Hello, my name is Scott Carroll and today — June 1, 2022 — is my first official day as a reporter for The Asheville Watchdog. I would like to take this occasion to introduce myself, explain my role here, and ask for your help moving forward.
My primary focus will be covering the reparations process here, which was approved by the Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Commission two years ago. In addition to covering reparations, I will be writing about homelessness and related social justice issues.
I am the first paid staff reporter for The Watchdog, a nonprofit online news organization that was launched in 2020 and continues to be run by volunteer, award-winning journalists and media executives who live in Asheville and care deeply about the community.
I am able to take on this role with the support of Report For America, a national organization that seeks to help local newsrooms beef up their coverage of important community issues. RFA is picking up a portion of my salary, and your generous contributions to The Watchdog help cover the rest.
It is significant that The Watchdog and Report for America both recognized the reparations process here to be so noteworthy as to warrant a full-time reporter to cover it. Both organizations — as do I — see this as a historic, watershed moment not just for Asheville and North Carolina, but potentially for the nation.
The process needs to be chronicled as it unfolds, which is what we intend to do. Our goal is to make The Watchdog central to the reparations process, the trusted source where readers can go to find out what’s going on. We intend to be there, documenting the progress, setbacks, and all matters in between, every step of the way.
I have signed a two-year contract with The Watchdog, with an option for a third year, so I intend to be here a while.
A little about myself: I grew up in Los Angeles, and have lived in several other places in the U.S. since then, stretching from Florida to Oregon. I have an undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico and a masters degree in print journalism from the University of Florida.
I have more than 20 years experience as a newspaper reporter and editor, most of which was accrued at The Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, Florida.
This phrase is overused, but I really mean it when I say I am humbled and honored by the task ahead — namely, providing a platform for public dialogue on reparations and a place for those most affected by the history that prompted a call for reparations to share their stories.
Toward that end, I could use some help. If The Watchdog really is to become central to the reparations process, we will need help from you, the community.
Tips, story ideas, comments on our coverage, guest columns, letters to us — all of that and more will be needed if this really is to become the online “public square” that we envision.
I would love to hear from you, even if it is to express your displeasure with something I wrote, or didn’t write.
Please call me at (941) 315-0653 or email me at email@example.com. You can also follow me on twitter @scottcarroll15.
I realize that as of today you don’t know me and have no reason to have faith in anything I’ve said. I get that, believe me. All I ask is a chance to earn your trust, and that as much as possible you judge me by my interactions with each of you — and most importantly the stories and other content I write for this site.
Thanks for your time and have a great day. — Scott