Jason Stverak

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Jason Stverak
Jason Stverak Photo.jpg
Born Jason Wesley Stverak
Rapid City, South Dakota
Occupation President Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
Genres News, Non-profit journalism, Education
Subjects Politics, Investigative Reporting, Journalism, Government


Jason Wesley Stverak is a native of Rapid City, South Dakota and president[1] of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a position he has held since January 2009. Before joining the Franklin Center, Stverak served as Regional Field Director for the Sam Adams Alliance as well as Executive Director of the North Dakota Republican Party.

Nonprofit journalism[edit]

Stverak has written on the subject of non-profit journalism.[2][3][4] He contends[5] that investigative journalism is "the most effective weapon of the press" and that nonprofit online ventures "give journalists the opportunity to investigate stories and reemerge as the legendary beat reporters from yesteryear."

His editorials often describe how traditional media outlets are no longer able to properly cover state and local government as well as perform in-depth investigative reporting. Stverak believes this is due to "economic realities"[6][7] that have engulfed the industry. Stverak believes that nonprofit journalism through the use of new technology is "filling the void"[8] created by newsrooms that can no longer sufficiently staff reporters to cover state and local government.

Stverak is a strong proponent of traditional news groups working with nonprofit news organization to serve the public interest. Stverak's employer, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, offers training[9] to news organizations interested in utilizing new media. Stverak has invited media outlets to "steal our stuff,"[10] welcoming journalists to use Franklin Center reporters' stories and sourcing for their own publications.

Journalism and government[edit]

Stverak advocates the separation of government and journalism.[11][12] In June 2010, Stverak opposed[13] attempts by Michigan State Senator Bruce Patterson to introduce legislation to license reporters. Patterson told Fox News[14] that some reporters covering state politics don’t know what they’re talking about. He also complained that some journalists covering state politics worked for publications he had never heard of. Stverak wrote in a Washington Examiner opinion editorial, "this legislation not only attempts to control the media but it is stepping on the constitutional protections afforded to the press."[15]

In March, 2011, Stverak applauded the decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to eliminate funding for National Public Radio.[16]

The government has no place in the journalism industry and that includes funding news organizations. Currently, there are hundreds of non-profit organizations practicing journalism that thrive without taxpayer funding. The mere existence of these organizations demonstrates that NPR can survive without government influence. In addition, rapid developments in technology have allowed television and broadcast stations to emerge all over the nation, taking the place of the original purpose of NPR. Additional government support of the media is not warranted and could have negative impacts on journalism as a whole.

Opinions and new media[edit]

During his tenure at the Franklin Center, Stverak has become a regular opinion-editorial writer to his publication’s opinion pages[17] as well as an op-ed contributor to publications such as the Washington Examiner,[18] Online Journalism Review,[19] Washington Times, Daily Caller[20] and Breitbart.com.[21] Stverak has also made guest appearances on nationally syndicated[22] and local talk radio programs,[23][24] as well as cable news outlets.[25]

In 2012, the Franklin Center website began featuring a blog column that offers commentary on a wide variety of subjects. Stverak contributes[26] to this section on a regular basis, addressing current events, personal experiences,[27] popular culture[28] and the need for civility in media and politics.[29][30]

Citizen journalism[edit]

Stverak is an advocate[31][32] for citizen journalists. His commentaries often include his opinions on the ongoing legal and legislative battles regarding the first amendment rights of bloggers and non-traditional media reporters. His positions support everyday citizens having the same rights or being protected by the same media shield laws as reporters who receive a paycheck.

Political involvement[edit]

After graduating college in 1996, Stverak began working for United States Senator Larry Pressler's reelection campaign, serving as a Regional Campaign Director. He spent the next two years working as the Legislative Campaign Coordinator for the South Dakota GOP. He would eventually move on, becoming Executive Director of the Minnehaha County Republican Party[33] in Sioux Falls.

Stverak left South Dakota at the end of 1999 to become Finance Director for Nebraska Senate Candidate Don Stenberg. After Stenberg's defeat, Stverak became Political Director for the Nebraska GOP in 2001. He also worked for Omaha Mayor Hal Duab, serving as his Deputy Campaign Manager.

Six months after becoming the Political Director for the Nebraska GOP, Stverak would go back to North Dakota to serve as Executive Director for the state GOP, a position he held for six years.

In 2007 he made his way back into the campaign realm serving as Executive Director of Rudy Giuliani's North Dakota Presidential campaign. After Giuliani's failed bid for the GOP nomination, Stverak joined the nonprofit world, becoming Regional Field Director for the government transparency and accountability group, the Sam Adams Alliance.

Education and honors[edit]

Stverak holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Foreign Service and Slavic Studies from Baylor University where he minored in economics. In 2003, North Dakota Business Week Magazine named him one of the state's Top 40 under 40.

External links[edit]