How much is Michigan being hurt because of a skeleton State Capitol press corps?
April 06, 2009
If you live in Michigan or any other state for that matter, I offer a challenge. Try to follow the happenings of the State Legislature and the rest of state government. Look for news about your state legislators and about what issues are being debated and voted on.
Where do you go?
The press corps at the Michigan State Capitol is hardly big enough to be a shadow of its former self. When I was the Press Room Manager at the State Capitol from the mid-70s to the late 90s, the Press Corps usually had 45 or more active members.
How many does it have now? Ten? Fifteen? There can't be many more and more than likely there are less.
Keep in mind, state capitol reporters are the eyes and the ears of the people of Michigan. They shine the light of public attention on our government apparatus and those involved in it.
It's just not happening anymore. What does this mean? State voters don't have any place to get steady ongoing information about the who, what, when, where, how, why and so what of their state government in Lansing.
We are in the dark and at the mercy of politicians who try to bend information to their benefit.
The National Conference of State Legislators says state capitol press corps have been downsized more than 30 percent since 2003.
That hurts us all, especially during at time when state government plays such an important role in our everyday lives.