Dec 18, 2008

Eyes wide shut

The shrinking ranks of the DC press corps is the latest from New York Times media reporter Richard Perez-Pena:
“We used to cover the Pentagon, combing through defense contracts, and we’re covering some of that out of Dallas now, but basically we don’t do it anymore,” said Carl Leubsdorf, chief of The Dallas Morning News bureau, which had 11 people four years ago, and now has four. “We had someone at the Justice Department, but no longer. We can’t free someone up for a long time to do a major project.”


There are no definitive figures on the number of newspaper reporters covering Washington, but the decline has been clear, and it runs counter to history, said Donald A. Ritchie, associate Senate historian and author of the book “Reporting From Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps.”

“In times of great change and crisis, usually the press corps grows,” he said. Despite the strain of the Depression, he said, “When F.D.R. took office, newspapers sent far more people to Washington.”
Pair this news with the warning from Helene Cooper that the Obama White House might continue the Bush strategy of bypassing the shrinking media. Talking directly to the people usually means talking to people you already agree with and ignoring thorny questions. How has that worked out?

1 comment:

apaperbackwriter said...

AJR has a good article on the same subject: