by Robert Maynard
Vermont just got a new press bureau called VermontWatchdog.org:
Watchdog.org is taking the fight to expose government waste, fraud, and abuse to the Green Mountain State! Our newest state bureau, Vermont Watchdog, will be staffed by Jon Street, who brings aggressive reporting chops from covering Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and doing digital work for a Fortune 500 company.
Watchdog.org is a network of such groups that keep a “watchful” eye on our government on behalf of it’s citizens. Their model is borrowed from Benjamin Franklin: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Watchdog.org is a collection of independent journalists covering state-specific and local government activity. The program began in September 2009, a project of Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting new media journalism.
Our established investigative journalists and capitol news reporters across the country are doing what legacy journalism outlets prove unable to do: share information, dive deep into investigations, and provide the fourth estate that has begun to fade in recent decades. By enhancing communication between reporters and providing a forum for published journalism, Watchdog.org promotes a vibrant, well-informed electorate and a more transparent government.
Watchdog.org utilizes a state-specific approach, in order to provide readers with information that is of proximate and practical interest. Interested parties can contact email@example.com for more information.
Their ideal of providing the fourth estate harkens back to the our founders’ view of the media’s purpose and was a big part of why freedom of the press is so important in America. Our founders were skeptical of letting government powers go unchecked and thought it critical to our democratic Republic that a watchful be kept on government at all times. That is why the media has come to be known as the fourth estate. The following is a quote attributed to George Washington that sums up our founders’ view on government: “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Our Declaration of Independence insists that the powers of government be derived from the “consent of the governed” if they are to be just. In order for citizens to grant their consent to the actions of our government, they must remain informed regarding those actions. With this in mind, the arrival of a media outlet on the Vermont scene, that has keeping an eye on our government as its explicit purpose, is a welcome development in maintaining an informed citizenry.