As Mainstream Exits D.C., Niche Media Tide Rises

Publication: Washington Post

Author: Howard Kurtz


02/11/2009 - The growing exodus of mainstream reporters from the nation's capital has ceded much of the turf to a new, more specialized kind of journalism.

Just as newspaper, magazine and television bureaus here are shrinking or shutting down at the dawn of the Obama administration, high-priced newsletters and trade publications are filling the breach. Climate Wire, an online newsletter launched last year, now has more Washington staffers—10—than Hearst Newspapers.

"This dramatically changes what gets covered and how," says Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which surveys the new landscape in a report released yesterday. "As the government is getting bigger and playing a larger role in our lives in an activist era, there are fewer reporters monitoring that on behalf of the general public.

"The niche media cover trees, not forests. . . . They're generally not involved in watchdog, exposé journalism that by its very existence is a check on malfeasance."

Read the full article As Mainstream Exits D.C., Niche Media Tide Rises on the Washington Post's Web site.

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