Newspapers serve as watchdog for the community

Watchdog journalism. Investigative journalism. Accountability journalism. Public service journalism.

All slightly different ways and techniques to describe one of the main reasons many people pay to subscribe to a newspaper.

This historical, watchdog role of the newspaper is not the news – a recounting of the previous days events in context or a preview of the upcoming day’s events.

It is a kind of journalism that holds institutions accountable. The kind of journalism that shines a light on their actions, either through constant scrutiny or looking under a rock for that singular, long-term special report.

It is the kind of journalism marked by looking out for the public’s interest, part of our ongoing commitment to public service.

And for more than a decade, those longer-term special reports have been led by Public Service Editor Mike Wynn.

For years, Mike and our special projects team garnered award after award for investigations and watchdog journalism.

But the public service journalism comes in small packages, too. It comes in the day-to-day reporting of Susan McCord covering the Augusta Commission. Susan weighs through the policy and its impact daily.

Each weekend, Sylvia Cooper uses her entertaining style to add perspective to Susan’s reports and shine a light on what happens
in your government each week.

Subscribing is not the only way for you to help this accountability journalism. You can participate. That participation can come through traditional methods such as letters to the editor. Or through more modern approaches such as Facebook.

This week, the comm­ission discussed its public image. So, to hold them accountable, Susan asked each commissioner: “What
should the Augusta Commis­sion do to foster civility and improve its image?”

We will tell their answers in Sunday’s paper, and then we will ask you to participate and answer the same question for the following Sunday’s paper.

Starting Monday, we are bringing back a small piece of public service accountability journalism.

It is called Pardon Our Mess. With your help, we will identify issues and bring them to the attention of the person or department responsible.

Reporter Meg Mirshak’s introductory paragraph to the segment speaks for itself:

The Augusta Chronicle wants to make our community better by identifying areas in need of attention. If you know of a place where the grass needs cutting, a pothole needs fixing, litter needs collecting or a building needs cleaning, contact us.”

Look for this feature and get involved. Participate and get engaged with the process of making the city a better place.

We are committed to holding authorities accountable and making the city a little better, one newspaper edition at a time.

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Sun, 12/04/2016 - 13:18

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