Chris Graham: Somebody has to do it

I don’t want to comment on the specifics of the ongoing investigation of the hiring of a full-time executive director for the Valley Community Services Board. Having served on several boards in the past, I’m sure that there are some details regarding the hiring that we’ve not been made privy to and may not be.

What I want to do here is comment on the investigation itself. The reports of the death of community journalism have not exactly been exaggerated. Staff cuts and hiring freezes and the like have been hurtful to local papers across the country, including here in the Greater Augusta market. Even here at the AFP, which didn’t exactly have much room to cut, we’ve had to refocus our priorities in order to survive, and that’s meant a painful reduction in in-depth investigative journalism, which takes time and thus gobs of money to support.

To cite an example from our recent past: We spent upwards of nine months looking into the hiring of the new Waynesboro voter registrar in an investigation that concluded that the hiring was done in violation of the spirit if not the letter of the law. That no action was taken as a result – the local Commonwealth’s attorney’s office declined to pursue the matter further being key among the lack of action from the officialdom – is beyond the point.

Good journalism isn’t done to have heads roll or win awards. It’s done for its own sake, mainly because it has to be done.

Here’s to hoping that local newspapers continue asking the hard questions and demanding answers. Somebody has to be willing to tell the emperors when they’re naked.

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Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.


Augusta Free Press content is available for free, as it has been since 2002, save for a disastrous one-month experiment at putting some content behind a pay wall back in 2009. (We won’t ever try that again. Almost killed us!) That said, it’s free to read, but it still costs us money to produce. The site is updated several times a day, every day, 365 days a year, 366 days on the leap year. (Stuff still happens on Christmas Day, is what we’re saying there.) AFP does well in drawing advertisers, but who couldn’t use an additional source of revenue? From time to time, readers ask us how they can support us, and we usually say, keep reading. Now we’re saying, you can drop us a few bucks, if you’re so inclined.


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