By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Ledger closes Statehouse bureau

Adam Reilly reports at that the GateHouse Media cuts detailed by the Globe yesterday include the end of the Statehouse bureau at The Patriot Ledger of Quincy. [Note: The Statehouse bureau is not closing after all. See this correction.]

This is a tough cut indeed — one of the benefits of a local paper’s having a Statehouse reporter is that he or she can cover hometown legislators, assess the local impact of various initiatives and the like. If this cut was really necessary, then things must be pretty bad.

About a dozen years ago, one of the first media pieces I wrote for the Phoenix was on the depopulated Statehouse press corps. It’s only gotten worse since then. Among the Statehouse reporters I interviewed for that piece was The Patriot Ledger’s Carolyn Ryan, who later moved to the Herald, the Globe and, now, the New York Times.

The Ledger’s just-laid-off Statehouse reporter, Tom Benner, is a colleague, as he teaches part-time at Northeastern.

Photo (cc) by koalie. Some rights reserved.

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  1. Anonymous

    There’s a long tradition of really greater reporters too — Ceci Connolly, who went on to the Washington Post, John Diamond who wound up at USA Today, Eve Epstein at Marketplace, not to mention good reporters and great characters like Randy Keith and Jeremy Crockford. It’s a shame.

  2. Marc

    It’s not just GateHouse that took a hit Thursday. The New York Times ripped a chunk out:

  3. acf

    They may think they’re cutting costs, but in reality, what they’re doing is diminishing the product. The reason why I may buy their paper, is because of the information and analysis I can get from it. If you reduce that, I just won’t buy it anymore, and all the cost cutting in the world won’t fix that. Also, inertia, or the habit of buying or subscribing to the paper will only last so long, and things like this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so to speak, and I just won’t buy it any longer.

  4. Michael Pahre

    As part of GateHouse Media’s staffing cuts, they will not be replacing the vacant position of reporter for the Allston-Brighton TAB — the only reporter position at the weekly community newspaper — as I reported today at the Brighton Centered Blog.The A-B TAB’s reporting will now be covered by various free-lancers.These staffing cuts may have very devastating impacts at community newspapers because their current, permanent staffing is already so low.

  5. Anonymous

    You can talk about it in terms of jobs; you can mention the reader interest in the paper. What you cannot leave out, though, is the impact of the Fourth Estate in residence in the State House. It’s one thing to have legislators’ flacks cranking out press releases. It’s something else, though, to have not just a few but an army of reporters telling us what’s going on under the golden dome. T’ain’t easy, but just the presence of reporters helps keep the pols on their toes. Larz— Larz

  6. Peter Porcupine

    Larz – The presence of reporters? The reporters in the State House can rarely be tempted to leave their 4th floor hive. Do you imagine they wander around dropping into offices, or engaging legislators in conversation? You would be wrong. The Herald reporters stay in their plywood cubby on the 5th floor, the Globe holds court near the 4th floor elevators, and the SHNS reporters are glued to their desks and computers – oftern, making phone calls for the paid polls that are their bread and butter. They may as well be in Westboro for all the interaction they have with legislators, except for staged events like press conferences – and they don’t always actually attend THEM, but copy/paste the press release instead. By and large, they expect legislators to seek them out.The only reporter to roam the halls is John Henning.

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