Washington Post Virginia Reporter in “shock” Over Sad Decline of Once-Great Newspaper

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    The sad decline of the Washington Kaplan Post continues. Evidence? First, the Washington City Paper reports about further cutbacks at “the money-losing newspaper division of the Kaplan test prep and for-profit education empire.” The City Paper quotes Jim Romenesko, who notes that “Metro” coverage is one of the areas on the chopping block. Last I checked, “Metro” included the subject of this blog, and the place most of us call home – Virginia.

    I was wondering what the Post’s small, and apparently dwindling, Virginia political reporters thought of all this. Frederick Kunkle, who covers Virginia politics, Fairfax County, etc., has some choice words worth quoting:

    We’re in shock…this would seem to be a fairly big cut. It’s also disconcerting in light of the phenomenal papers we’ve produced this week…you cannot continue to cut your way to profitability alone, or offer readers less – and not just in quantity of the report, but its quality and sophistication in all sections – and expect the public to pay more. Yet we seem to be heading toward a model like Huffpo or Patch that relies on interns, freelancers, free content from citizen bloggers, and aggregation at the expense of original journalism created by experienced journalists. And that’s a sad path for a place that has long enjoyed a reputation for excellence.

    As much as I bash the Post for its phony false equivalencies, its sloppy/shoddy/shallow reporting an increasing amount of the time, its corporate and conservative biases, I agree: less coverage of the shenanigans by radical Republicans in Richmond, of corruption at the local and state levels in Virginia, of the latest lunacy by McDonnell/Kookinelli/etc., can’t possibly be a good thing for the citizens of the Commonwealth. To the contrary, if you believe – as I strongly do – that a well-informed citizenry is absolutely essential to the healthy functioning of a democracy, then it’s hard to see how cutting back on information to said citizenry could possibly help matters.

    P.S. I see that the Post Magazine’s slated for cuts. Honestly, given how lame that thing is in comparison to a serious newspaper like the New York Times, why not just ax it completely? Of course, then we’d have to live without Date Lab, which would be a major bummer (not!), but somehow I think we’d all survive it. 😉