News Web site launches in Virginia
A new nonprofit organization has launched a news Web site about local and state government called Old Dominion Watchdog.
The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which funds the Web site, has ties to the Republican Party, but Old Dominion Watchdog Managing Editor Paige Winfield said the Virginia site has no political slant.
Recent stories, all written by Winfield, are about federal stimulus money, late military ballots and state budget woes. The Web site also includes a blog, video, text alerts and a form for sending in tips.
Old Dominion Watchdog's goal, as described on the site, is to "investigate and inform the public about waste, fraud, abuse, ethical questions and safety concerns involving the use of taxpayer dollars."
The Franklin Center is a 501c3 organization formed in January with a grant from the Sam Adams Alliance, a Chicago-based group that tries to advance "economic freedom and individual liberty.''
The center, named after Benjamin Franklin, is funded through donations. Winfield said she does not know the names of any contributors. Calls to center President Jason Stverak were not returned this week.
The center, which aims to launch similar sites in every state, says on its Web site that it provides "investigative reporters and non-profit organizations at the state and local level with the training, expertise and technical support necessary to pursue journalistic endeavors."
Winfield said the center has hired about 15 employees across the nation so far. Most have journalism backgrounds, but several have ties to the Republican Party or free-market groups.
Stverak worked for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign and the North Dakota Republican Party. Gwen Beattie, director of development and donor relations and a Virginia native, worked for former Republican governor Jim Gilmore.
Winfield, 25, previously covered county and state government for the Naperville Sun, a daily newspaper outside Chicago owned by the Chicago Sun Times.
November 27, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , James Gilmore III
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