Hello Asheville!

Welcome to 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 will 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 will be 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 will 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: 

Sally Kestin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter.

Tom Fiedler, former executive editor of the Miami Herald and dean emeritus at Boston University’s College of Communication.

In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be back with more details about us and how we can serve you. 

Here’s looking to the beginning of a great relationship. 

15 thoughts on “Hello Asheville!

  1. I am a former attorney with 42 years of experience, adjunct professor, faculty at UNCA Senior Learning Center, talk radio show host, community theater actor and singer. I am interested in contributing content your your news service.

  2. In the past few years Asheville has allowed what I considered over construction of apartments saying there was a housing shortage for county residence. However, the real reason was to house new residents who would come for tourist industry jobs. My concern then was what would happen to that real estate in a significant downturn in the economy. I would like to see some reporting on this issue.
    Regards, Vic Umansky

  3. Thanks for an excellent overview. My wife and I moved here over one year ago from the Chicago suburbs and love our experiences. As an undergraduate journalism major from the U of Wisconsin, who then became a forensic and clinical psychologist and university professor, I appreciate your efforts in providing your expertise to the community. Thanks again.

  4. Wonderful to see a focus on local affairs from an accomplished journalistic team. I ran a national life science/molecular biology supply company before selling it last year and have spent 30 years in Biotech/Academic/Govt Research labs. If you need assistance or background on scientific issues, I would be happy to help.

  5. A grassroots group promoting the idea: What If We Give It Away? The stimulus money from the government was to help people hurt economically by the pandemic. Those whose lives are “whole” have opportunity to ‘give it away’ to an individual/family, to a small business, or to a charity that is struggling. We don’t collect any money — just stories of how folks have helped others…. Visit WhatIfWeGiveItAway.us. Follow @WhatIfWeGiveItAway on Facebook and Instagram. Then, help spread our message or share your story using #WhatIfWeGiveItAway. You can also email your story or video directly to WhatIfWeGiveItAway@gmail.com. If your income is at risk, by all means, keep the check. Thank you!

  6. As a former hospital administrator and healthcare professional, I have a particular interest in the local healthcare environment and have followed the for profit take over Mission Health. As anticipated the results are not encouraging thus far, and we need to access the impact of for profit management during this pandemic. HCA should be held accountable to the promises they made during the merger discussions and without factual, unbiased reporting, our community can easily lose sight of the not so subtle changes in the role the hospital takes in managing this crisis and the community implications for the future. Glad to see your emergence as a local resource and I look forward to more of your reporting.

  7. As a Retired Federal Officer with over 35 years of Law Enforcement experience, I would love to see and hear actual news and not just news blogers who give us their personal beliefs and made up stories to try to make us believe the way they do. I am sick of the fake news that comes from the far left and far right and only want to hear and read the facts and not made up stories for sensationalism to push an agenda one way or another. America is in crisis not only from this virus and what it has done to small companies as well as large ones and I fear that so many people will have to start over again as most people live pay check to pay check and have never considered paying off their debts and establishing an emergency fund of six months living expenses for crisis such as this. We need positive news and talking about things like Financial Peace training like Dave Ramsey teaches that is based on Christian beliefs. I work in my church as a volunteer to help feed the homeless and less fortunate and I see the good in people as well as those that abuse the system but will still help even those that I know are abusing the system as it is the Christian thing to do.

    We all need to pray to God and believe in each other and do the right things in life and be honest with our reporting of only provable facts so our nation can heal.

  8. Is there any other developing industry or business that produce jobs coming or are already in Asheville
    So much emphasis has been placed on tourism I am concerned how and for how long will this city be focused on tourism
    Please let me know what else is this city pursuing to keep Asheville a stabile community for employment that affects housing etc etc

    Maddy mayor

  9. I very much enjoyed your first story on Asheville’s long road to recovery. Thank you for bringing your skills together to benefit this incredible place, I look forward to reading more!

  10. Loved your first article and am looking forward to many more. Good luck on this vital endeavor. Has there been any investigation into the tremendous difference in the number of Covid 19 cases in Buncombe and Henderson Counties? Thank you. Charles Cushman

  11. This is very exciting, local stuff for Asheville. I’m a “retired” newsroom veteran with over 35 years of experience (The Oregonian, AJC, Orange Co. Register) in graphics and design. I currently work with INN on critical reports. I’d love to help! Check out my web page: ChelanCreative.com or contact me at wisedesign@comcast.net Good luck!

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