John Gogick

Executive Editor for The Augusta Chronicle. | E-mail

Newspapers serve as watchdog for the community

  • Follow Metro

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.

Comments (6) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Little Lamb
45398
Points
Little Lamb 08/30/13 - 09:15 pm
0
0
Watchdog

I'd like to see some watchdog journalism at Commissioner Corey Johnson's birthday bash next week. His invitations left a subtle hint that invitees might be able to slip in a cash gift. I hope a reporter is there to observe what kind of receptacle the gift "cards" go into.

Corey Johnson is a sitting commissioner and an announced candidate for state senate. He is required to declare contributions to his campaign fund, be they check, cash, or in-kind contributions.

Lori Davis
905
Points
Lori Davis 08/31/13 - 11:52 am
1
0
I rarely comment on anything

I rarely comment on anything in the AC anymore, but this one deserves my attention. Augusta is in despair and now we are going to try to uncover why? Unless the powers that be all over the city and the state are beginning to expose each other, I see this as an exercise in futility. The reason Augusta is in the toilet is because the collective power structure has been covering each others' behinds since the late 1800's. Now we are in a world of trouble that we may never be able to recover from. If this works as it should, the AC will expose each and every department head in Augusta Richmond County who has fiddled while Augusta has fallen into the abyss. Those of us who are just,"regular citizens,"want a quality of life, and we measure that on a day to day basis. Find out why the rule of law does not apply to Augusta and our leaders. Find out why this city is so broke that we have 4 people who cut grass for the entire,"Garden City." Find out why we are down to one day trash pickup. Find out why our water bills have doubled and tripled while we have had one of the wettest Summers on record. Find out why the urban core has crumbled under the 30 year leadership of Rob Sherman and George Patty. Find out why Harrisburg became an Opportunity Zone, a state awarded zoning change of mass proportions, WITHOUT A PUBLIC HEARING! Look into this whole Laney Walker Bethlehem project and audit it. Find out how Commissioners receive perks that obviously cause them to vote on issues with hilarity. And lastly, and most importantly, find out why the Augusta Commission will not dismiss Fred Russell. When you have done all of this and cleaned house in this city, you will really have done something.

Lori Davis
905
Points
Lori Davis 08/31/13 - 02:22 pm
1
0
Most folks have unsubscribed

Most folks have unsubscribed to the AC because they have done zero investigative journalism, and because they do not cover both sides of an issue. I am in this category for sure.

raul
4668
Points
raul 08/31/13 - 02:58 pm
1
0
" The proof of the pudding is

" The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

Little Lamb
45398
Points
Little Lamb 09/01/13 - 08:43 am
0
0
Good Point

Ms. Davis makes a good observation that today's newspaper journalism, including The Augusta Chronicle, does not report both sides of a controversial issue. The health stories from Tom Corwin are perhaps the worst. The school system stories are not much better.

Bulldog
1319
Points
Bulldog 09/01/13 - 08:59 am
1
0
If and when

IF and WHEN the AC decides to take on the role of watchdog we will all be better off, but it hasn't happened yet. We have all seen the blatant abuse of power by the local government and wondered why the AC doesn't have the gumption to go after the graft and corruption that continually plagues us. Just making fun of the commissioners actions does little to actually change anything. It is going to take an emphatic and continuous pounding of these hidden issues to dig out the corruption...

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs