Yesterday, I retweeted this item from the AJC’s Daniel Malloy:
Take a minute to read the Washington Post article Malloy references. Especially this:
There is a paradox in the reality of American politics: The more local an office, the more of an impact it has on any given person’s daily life. Yet the more local an election, the lower the voter interest. Presidential elections drive turnout. State legislators, who decide funding levels for local transportation projects or school districts and who have more influence on the average person’s life than the president of the United States, do not. Now, there is less coverage of those legislators than ever before.
That, in turn, has given politicians, lobbyists and public relations professionals the opportunity to step into the vacuum. Whether via newsletters, YouTube, Facebook or other social media outlets, politicians are increasingly generating their own news, and interest groups are spinning their own stories.
“That led to a growth, in my mind, of more lobbyists and more public relations people controlling the news through social media,” [retired Associated Press reporter Norma] Love said. “It’s just been a sad decline in coverage in terms of being the watchdog of government.”
According to a Pew Research Center study referenced in the article, Georgia has 17 full time reporters covering the state capitol. Texas has the most, with 53 in Austin. That study shows newspapers have the most reporters, followed by TV stations and the wire services.
The WaPo story is a powerful reminder of the importance of a robust free press. Thanks and happy Friday to everyone in the media who plays a part in keeping Georgia residents and voters informed about what their government is doing.