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Uncovered SLO

Not much investigative reporting takes place in our local media, including here at KVEC. Let’s face it — staffs are small, budgets are tight, and no one really has the luxury of doing hard-hitting reporting week in, week out. The Tribune does what it can. New Times gave up months ago and has settled for competing with HopeDance to be your user-friendly publication.

The two top investigative reporters locally from the last five years unquestionably are Dan Blackburn and Karen Velie, both of whom had repeated bylines in New Times, breaking big stories involving local businesses and government officials. Both left New Times separately, not satisfied with the direction the weekly publication was heading in and have not been heard from lately.

Until now.

Karen and Dan have joined forced to create uncoveredslo.com, the first local publication to go totally online and be devoted to investigative reporting and commentary. The web site design is done and stories will be posted starting next week. Dan and Karen promise to pull no punches and Karen is already poking around Atascadero City Hall.

The new co-editors of UncoveredSLO will join me Monday at 5:05 to officially unveil their web site. Bookmark it. Check it out. It’s good to have Dan and Karen back on the beat, working for us.

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  1. Anonymous
    January 9, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Dave — Great to read and hear about your kind comments. Karen and I are very excited and charged with the responsibility of living up to our own expectations on UncoveredSLO.com

    Rock’n’roll time.

    Dan

  2. Anonymous
    January 9, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    It’s already bookmarked in my favorites in anticipation.

  3. Anonymous
    January 10, 2008 at 12:41 am

    So now we have 2 unemployed reporters running around trying dig up the latest dirt on what’s going on in a tiny little county?

    Just what we need!

    If the Trib & New Times see no atvantage in covering it should it be covered at all?

    The “haves” will hate it…The “have nots” don’t care, so it will be dominated by all the envirokooks and no growthers since they think they lost the “paper”.

    So typical, and a huge waste of time. No “scoop” has ever changed anything in SLO couthy or city.

  4. Dave Congalton
    January 10, 2008 at 5:05 am

    Not true. Velie busted open the dirt in Atascadero City Hall that led to the exposure of the Wal Mart controversy in Atascadero, which led to the election of Brennler and Beraud.

    And Blackburn nailed that Freitas kid for hitting and killing that Grover Beach girl. He did a year in jail specifically from Blackburn’s reporting.

    Sorry, but you’re wrong.

  5. Anonymous
    January 10, 2008 at 5:56 am

    No disrespect…but do you think they can do something about your web page? There’s quite a bit to be cleaned up….& Ralphie the one eyed cat who had to be cleaned up on your show….well…he’s NOT the first thing I like to see when looking at your “Home Page”. Haven’t you had a few other “Pets of the Week” since “Ralphie” ?? Why are their photos not on the web page? I’m sure that this photo of Ralphie does NOT do him justice anyway! Sorry…but Ralphie’s bad photo HAS to go!!

  6. SLOCOUNTYemployee
    January 10, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    I welcome it and hope they have the guts to take on the true powers and their puppets.

    Why do we need this? See today’s total non-story cover article in the New Times. There was no there there.
    Who cares that the Supervisors give money to non-profits from their community fund? There’s a heckuva lot more to find in that County Gov bldg, and some hungry reporters can find it.

  7. Jimmy O'Neill
    January 11, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Dave,

    It will be a giant step forward to get some independent reporters poking around the county.

    Wishing them the best of success in their endeavor.

    Jimmy

  8. Anonymous
    January 11, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Dave Congalton has made his dislike of New Times clear, but it’s wrong to say that the paper has changed direction or philosophy. New Times is doing what it’s always done: covering stories that go uncovered in the mainstream media, and, yes, doing hard-hitting investigative and enterprise reporting.

    In recent months, New Times broke the news that there was a restraining order issued against SLO City Council member Paul Brown in light of allegations of domestic abuse, broke a story showing SLO County Supervisor Jerry Lenthall was taking a homeowner’s tax exemption for a home not in his district, broke the news that county leaders asked Sheriff Hedges to step down while investigations into his office are underway, broke the story that David Weyrich’s Villa Toscana departed a local wedding group in the wake of same-sex marriage ceremony debates, and broke the news that if the Copelands can get their Chinatown project permitted in time, they’ll get to buy city land and public parking spaces for what the land was appraised for in the year 2000. That’s just for starters.

