Okay, so the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza puts out a list of the best political reporters in each of the 50 states. He describes the list as a combination of reader recommendations and his own knowledge. It’s fair to assume that the farther away he gets from Washington, the more dependent he is on his readers.
Take Vermont, for instance. Cillizza’s list was sadly incomplete and, in two instances, ironically off-target.
He names four reporters. Paul Heintz of Seven Days; no problem there. Kyle Midura of WCAX; he does a fine job by TV standards.
The other two: Mike Donoghue and April Burbank of the Burlington Free Press.
Nothing against either of them; they’re perfectly cromulent reporters. However…
— Neither is primarily a political reporter. Both are on the Freeploid’s vaguely-named Accountability Team. The Free Press draws heavily on the Associated Press for its political coverage.
— It was only a couple months ago that the Free Press jettisoned its political reporters, Terri Hallenbeck and Nancy Remsen. Both would be better choices for Cillizza’s list than Donoghue and Burbank.
The thickly-laden irony isn’t stopping the Free Press from celebrating its dubious honor. Three Freeploid functionaries have Tweeted the big news; here’s one of them.
Nice, Aki. I’m sure your former colleagues are sharing a bitter laugh.
As for Cillizza, he clearly doesn’t know much about Vermont media. He completely ignores VTDigger and VPR, two of the three best outlets for state political news. The Digger diss isn’t surprising, since he named it the Best Political Blog in Vermont two years ago. Small problem there: VTDigger isn’t a blog. It’s a professionally staffed news operation.
Cillizza does acknowledge the possible incompleteness of his list, and he has added people to it since he first posted it. I’ve sent him an email with my suggestions, and perhaps he’ll include them.
My top three noms: Anne Galloway of VTDigger, Peter Hirschfeld of VPR, and Neal Goswami of the Vermont Press Bureau. If I expanded things a bit, I’d include Dave Gram of the AP, Stuart Ledbetter of WPTZ, Bob Kinzel of VPR, and Mark Johnson of WDEV. Mark doesn’t report as such, but his daily radio show is the best single platform for discussion of state politcs and policy.
On the subject of Vermont’s true Best Political Blog, modesty forbids me.