Washington Post transportation coverage has improved
This spring, the Washington Post reorganized its newsroom, reassigning reporters and editors and shaking up the way the organization operates. Now that a few months have passed, it seems that at least in transportation, the change has improved the paper's coverage.
Largely, this resulted from a new focus on transportation. The Post now has a transportation "pod," comprosing writers and an editor who write about transportation region-wide. Previously, reporters were organized into DC, Maryland, and Virginia "desks" that spanned topic areas. Letting reporters build up expertise in one or more subjects would logically enable them to write with more knowledge.
Also, most issues in our region don't break down cleanly by jurisdiction. Virginia is not all the same. Arlington is not very like Loudoun. Tysons is not the same as McLean. Old Town Alexandria is different from western Alexandria. Since the majority of Virginians in the Post's coverage area live in classic suburban homes not particularly near transit, a reporter tasked with writing about Northern Virginia could well fall into the trap of framing all stories from the point of view of their issues and needs. A more regional focus makes it easier for reporters to consider the issues facing drivers, walkers, cyclists, rail riders, bus riders, and everyone else.
I don't agree with everything the Post writes. Some stories still give undue weight to the opinions of AAA, for example. But more often, stories avoid the "windshield perspective" we so often criticized, especially the over-the-top variant we got from Eric Weiss. As newspapers grapple with declining circulation and even more rapidly declining ad revenues and debate the future of their medium, it's good to see the Post's metro reporting moving in the opposite direction, at least for now. If only they could replace a few of the national columnists.
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