    Beyond those investigations, we’ve flexed some enterprise reporting muscles to examine SLO County’s high suicide rate and potential factors behind it, concerns about the solar plant proposed for Carizzo Plain, backpedaling by county code enforcers after a recent raid, and the recent proliferation of what some consider to be the use of unnecessary force on the part of local police and sheriff’s deputies.

    We follow tips. We request public documents, scour budgets, and pore over charts. In short, we investigate, and we applaud anyone joining New Times in enterprising, relevant, thoughtful, and investigative coverage of San Luis Obispo County.

    Ryan Miller, New Times editor

  9. Dave Congalton
    January 11, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Ryan,

    Nice try, sir.

    I don’t “dislike” New Times. I’m disappointed. There’s a difference.

    Why don’t you try explaining your Cover Story this week or any recent Cover Story. That speaks volumes as to what you’re really doing.

    Meanwhile, check out Karen Velie’s great story about Atascadero at uncoveredslo.com.

    We both know that you would NEVER have printed that. Never.

    The truth will come out Monday at 5:05. Tune in.

  10. Anonymous
    January 11, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    It seems rare to see a headline that actually grabs my attention these days. Stories just don’t seem shocking or even surprising lately. Some police are being thought to be over aggressive. Someone in the public eye is being looked at for domestic abuse and another someone is said to be cheating taxes.

    *Yawn*

    If “Uncovered SLO” can shock and surprise me then you can definitely count me as a reader/site visitor/supporter.

    Good luck, I look forward it.

  11. Anonymous
    January 11, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    To quote Hillary,”that hurts my feelings!”

    Worked for her in N.H. anyway.

    Cheers all,

    Patrick Howe (author of this week’s New Times cover.)

  12. Anonymous
    January 12, 2008 at 4:40 am

    Dave got taken to the wood shed by a real journalist and he shrugs it off…the arrogance of the radical left has no limit.

    Apologize Dave. You will lose this one.

  13. Dave Congalton
    January 12, 2008 at 6:01 am

    Anonymous —

    You’re too funny. If I’m the “radical left,” what does that make New Times? And Ryan is a “real journalist?”

    Oh. OK. Thanks for the laugh. A good way to end the week.

  14. Anonymous
    January 12, 2008 at 10:12 am

    The Tribune’s idea of investigative reporting is to demand to know how much Midstate Fair paid Aerosmith. LOL!

    Who cares!?!?!

  15. moquiti
    January 12, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    The Tribune has taken the initiative to post supporting documents online, they have their own blogs, a Q & A by the editor, and you can post comments about reportage or the story itself, at the story location. These are all positive steps. My only real beef (and not a small one) is that you have to pay per search for older archived material, that a print subscription doesn’t give any online privileges, and that there is no online subscription rate for term access, only per-item searching. Rather stupid setup, for anyone doing research.

    What online presence does New Times have?
    An archive of letters & stories. Nothing interactive. This is Web v1.0 –and to think that NT beat the Tribune with a web presence. Now it’s value is questionable.

    I hope that UncoveredSLO is able to expand their coverage and to provide resources & sources for the reader to enhance their reportage.

  16. Anonymous
    January 13, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I for one welcome UncoveredSLO. The local television news is so amateurish it’s unwatchable, the Trib is 90+% wire stories, New Times is a shadow of its former self and we all know what radio news is like (one guy reading the paper to us with no reporting staff. At least he interviews local politicians).

    I’d like to see some serious followup on the brief story in the Trib last week about the Atascadero PD officer that was fired after it was learned that his previous department, Grover Beach, lied about items in his personnel file.

    The judge commented that the actions of the police chief and employees of the City of Grover Beach “took the easy way out, while violating the important public policy of full disclosure and putting the public at risk.”

    There needs to be more attention given to this VERY serious issue.

    When policemen break the law, then there isn’t any law, just a fight for survival!

  17. Anonymous
    January 15, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    I have been to the website. One thing I found out is that “UncoveredSLO” does not censor their blog comments!

    That is something I cen get behind!

    There is no real jornalism where censorship rules supreme.

    Good luck UcoveredSLO!

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