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29 December 2013

Year in Review: Stories Georgia Unfiltered Broke First that the Mainstream Media Picked Up Later

With the end of 2013 upon us, it is time to look back at what's appeared on Georgia Unfiltered over the past twelve months, and examine how those stories impacted mainstream media (MSM) coverage across the state.

This year, a total of 324 posts appeared on GeorgiaUnfiltered.com, bringing our total to 5,229 since the site's launch in 2005. Several of those 324 stories appearing first on Georgia Unfiltered crossed over into the MSM, starting with our coverage of state Representative Earnest Smith (D - Augusta) and his bill to criminalize the use of Photoshop.

With one altered image (pictured right), Georgia Unfiltered brought attention to Rep. Smith's Photoshop bill, creating a spectacle that resulted in reports from Fox News, New York Magazine, and the London (UK) Daily Mail.

Ultimately, Rep. Smith's hometown paper, the Augusta Chronicle, weighed in, saying Smith didn't get the picture. Smith's Photoshop bill didn't pass the legislature. The legislation didn't even make it out of committee.

Then there was the saga of former Georgia Democratic Party chairman Mike Berlon.

Georgia Unfiltered was the first media outlet to report on Berlon's legal troubles, when we revealed on 20 May 2013 that Berlon had his law license suspended and received a reprimand from the State Supreme Court.

Three days later, the Atlanta Journal Constitution picked up the story, prompting calls for Berlon's resignation from top Democrat leaders. Mike Berlon eventually announced his resignation, nine days after the initial story detailing his legal problems appeared on Georgia Unfiltered.

2013 seems to be ending in disappointment for organizers of the proposed Airport West Community Improvement District (CID), but they still credit Georgia Unfiltered with raising public awareness on Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand's failure to certify their efforts.

Georgia Unfiltered was the first to raise questions about the Airport West CID falling short of being formed this year. That led to a spate of coverage from Atlanta television stations WSB (channel 2), WXIA (channel 11), and WGCL (channel 46).

We covered the first ever TomorrowWorld music festival in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia. We got state legislators on record discussing what it would take to extend MARTA south into Clayton County. And we broke the news about the renewed efforts to create a city in unincorporated south Fulton County, reigniting the debate over what kind of governance would be best for that metro Atlanta community.

This is but a sample of the compelling content Georgia Unfiltered brought to its readers all year long, and we look forward to continuing that in 2014.

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