MOULTRIE, Ga. — In the last few weeks, The Moultrie Observer has welcomed two new reporters, and CNHI has hired a reporter to cover state issues for its six Georgia newspapers.
Bryce Ethridge and Savannah Donald joined The Observer July 31 and Aug. 19, respectively. Each will cover a variety of beats throughout the community.
Ethridge, who has already taken on coverage of the City of Moultrie, graduated from Valdosta State University this spring. A native of Lithonia, he graduated from Southwest DeKalb High School in 2015.
Ethridge said he became inspired to go into journalism his junior year of high school. He worked with his high school paper and literary magazine, and joined The Spectator at VSU, eventually becoming the news editor there.
“I thought of journalism as my way to give back,” he said, “and as my way to be a hero … by uncovering corruption and telling people what they need to know.”
Donald graduated in April from the University of Alabama - Birmingham. A native of Huntsville, Ala., she was working at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center there when she got the job at The Observer.
She wrote for the college newspaper at UAB, and she said she’s looking forward to writing community news in Moultrie.
“I’ve always liked to tell stories,” she said. “If I could tell stories that everybody wants to read, that would be stellar!”
Donald will be covering Colquitt County government and other beats at the newspaper.
CNHI’s new Georgia statehouse reporter is Riley Bunch.
Bunch is a former reporter for the Idaho Press newspaper, where she covered state and national politics and dabbled in education and social issues.
For Bunch, journalism is important for providing community members with full transparency of what is happening in their area. She said it is always important to let people know what their leaders are doing behind the scenes.
Her goal for joining CNHI is to do deep, hard-hitting enterprise stories that will have an impact on Georgia communities, she said.
“What I really like to do is take state-level government and policy changes and tying it back to the effects it has on local communities,” Bunch said.
The Seattle, Washington, native won first-place Rookie of the Year for daily print publications at the Idaho Press Club Awards banquet in April. She also won first place in agriculture reporting in daily print publications for a story on tariff impacts on Idaho industries.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in newspaper and online journalism at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She minored in art photography through the College of Visual and Performing Arts. During undergrad she worked at The Daily Orange, Syracuse’s independent student newspaper.
Her work has been published in the Seattle Times, Washington Times, U.S. News & World Report and SeattleRefined/KOMO4 News among other publications.
Jim Zachary, CNHI’s deputy national director and editor of The Valdosta Daily Times, said Bunch will be responsible for covering the Georgia General Assembly, state government and state politics.
She will lead statewide journalism projects for Georgia newspapers located in Dalton, Milledgeville, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton and Valdosta. She will work with the respective legislative delegations from those coverage areas to keep communities informed.
She will collaborate on nationwide CNHI projects, working closely with statehouse reporters in other states.
Zachary said Bunch is a brilliant reporter who understands the importance of quality journalism and getting it right. She excels at deep-dive, investigative reporting and will greatly enhance statewide coverage, he said.
“We are really excited to have her working with our Georgia newspapers and believe that our legacy print edition readers and online audience will immediately benefit from her coverage,” Zachary said. “Riley is an insightful reporter who is always looking at how legislation impacts the daily lives of people. She has the unique ability to blend strong, data-driven reports with personal storytelling resulting in impactful, accessible news coverage.”