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WGCU & FGCU Journalism program partnership “Democracy Watch” concludes first year

John Davis, WGCU
(from left) FGCU Journalism Prof. Michael Walcher, WGCU News Intern and future Democracy Watch Fellow Katie Fogarty, and Democracy Watch Fellowship inaugural class reporters Katiuska Carrillo, Samantha Roesler, and Sabrina Salovitz

As Florida Gulf Coast University’s academic year comes to a close, we reflect back on the first year of the university Journalism program’s “Democracy Watch” initiative. It’s a collaboration between FGCU’s Journalism BA program and the WGCU-FM news team designed to give exceptional upper-level students real-world experience reporting in the field while also enhancing and expanding WGCU’s coverage of important local government actions that often go overlooked and unreported.

Democracy Watch was conceived of by the founder of FGCU’s Journalism program, professor, author and journalist Lyn Millner. Students in the program have been under the direction of journalism instructor and veteran reporter Michael Walcher. From the class, three top-performing students were selected as the inaugural class of Democracy Watch fellows. Over the course of just a few months, these budding reporters covered stories about essential workforce shortages, affordable housing, development, redistricting, public transportation, renewable energy, disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on minority communities, LGBTQ issues, law enforcement, and so much more.

We reflect back on this first-year program with Professor Walcher and Democracy Watch Fellows Katiuska Carrillo, Samantha Roesler, and Sabrina Salovitz. We’ll also hear from WGCU News intern Katie Fogarty, who will join the second class of Democracy Watch fellows this fall.