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POLITICS

The District’s loss

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

One of the best things about my moving to the suburbs six and a half years ago was the chance to grab the Washington Examiner at the metro every day and read it on the way to work.

One of the best things about my landing a job at the Examiner four years ago was working just off the news room, and getting to work with the dozens of outstanding local reporters we have had. Today we got the awful news that we will cease printing the newspaper in June and end local coverage.

The dozens of colleagues losing their jobs range from veteran journalists to cub reporters just out of college. But they all have this in common: they have done good work here.

A tiny news staff here covered an unbelievable amount of ground. City Hall corruption, DC crime (those two beats themselves are gigantic), Metro, Fairfax, Arlington, Montgomery County. The Washington Post had its areas of local focus, and we had ours: commuting, crime, schools, and holding public officials accountable.

The District and the broader region is better off because of the work of the Examiner’s local reporters and editors.

The Examiner has always been something of an odd hybrid: a gritty local paper for an overwhelmingly Democratic city attached to conservative opinion and political pages that focused on the national scene. I always saw the printed paper as being the main vehicle for the local side, and the web as being the main vehicle for the national, conservative side.

I have plenty to say about the importance of local news and local engagement, and why these two things are so sclerotic these days. But for today, I wanted to tout the good work of our local reporters, and especially the three most senior writers laid off today.

Barbara Hollingsworth is our local editorial writer, and she has perfected the form. Incisive and informed in her editorials and columns, she was also welcoming and generous in the office. On my first day here, she was the one who welcomed me, and helped me feel at home.

When people pick up the Examiner at the Metro, in my experience, they go to the Crime & Punishment page. For years and years, Scott McCabe has reported there on D.C.’s latest murders, bank robberies, or corruption arrests—while also entertaining us with Crime History and Stupid Crimes.

While McCabe is the public face of the Examiner newspaper, Metro reporter Kytja Weir has been the conscience of the newsroom. A model of professionalism, doggedness, courtesy, and precision, Weir was a mentor to dozens of young reporters—and to me.

D.C. has been lucky to have the Examiner’s local journalists. I’ve been lucky to have them as colleagues. We’ll all be worse off for their departure.

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