Alachua’s emerging high-tech economy, detailed at greater length by the Sun in November, does seem to be a local success story. And this sort of celebratory coverage of local business investment is par for the course in local news—if there is journalistic scrutiny it tends to focus on local tax breaks, which to its credit the Sun noted in its coverage.
But one of the reasons wasteful federal government spending persists at the Pentagon and elsewhere is that there are people and companies who benefit from the waste. And when local coverage plays up the benefits of a government contract without pausing to consider whether the project was prudent, it reinforces that dynamic a little bit more.
So, a tip for local reporters who want to watchdog taxpayer funds: The next time you get a press release about an area company scoring a big government project, do a clip search. And if Willman’s byline comes up, take note.