Will Columbus Media Give Repsonsible Coverage to the State Legislature?

  On January 15th something very important, if you live in Georgia, is going to happen. The state legislature is going into session and, times being what they are, really critical, almost economically critical as the Great Depression, a world changing event that had cataclysmic outcomes, the legislature has some important decision to make. 

  This session of the Georgia legislature should get top attention by the state’s news media, but, judging from recent performances, it probably won’t.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will probably give the most in-depth and incisive coverage, as far print media is concerned. And, thank goodness, GPTV will have its nightly Lawmakers reports that sum up each days legislative activities, but that’s not enough. It is imperative for Columbus that the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer give the legislature full coverage this year.  And Columbus television stations, the place where most people get their daily news, need to make a special effort to keep Columbus informed about what our state lawmakers are up to because what they do will have enormous impact on the ordinary citizen.

  But will Columbus media meet this challenge? It hasn’t for a number of years. I can remember when it did. The paper would have reporters that spent a great deal of time at the Capitol. And, television made an effort to keep audiences informed. I can remember when me and a photographer would drive up to Atlanta in the morning,  cover the local delegation with footage from inside the House and Senate chambers showing floor action and interviews with principals involved, and driving back in time to get the film processed and report on the action on the evening newscast. It was very rough and stressful work but it was the responsible thing to do.

  Later, when I was news director at WRBL-TV, I contracted withan Atlanta- based reporter for two or three reports a week. He would shoot reports during the day, put them on a Greyhound bus, and they would air that night.  Well, with today’s satellite capapabilties just think how effective reporting from the capitol could be.

  Now, some present day consultants may say that people really aren’t that interested in such reports, and these consultants are most interested in ratings. Well – guess what –  we had very good ratings then. Much better than they are now on any Columbus station.   

  Instead of a nightly parade of the days crimes, the easy stuff to cover, let’s see some real journalism for a change.  Yes, it takes reporters with some intellectual depth to cover political news and they don’t, as a rule, work for peanuts, but,  the investment can be worth it, not only in ratings, but in building public respect for news operations.

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One Response to “Will Columbus Media Give Repsonsible Coverage to the State Legislature?”

  1. K Baker Says:

    It would be a breath of fresh air to have something of substance covered on the local news! I’ve been wishing for the same thing myself.

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