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Thursday, 7th January 2016

Today’s Washington Press Corps More Digital, Specialized

Source: Pew Research Center Journalism & Media

The story of who is covering federal government is a striking illustration of the shifting power dynamics within American journalism at large.

Reporters for niche outlets, some of which offer highly specialized information services at premium subscription rates, now fill more seats in the U.S. Senate Press Gallery than do daily newspaper reporters. As recently as the late 1990s, daily newspaper staff outnumbered such journalists by more than two-to-one.

Also increasing in number are reporters for digital news publishers – some of which focus on niche subjects, others on a broad range of general interest topics. In 2009, fewer than three dozen journalists working for digital- native outlets were accredited to the Press Gallery. By 2014, that number had risen to more than 130 – roughly a four-fold increase.

At the same time though, between 2009 and 2014, 19 local newspapers disappeared from the Press Gallery books, reducing the number of states with any local newspaper staff on the Hill from 33 to 29. Since those 2014 figures were tallied, other papers have turned out the lights in Washington, closing their bureau or simply electing not to replace an outgoing correspondent.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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