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MarylandReporter.com Takes on the State House Beat

By Benet J. Wilson

My local NPR station here in Baltimore, WYPR, has a morning program called Maryland Morning (scroll down for the story).  The station uses the 9-10 hour to highlight local stories in Baltimore and across the state.  Today’s first guest was 2 gentlemen who have started the MarylandReporter.com Web site.  The site was designed to ensure that coverage of the state legislature continues as newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun, slash jobs and cut coverage.

Founder Len Lazarick was the Baltimore Examiner State House bureau chief before the newspaper folded.  And he hired Andy Rosen, former State House reporter for The Daily Record in Baltimore, as his associate editor.  The start-up, which officially launched today, was funded partially through a $100,000 grant from The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.

A report released this year by The American Journalism Review at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism “found 355 newspaper staff reporters covering the state capitols full-time,” down more than 30 percent from the 524 counted in 2003, the last year ARJ did a census.

The pair will run the site as an aggregator, offering links to all statehouse coverage.  They will also write original content that will be free for any publications to use.  The Web site is registered as a nonprofit corporation  and has applied for 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service.

It will be interesting to see how this experiment works and whether the operation can be sustained.  If you’re developing your own non-profit organizations looking to begin or expand journalism programs, or want to become an investigative reporter, the Franklin Center has more information here.

On another note, the National Association of Black Journalists is holding a two-day membership sale Nov. 4-5.  You can get a new membership or renew it and save $15 in all categories except Lifetime Membership.   Click here to take advantage of this great opportunity.

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Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

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