What: CJMD to host panel of top Washington state politics and legislative reporters and editors

When: 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 17, 2022

Where: THO 135

Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cjmd-spotlight-the-state-of-statehouse-reporting-tickets-465869497207

Journalists covering U.S. statehouses have seen their ranks and resources thin even as the topics they cover—politics, government, democracy—grow increasingly intense. What’s the view from the trenches?

The Center for Journalism, Media and Democracy is proud to host reporters and editors from the Seattle Times, Crosscut, Axios and Pluribus to discuss the current state of play in statehouse reporting. These journalists are working in an era when greater shares of policy-making power move from Washington D.C. to state capitals and they have each in their own way weathered the stormy digital-media transition of the last two decades that has rocked the news industry.

The event is designed to engage students, scholars and community members and will serve as a recruiting event for the Department of Communication’s State Government Reporting program, which places student-reporters in Olympia during the legislative session each year to file stories from the Capitol with outlets across the state.

Event panelists will explore the way journalists are testing new and updated approaches to their work, taking advantage here in the Seattle area and elsewhere of new technologies, platforms and business models, and reckoning with the fact that the power scales on the politics beat have tilted away from journalists — due in part to the way attacks on journalists as illegitimate have spread and the fact that, in statehouses in particular, the ranks of journalists have thinned even as greater shares of policymaking power flow to state legislators, governors, and special interests. How best to meet these challenges? How best to leverage today’s new technologies, emerging business models, evolving reporting and publishing practices to serve the public interest? What trends are emerging in Washington State lawmaking? What should we be watching come January when lawmakers in Olympia launch the 2023 legislative?

Panelists include Donna Gordon Blankinship, Austin Jenkins, Joseph O’Sullivan, Melissa Santos, and Carlton Winfrey. The event will be moderated by John Tomasic, a fellow at the Center for Journalism, Media and Democracy and artist-in-residence in the Communication Department’s Journalism and Public Interest Communication program.

Panelist Introductions:

Donna Gordon Blankinship

Blankinship is the news editor at Crosscut, leading a team of reporters taking a deep look at local, state and regional issues. She previously worked for The Seattle Times and The Associated Press, covering education, health care and state government. Find her on Twitter @dgblankinship.

Austin Jenkins

Austin Jenkins is now staff writer at Pluribus News, which covers emerging trends in state legislatures across the country. His Emmy-nominated public affairs program, “Inside Olympia,” runs on TVW, the state C-SPAN network. Austin covered politics, public policy, and the legislature for the Northwest News Network and has won awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 he received a Master of Communication in Digital Media degree from UW’s Communication Leadership program. On Twitter: @AustinJ_Reports

Joseph O’Sullivan

Joseph O’Sullivan is Crosscut’s state politics reporter. Before joining Crosscut in 2022, he spent nearly eight years as Olympia bureau reporter for The Seattle Times. Before that, he covered government and politics at news organizations in Spokane, Wyoming and South Dakota. On Twitter he is, naturally, @Olympiajoe.

Melissa Santos

Melissa Santos is Seattle Bureau reporter for national news network Axios. She has been a top politics, legislative and justice-system reporter in Washington for more than a decade-and-a-half, writing for Crosscut, the Seattle Times and the News Tribune. She was a legislative intern for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and one in a long line of brilliant editors and reporters for The Daily of the University of Washington. Melissa on Twitter: @melissasantos1

Carlton Winfrey

Carlton Winfrey is politics editor at the Seattle Times. He was city editor at Detroit Free Press, night city editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and opinion editor and reporter for the Flint Journal. He has also chipped in at Winfrey Foods, the family’s Nashville-based business, which makes mouth-watering southern relish. “Share the Goodness!” He’s on Twitter @CarltonWinfrey.