My Response to Fletcher and Sims

An article in today’s Albany Herald written by Carlton Fletcher regarding State Senator Freddie Sims states that

The senator also lamented the economy-based cutbacks that have lessened the number of media outlets outside Atlanta that can afford to send reporters to cover the legislative session.

“One of the most important things I feel I must do is educate the public on what’s happening at the Capitol,” she said. “I’m concerned about the lack of coverage by the local print media outside Atlanta. The electronic media is not going to give you adequate depth, so a key element is missing.

This is my response, sent via email and now posted here. If I get a response from either of them, I will also post it.

Mr. Fletcher and Senator Sims,

Today’s article stated, and I quote:

“The senator also lamented the economy-based cutbacks that have lessened the number of media outlets outside Atlanta that can afford to send reporters to cover the legislative session.

“One of the most important things I feel I must do is educate the public on what’s happening at the Capitol,” she said. “I’m concerned about the lack of coverage by the local print media outside Atlanta. The electronic media is not going to give you adequate depth, so a key element is missing.”

With today’s electronic media, there really is no need to have reporters in Atlanta covering the General Assembly, other than MAYBE to watch committee sessions live – and even that is something I am actively trying to get put online.

In case you weren’t aware, both chambers’ floor sessions are broadcast live over the internet, and GPB has the archives of these feeds – typically about a week later – at http://www.gpb.org/general-assembly. You can also view every single bill in either chamber, as well as track said bill and any floor votes at http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/

There are a variety of blogs that cover the Session, ranging in both level of coverage and level of strict ‘reporting’. The most traditional ‘reporting’ oriented, as well as the one with the best overall coverage, is Georgia Legislative Watch, http://www.georgialegislativewatch.com There is also my own blog, SWGA Politics, that covers the Senate in particular – as well as nearly anything that any Legislator that represents the nine county area surrounding Lee and Dougherty Counties does – but typically combines its reporting with a more ‘blog’ style editorial approach from a Libertarian perspective. It can be found at https://swgapolitics.wordpress.com

There are other sites such as Erick Erickson’s PeachPundit.com that covers Georgia Politics in general, but focuses more on both Atlanta and politics in general rather than strictly tracking the General Assembly. There is also JasonPye.com, and he does a better job of tracking the General Assembly in particular (as well as a wide variety of other things), but focuses more on his home area of the southern Metro Atlanta region.

Finally, there is also a more Democratic-centered area blog run by a former staffer for US Rep Sanford Bishop called Project Logic, and it can be found at http://www.projectogicga.com

So you see, in the absence of ‘traditional’ media and traditional methods, new avenues of reporting have sprung up that are both faster and more agile than traditional media, and which would be an excellent tool for traditional media to use as partners. I know for a fact that SWGA Politics stands ready to help traditional media in any way we can, because I created it – though I have since ceded control of it to my partner, Tom Knighton.

But to claim that “The electronic media is not going to give you adequate depth” simply means you are out of touch with the realities of this modern age, as the electronic media actually gives MORE depth than any traditional media has ever done. The only edge that traditional media has anymore is its acceptance – and even that shrinks daily, as more and more people turn to blogs for their news.

Thank you for your time, and if I can ever be of any assistance, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Jeff [last name withheld from SWGA Politics],
Leesburg, GA

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