McLean: Lee Bandy will never be equaled

October 23, 2013 

McLean

— To claim that a record “will never be equaled” is risky, but in Lee Bandy’s case, it is a safe bet. Given the economic fragility of newspapers and today’s fractured news audiences, no one else is likely to ever have a 40-year career in journalism dissecting South Carolina politics.

In Washington, Lee knew everybody. Or maybe everybody knew Lee. At least that is what I thought when I walked around Capitol Hill with him.

Lee Bandy’s journalism was based on integrity, mutual respect and plain old gumshoe reporting. He never needed a Freedom of Information tool to wheedle information from sources.

If he had not been a reporter, Lee would have been a teacher. In fact, he was a teacher — as evidenced by the scores of acolytes who sought his wisdom. One reason Lee was so beloved by other reporters was that he never wanted to be anything but. He was twice offered senior editor positions at The State, which he turned down.

Another side of Lee: He could do a mean song-and-dance routine, charming Washington’s elite at the Gridiron Club’s annual extravaganza.

Thomas N. McLean

Retired Executive Editor,

Editorial Page Editor

The State

Columbia

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