels

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, we all miss Lee; that’s for sure.

      Speaking of MacNelly… Did you know Robert Ariail was almost hired to replace MacNelly? But then, as I recall, they decided not to hire anybody. At that time, not hiring — and even laying off — editorial cartoonists was getting really fashionable in the news biz.

      Anyway, I wrote something on the blog about it, mentioning how lucky we were not to have lost Robert.

      Of course, a few months after I wrote that, Robert and I were both laid off. Because by that time, papers doing without cartoonists was all the rage…

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    The topic of this post reminds me of an idea Cindi had back in the early ’90s, before I left the newsroom.

    We did this HUGE reorganization of the newsroom based on all kinds of then-fashionable notions such as public journalism. This was between the time that I had to quit being governmental affairs editor because I was “compromised” by my advocacy project about state and local government, Power Failure, and the time when I moved to editorial (which was the logical next step after Power Failure, which was essentially an editorial enterprise).

    Anyway, Gil Thelen (executive editor) asked everybody to suggest ideas for new beats we should invent.

    Cindi suggested one of the best ideas to come out of that exercise. She suggested we have a media critic, who would write about news media in South Carolina, including (I think — it’s been a long time) operating as sort of an ombudsman for The State itself.

    I thought it was a great idea, but it didn’t happen. I thought it good enough that after I moved to editorial, I made the mistake of writing a column or two that critiqued things that people down in the newsroom had done. Boy, was I unpopular. Near as I can recall, there were no positive outcomes from my doing that, so I quite doing it.

    And when I try to do it on my blog from time to time, I’m reminded of what I was taught by the prof who taught me editorial writing in college: He said newspapers should restrain from talking about their own inside-baseball stuff, in part because people other than us really weren’t all that interested.

    As you can see from the number of comments on this post.

    Anyway, I’ll try to do less navel-gazing. I’m supposed to know better. I think I got a good grade in that course…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      By the way, after I posted this I asked Cindi to look at it.

      She caught one typo, which I fixed. She also helped me where I was vague on when she left The State (I would have found it here, but I was involved in the campaign and basically not blogging) and joined the Charleston paper: “My last date of employment, by the way, was Aug 31, 2018. Started at P&C March … hmm, I think it was the 14th, 2019.”

      So I was pretty close…

  2. Bill

    The teacher never told you anything but white lies
    But you never see the lies
    And you believe
    Oh you know you have been captured
    You feel so civilized…

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