A Message from the Publisher…
Louisiana is one of the best places in the world to live. That’s why, as a businessman and lifelong resident, I share the frustration over our state’s lack of progress and missed opportunities. Yet I also join many others in recognizing we have all the assets to move Louisiana forward – the resources, the talent and, perhaps most importantly, the willingness. I believe that changing Louisiana’s political culture is a critical part of progress. That’s why I funded THE POLITICAL DESK – to provide easy access to information that should be part of the discussion on public policy at the state and local levels. Transparency exposes waste and backroom dealing, but it also holds public servants accountable and ultimately encourages more participation in the political process.
About The Political Desk…
We present THE POLITICAL DESK with an open mind and a simple mission. We want to shed new light on corruption, expose wasteful spending and, most importantly, explain in simple terms the politics behind the political process — all from a non-partisan perspective that doesn’t pull punches.
The Political Desk wants to fill a void that’s building between mainstream media outlets and the evolving blogosphere. We’re not a good government group and we’re not WikiLeaks. Quite frankly, what The Political Desk eventually becomes will hinge on the coming months and reader participation. We’re interested in public records, follow-up questions and data presentations that are relevant and enlightening. No corner of state government or Louisiana politics will be too obscure.
Jeremy Alford, a freelance writer based in Baton Rouge, is managing The Political Desk’s copy and writing long-form stories for the site. Jeremy’s work has been published by The New York Times, Associated Press, Salon.com, Dallas Morning News and Campaigns & Elections magazine. He most recently wrapped up a series on the aftermath of the BP oil spill, which he produced with a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Other writers are paid a per story rate for their contributions and are encouraged to develop projects independently. While the publisher of this site remains intimately involved in Louisiana politics — he’s a major donor and a backer of various policy campaigns — he is allowing The Political Desk to develop its own voice alongside readers.
The earliest version of this news gathering model can be found at THE JEFFERSON REPORT. By piggybacking on an ongoing federal investigation into political corruption, this little experiment had an immediate impact. The site provided citizens with a place where the money behind the politics were not only revealed, but also explained in a tangible way. This early model, which hosted some crowdsourcing investigations, almost immediately picked up a media partner in WWL-TV, one of the largest broadcasters in the South. For its part, THE JEFFERSON REPORT helped co-produce a series of investigative stories for air. We also sponsored a “state of the parish” poll to gauge citizen priorities, which in turn earned coverage from THE TIMES-PICAYUNE.