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Or, How do we fund consistent, reliable beat reporting of city hall and Olympia? The Seattle PostGlobe.com turned away from more ad revenue from political candidates (not legal for a 501(c)(3)), but turned down more political money than it took in from advertising. Public broadcasting needs to step up and fill the news gap! More has changed in journalism in the past five years than in the previous 50.

Money is available for other kinds of coverage, but not much for Olympia. There used to be 20 reporters; now there are fewer than 10, perhaps only ahttp://www.newshare.com/wiki/index.php?title=Jtm-pnw-session-city-hall&action=edit handful. There are 10 UW students! Sarah Schacht heads an Olympia service, Knowledge is Power, a bill-tracking service (Ford grant) Who sees and reports on the connection between lobbyists, money, bills,legislators?

For a start-up, establishing credibility is challenging. How do you start a news service when you need content and revenue, both at the same time? The Kaiser Foundation is funding reporting on health issues? Is it OK to accept money like this? Where is the line? There is less resistance to special-interest sponsors these days--with disclosure. The public isn't aware of the traditional "wall" between the newsroom and the advertising department.

Oregon Public Radio has one full-time reporter in Salem and sends beat reporters on education, the environment and business/health care. (What stories are being overlooked?) Will reporters be listening more in this legislative session to the advocates whose budgets are slashed?

The budget isn't trackable by number in the same way that a bill is. That makes it much harder to follow if you're not there to hear the conversations about the deals being cut. Deals will be cut! Very few reporters (5%?) can read a budget.

Can the Legislature or any public body exclude citizen journalists? Who gets credentials? Who gets to use a shield law? Other news sections (movies, food, fashion, real estate, travel) all make money. Covering government is the most expensive because no one funds it, and it takes lots of time to sit in on meetings and then interpret what is happening that's not said. There's lots of "dead time." On a website, it doesn't generate the traffic that features do.

Can a corps of volunteers/advocates be helpful in covering the legislature? What if each person were given a topic and limited space to provide updates whenever something happened? Could the public or stringers or "correspondents" keep us up to date on single issues such as the safety net, as they move through the legislative sesison? Not all citizen journalism is reliable or trustworthy. We need a moderated space and an editor or aggregater. Citizen blogs generate just a fracton of the traffic of blogs written by journalists.