The late Jim Davenport was a tenacious reporter known for his fair and aggressive coverage of state government and political matters. During his 13 years with The Associated Press, Davenport cultivated sources because those he covered respected his ethics, his compassion, his tireless work ethic and his desire to hold those in power accountable for their actions.
Today’s recipient is the go-to reporter on the Legislature and politics for his newspaper. He does the job exceptionally well.
In his few years on the State House beat, he has easily tackled beats that include the budget, the U.S. Senate race between Lindsey Graham and Jaime Harrison, the governor’s office and the now starting 2024 presidential race.
During the contest period, this reporter kept busy with a focus on explaining to South Carolinians exactly how their tax dollars were being spent.
He wrote about the Legislature’s budget priorities after lawmakers looked to give a $1 billion one-time rebate back to taxpayers, and explained to readers just how the tax reform plan pushed by State House leaders would actually affect them. He also analyzed a Senate funding plan that in turn actually would give more money to wealthier districts, and he reported that salaries will increase next year for the state’s top officers in part to find better candidates.
He analyzed the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee after Sen. Hugh Leatherman’s death last year, and Rep. Murrell Smith, who this past year was elected the House’s new speaker, giving him more power over the Legislature’s lower chamber.
He covers complex issues professionally and with depth, but also makes them digestible for readers. For his effectiveness in covering government and public matters, we recognize Joe Bustos of The State with the Jim Davenport Award for Excellence in Government Reporting.