About Us

We Are AVL Watchdog – a free, local and nonprofit news service. 

We’re here because of you, our friends and neighbors, who told us that you want thoughtful and explanatory journalism to stay abreast of the issues and challenges facing Asheville and Buncombe County.  

Our Mission: We are dedicated to providing news and analysis that promotes civic understanding and participation. 

Founded and run by volunteer, national award-winning journalists and media executives who live here, AVL Watchdog will produce stories covering local government, institutions, issues and people that are fair, factual and reliable. 

Why now? Local news is in crisis. One in five American newspapers have closed, and that was before the coronavirus slashed advertising revenue. That means more layoffs and cuts to newsrooms and fewer reporters to keep watch over government and dig deep into the issues.

Big choices require more coverage. Asheville is confronting unprecedented challenges and choices that will change the way we live and work. We take the time to explore important questions and provide you the answers in thorough and insightful stories. 

We do not intend to compete with existing media but rather to complement and expand upon the critical service they provide.

Our content is free and widely accessible. 

We won’t have outside owners determining how much or what we cover.  

And with no pressure to fill a daily newspaper or newscast, we do our best to give you carefully written and edited stories that educate, enlighten and empower.

We have no political or private agenda but simply believe that good journalism is a public service essential to democracy. Local news matters, and a healthy, strong Asheville depends on well-informed citizens.

Our Editorial Staff: As in so many fields, Asheville has attracted some incredibly accomplished journalists who have generously volunteered their experience and time. The editors guiding our story selection and quality reporting include: 

Tom Fiedler, Dean emeritus and journalism professor at Boston University’s College of Communication; former executive editor of The Miami Herald; trustee of TheConversation.com/us; co-founder New England Center for Investigative Reporting; former president New England First Amendment Coalition; award-winning investigative and political reporter during three decades at The Miami Herald including a shared Pulitzer Prize in 1991. 

Sally Kestin, Former investigative reporter at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Tampa Tribune and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and recipient of numerous national journalism awards, including the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. She was a 2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist in investigative reporting.

Peter Lewis, Former senior writer and editor, The New York Times; managing editor of The Bay Citizen in San Francisco; senior editor Fortune magazine; and John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University.

John Maines, Former database editor at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. His journalism career spanned more than four decades. He is the recipient of numerous state and national awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2013 and 2019.  

Gail Meadows, Former editor and columnist for the Miami Herald.

William Robertson, Former writer and editor at The Miami Herald; as the newspaper’s book editor, he was twice a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his writing on literary subjects.