Watchdog Nation book wins second national book award this year for social change

We are pleased to announce that the book, Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong, has won its second national book award for social change.

The hardcover is the winner of The National Best Books 2009 Award for Social Change.Best Books black background

Earlier this year, the book won the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Award for Social Change.

The book is going into its second printing. The second edition, revised and expanded with 40 new pages of the latest information, should be released by late December 2009.

Here’s a listing of all the winners and finalists.

Watchdog Nation thanks Fort Worth Weekly readers for naming us Best Watchdog!

A big thank you to readers of Fort Worth Weekly for picking Dave Lieber, the Star-Telegram‘s Watchdog columnist as BEST WATCHDOG.

See the listing here.

Plus, a big congratulations to community activist Don Young, who was “Critic’s Choice.”

The weekly wrote:

The old phrase “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” applies perfectly to community activist Don Young, a small guy with a lot of fight in him.

Fort Worth Weekly's Best of for 2009

Young has been looking over the shoulder of the gas drillers in Tarrant County since they first arrived, constantly letting news media and the public know what’s going on. He’s tireless in his efforts to protect Fort Worth from the negative impacts of urban drilling. The town could use more like him.

Way to go, Don. We can always use more watchdogs.

Fort Worth Weekly’s Best of for 2009

Fired Watchdog columnist George Gombossy files unusual lawsuit

My Watchdog columnist colleague, George Gombossy, formerly of the Hartford Courant, has kept his promise and filed a lawsuit against his former employer, The Hartford Courant Company and its owner, Times Mirror Co.

But what makes this so unusual is that Gombossy didn’t go the predictable route — a wrongful termination lawsuit seeking damages.


George Gombossy

George Gombossy


No, Gombossy’s lawyer, Joseph D. Garrison, has gone a different route — one I’ve never heard of before in more than three decades of daily newspapering.

Let Mr. Garrison explain:

“This lawsuit is not only important to my client, it is vital to the people of Connecticut. The suit is brought under the state’s Free Speech statute, which protects workers from being fired or punished for exercising their First Amendment rights in the workplace.

“It’s the very essence of being an American, having the right to speak out in the workplace, especially on issues vital to the public.”

Garrison said in a statement that while this statute has been used by other workers who were punished for speaking out in the workplace, this is the first time a journalist has used it in Connecticut to contest his firing for acting on behalf of the public to protect the consumer, and at the same time keeping his own newspaper trustworthy.

Frankly, I’m stunned that this attorney chose to go this route because if he is successful, it could fundamentally alter the publisher-editor-reporter relationship on American newspapers, at least those in Connecticut.

That’s why this lawsuit is worth watching.

Gombossy was The Watchdog columnist at The Courant for three years before he was fired in a dispute with editors. Read Watchdog Nation’s original report about his firing by Dave Lieber in this previous blog post.

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Disclosure: WatchdogNation.com is a sponsor/advertiser of Gombossy’s new Web site, Connecticut Watchdog.

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Links:

Gombossy’s new Web site

The legal papers in the lawsuit

Statement by Hartford Courant after the suit was filed

Relevant state employment law