Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

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Category: Journalism


Introducing Alexis Krell, our UW legislative intern

You may have noticed a new byline on the news out of Olympia this week. It belongs to Alexis “Lexie” Krell, who comes to us from the University of Washington’s journalism program.

Lexie is a native of Wasilla, Alaska – yes, that Wasilla – and is in her senior year of college. She was editor-in-chief of The Daily student newspaper at UW last year. She interned as a business and financial reporter for the Thomson Reuters bureau in Santiago, Chile, last summer, followed by a stint on the business desk at The Seattle Times.

The legislative session doesn’t begin

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Pew Center poll tests current buzz words. “Family values” – good; “Militia” – not so good

Politicians don’t use words and phrases lightly. Often they’ve been test-marketed with voters to make sure that they resonate as intended.

The Pew Center for the People and the Press lets the rest of us in on the secret with this poll that measures the effectiveness of current phrases.

“Family values” is viewed positively by 89 percent of those polled while “militia” is viewed positively by just 21 percent.

Wonder why Republicans like to refer to Democrats as socialists? The poll showed that 59 percent of voters view that term negatively.

Wonder why Democrats like to refer to themselves

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Two more reporters are leaving the statehouse beat; and The Guv has a job opening for a third; Any takers?

Adam Wilson of The Olympian and Rich Roesler of the (Spokane) Spokesman Review announced this week they are taking other jobs.

Adam is going to write speeches for the governor; Rich is going to handle communications for the insurance commissioner. I suspect both are getting hefty pay raises.

I can’t fault them in the least. The newspaper industry is going through some pretty bad throes and both Adam and Rich have taken pay and benefit cuts that they don’t deserve. And they have young families.

I’m not going to rattle off all the others who have left the statehouse beat in just the past year, but that list is longer than the list of those of us who are left.

The most worrisome aspect of the ongoing erosion of the state capitol press corps is that YOU are losing your future watchdogs. Both of these guys are in the early to middle years of their careers. They’re the “best and brightest.”

Their respective newspapers say they will be replaced. But there is a lot of institutional knowledge that each of their replacements will have to gain. And that will take time.

By my count, we are down to 7 reporters, not enough to cover all the bases — not in baseball, not in state government.

Here is Rich’s goodbye. And here is Adam’s.

And just to punctuate the issue, here’s another job opening in state government: Gov. Chris Gregoire needs a press secretary. It pays $75,000 to $80,000 a year.

ORGANIZATION: Washington State Office of the Governor
POSITION: Press Secretary
SALARY RANGE: $75,000 per year

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Washington News Council responds to SPJ criticism of virtual hearing

On May 8 the national ethics committee of the Society of Professional Journalists took issue with a new technique to judge media ethics – an online poll.

The poll was conducted by the Washington News Council, a self-appointed media watchdog group that receives complaints about TV, newspaper and radio news reports and sometimes hold hearings to decide whether the media acted properly.

The News Council used an online poll to determine whether KIRO TV acted ethically in reporting on Washington voting irregularities.

The Washington Secretary of State had complained to the News Council, a self-appointed watchdog group,

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Journalist group chides News Council for ‘American Idol’ style ethics discussion

The Society of Professional Journalists national ethics committee is calling foul on the Washington News Council for conducting an online poll on a complaint against KIRO TV.

The Washington Secretary of State had complained to the News Council, a self-appointed watchdog group, about KIRO’s pieces on voter registration irregularities. KIRO declined to participate in a hearing. So the News Council posted an online poll, which turned out lopsided against KIRO.

“A hearing can be worthwhile if all parties voluntarily participate and work toward a common understanding,” the SPJ said in a news release. “The committee strongly objects to having a public online vote, or virtual hearing, on journalism ethics.

"The news council is wrong to emulate the ‘American Idol’ model of voting for a ‘winner,’" said Andy Schotz, chairman of SPJ’s Ethics Committee. "Gimmickry is a major step backward if the council wants to appear professional and credible."

Click here to see the results of the News Council’s “virtual hearing.” The full press release is below.

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Ace city hall reporter is leaving

I wanted to let Political Buzz readers know that we’re losing one of our best reporter/bloggers, Tacoma city hall reporter Jason Hagey.

After nine years at The News Tribune, Jason’s going to work as communications project manager for the Association of Washington Business (aka the state Chamber of Commerce) in Olympia.

Jason came to us in 2000 as a general assignment reporter, then moved to the Federal Way beat. He’s distinguished himself in six years on the City of Tacoma beat, where he’s covered and uncovered some great stories. He’s

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Go ahead, tell us what you really think

Now it’s even easier to share a piece of your mind with us (and everyone else).

One recent caller told reporter Jason Hagey that his story looking at police reports from the fatal Tacoma Dome monster truck accident was full of “liberal bull****” and “as far as I’m concerned your newspaper’s nothing better than toilet wipe.” (Click the link to listen to the call.)

Perhaps the caller didn’t realize that our Opinion section has started a new hotline called Chatter Box where people can leave 30-second messages

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Another one bites the dust: P.I.’s Chris McGann is leaving

He’s leaving the Olympia Press Corps to go work for newly sworn-in state Treasurer Jim McIntire.

Once again, Niki Sullivan has a post with links to the Post Intelligencer’s announcement.

With the imminent sale of the P.I. (or not) you can’t blame the guy. And he’s another who loved being a reporter.

Dave Ammons, Associated Press

Dave Postman, Seattle Times

Ralph Thomas, Seattle Times

Chris Mulick, TriCity Herald

Chris McGann, Seattle P.I.

And I’m not mentioning the newspapers who just pulled their reporters out of Olympia.

Who’s next?