John GogickExecutive Editor for The Augusta Chronicle. | E-mail

Transparency is on agendas of mayoral hopefuls

Friday, April 18, 2014 7:01 PM
Last updated 10:38 PM
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Public meetings and open government. Two of the recurring themes in this past year of your glimpse into how and why the newspaper does what it does.

This week at a public meeting about tuberculosis testing at Hephzibah High School, journalists were admonished not to do their jobs at the meeting, else the speaker would not continue.

When our photographer moved to the back of the room so the speaker would continue, someone stepped in front of her. No matter which way she turned, he positioned himself in front of her lens to keep her from doing her job. Her job – to document and add authenticity to the proceedings. Real people doing real things.

Not everyone can go to meetings, and we will often go in your stead and report what happened. A photo of that meeting adds context to what is being said.

Rarely is the drama of a meeting captured photographically, but photos do give you a sense of place, a view of the speaker and a look at the crowd and the individuals speaking out.

When public officials
or people they send to act
in their stead try to close
the meeting or keep us away, we will respectfully go on doing what you expect of us.

To gather and report the news. To keep you informed about what is going on in this community.

Another way we do that is with election coverage. And not just the horse-race version of who is leading at the polls, but getting to the heart of the issues.

The Augusta Chronicle newsroom invited all five mayoral candidates into our offices this week to sit down for individual question-and-answer sessions.

The candidates came in and spent between 45 minutes and an hour apiece answering our questions about local issues and why each feels qualified to be the city’s next mayor.

Two of the themes that emerged from the candidates were transparency and accountability – two strains of music to my ears when I hear it from anyone associated with government at any level.

Read the Q&As starting Monday in the print edition, and go to www.augusta to watch videos of the interviews.

There will be one question-and-answer session in each day’s paper, in the order the candidates spoke with us:

MONDAY: Alvin Mason

TUESDAY: Helen Blocker-Adams

WEDNESDAY: Charles Cummings

THURSDAY: Lori Myles

FRIDAY: Hardie Davis

Use these interviews and videos, along with our future coverage of the candidates, to make an informed decision come May 20.

Helping you get to know the candidates and their stances on the issues of our city, county, region and state is a small but important part of what we do as this community’s newspaper.

And any one of them you pick has standing up for openness on the agenda.

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Lori Davis
Lori Davis 04/19/14 - 10:36 am
I always love telling the

I always love telling the story about going before the Augusta Commission and calling for the firing of Fred Russell and Jim Plunkett, complete with reasons and facts, with both men sitting in the room. Also in the room were Susan McCord and Sylvia Cooper. These ladies of the AC media were sitting on the front row. Not one word was written about a citizen calling for the firing of these two men. The AC chooses what it wants people to know. I guess this was one of those things that really did not matter.

Ray Marks
Ray Marks 04/19/14 - 10:46 am

Another buzz word that means nothing unless and until you outline what you are going to do to make it so.

I certainly hope there is some substance behind the rhetor...

From reading comment above by Lori Davis, it sounds like we need transparency and openness in reporting!

Butterman 04/19/14 - 12:34 pm
TEE CEnter

Yeah there was a lot of transparency in the paper over the TEE Center and parking deck controversies.

Lori Davis
Lori Davis 04/19/14 - 02:00 pm
When Johnny Edwards left the

When Johnny Edwards left the AC, that was the end of investigative reporting. I imagine when we have a black mayor in place and Deke is gone, there will be a lot of investigative reporting. Seems the AC is printing articles along these lines these days to prepare the public for what is about to come. What hypocrites! And no, not anything substantial written on the parking deck built on land the city did not own and the horrible Tee Center contract to bilk tax payers out of millions into perpetuity. Well, Fred Russell is indeed gone as he needed to be. Not sure where Jim Plunkett still fits in now. He will most probably leave on his own accord.

SRD 04/19/14 - 02:13 pm
Defending yourself?

I'm actually shocked that you are defending your reputation in reporting AC? I do believe that you are being true here when you say that you are blocked from certain access in reporting the facts. But, you as reporters are still owned by someone that has opinions and needs opinions to sway a certain way in order to make a buck and owned by someone who owns property in Richmond County that stands to gain by certain candidates in office or running for office. I do not believe that anyone on your editorial or reporting staff has the ability to report facts in all cases.

GnipGnop 04/19/14 - 02:17 pm

The fox watching the hen house. You can say what you want but not against the Billy and Paul & their taxpayer haul....

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