November 2, 2009

MarylandReporter.com launches Monday

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MarylandReporter.com officially launches its site on Maryland government and politics Monday, with a fresh Web page, new multimedia content and an e-mail news blast sent to about 3,600 addresses.

The daily newsletter, sent out Monday through Friday, has links to the news site’s original content and aggregation of all state government news and opinion collected from open Web sites at newspapers, broadcast outlets and blogs. Today, MarylandReporter.com has a new look, as well as the first installment of a weekly audio analysis piece done by its staff.

“We plan on being the one-stop shop for state news,” said Len Lazarick, editor and publisher of the site. Lazarick was the State House bureau chief of the Baltimore Examiner, which folded in March. His partner is Associate Editor Andy Rosen, former State House reporter for The Daily Record in Baltimore.

“I’m really excited to be trying something new, and I think people will like what we are doing because the State House really needs a bigger press corps,” Rosen said. “So much goes on there that it’s difficult for just a handful of people to cover it. Hopefully we’ll be able to grow our presence there over time.”

The site, which began a soft-launch two weeks ago, is designed to make up for the loss in the number of reporters covering the Maryland State House on a regular basis. This loss is occurring across the country.

A report released this year by The American Journalism Review at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism “found 355 newspaper staff reporters covering the state capitols full time.”

“This is a decrease of more than 30 percent from the 524 counted in 2003, the year of AJR’s most recent census,” the report reads.

In Annapolis, many news organizations have cut back in the face of dropping revenues. The Washington Examiner and Washington Times did not regularly send reporters to Annapolis last year, and representatives of other media are seldom on the scene.

The original content produced on MarylandReporter.com is available for reuse for free by media or any other organization, in print, broadcast or on the Web, as long as the site is credited. The Daily Record, Corridor Inc. magazine and the Business Monthly in Howard County have already picked up our stories.

MarylandReporter.com was registered as a nonprofit corporation in Maryland on Sept. 2, and has applied for 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service.

“We have already started contacting foundations and other donors for support,” Lazarick said.

MarylandReporter.com has been creating some low-level media buzz since August in the Washington Post, Gazette, Baltimore City Paper and Romenesko.

There is more information about our mission and our staff on the Web site.