FOIA champion’s story makes case to improve law

At Thursday’s funeral in Columbia, it was noted that most South Carolinians did not know John Shurr. But they know a lot more about their state and local governments because of him.

Shurr and other journalists are not in the business of making news, but they are on the front line of what is often a fight to gather the news. No one fought the fight with better results over a longer period in South Carolina than Shurr, who spent 20 years as leader of The Associated Press in South Carolina, a time during which he championed open government with actions to back up his words.

At head of the South Carolina Press Association’s committee devoted to freedom of information, Shurr led the push in the 1980s for changes in the state’s Freedom of Information Act that made the law a model nationally. That followed him putting The AP out front in lawsuits that helped bring down University of South Carolina President James Holderman. Continue>>>