The Gazette of Politics and Business, based in Montgomery County, had no reporters in the press pit at the State House Friday — hardly remarkable for any news organization on any given day. But the sad news is that reporters for this once must-read journal are not going to be back much, if at all.
The Gazette of Politics and Business, the only paid publication in a chain of weeklies in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Frederick counties, is apparently dropping much of the politics and becoming the Business Gazette, with one reporter covering State House news from a Montgomery County perspective.
This is much like what some of the other daily newspapers and online news organizations such as Patch do — focusing on the local delegates and senators.
Missing will be those enterprise stories from the angle of a State House insider that used to make the Gazette something you really had to pick up each Friday. By that standard, the Gazette has actually been in decline for several years. Six years ago, it fielded two senior reporters, with several years of State House savvy, and a junior reporter. Recently, there were only two less-experienced reporters, with other reporters contributing.
Until this cutback by the Gazette, the full-time reporting crew at the State House this session has been up back up to strength, with the exception of the Washington Times, which now rarely drops in. But eight of the regular print/online reporters are covering the General Assembly for the first time. The legislature is a complicated institution, and it takes some time getting to know.
No word as to what will happen to columnists such as Blair Lee and Barry Rascovar.