Tag Archives: Jim Davenport

Tribute to Jim Davenport, Guild member and AP staffer in Columbia, SC

By MEG KINNARD

By this point you have likely seen the sad news about Jim Davenport’s death, but I wanted to take a moment to remember him specifically to this group.

Jim was truly the heart and soul of the Guild here in South Carolina. He truly believed in the good that comes from employees having a voice in the debate, and he was honest about the struggles that we have faced and will face in the future.

No one wore their NMG T-shirt or button, even on non-mobilization days, with more pride than Davs.

I have been happy to make a meager effort to carry some things out around here in his stead, as life necessitated that his attentions rightly be focused elsewhere, but it’s been somewhat of a melancholy task.

I’ve missed him so much. We all have. But for the first time in some years, he’s now without pain. And in that we can take much solace.

Everyone who ever encountered him, personally or professionally, has their own Jim stories. His hearty laugh and overall jovial presence truly made our bureau a happy one. He was generous to a fault, happily and without objection helping out with any variety of non-work-related tasks and obligations that surfaced for any of us in life.

If Jim could help you, he would. I’ve never heard more entertaining, raucous, one-sided phone conversations in my life than I did sitting next to Jim for seven years.

The guy wrote amazing copy and got sources to talk when no one else could, but he truly was a quote machine in his own right, and he had command of more hilarious Southern euphemisms than anyone I’ve ever known.

My first week at the AP in October 2005, Jim literally walked me through the paces around Columbia, introducing me to key personalities at the Statehouse, Supreme Court and other various agencies he knew I’d need on my beat. Even the security guards met him with a smile and a handshake.

The guy literally knew everyone. And he wanted the rest of us to come to know them, too. He was tight with his sources but would share any phone numbers if we needed them.

He believed in the mission that is behind the work that we do. And working with him has made us all better journalists, and better people.

At the end of that first week, Jim met me in the bureau parking lot with a union folder and card. He didn’t even have to ask. If Jim thought being in the Guild was a good idea, that was enough for me. I sent in my information the next day.