I hope Colorado journalists have better things to do than fight over whether to keep our state’s promising new news site, called Colorado Newsline, from getting press credentials at the Capitol.
Or whether to allow the outfit to join valuable but fading journalism clubs.
Local media critic Corey Hutchins writes in his widely-read newsletter that he expects “some skirmishes over the Newsline’s acceptance into certain journalistic clubs like the Colorado Capitol Press Association or INN, should it try to join.”
Would Hutchins, who’s covered this issue before, allow them in?
“I plan to take that up in a future newsletter or column, looking at what other organizations might be planning to apply for credentials at the same time,” he told me.
As I see it, the effect of excluding Colorado Newsline from the Capitol floor wouldn’t be to boost journalism or good government, but ultimately to protect politicians from having to answer unseemly questions from ill-mannered journalists or others. (See David Sirota here, who also argues that the status quo preserves monopoly power for select media companies at the Capitol.)
Journalists who defend the existing policy tell me, among other things, that lawmakers will kick out all the journalists, not just the bad apples, from the floor of the House and Senate, if some rogue writers ask questions deemed rude or unfair.
Perfect. Then let the politicians boot out all the journalists and face the aggressive questions in halls or at the front doors of their houses or wherever.
If this happens, maybe people would rise up against the legislators. Maybe the politicians would decide it’s the wrong thing to do (more likely). I, for one, would love to see Democrats or Republicans in Colorado try this.
If they do kick out all journalists, I know it would make already-difficult reporting even more difficult.
But it’s time for a change.
At this point, you could easily come up with great justifications to exclude the entire press corps from the Capitol floor, if you want to be a croaking purist about it.
The thinking that serious journalists, like the ones who are launching Newsline, should be excluded from the journalism in-group is so archaic and sad, you hear it and get even more depressed about the future of journalism then you were a minute ago. Which was really depressed.
Why would journalists shoot each other when so many of their brothers and sisters are lying dead around them?
Open the doors not just for Colorado Newsline, which launches July 1, but for Complete Colorado, which applied previously, and others who can show that they are regular writers about the legislature.
If it gets out of hand, and the press tables runneth over with bad journalists or writer lobbyists, then deal with the problem then.
For now, err on the side of inclusion.
CORRECTION: Corey Hutchins’ name was initially misspelled in this post.