June 3, 2010

Analysis: In the ongoing State House shuffle, we lose a key editor

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Reporters come and reporters go, and nobody much notices except their colleagues and competitors, the officials they cover and the public relations folks who try to get their attention. This is especially true online and in print, where reporters are simply a name, not a face or a voice you’ve come to recognize and welcome into your home.

Despite that, from the start of MarylandReporter.com seven months ago, we’ve tried to identify the reporters producing the stories we aggregate every morning for the State Roundup. It gives them credit for their work, which they like, and it provides some further accountability to their reporting.

Especially at the Maryland State House and at state capitols around the country, reporters have been going a lot more than they’ve been coming. That’s one of the reasons MarylandReporter.com came into existence as a nonprofit organization last year – to make up for this loss of coverage by doing our own original reporting and by giving people an easy way to find all the reporting on state government and politics that’s still being produced.

Associate Editor Andy Rosen has been part of this project from the start, and has been instrumental in making this a news website you can trust and depend on. That’s why I’m sad to report Andy will be leaving us June 15. Andy came from The Daily Record – which fortunately replaced him at the State House – and brought with him tech savvy, social networking skills and knowledgeable reporting. On top of that, he was a very good editor, especially for someone like me who doesn’t always take kindly to editing.

I learned Thursday that Doug Tallman, Annapolis bureau chief for The Gazette of Politics and Business, will also be moving on to a new venture called Patch.com, involved with hyperlocal reporting. As leader of the insider report on Annapolis, this well-regarded veteran will certainly be replaced from a fine stable of journalists. For other news outlets, it’s more iffy.

Tom LoBianco, lately of Center Maryland and WYPR after the Washington Times self-destructed, has moved to Washington covering the energy beat for a trade publication. Erin Julius, whose stories in the Hagerstown Herald Mail we linked to over 40 times during her brief tenure this past session, is now at the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The Associated Press will soon be back to one reporter at the State House. In some states, the AP reporter is the only reporter covering state news full time.

Since it is our core mission to cover state government and politics, MarylandReporter.com needs to replace Andy Rosen, as hard as that will be. He brought a lot more to the table than I knew when I hired him. I probably got 12 months work out of the 8 ½ months he was with me, but I’m still mad that he’s leaving.

We’ve posted a job description. If you or someone you know fits the bill, contact me.

–Len Lazarick
Len@MarylandReporter.com
410-312-9840