01 May 2007

The Decline and Fall

Four thoughts about how we can observe the decline and fall of Juneau reporting in Alaska's only remaining statewide paper:

  • As a reporter, I find I check bylines all the time. Notice how much of the Juneau-relevant stories are written by Associated Press authors and not by the ADN's staff in Juneau. As the pace of the legislative session increases and important end-of-session decisions are made, I've been surprised not to see more content from the ADN's in-house staff.
  • The ADN's Alaska politics blog, put together by Kyle Hopkins (with apparently occasional help from Ayres), focuses more and more each day on Anchorage politics with an occasional post based on a press release thrown in. There's very little original reporting or thinking on Alaska politics. The "Eye on Juneau" blog the ADN started earlier in the term has completely vanished.
  • I was changing my subscriptions to daily e-mails from the ADN the other day and noticed I was signed up for the legislative briefing e-mail that is supposed to come every day while the legislature is in session. I have never received a single one. This could be because there's something wrong with my e-mail but I'm more inclined to think it's indicative of how the ADN is dropping the ball on legislative coverage. They just don't produce enough content to justify a daily (or even weekly) e-mail.
  • A big story out of the legislature recently was the news that BP isn't buying into AGIA. The only way this story saw the light of day was that the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner's reporter Stefan Milkowski was (doing his job) at the hearing and wrote a story on it. The AP picked it up and the ADN ran the story but if the News-Miner hadn't been there no one would have ever found out. Where was the ADN's capital correspondent? In fact, when was the last time we saw a story in the ADN about any of the AGIA hearings?
People who want to move the legislature from Juneau say it would provide for better citizen oversight. Nonsense, say Juneau-philes, we've got a great press corps which keeps the citizenry up-to-date on everything that's going on.

I used to buy the argument of the Juneau-philes but when I see what the ADN is doing for us, I really have to wonder.

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