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About Us

Our project's goal is to capture video and audio interviews of some of South Carolina's leading newspaper journalists from the last half century. Our project is to ensure that the heritage of the state's journalists and newspapers is preserved and made available to future generations of journalists, historians, students and the interested general public.

We will accomplish this with a website containing video and audio recordings, photos, links and biographic information. Once the site has been launched, we will host a series of public discussions featuring humanities scholars and interviewees. In addition to recalling stories from the past, such as the Orangeburg Massacre, we will also interview selected journalists who covered significant events to give their oral recollections and background information. This includes coverage of key political figures, such as former Gov. Mark Sanford.

This project enriches audience understanding and encourages reflection and discussion because newspapers have chronicled every important event and issue in South Carolina since before the Civil War. Newspaper staffers have the behind-the-scenes insight into the culture and values of the time. We will chronicle issues and news in various areas of the state, including underserved areas. We will also focus on Civil Rights and African American influence in newspapers, as well as the role of women in newspapers.

With more than 105 daily and weekly newspapers, South Carolina has a tradition of outstanding journalism. South Carolina newspapers serve communities of every size with news and information.

The oral history project is a joint project of the S.C. Press Association and the University of South Carolina School of Jounalism and Mass Communications.

Through our partnership with the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, we have access to top-notch academic advice. Our lead Humanities Scholar will be the Elenor M. and R. Frank Mundy Journalism Professor Emerita Pat McNeely, who has written a number of historical books, including The Palmetto Press. Few, if any, have better knowledge of newspaper history in South Carolina.

Other USC faculty members available to help encourage dialogue, analysis, and critical thinking with our project are:
- Dr. Carol Pardun, director of the college, who sits on the boards of Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Journalism and Communication Monographs, Journal of Media & Religion, Simile, Mass Communication & Society, and Journal of Advertising and is immediate past president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
- Dean Charles Bierbauer, former CNN reporter.
- Dr. Kathy Forde, associate professor teaching media history, and the author of numerous history books and papers.
- Professor Sid Bedingfield, former head of CNN's U.S. network.
- Dr. Ken Campbell, who will assist in minority media coverage.

Jen Madden, assistant director of the S.C. Press Association, will give her specialized knowlege of Web design, promotion, social media and search engine optimization, which are essential to this Web-based project. Madden will also oversee connecting the project with complementary projects like the S.C. Digital Newspaper Project (an initiative at USC).

Randall Savely, director of operations for the S.C. Press Association, will serve as video editor and will oversee the hardware needed to implement this project. He will also serve as the fiscal agent for the project.

Two graduate students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications have been hired to help carry out the project. These two graduate students are instrumental in research, writing and design of the project website.

By collaborating with the University, the Humanities Council, our member newspapers, and schools across the state, we have the ability to reach many South Carolinians. The history of journalism, and the stories of the past being told by those most involved with them, is important for scholars today and future generations who want to look back at our state's unique and vibrant history. Newspapers have always been a vehicle to raise awareness and portray the values, beliefs and attitudes of the past and present. We would like to use Web-based technology to share this with others.

Time is of the essence with this project. We must get this long-term, ongoing project started before key witnesses are gone. We have the technology and ability to save these stories and insight before they pass. This is important for future generations of South Carolinians so we do not forget, and so that we can broaden our perspective by looking at the past.

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