About the Project

The Transparency Project of Georgia, in partnership with the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, provides information for citizens, educates public officials and assists the media in the interest of creating greater openness in local government while holding elected representatives accountable. The project began with the work of journalists advocating for openness in local government. Much of the original work on the project was done by Kelsey Cochran, Johnny Jackson, Kathy Jefcoats, Heather Middleton, Rachel Shirey and Curt Yeomans under the direction of their editor Jim Zachary, who is also the creator and director of the Tennessee Transparency Project. Much of the work was originally published as a special edition of the Henry Daily Herald and the Clayton News Daily, owned by Southern Community Newspapers, Inc.

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Jim Zachary, director of the Transparency Project of Georgia, is Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. Regional Editor for Georgia and Florida newspapers, Editor of the Valdosta Daily Times, Chairman and President of the Red & Black Publishing Company, Inc., serving the University of Georgia, a member of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation Board of Directors and the Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communication Board of Trust. Zachary was also the creator and director of the Tennessee Transparency Project  and has been a featured speaker focusing on government watchdog reporting and transparency issues with the Georgia Press Association, the Georgia College Press Association, the Tennessee Press Association and the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, as well as community groups and newsrooms.

Zachary is a newspaper veteran who has championed open records and open meetings causes throughout his career. Largely due to his work as a public watchdog, Zachary has been recognized by his peers with accomplishments that include:

• Holder of the David E. Hudson Open Government Award 

• 2017 Associated Press Media Editors Freedom of Information Award

• 2017 Associated Press Media Editors Editorial Writing Award (1st, 3rd)

• 2017 Georgia Press Association Freedom of Information Award

• 2017 Georgia Press Association Community Service Award

• 2016 Associated Press Media Editors Freedom of Information Award

• 2016 Georgia Press Association Freedom of Information Award

• 2016 Georgia Press Association Community Service Award

• 2016 Georgia Press Association Best Editorial Page

• 2015 Associated Press Media Editors Freedom of Information Award

• 2015 Associated Press Media Editors Editorial Writing Award (1st, 2nd, 3rd)

• 2015 Georgia Press Association Community Service Award

• 2015 Georgia Press Association Best Editorial Page

• 2014 Georgia Press Association Freedom of Information Award

• 2013 Georgia Press Association Freedom of Information Award

• 2012 U.T. Edward J. Meeman Foundation Award Best Editorial

• 2012 Tennessee Press Association General Excellence

• 2011 U.T. Edward J. Meeman Foundation Award Editorials

• 2011 U.T. Edward J. Meeman Foundation Award Single Editorial.

• 2011 Tennessee Press Association Best Education Reporting

• 2010 U.T. Edward J. Meeman Foundation Award Public Service.

• 2010 U.T. Edward J. Meeman Foundation Award Editorials.

• 2009 U.T. Edward J. Meeman Foundation Award Editorials.

• 2008 U.T. Edward J. Meeman Foundation Award Editorials

• 2008 – 2010 Tennessee Press Association multiple award winner

• 2005 U.T. Edward J. Meeman Award Editorial Writing

• 2004 Tennessee Press Association General Excellence

• 2004 National Newspaper Association (NNA) Second Place Editorial Writing

• 2001 – 2004 TPA, First Place Best Special Edition (four consecutive years)

Zachary is available for public speaking engagements and newsroom coaching and can be contacted at: zacharyjim@gmail.com

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James Zachary, information technology manager, blends his IT, media-savvy skill sets with a passion for open government advocacy.  He can be contacted at jzachar1@gmail.com

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