senatepressgallery.jpg

Emptying congressional press galleries.

Maine DC correspondent Jonathan Kaplan was unceremoniously dumped by errant e-mail in July from the Blethen family's newspaper back east, the

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Wonder What Shoes Patty Murray is Wearing?

senatepressgallery.jpg

Emptying congressional press galleries.

Maine DC correspondent Jonathan Kaplan was unceremoniously dumped by errant e-mail in July from the Blethen family's newspaper back east, the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. (The paper is now on the auction block.) A few months before, the Seattle Times correspondent Alicia Mundy wrote her farewell letter from Washington.

Yesterday Kaplan wrote a lengthy op-ed in the Washington Post lamenting the rapidly shrinking regional DC press corps.

[R]eaders will miss some nuance simply because there's nobody in the Capitol. They won't know how Sen. Olympia Snowe's eyes light up when she recalls being selected as an intern for the state's Democratic governor in the summer of 1967, even though she considered herself a Republican. They'll probably never learn that, at a press conference in May, just minutes before a vote on a massive farm bill, Collins praised a provision in the measure to close the so-called Enron loophole. She then headed straight to the Senate floor and voted against the bill.

We regional reporters put readers in rooms like that and give them a voice. But we're disappearing fast, and it's not clear who can pick up the slack.

I wish it were different, but I'm not sure many people care all that much about the nuances of the other Washington. I did a little reporting from DC last year for papers in Seattle and Tuscaloosa, Ala. The only time I heard back on anything was after following a local girl through the National Geography Bee finals.

 
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