Lee Bandy’s passing: Reaction from the world of journalism

October 21, 2013 

Lee Bandy

FILE — Special to The State

“Lee was a giant in covering South Carolina politics. He set the standard for cultivating relationships with news makers, enabling him to provide rich, independent coverage that is critical to our democracy.”

Henry B. Haitz III , president and publisher, The State Media Co.

‘He built trusted relationships’

“Lee was such a great reporter because he built trusted relationships with high-ranking officials, the staffers who make D.C. work, fellow reporters and anyone else with a good story. He listened carefully, absorbed the content and relied on intuition to find what the pack missed. For him, politics was fun. He was as colorful as the South Carolina politicians he covered.

Paula Ellis, a reporter-editor colleague with Bandy in then-Knight-Ridder Washington bureau, a retired vice president of Knight-Ridder and a former managing editor of The State

‘Decent, fair and tough’

“Lee was a great reporter – decent, fair and tough. I doubt we will ever again see his like as a political reporter in South Carolina.”

William C. Rogers, president of the South Carolina Press Association, which honored Bandy as “Journalist of the Year” prior to his retirement

‘Pure delight with a mischievous sense of humor’

“I had the honor of working with Lee at Knight-Ridder’s Washington bureau. As a colleague, he was a pure delight with a mischievous sense of humor. As a journalist, he knew more about Southern politics – particularly South Carolina’s crazy political doings – than anyone I had ever met before or since.”

Owen Ullman, managing editor/print news, USA Today

‘Epitomized the best traits of the successful political writer’

“Lee epitomized the best traits of the successful political writer. He could take the most complex national issue and, without dumbing it down, make it a part of the breakfast table conversations throughout South Carolina. He never forgot that journalism is about people and, as a result, he earned the respect -- and often the friendship -- of the politicians he covered and the readers he served.”

Tom Fiedler , former political writer and executive editor of The Miami Herald, now dean of the journalism school at Boston College

‘To pull it all together, I talked to Lee’

“Lee was the only reporter I ever quoted. In the 2000 campaign, I was writing about how South Carolina had changed. I interviewed people all over the state. Newcomers from the Northeast. Lifelong residents. Politicians. But to pull it all together, I talked to Lee. He had reported and seen the way the state had changed over the years and could speak with more authority than any demographer. The article, by the way, won an award.”

Steven Thomma, former chief political correspondent for Knight-Ridder and now senior White House correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers

‘One of the greatest political reporters I ever encountered’

“Lee Bandy was one of the greatest political reporters I ever encountered -- in any state or at the national level. He was fearlessly tough-minded yet managed to earn the respect and trust of political figures on both sides of the aisle. South Carolina politics can be baffling to those on the outside; Lee understood it and the frequently colorful characters involved, making him a go-to person for anyone trying to make sense of what was happening. May I say he was also just a delightful person, warm, funny, with a quiet magnetism that made people seek his company? You knew that there was a sharp mind, a good heart and a strong moral compass that added up to a great journalist and a great person.”

Clark Hoyt , Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau chief from 1985-’93, now independent senior editor (ombudsman) at Bloomberg News, based in Washington, D.C.

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