Northfield News launches ‘Team Watchdog’

Sam Gett
In last week’s paper, Northfield News Publisher and Editor Sam Gett’s announced a volunteer citizen-journalist panel called Team Watchdog in a column titled: Wanna be a watchdog? Join us.

The philosophy behind Team Watchdog is simple. Community members with specific expertise partner with newspaper reporters to help us fulfill our First Amendment mission. We’re looking for people who are interested in exposing waste and corruption or just want to be part of finding better solutions. All are encouraged to apply, but experience in accounting, law and public service is especially helpful.

Our RepJ colleague Len Witt blogged about the Fort Meyers, Florida launch of a project by the same name about a year ago: Team Watchdog: Civic Journalism in Florida. Also see this Gannett story: Fort Myers’ Team Watchdog taps community expertise.

I’m delighted to see the paper engaging the citizenry more in its reporting. I’ve heard from others that they’ve had a ‘citizen advisory board’ for a while so maybe this is an evolutionary step. I don’t have any details on it but maybe our LoGroNo readers can help enlighten me? Or maybe Managing Editor Jaci Smith will post to her blog about it.


  1. Tracy Davis said:

    Griff, I’m assuming the reason you linked your post about the white paper entitled “Citizen Journalism and Newspaper Sites” here is because you’re wanting to continue the thread about engaging citizens in contributing to news, how that’s being done here and elsewhere, and what the future might hold. Did I miss any of the angles?

    Here’s an excerpt from the white paper that’s specific to LoGroNo’s collaboration with the RepJ project:

    . . .the end goal is to attract enough paying readers to make the hub self-sustaining, ushering in a new business model for entrepreneurial journalists in the process. Newspapers may stand to gain from underwriting such experiments, given the low cost of entry and the built-in safeguards protecting independence and quality journalism, Witt adds. (emphasis mine)

    Hmmm…. more potential for collaboration between LoGro and the Northfield News? Could be!

    April 9, 2008
  2. John George said:

    Does anyone remember that old Paul Newman movie, “Absence of Malice?” Just food for thought as far as reporters’ responsibilities to the public in general when it comes to investigative reporting.

    April 11, 2008
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    Nfld News publisher Sam Gett announced a new policy re: anonymous comments in his column yesterday.

    The new policy on still allows readers to post comments without identifying themselves. However, Web site users must first complete a short registration form that includes the submission of a valid e-mail address. This gives us the opportunity to contact posters if we have a question or problem with their comment. Users only need to register once; after that they can freely interact throughout the site.

    April 17, 2008
  4. Anne Bretts said:

    This seems like a great solution, allowing anonymity but guaranteeing a safety net for the publisher.
    Rudolph the Red can write in peace…at least until he looks out his window and sees the car with the surveillance equipment running. Then he’ll know the waterboarding worked and Sam and Jaci have cracked ;-}

    April 18, 2008
  5. Marcea Frazier said:

    Well said Anne.

    The “safety net” is very easy to get around, takes about 2 minutes. I miss reading Rudolph the Red’s comments, hopefully he/she will figure out how to get around the “safety net” soon.

    April 18, 2008
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    Today’s paper has the first reference to their Team Watchdog that I’ve noticed:

    People in northern Rice County (where all the county’s ODs occurred) died in 2007 of an overdose at two times the rate they did in Hennepin County and Ramsey County over the same time period. (Verification of the math used to produce this statistic comes courtesy of a statistician serving on the News’ Watchdog Team).

    July 12, 2008

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