Alabama political reporter describes intense investigative case

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) —TROY Alumnus and Alabama Political Reporter Jacob Holmes has seen his share of backlash and controversy.

This year’s speaker for the M. Stanton Evans Journalism Symposium described his most recent experience in investigative reporting regarding removal of books in an Alabama library. One year ago, Holmes started covering conflicting opinions about what should be available in the children section of the Autauga-Prattville Library. That coverage ultimately sparked national attention and controversy. 

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“Your job as a reporter is to try and get information that is important to the public and for the public,” said Alabama Political Reporter’s Jacob Holmes. “With this, you have a little bit of an elevated position.”

The story got even bigger after Holmes began requesting information through Alabama’s open meetings act and open records act. 

“I cannot think of anytime that it would be illegal to ask somebody to give you information,” Holmes said. “It could be illegal for them to give it, but it was very simple in this case.”

As Holmes uncovered more information, opponents began calling him a fake reporter and accused him of spreading fake news. 

“Just because they are adding a lie about you and what you are doing, you cannot let that deter you,” Holmes said. “You just try and prove to people your accuracy and your fairness in your work.”

Through his coverage, librarians at the Autauga-Prattville library found a way to voice their concerns. Holmes’ coverage has also grabbed the attention of other librarians such as Dr. Chris Shaffer. 

“I was just really happy to be here and see a TROY graduate who has done such a fantastic job,” said Dean of Library Services Dr. Chris Shaffer. “I do think that one of the things that both journalists and librarians do is that we are interested in the truth and freedom of information. So, I thought that it was a great talk and he is doing a great job.”

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Despite the controversy he continues to face, Holmes intends to follow this story until its conclusion. He’s also sharing his experience to help future journalists be more prepared for a career in news.

“Find the truth and report the truth regardless of what anyone says,” Holmes said.

The library saga continues. You can follow Holmes’ coverage via the Alabama Political Reporter.