Monday, August 25, 2008

All politics are local ... news

From the Washington Post, yet another disturbing aspect of the recent rash of layoffs and cutbacks at American newspapers has been the gradual loss of regional reporting on Capitol Hill:

Incumbents already get most of the breaks, with high name recognition and deep cash reserves. But now there's an even stronger protection program for U.S. representatives and senators: the demise of regional reporters who keep tabs on what those veteran officeholders actually do for the constituents who keep returning them to power.

Though I'm fortunate to work for a newspaper with the resources to fully staff a Washington bureau, I wonder how much is lost when smaller media outlets across the country shutter their D.C. offices and recall their reporters.

If no one is keeping tabs - someone in the ol' watchdog role - on legislators from places like Wyoming, Iowa and Oklahoma, how do their constituents know if their interests are being represented responsibly? The New York Times and the Washington Post can't cover it all ... can they?

No comments: