SunLight awarded for outstanding outreach, journalism – Valdosta Daily Times
VALDOSTA — The Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association awarded the SunLight Project for Outstanding Public Outreach and Journalism Thursday at the GPA Fall Conference in Columbus, Ga.
The award recognizes the Sunlight Project’s work toward informing and educating the public across a large span of issues in communities across Georgia and North Florida. The SunLight Project is a collaborative journalism project spearheaded by the Valdosta Daily Times in cooperation with its sister newspapers in Georgia and Florida.
Cory Hull, chapter president, said the SunLight Project furthers the public discussion on issues relating to public transit, homelessness, government affairs and more.
“As planners, we have to educate the public on these types of issues. The SunLight Team really does that job for us,” Hull said. “It makes a difference coming from a private entity like the paper. Coming from a third party and not the government makes people care.”
Hull highlighted the SunLight reporting on public transit, where the community showed a stronger understanding of the issue and was able to hold a deeper conversation because of the story.
“It’s a struggle to get the community interested in topics like this,” Hull said. “But after that article, we had people come to our events and say ‘The Valdosta Daily Times wrote about this,’ and they were much more informed in general.”
The information provided is not limited to Valdosta, he said. The SunLight Project covers Valdosta, Dalton, Thomasville, Milledgeville, Tifton and Moultrie, Ga., and Live Oak, Jasper and Mayo, Fla., to get as broad a perspective on one issue each week as possible.
The SunLight Project will continue to investigate and shine a light on issues that impact communities across Georgia and North Florida, Valdosta Daily Times editor Jim Zachary said.
Thomas Lynn is a government and education reporter for The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256