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An Open Letter to the Asheville Community

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.

Photo of Asheville Watchdog reporter Scott Carroll
Scott Carroll

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 scarroll@avlwatchdog.org. 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

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17 Comments

  1. Nina Tovish Nina Tovish June 1, 2022

    I am delighted that the AVL Watchdog will be devoting thorough coverage to the historic Reparations Commission! I have no doubt it will facilitate community discussion and help provide context for the process.

    Welcome to Asheville, Scott! I hope you come to love this city and its people as much as we do!

    • Scott Carroll Scott Carroll June 4, 2022

      Thanks Nina for the kind words, I appreciate it.

  2. Cherie Morris Cherie Morris June 1, 2022

    Welcome, Scott! You’ve made a wonderful decision to join the Watchdog staff. I truly believe that, not too far down the road, Watchdog’s reportage will make headlines! Pun intended. And this kind of journalism is so necessary in these scary times.

    • Scott Carroll Scott Carroll June 4, 2022

      Thanks Cherie, I agree about the decision. Stay tuned!

  3. David Feingold David Feingold June 1, 2022

    Congratulations on this important hire and welcome to Asheville, Scott. I look forward to meeting you sometime.

    • Scott Carroll Scott Carroll June 4, 2022

      Likewise David, and thanks for the kind words

  4. Rob Mikulak Rob Mikulak June 1, 2022

    Welcome and good luck. This area needs more journalism that’s not subject to the economics of corporate greed. It’s great to see AVL Watchdog expanding its in-depth, analytical coverage.

    • Scott Carroll Scott Carroll June 4, 2022

      I agree Rob, it’s exciting to be part of this growing news organization

  5. Alan Escovitz Alan Escovitz June 1, 2022

    Scott, as an annual donor to AVL Watchdog, I’ve been been an avid reader and supporter of its quality journalism. I feel you’ll be a great addition to the team by further expanding its journalistic coverage.

    • Scott Carroll Scott Carroll June 4, 2022

      Thanks Alan, for the warm welcome & ongoing support. As you know we could not do this without folks like you. Truly appreciate it

  6. Alyx Perry Alyx Perry June 1, 2022

    So grateful that The Watchdog made this happen.

    Welcome Scott!!

    • Scott Carroll Scott Carroll June 4, 2022

      Grateful to be here!

  7. Barbara Wright Barbara Wright June 2, 2022

    Welcome to Asheville and the great team at Asheville Warchdog!

    • Scott Carroll Scott Carroll June 4, 2022

      Thanks Barbara, appreciate it

  8. Irene Stoll Irene Stoll June 2, 2022

    Scott, we have been looking forward to your arrival and tackling the important reporting ahead. You are joining a fabulous group of journalists. We look forward to meeting you.

  9. Scott Carroll Scott Carroll June 4, 2022

    No pressure right 😀. I too am happy to be part of such a talented crew. Let’s do this!

  10. Steve C. Steve C. June 4, 2022

    I’m sure Scott is excited to be working for The Watchdog, and the The Watchdog should be equally excited to have Scott. I’ve known Scott for a while, and he’s like a brother to me.

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