Morning Links: 18 August 2008

LP to the UK, local auto action sold, and more...
Aug 17, 2008 9:03 PM

Urban League names new CEO

Nonprofit picks former Meharry manager
Aug 15, 2008 3:02 PM

Planning commission passes on May decision

Deferral leads to different interpretations from backers, opponents
Aug 14, 2008 7:58 PM

Crafton turns in signatures for English Only

Plastic storage bins accompanied by bundle of hate mail
Aug 14, 2008 1:16 PM

Giarratana reaches out to Dean on Bells Bend

Sends letter to mayor saying bridge will be privately funded
Aug 14, 2008 12:30 PM

Permit Patrol: 14 August 2008

Holiday Inn set for Opryland area, medical makeover near Centennial, overhaul for East Precinct, and more...
Aug 13, 2008 9:25 PM

Nashville shortlisted in women's Final Four bid

Up against Dallas, Denver, Indy and four other cities
Aug 13, 2008 3:43 PM

Crafton proposes interpreter fee for non-English speakers

Bill would require all Metro bodies to charge for translations
Aug 13, 2008 3:34 PM

Crafton to deliver English Only signatures Thursday

Initiative tops threshold for November ballot
Aug 13, 2008 11:13 AM

Messing With Texas: Seibert Leaves Think Tank For Internet Startup

Journalist turned think-tanker, Trent "Sweet Tea" Seibert, is turning journalist yet again. The former Tennessean reporter and WKRN investigative journalist who teamed up more than a year ago with the libertarian Tennessee Center For Policy Research to serve as their Director of Government Accountability has departed that organization and the Music City for the home of the Astrodome. Seibert, with the help of some as yet unnamed benefactors, has started Texas Watchdog described on its new website as "a news Web site and training center that scrutinizes the actions of government agencies, bureaucracies and politicians in Texas." While he was loathe to leave Nashville, Seibert felt the opportunity to strike out on his own was too good to pass up. "Leaving Nashville will be the toughest part. I love this town. It’s a heckuva town. I’ll miss working with Drew [Johnson] and with TCPR. There was a free-wheeling spirit there. We were fighting for a lot of good things: better open records, a more transparent government, more government accountability to residents – the kinds of things I fought for as a journalist," Seibert tells Post Politics. "But I want to get back into journalism, and this is a phenomenal opportunity to do exactly that, as well as work with two journalists that I greatly respect." Indeed, Seibert is not alone in this venture and the names of his associates and fellow board members will not be unfamiliar to Tennessee media watchers. Lee Ann O'Neal, formerly of the Tennessean as well as the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times, is on the team as City Editor. Also on board is currrent Tennessean Government Editor Jennifer Peebles. The 14 year Tennessean veteran and Vandy grad, however, cannot be chalked up as just the latest statistic in the mass exodus from 1100 Broadway. Peebles has no intention of leaving her day job. The powers that be at the Tennessean are fully apprised of her involvement in the new organization and bestowed their blessing on her activities. Peebles role with Watchdog will be chiefly an advisory one as her former Tennessean colleagues do most of the grunt work on the ground in Texas. "I am very excited to be part of Texas Watchdog, even though Trent and Lee Ann are really doing all the work," Peebles explains, "I think two full-time employees is about all our little startup nonprofit is going to handle. I have the greatest respect for Trent and Lee Ann -- God bless 'em, they have taken a leap of faith and are truly putting their whole lives into making this work. Leaving your job (and your health insurance) to move to another state is a big leap. They've really put their whole lives into it." As its website indicates, the new organization is not only seeking to fill a void in investigative journalism Seibert has seen develop as traditional news organizations cut staff and resources, Texas Watchdog has an evangelical mission as well. "Our organizational model is a newsroom – that teaches. We’re bringing in bloggers, citizen journalists, journalists from small papers – frankly, anyone that wants to walk through the door. We train them and they produce for our website where we will break news. They leave with the skills of a journalist so they can dig up original content for their own blogs/jobs/desire to fight city hall," explains Seibert. So why Texas? Trent breaks it down. "Texas is a place that people nationally look to see what works and then they duplicate it in their states. (California would have been another logical choice, in that regard.) And Houston is chock full of entrepreneurs. We’re hoping to tap into that community for ideas/cash/support, etc." Seibert tells Post Politics. "If it works in Texas, it can work anywhere in the US. And with journalism going the way it is, I think we need more organizations like this in every city in America." Texas Watchdog is an independent, nonpartisan corporation currently seeking nonprofit 501(c)3 status. Apply to work with Trent here. SEE ALSO: Trent on YouTube
Aug 12, 2008 8:01 AM