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The re-imaging of South Carolina: Trying to overcome embarrassing year on the national stage

The world's view of South Carolina was altered in 2009 by the state's string of national news stories. Unfortunately, little of it was flattering.

Among the headlines: a missing, philandering governor; a congressman who shouted down the president on national TV; and an eighth-grader who begged the president to fix her dilapidated 100-year-old school.

Those three stories alone suggest poor leadership, combative politics and public education neglect, say those whose job it is to sell the state to potential employees and businesses.

And something perhaps worse is reflected when one of the headlines is: "S.C. GOP operative apologizes for calling Michelle Obama's ancestors gorillas." Old stereotypes about the state were given life in 2009 by several racially charged events.

In 2010, The State newspaper will tell the story of how those South Carolinians who must transfer employees here, who recruit students, travelers and employees to the state and who conduct business around the world are working on re-imaging South Carolina after a tough year.