The State, Record journalists honored

07/09/2014 11:00 AM

07/09/2014 1:06 PM

A legendary sports columnist, a State House reporter, a top newsroom executive and a staff of Pulitzer Prize finalists will be inducted Wednesday into The State/Record Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame, established in 2013, honors those journalists whose stories and images from The State and The Columbia Record have made an indelible stamp on South Carolina and the nation.

“The rich history of South Carolina and The State have been intertwined for more than a century,” said Sara Johnson Borton, president and publisher of The State Media Co.

“It’s important, we believe, to take a moment and remember the work of outstanding journalists who have chronicled that history with care and dedication. The State/Record Hall of Fame awards were established to remind us all of the important journalism that has helped shape a community and a state.

“This year’s recipients embody the spirit, vigilance and public-minded service that never go out of fashion,” she said. “We are proud to have the opportunity to acknowledge their outstanding contribution.”

The inductees will be honored Wednesday during a reception at The State Media Co., in conjunction with the annual Hampton-Gonzales awards. The Hampton-Gonzales awards affirm the best of work in The State newsroom in the previous year, a process that involves nominations by newsroom colleagues.

Inductees into the Hall of Fame were suggested by an advisory committee of The State newspaper and The Columbia Record alumni, and nominated and selected by a committee of current newsroom staffers.

The Columbia Record, the capital city’s afternoon newspaper, was closed in 1988 after 91 years of operation. The Record, with a circulation of about 30,000, was The State’s sister newspaper and was closed after Knight-Ridder Co. purchased the newspaper company founded by the Gonzales brothers.

The State Media Co., parent to The State newspaper, has a history stretching more than 120 years. The company also produces website, Lake Murray and Columbia Northeast magazines, and GoGamecocks The Magazine, and other digital and print products and services.

This years inductees are:

Herman Helms (1924-2007): Helms left a lasting mark on the coverage of sports in the Carolinas. During three decades at The State, beginning in 1963, he built a professional, powerhouse sports department, elevated news coverage of the University of South Carolina and Clemson athletics programs, hired The State’s first black sports writer and recognized the programs at small colleges and the state’s historically black institutions. Along the way, he wrote hundreds of columns, which became must-reads for sports fans in South Carolina and beyond. During his heyday, he was perhaps The State’s best-known and most controversial writer.

George Andrew Buchanan (1898-1975): Buchanan joined the staff of The State in 1918 while still a University of South Carolina journalism student, and in 1931 became the editor of The Columbia Record, working for a stint as publisher and president. In 1945, when The State bought The Record, Buchanan continued as editor. Buchanan became dean of the USC School of Journalism in 1956 where he oversaw the expansion of the staff, added a graduate school, and tripled scholarships and awards for students before he retired in 1965.

Levona Page (1940-): Page spent more than three decades at The State, 1963-1998, earning accolades for her grit and determination in reporting on politics, state government, education and health care. She was the first woman assigned by The State to cover the State House, including the administrations of Govs. McNair, West and Edwards, and reported on such stories as the fall of televangelists Jim and Tammy Bakker, the devastation of Hurricane Hugo and the Lost Trust State House corruption scandal.

The State’s Hurricane Hugo coverage: Hugo began as a cluster of thunderstorms off West Africa, grew violent in crossing the Atlantic and ended its life in September 1989 as a Great Lakes downpour. The killer storm, a Category 4 when it thundered ashore, caused death and destruction across South Carolina, and revealed the strength and tenacity of residents, who rallied and rebounded. For delivering the most complete, compassionate and authoritative coverage of Hugo, The State’s newsroom staffers were honored as Pulitzer Prize finalists.

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