Texas Watchdog

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Texas Watchdog is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news web site covering state and local government issues in Houston, Texas. The organization also advocates for greater transparency in government, and seeks to aid bloggers and citizen journalists in gaining access to public meetings and records.[1] Texas Watchdog was launched in August 2008 by founder and editor, journalist Trent Seibert.

Mission

Texas Watchdog's mission is to seek open government at all levels, and to arm citizen-journalists with journalistic tools to keep their city halls honest.[2]

Leadership

Trent Seibert is a journalist and open-government advocate in Houston, Texas. He founded and currently serves as the editor of the Texas Watchdog. In 2005-2007 Seibert worked as a political reporter for The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville. Later he worked as an on-air investigative reporter for WKRN-Channel 2 in Nashville, where he broke news about legislators’ conflicts of interest. In 2005 he won the newsroom’s Jimmy Davy Award, which recognizes the newsroom’s “most valuable player.” Seibert also won an award as a reporter for The Denver Post in Colorado, where he uncovered widespread problems in the Colorado Lottery. He has also served as a city editor for the The Tuscaloosa News in Alabama.

Transparency projects

Featured reports

Trent TV
An interactive webinar for bloggers, citizen-journalists/journalists and activists focusing on how public records can be used to produce original local reporting.

Videos
Texas Watchdog provides a variety of "transparency training videos" on its website, which feature cases in which transparency issues played a role in the state of Texas. Such examples include: voters' complaints in San Patricio, voter fraud, mail-ballot harvesting and the contracts process in the Houston Independent School District (HISD).

Issues

Texas Watchdog pushes for government transparency and seeks to aid bloggers and citizen journalists in gaining access to public meetings and records.[1]

Awards

2011

  • Best Online Project -- Fort Worth Pro Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists' annual First Amendment Awards

2010

  • Best Online Project -- Fort Worth Pro Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists' annual First Amendment Awards

2009

Membership

Board members

Leon Alligood currently works as a journalism professor at Middle Tennessee State University's School of Journalism in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He previously worked as a print reporter for 29 years. For 22 of those years, he worked in Nashville first for the Nashville Banner and later for The Tennessean. He primarily wrote human interest and narrative stories while working at The Tennessean. He also wrote on the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over the years, his writing has earned awards at all levels: regional, state, and national.[3]

Michael Berryhill began working at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication in 2006. He previously worked as a journalist for over 25 years. During these years, he has been a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Houston Press, fine arts editor for the Houston Chronicle, and editor of Houstonian Magazine and Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. He has won awards at state and national levels for his environmental writing and investigative reporting. Before working as a journalist, he taught both creative writing and American literature at Vassar College. He received his A.B. in English from Kenyon College and then earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Minnesota.[3]

Susan Ihne was the executive editor at the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times from 2005 to 2008. She was previously employed as executive editor of the St. Cloud (Minn.) Times. She began her career in journalism in 1977 as a reporter at the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News. She then worked for the El Paso (Texas) Times from 1979 to 1985, where she was a reporter, night city editor, business editor, and features editor. She then worked for the Detroit Free Press from 1985 to 1987. In 1987, she began work for The Detroit News. Ihne joined the Pensacola News Journal in 1993, where she worked as deputy managing editor. She has earned multiple awards. In 2004 she received the Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership.[3]

Services

Texas Watchdog offers training opportunities for bloggers, citizen-journalists, journalism students and activists. These training modes teach investigative journalism skills, such as those needed to draft public records requests, utilize multimedia, develop sources, and understand legal issues.

Training Description Participate
Trent TV An interactive webinar for bloggers, citizen-journalists/journalists and activists focusing on how public records can be used to produce original local reporting. Training via NewMediaTV
Group training Training sessions geared towards those who want training and time flexibility. Group training from two hours to full day periods are ideal for working adults with an interest in journalism and the workings of government. Participants will learn skills that can be applied directly to their blogs, web sites, or other research projects. Contact Lee Ann O'Neal
One-on-one help Guidance and one-on-one help for activists needing personalized assistance. Contact Lee Ann O'Neal

Lee Ann O'Neal can be reached via email at leeann@texaswatchdog.org.

Contact information

Phone number: (713) 980-9777
Email: news@texaswatchdog.org
Mailing address:

Texas Watchdog
945 McKinney Street, #221
Houston, Texas 77002

See also

External links

Additional reading

References