Why USA TODAY Network Tennessee hired a First Amendment beat reporter | From the editor


In a column to readers, Michael A. Anastasi, editor and vice president of the USA TODAY Network Tennessee, which includes The Tennessean, The Knoxville News Sentinel and The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal, explained why a full-time reporter has been hired to cover First Amendment issues. Read excerpts from his column:

Funded by the non-partisan Freedom Forum through Journalism Funding Partners, our reporter will be one of the first in the nation to be so dedicated, allowing us to consistently focus more attention and develop sophisticated storytelling around these critical freedoms.

What’s noteworthy is our approach. Some news organizations might cover the First Amendment as related to a press issue with a journalist whose beat is the media, or a question over religious freedom with a legal or religion reporter.

By bringing the topic under a single journalist, we’ll develop the deep sourcing, expertise and focus needed to explore these complex issues and keep them at the forefront of community discussion.

Angele Latham is The Tennessean's new First Amendment reporter. She most recently worked at The Jackson Sun as the government and business reporter.

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