The Post and Courier

The Post and Courier is the oldest newspaper in the South, the largest in South Carolina, and one of the few independent, family-owned papers left in the United States. That ownership translates into a growing newspaper that is expanding statewide. The Post and Courier was the winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and a four-time Pulitzer finalist. This is a writer’s newsroom. We value storytelling as a framework for context-filled, investigative reporting.

The People-Sentinel

The People-Sentinel is a for-profit news organization that has served Barnwell County since 1852. We are now expanding into two neighboring rural South Carolina counties, Allendale and Bamberg counties. Our mission is to provide factual, unbiased and accurate reporting to keep our communities informed while holding public officials accountable. In addition to our weekly print newspaper, our website, videos, social media and podcasts keep our community informed.

James Pollard

James Pollard covers state government and inequality for The Associated Press in Columbia, South Carolina. Before joining the Report for America corps, he earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science at Northwestern University. There, he served as managing editor of The Daily Northwestern and worked as a research assistant in the political science department. Pollard has reported on Texas politics and policy as a fellow with The Texas Tribune, interned on the NBCUniversal digital team, and covered his hometown of St. Louis as an intern with the Riverfront Times. In his free time, Pollard enjoys playing guitar, cooking and hiking.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press is a global news agency that began 172 years ago as a cooperative of five New York City newspapers. With 263 locations in more than 100 countries, AP provides journalism to roughly 15,000 media outlets around the world. AP sets standards for ethics and excellence, and has won 52 Pulitzer Prizes, including the 2016 gold medal for Public Service for an investigation into labor abuses in the seafood industry, reports that freed more than 2,000 slaves. AP’s seven news bureaus in the northeast U.S. provide vital local and regional news to 378 newsrooms.

The Island Packet

In 1970, real estate developer Tom Wamsley and former newspaperman Ralph Hilton enlisted help and money from a third Hilton Head Island resident to start a newspaper to cover happenings on Hilton Head, a small island off the S.C. coast. The first edition — a 20-page tabloid — rolled off the press July 9, 1970. The paper came out on Thursday afternoons to an island with only 3,000 residents. As the island grew into a renowned resort, the Packet grew with it — from a weekly tabloid into a daily broadsheet newspaper. McClatchy Newspapers purchased the Packet in 1990, and by 1995 it had become a seven-day-a-week newspaper.  

Sam Ogozalek

Sam Ogozalek reports for The Island Packet in Hilton Head, South Carolina. He covers economic development in Jasper County, South Carolina, which is seeing burgeoning growth as new residents, many of them retirees from out of state, settle in this historically African-American area. Ogozalek covered cops, courts and local government during internships at the Tampa Bay Times, The Buffalo News, and the Naples Daily News. An investigative reporter who is adroit at FOIA and other document requests, Ogozalek uncovered conflicts of interest while as an intern in Naples on a design review board in a nearby town that led to a proposed new ethics ordinance. He recently assisted with FOIA research at the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. He was the 2018-19 editor-in-chief of Syracuse University’s independent student newspaper, The Daily Orange. Ogozalek grew up in Hancock, New York, a small town along the Delaware River.

Mary Norkol

Mary Norkol reports for The Sun News, the newspaper based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she focuses on homelessness. This is an underreported topic in the resort area with unique aspects including family members who follow their retiree relatives to the region but don’t have enough money for housing. Norkol wrote features for “The FBI Files” and “Murals and Mosaics” projects while working as an intern at the Chicago Sun-Times and worked on the investigative team during an internship with CBS in Chicago. She was editor-in-chief of Loyola University Chicago’s independent student newspaper, which won first place in its general excellence category by the Illinois College Press Association. Norkol was recognized for her work on a podcast covering the Mercy Hospital shooting and multimedia reporting on sexual assault solve rates in Chicago. A true Midwesterner, Norkol grew up in Stillwater, Minnesota, and spends her vacations and holidays in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Michelle Liu

Michelle was a reporting intern for the Toledo Blade, and a general assignment intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. As a reporter for the Yale Daily News and a contributing reporter for the New Haven Independent, she shadowed canvassers in New Hampshire and covered labor unions in Connecticut. She was also a program coordinator for Yale’s Summer Journalism Program for high school students. Since joining Report for America, Liu has covered criminal justice for Mississippi Today. The Institute for Non-Profit News named Michelle’s reporting on the spike of prison deaths in Mississippi as one of the “Best in Nonprofit News” in 2018. Her continued reporting on this and other stories not only helped lead the MDOC to invite the FBI to get involved in the investigation of these deaths, but her dogged records requests were cited by the Department of Corrections while asking the Legislature to exempt agencies from parts of the Public Records Act. More recently, the Mississippi Humanities Council invited Michelle to moderate a panel titled, “Locked Up: Criminal Justice in Mississippi.”

Tobie Perkins

Tobie Nell Perkins reports for The Herald, Rock Hill, S.C. where she focuses on struggling Chester County, which is still reeling from decades of textile mill closures. Before coming to South Carolina, Perkins spent the last year writing feature and long-form stories for Fresh Take Florida, a news service based at the University of Florida where she graduated with a degree in journalism. Her stories, distributed through Fresh Take Florida, have been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Palm Beach Post, the Orlando Sentinel, the Kentucky Herald-Leader and more. She has written for WUFT.org, the University of Florida’s NPR and PBS affiliate, since 2018. Tobie grew up near  Philadelphia, PA. She was the 2020 recipient of the John Paul Jones Jr. Award for Magazine Writing. Perkins was one of two nominees from the University of Florida to be chosen to compete for the National Hearst Award both in Feature Writing and Sports Writing. And she was a varsity member of the university’s Equestrian Team.

Rebecca Liebson

Rebecca Liebson reports for The State in Columbia, S.C. and focuses on public and substandard housing in the state capital. Rebecca Liebson was part of the New York Times’ inaugural fellowship class. She worked for The Weekly, The Times’ first-ever television news series, helping to produce episodes about a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes, the culture of sexual harassment in the world of yoga and more. Liebson has also written for the metro desk where she led The Times’ breaking news coverage of an anti-Semitic attack on a Rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York. Before she arrived at The Times, Liebson held internships at NBC, The New York Post and WSHU Public Radio. She graduated from Stony Brook University in 2019. Her work for The Statesman student newspaper earned her a Hearst Award for Enterprise Writing as well as the title of Best College News Reporter from the Press Club of Long Island for two consecutive years.