Can two past journalism enemies join together in common cause?
The answer is yes based on the relatively new union between Will Swaim, OC Weekly's founding editor, and Steven Greenhut, the longtime lead editorial writer and columnist for crosstown rival Orange County Register.
Greenhut is nowadays vice president of journalism at the Virginia-based Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity and Swaim is now the managing editor of the organization's nationwide news operations.
Greenhut, the nemesis of public employee labor unions, works from Sacramento; Swaim works from Irvine.
The Franklin Center–which was established in 2009 and is run by former North Dakota Republican Party executive director and Rudy Giuliani presidential campaign operative Jason Stverak–aims
to provide “fresh, original, hard-hitting news content” that focuses on
investigations of local, state and federal government.
Swaim tells me that the organization's goal is simple.
“Greenhut gave me a simple mandate: use the Center's 100 or so investigative reporters to expose waste, fraud and abuse of power in state governments across the country,” he said. “Don't worry about party. Just get the bad guys.”
Swaim said the job reminds him of his Weekly days.
“Steven hired me to do what I do best: manage investigative reporters, and he did that based in large part on the work we did at OC Weekly,” said Swaim. “Many newspapers are casting off investigative reporters–they're contracting–leaving the public without an aggressive media. It's good to be part of an organization that's expanding and hiring rather than contracting. As the dailies' newsrooms shrink, we're picking up some very good investigative reporters.”
Despite the Greenhut-Swaim union, please don't ever expect me to join Gordon Dillow in any endeavor.