Asheville Watchdog is proud to announce the pending addition of Andrew R. Jones to the news organization’s full-time staff, where he will specialize in investigative journalism and other in-depth reporting.
Jones, 34, joins The Watchdog from the Asheville Citizen Times, where he was an investigative reporter covering county government and health care. Before coming to Asheville in 2021, Jones was city government and business reporter at The Daily Times in Maryville, Tenn., where he won 12 Tennessee Press Association awards in two years.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Andrew to the staff,” Watchdog publisher and co-founder Bob Gremillion said, “and deeply grateful to the generous donors in our community whose contributions made his hiring possible. The more reporters we can support, the deeper the Watchdog can dig into stories and issues of critical importance to the future of our region.”
Gremillion said he felt “tremendous pride, gratitude and humility” that the citizens of Asheville, Buncombe County, and surrounding communities have made a commitment to support strong, independent, local journalism, “enabling us to hire John Boyle and, now, Andrew Jones.” Long-time Citizen Times reporter and columnist John Boyle joined The Watchdog in November 2022.
Jones graduated cum laude from Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind., and taught high-school English for seven years in Valparaiso, Ind., before switching to journalism.
“I’m especially proud of my 2021 first-place public service award from the Tennessee Press Association for reporting on people losing their housing during COVID-19, and my first-place awards for business coverage in 2020 and 2022 focused on how Amazon warehouses and Smith & Wesson were changing the economic landscape of a Smoky Mountain foothills county in Tennessee,” Jones said.
Asked how investigative reporting differs from regular daily reporting, Jones said, “Though I think all journalism should aim to, investigative work helps create a more transparent, more effective democracy and society by revealing, explaining, and analyzing things that those in power would rather be left alone.”
He said spending part of his childhood in central Europe — his parents were missionaries there — helped shape his reporting. “Living in another country always broadens your horizons,” he said, “and my time as a kid in post-war Bosnia was no exception. That experience, even if subconscious, is always a tool I bring to understanding and reporting on culture, government, religion, and conflict.”
Jones encouraged Watchdog readers to contact him with story ideas and tips. “Any and all of them,” he said. “Contact me at 828-674-9702. Leave a message if I don’t pick up and send a text. I’ll also be at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also on Facebook and Twitter and use Signal’s secure-encryption app.”
“We hope to continue expanding our paid staff in 2023, as finances permit,” Gremillion, a former Tribune Publishing Company executive, said. The Watchdog is still run by volunteer retired journalists, including several Pulitzer Prize winners, and media executives who donate their time as a public service to support and strengthen local journalism.
“The Watchdog’s investigations-oriented mission and the high-caliber talent underpinning every story were the main attractions” in his decision to join the nonprofit, Jones said. “It naturally follows that this outlet has immense power to serve our Asheville neighbors and hold accountable those in power. It’s also a part of a new wave of nonprofit work those of us new to the reporting world believe is the future of journalism.”
Asheville Watchdog is a community-supported, 501c3 nonprofit news corporation registered in North Carolina.
Terrific news! And apparently a “Hoosier” too.
Andrew was amazing writing in the citizens time. Now I am excited to read his column in the watchdog. Welcome.
Fantastic! Andrew has been doing good work in WNC, and I’m looking forward to seeing him bring his talents to this new role!
This is great news!!
Hopefully he will continue his investigations into HCA Mission Hospital and now his reports won’t be hidden behind paywalls. AVL Watchdog has done excellent reporting on HCA but the surface has been barely scratched. There is so much more to uncover especially in terms of patient harm.
I guess AC-T wouldn’t allow in depth investigative reporting. It’s obvious. Great addition to the kennel !
Welcome to the majors .
Looking forward to what you and the rest of the true professional journalists at AVLWatchdog dig up.
What about all of the “dirty” insurance lawyers.
What about all the dirty judges cuddled up to the dirty insurance lawyers?
would the last person out the door at ACT please turn off the lights.
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