As journalism has been thoroughly disrupted by the digital revolution, one of the serious casualties has been coverage of state government.
It's not the sexiest of topics, hardly able to compete with Hillary's van tour stop at Chipotle, not to mention Madonna kissing Drake. But it's vitally important. Actions by state government deeply affect the lives of their residents. People need to know what their state officials are up to. And that's particularly the case with Washington paralyzed by gridlock and critical struggles playing out at the state level.
During my years as editor of American Journalism Review, we took a number of detailed surveys compiling the rosters of reporters assigned to all 50 statehouses. Each one showed a distressing decline. The most recent tally, by the Pew Research Center, found more of the same.
But here's some good news: Politico, the dynamo that revolutionized coverage of Washington — OK, not always in a good way — is taking the show on the road.
In 2013 Politico acquired Capital New York, which covers politics in New York, including the state capital in Albany. Now Politico is swallowing up Capital New York, rebranding it as Politico New York and merging the staffs.
More important, the D.C. juggernaut is stepping up its incursion into the world Outside the Beltway. This year it is launching new operations in New Jersey and Florida. And there are more outposts to come.
Robust coverage of the shamefully ignored state capitals is a major part of the mission. As has been the case since Politico launched in 2007 and rapidly became a big player in D.C. reporting, the company is thinking big, with a dollop or two of grandiose thrown in.Jon Stewart discusses what the media are covering in depth: