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It’s not just the states

February 27, 2008

From the “tell me if you’ve heard this one before” file, The Politico writes about dwindling regional coverage of Washington, D.C.:

Whether through layoffs or attrition, newspapers have increasingly cut back on keeping reporters stationed in Washington, opting instead for the less costly substitute: wire copy.

And the effect, regional reporters and editors argue, is that readers outside Washington’s corridors of power lose the priceless benefit of having a correspondent within spitting distance of the city’s movers and shakers and the offices of local legislators.

The Associated Press, and other services, may cover specific areas across the nation, but something seems to get lost in the translation when newspapers from Dallas to Minneapolis reduce Washington-based correspondents.

“I don’t think it’s a loss for the paper,” said Sylvia Smith, the incoming president of the National Press Club and Washington editor of the Ft. Wayne (Ind.) Journal Gazette. “I think it’s a loss for the community.”

The story is worth reading in its entirety. And my guess is this pretty much parallels the experience of a lot of state capital press corps.

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