Wednesday, September 24, 2008
DC Reporting: Back to Basics
"One man gathers what another man spills."*
Robert Hunter wrote it, Jerry Garcia sang it, and now D.C. reporters are proving it.
The ongoing evaporation of Washington, D.C. bureaus has proven a boon for the Capitol Hill trades and newsletters that cover Congress to a fare-thee-well. The result is a bunch of very seasoned journalists going back to their roots, dogging subcommittee markups and the like.
Most recently, former National Press Club president and long-time Palm Beach Post reporter Larry Lipman takes a buyout in the past month and ends up a part-timer for National Journal's CongressDaily. Edward Epstein takes a buyout from the San Francisco Chronicle, and lands at Congressional Quarterly Today. Copley Newspapers' Otto Kreisher takes a buyout and goes to CongressDaily. Former National Press Club president and long-time Knight Ridder reporter David Hess retires and goes to CongressDaily. Lisa Friedman leaves the Los Angeles Daily News and finds herself at Climatewire. And there are more, and there will be more.
It's remarkable. For years, a standard D.C. career trajectory moved the other direction: from trades and newsletters "up" to daily newspapers. Now, the trend reverses. Sad for the newspapers, sure, but benefits accrue to the experienced reporters who keep working, the readers who keep reliably informed and the younger reporters who can learn a thing or two from the old school.
*Bonus DoyleReports points for those who can identify this song.