How Two Veteran Journalists in Opposing Media Encouraged a Sense of Community in a Georgia Town

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Journalism History




In the latter half of the twentieth century, a print and a broadcast journalist collectively reported on the people and events in Savannah, Georgia, for more than 100 years. As exceptional as their record of longevity, however, was the way in which they went about their jobs. Newspaperman Tom Coffey and TV anchor Doug Weathers practiced "community journalism," not only reporting upon their audiences but forming a mutually beneficial relationship with them. It is an approach whose beginnings date to the earliest days of American journalism but whose practice is becoming increasingly rare today. This article explores how these two men defined their daily work in a distinctive manner and the impact their efforts had on the community as they worked with the people of Savannah rather than trying significantly to alter things.