The future of conservative journalism is looking brighter every day. The essay I wrote on the topic last week continues to spark feedback from people who have been or hope to produce investigative work from a conservative perspective.
I’m particularly encouraged to see state-based efforts. My essay mentioned the Goldwater Institute’s hiring of an investigative reporter, and last week I read about a right-leaning news outlet in Colorado called Face The State that does investigative work. (Read my interview with managing editor Brad Jones.)
Today I learned that the John Locke Foundation has been on the same beat for more than a decade in North Carolina. It is a conservative pioneer in the field, publishing both news and investigative projects in the Carolina Journal.
Jon Ham, the foundation’s vice president for communications, provided the history in an e-mail:
Our staff of first-rate reporters, which until about a year ago included Paul Chesser, whom you mentioned in your story, have over the years uncovered graft, waste and corruption in North Carolina government, leading to indictments that have sent several high-profile politicians to jail.
Quite often the mainstream media in North Carolina take their cues from the print version of Carolina Journal and carolinajournal.com. For instance, stories that we ran up to three years ago on some questionable activities of former Gov. Mike Easley formed the basis of a series that our capital-city daily newspaper ran just recently on the same subject.
We have a staff of five full-time editors and reporters, including Don Carrington, our chief investigative reporter. Don has built a reputation as a fair but dogged reporter whose calls elicit the kind of reaction in North Carolina that calls from Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes” used to cause among the nation’s most powerful politicians and corporate heads.
So, as you can see, in North Carolina at least, a conservative alternative is alive, well and growing.
Now all conservatives need is a way to coordinate the stellar investigative work its experts are doing across the country. The movement needs a good clearinghouse that could better draw attention to those efforts and perhaps, going back to the impetus for my initial essay, help distribute it through mainstream outlets like the Associated Press or syndication services.