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Capitolbeat, the New York Times and Raleigh

October 9, 2008

Here’s another reason why you should come to our conference this November: You can meet fellow soldiers in the statehouse wars who are staying in the trenches.

If you missed this New York Times story, it’s worth a read. Although it’s about the statehouse in New York, the same could be written where I’m from (in North Carolina) or just about any other state capitol I know of. From the story:

The long, slow bleed of reporters out of New York’s capital has become more like a geyser in recent years as news organizations try to reckon with shrinking advertising revenue and falling circulation.

This journalistic exodus raises questions about whether politicians and special interests in Albany — a place with tremendous power and a history of how that power can corrupt — will be given the scrutiny they merit.

“It’s discouraging, because there’s just so much power in the state government,” said Evan Cornog, associate dean at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and publisher of The Columbia Journalism Review. If newspapers are not reporting on statehouses, “it deprives journalism of one of its sources of legitimacy: to be that watchdog,” he added. “And it’s not as if we’re functioning in a transparent environment. People are working hard to conceal stuff.”

Our humble organization gets a shout out as well:

A separate review by Capitolbeat, the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, found that in 2007 there were just 407 reporters covering a statehouse as their full-time job. The National Conference of State Legislatures said that it had noticed fewer articles about state politics in the news media and fewer reporters applying for credentials at state capitols.

So read the story and then get yourself booked for Raleigh. We’ll talk about ways to thrive in spite of our profession’s shrinking size.

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