Meet our 2024

Hall of Fame Recipient

Judith Mundy Burns

Index-Journal, Greenwood 

Judith Mundy Burns

A steel magnolia full of grace

Judith Mundy Burns was raised in a newspaper world.

Her father, R. Frank Mundy, became the sole owner and publisher of The Index-Journal Co. following the deaths of his two business partners and led the paper from 1977 until his death in 1982. Mundy was succeeded as publisher by his widow, Eleanor Metts Mundy, and Judi was named president. When her mother died in 1998, Judi took the reins as publisher and president until her death in 2019.

Judi steered the Index-Journal through some significant changes as one of only a small handful of women publishers serving South Carolina newspapers.

She led the newspaper when it brought back the Saturday edition after a nearly two-decade hiatus and was at the helm when the publication changed from an afternoon to a morning newspaper. She invested in the newspaper when and where needed. When the 30-year-old Harris press her father had installed needed to be replaced to increase color capability and greatly improve reproduction, she bought a new Goss Community press in the early 2000s.

Judi was born May 2, 1947 in Greenwood, S.C., and died at age 72 on Aug. 15, 2019. Her death came six months after the newspaper celebrated its 100th year of serving the Greenwood area.

Judi graduated from Greenwood High School and was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of South Carolina’s College of Journalism.

“Judi never gave up trying new ideas but didn’t neglect the quality of the printed newspaper,” Bill Rogers said in learning of Judi’s passing. At the time, Rogers was executive director of the S.C. Press Association and the two worked together many years. “She was committed to her newspaper and her community,” he said.

Judi served as the Press Association’s treasurer, vice president for dailies and then as president in 2015. Despite her various roles and accomplishments, Judi was humble and modest.

When the Women’s Leadership Conference in Greenwood gave Judi the Trailblazer Award during a banquet in 2016, she asked: “What trail did I blaze?”

She told attendees her mother, Eleanor M. Mundy, was the trailblazer; she merely followed in her mother’s footsteps.

Judi was named South Carolina’s Young Woman of the Year for 1976. She served on numerous boards and committees, including the South Carolina Festival of Flowers, March of Dimes and Cancer Society Drives. She was involved in organizations including garden and study clubs, along with boards for colleges and universities, as well as the Cambridge Academy Board of Trustees.

The newsroom flourished thanks to her belief in and support of community journalism. The press awards the newsroom amassed with her at the helm are a testament to her leadership.

Judi did not shy away from the public’s right to information. A staunch supporter of government transparency and investigative journalism, Judi agreed to sue the state Department of Public Safety for the release of dashcam footage under South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act. She won her case.

“Judi had a soft voice and a polite demeanor that disguised a fierce commitment to the Index-Journal and the role of a free press in our democratic society,” longtime press attorney Jay Bender, who represented the newspaper against Public Safety, said after Judi passed. “Even in a time of tight newspaper budgets, Judi was willing to fight in court to challenge instances of improper government secrecy. Her marching orders often were, ‘We can’t let them get away with that.’”

She described her role as owner of Greenwood’s daily newspaper as “a privilege and a great responsibility” in 2006 when talking about the importance of keeping the family-owned publication in the hands of locals.

S.C. Journalism Hall of Fame

The S.C. Journalism Hall of Fame was established in 1973 to recognize and honor men and women who have excelled in their craft and made significant contributions to journalism and their communities. Roughly 80 newspaper journalists – from Colonial days to the present – have been chosen by their peers for recognition. Learn more.