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I knew this before but this Wednesday New York Times column italicized my impulse. David W. Chen, who wrote “In New Jersey, Only a Few Media Watchdogs are Left,” used to be bureau chief for the statehouse desk for the New York Times.
The New York Times no longer has a staff reporter covering New Jersey. The number of reporters at the state house has dwindled from 30 to 7.
John Oliver reminds us that social media and TV news mostly just repackage newspaper stories.
Poignant detail #1: The print version of Chen’s article showed two lonely news boxes in downtown Trenton. One was for the Star Ledger, which has coopted the Trenton Times state coverage. The other was for U.S. 1 Newspaper. What?? U.S. 1 covers state politics once in a while, as in this investigative piece,. We cover important issues and the boss sometimes opines in his column, but statehouse reporting — that’s not our mission.
Poignant detail #2: Chen’s ender was a salute to the 87-year-old columnist who uses a typewriter. A colleague converts with the typed page to a PDF, using her cell phone, and emails it in.