The Ultimate State-By-State Guide To Political Media, Part 1
One of the tricks of the Hotline trade is that our staffers spend hours each weekday reading hundreds of newspapers from every state in the nation. That allows us to produce coverage of campaigns and politics at the state level. It also means we get to know (and mostly love) the press in the beats we cover -- from the Aberdeen American News to the Zanesville Times-Recorder.
Despite the myriad financial woes facing journalists and newspapers today, the press continues to persevere. So the Hotline gives thanks this Thanksgiving week to the tireless press, by sharing our collective knowledge of this cycle's coverage and letting you know the need-to-read papers and journalists state-by-state. Who soared? Who suffered? Who broke the biggest stories? Here's what we think.
Be sure to check back in throughout the week as we roll out each state, 10 at a time.
Alabama- Like Michigan, New Jersey and other states, three of Alabama's major newspapers are all conveniently lumped together at a "live" Web site, AL.com: Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register and Huntsville Times. The three papers covered the 2010 governor's race in depth and on a day-to-day basis, offering substantial competition to the Anniston Star and Gannett's Montgomery Advertiser. As a whole, Alabama's papers are actively engaged and their major newspapers all offer endorsements. Reporters Sebastian Kitchen (Advertiser) and George Talbot (Press-Register) are among some of the stand-out reporters while former state Rep. Steve Flowers serves one of the premier political analysts in the state.
Alaska- This has been a tumultuous election season, to put it mildly, in the 49th state. But the state's newspapers have risen to the occasion, with Anchorage Daily News leading the coverage of the Republican primary upset, write-in campaign, and ballot count that led to what appears to be a historic win for Sen. Lisa Murkowki's (R). Fairbanks Daily News-Miner has also had notable coverage, as has the Alaska Dispatch -- which sued to access Joe Miller's (R) employment records. It was also an Alaska Dispatch reporter that was arrested by Miller's private security detail in perhaps the biggest scandal during the campaign.
Arkansas- Arkansas uses a conglomerate Web site of its own in ArkansasOnline.com, which is chiefly the host site for the state's newspaper standard-bearer Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The online content is protected behind a pay wall, however, unlike its rival Arkansas News Bureau. Several individuals stand out for covering politics, including John Lyon (News Bureau), Sarah Wire (Gazette) and columnist John Brummett (Gazette). Conservative blogger Jason Tolbert of "The Tolbert Report" offered frequent and blunt assessments of the 2010 Senate and gubernatorial races without an overwhelming sense of ideological bias, along with now-former "Blake's Think Tank" blogger Blake Rutherford.
Arizona-Tucson's Arizona Daily Star's political news blog is one of the best in the state, while Arizona Capitol Times, a newspaper dedicated to state politics often gets into the nitty gritty that other papers shy away from. The best starting point however, remains Arizona Republic, the state's largest paper. Recall that the Republic first reported that Senate candidate and former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R) pitched government grants -- a piece that was one of the biggest stories from that race.
California- The Golden State had two huge races to cover this year. The exciting gubernatorial race got the most in-depth coverage, with the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Sacramento Bee leading the coverage, while the Fresno Bee and Contra Costa Times holding their own. But the gubernatorial race at times seemed to suck up all the air in the state's press, and the less exciting but equally competitive Senate race could was often short-changed as a result.