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THE MEDIA RETREAT FROM AUSTIN CONTINUES By Scott Bennett Print E-mail
by Scott Bennett    Thu, Nov 10, 2005, 08:49 PM

Capitol.jpgWhen Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor of California not one California TV or radio station outside of Sacramento had a bureau in the State Capitol.  Not one.  They did not even have co-op bureaus.  The stations had been pulling out ever since Ronald Reagan had packed for Washington DC and had made a final exit with the election Davis.  When I talked to several political operatives of my acquaintance in California to inquire how this could be the opined that the stations had determined that the people weren't interested in state politics.  Once Arnold brought some celebrity to town they moved back.

Perhaps they may be forgiven finding Gray Davis or Pete Wilson too boring to cover.  No one would confuse this bland band with such outsized personalities Ann Richards or Bill Clements or George W. Bush.  But it is certainly easy to understand why a legislature in Sacramento could pass so much wacky legislation with no one watching.

It now appears the media is on its way out of Austin too.  The beleaguered Scripps-Howard chain (Corpus Christi, Wichita Falls, Abilene and San Angelo) are joining Belo's WFAA, and the Lubbock Avalanche Journal and Amarillo Globe-News is saying adios to Austin.  The major dailies are still there and others but the move is troubling.  State government has a profound affect on how people live and do business and truncated coverage is bad.  No coverage would be worse.  Soon it may be up to the likes of us, and newsletters like the Quorum Report and the Lone Star Report to carry the load.

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