April 9, 2009
Team Whitman lures veteran political reporter
The gubernatorial campaign of former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has hired Silicon Valley's top political writer.Mary Anne Ostrom, a longtime politics and government reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, signed on with team Whitman. In a memo to the Merc staff, Assistant Managing Editor Bert Robinson lamented the loss of a journalistic pro who "is one of the most relentless, most thorough, most passionate reporters I have ever known."Whitman campaign spokesman Mitch Zak said Ostrom will be an adviser on policy, media and on-line outreach. "Obviously, Mary Anne has tremendous experience and will play an senior role in our communications effort," he said.Ostrom's new gig was another blow to California's dwindling political press corps. Respected politics veteran John Wildermuth of the San Francisco Chronicle is taking a buyout. Zachary Coile of the Chronicle's Washington bureau is going to work as communications director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. And Jordan Rau, state capitol reporter for the Los Angeles Times, has signed on with the Kaiser Family Foundation's new Kaiser Health News.
Rosa Brooks in the Los Angeles Times:
This will be my last column for the L.A. Times. After four years, I'll soon be starting a stint at the Pentagon as an advisor to the undersecretary of Defense for policy. Some might say I have a "new job," but because I'll be escaping a dying industry -- and your tax dollars will shortly be paying my salary -- I prefer to think of it as my personal government bailout. Like everyone else whose livelihood is linked to the newspaper industry, I've been watching, appalled, as newspapers continue their death spiral, with dwindling circulations and thousands of layoffs. Here at The Times, the editorial staff is down to almost half the size it was in 2000. Often, as I've watched talented colleagues get the ax, I've suspected that I've only lasted this long because as a freelancer -- with no benefits and minimal pay -- I'm just too cheap to be worth firing.