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News Web site launches in Virginia

Anita Kumar

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.

By Anita Kumar  |  November 27, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , James Gilmore III  
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Comments

They say they don't have a political slant, but their issues are all Republican and they are all republicans...hmm wonder what type of product we are going to get out of them...Faux News for the Internet?

Posted by: notjoeabbey | November 27, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, Anita. So cynical! Why would you think a site funded by a right-wing group and written by right-wing operatives would have a right-wing slant?

Posted by: TheGreenMiles | November 27, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Franklin Center founded Jan 13, 2009? Hmmm...how interesting just in time to dispatch a reporter to the inauguration = how lucky! On Internet, radio, Fox, CBN all are heavily populated and and subsidize their content with prepared reports by think tanks etc from the right all over the country.
Lincoln Institute's American Radio Journal is amazing stuff and they distribute by inviting radio stations to download weekly programs of torrid sky is falling - our civilization is being taken over stuff to fill their mandatory public interest broadcasting requirement.
CBN is really funny in their use of this stuff. After Obama's inauguration they had a special report from a regular think tank on how the media is fawning all over Obama. Then after anything else gets everyone's attention they have another How the mainstream media ignore this or promotes that.
CBN + Washington Examiner = What do you think?

Posted by: tigman_2 | December 3, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Example on how the think tanks and their astroturf media work with Right wing outlets. Below is series of report titles and bylines from CBN News sharing Business and Media Institute resources and reports.

Study: Most Coverage of Health Care Positive CBNNews.com Friday, July 31, 2009 Julia Seymour is with the Business and Media Institute who did the study. She joined CBN News from Washington to share more on the study.
Why Americans Don't Trust Their News Media CBNNews.com Monday, July 20, 2009 CBN News spoke with Dan Gainor of the Business and Media InstituteĀ about this distrust of the media in the U.S.

Recent Shooting Coverage Raises Questions CBNNews.com Monday, June 15, 2009 CBN News spoke with Dan Gainor of the Business and Media Institute about media coverage of recent violent crimes.

Stimulus Plan Excludes Religious Schools CBNNews.com Wednesday, February 04, 2009 Sources: CBN News, Business and Media Institute, ACLJ


A Global Warming Bias? By CBN News Thursday, March 06, 2008 Amy Menefee of the Business and Media Institute spoke with CBN News about theĀ bias surfacing in the global warming debate

Posted by: tigman_2 | December 3, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

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