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"Animal House behavior, crappy dress and poor manners"? You're going to have to do better than that to hurt my feelings, Greg.
Seriously, the real issue in all of this is access to legislators and their staff. It's key to our ability as reporters to explain the buzzsaw that is a Capitol in session. Many of our readers will never make it down to the Capitol themselves. We're they're eyes and ears.
You may not like that working media have traditionally been afforded special access as a privilege. That's fine.
But it's what our readers, viewers and listeners demand and deserve.
MATTHEW BENSON
(reporter with The Arizona Republic and proud resident of the Capitol Press Room)

As for Horizon - my vote is for Greg over Casey Newton.

Poor Matthew Benson has become delusional. Does he really think, as he commented above, that his readers "demand" he and other reporters be "afforded special access as a privilege?"

Quite honestly, most of Mr. Benson's readers could care less whether he gets a special floor pass or has a room set aside for him. In fact, I suspect quite a few folks will be delighted to see the mainstream press lose their special status.

Honestly, the closing of the Capitol Press Room won't change much. The mainstream media at the State Capitol will continue to do a great job promoting Democrats and mediocre job of covering the news.

I don't want to be unkind to Mr. Benson, but the press room really should be the least of his worries. The Arizona Republic isn't done with layoffs, not by a long shot.


Jimmy Olson writes:

"We're they're eyes and ears."

Sounds like Jimmy Olson attended a few of those Animal House parties in lieu of English classes.

Having stood in the Senate building outside the press room, I often wondered "What the heck goes on in there?" Now, I know and apparently... will never have to wonder again.

While Greg is right that journalists don't need special privileges, does anyone catch the ongoing hypocrisy in his "writing?" As he complains about whiners, he whines that he's going to blow a gasket if the other boys won't treat him fairly. Jeez, he's the biggest whiner of them all! And Greg on Horizon? The show is for journalists, not for shills for the Republican party.

Pundit Writer: So is Horizon just for "Democrat Party Shills"?

The show is for trained journalists. Of which Greg is not.

As Matthew Benson demonstrated in his whiny, grammatically incorrect diatribe, there is no such thing as a trained journalist.

Greg:

First, let me say I like your blog. You do a really good job at what I presume is your goal: to bring your experience and writing ability to bear on issues that interest you and to try to sway the debate on those issues toward your position. There is a real place for that and people are well-served by listening to all opinions and then making up their own minds.

But the Arizona Guardian is not a blog. And just because we are both on-line only publications that is not the definition of whether one is doing journalism and one is doing strictly opinion writing.

More and more online only news sites like the Guardian are starting as reporters and editors are being laid off. Minnpost.com, voiceofsandiego.org and stlouisbeacon.com are three that, just like the Guardian, have been started by reporters and editors cut from the dailies in those cities. The Christian Science Monitor is on-line only and the Seattle Post-Intelligencier says it may go web-only if it can't find a buyer in the next couple months.

The Arizona Guardian is a full service independent news operation just like those, not solely a vehicle for opinion pieces.

Another point: The staff of the Guardian is based at the Capitol full-time (whether in the press room or the hallway) and makes its living from the news operation. We do not have other jobs and then just weigh in on topics from time to time. That is the same professional model as the Republic, the Star, Capitol Media Services, Capitol Times and the radio reporters who also are based out of the Capitol.

I think if you read the first week of the new site you'll see that we reported many of the same stories as the other media - the budget, Ken Bennett, Jan Brewer and so on. The Guardian does much beyond that, including providing space for columns written by Republicans (Jon Kyl was the first) as well as Democrats.

So the reason you will likely see the Guardian staff on Horizon is because it is an independent, straightforward news organization, just like the others. Horizon is looking for repoters to explain the news, not opine on it. Again, opinion writing has a valuable function and you are certainly good at it; it's jut not what the Arizona Guardian and other independent media outlets primarily do.

The access issue is a separate one. Matt Benson is absolutely right in that the media serves as an important information source for the public, the people who do have other fulltime jobs and can't get to the Capitol to sit in on hearings or research bills, among other things. So close access -- which the press pays the Senate for, it's not provided free -- is a significant issue that even Sen. Burns regonizes. Besides trying to work out the space issue with the Capitol press corps, he announced last week he wants to hold weekly press briefings so the media can keep the public fully informed on what is going on with the budget.

As Sen. Burns recognizes, it's more important than ever for people to know what government is doing with taxpayers' money and their rights. Independent press coverage has long been a primary way to do that.

Patti Epler
Senior political editor
The Arizona Guardian

If Benson's comment is a whiny, grammatically incorrect diatribe, then it fits right in at Espresso Pundit.

That's got to be the nicest, most professional e-mail Patti Epler has ever written.

Better watch your back Greg and have someone start tasting your food.

Would you like some cheese to go with this whine, Greg? Jeez. I expect better from you.

oh wheeh you cry baby you.

Papers are stacked on the floor? So what. Have you ever been in a newsroom. They're not spotless, in fact the better, more vital, ones are pretty messy affairs with papers stacked everywhere. It's hardly a measure of professionalism. Walls are covered with cartoons and bumper stickers? It's personality. The pressroom is the reporters' offices. Your GOP cronies (or as one notable area pundit has dubbed them "the Kookocracy") have personality galore in their offices. You want to see a mess? Wait till reporters are sitting on the floors and hallways filing on their laptops. That will be a lot messier than the press room.

You must have been beaten up on the grade school playground by some aspiring newspaper reporter. You're disdain for the fourth estate is visceral and irrational.

You're not a journalist, you're a pundit for the radical right. You don't break news. You spout opinion.

People still wink when not trying to play cutesy on national television?

I think the bitchy buggy whip fourth estate just got its collective panties in a wad over this post.

Good luck finding jobs when the newspapers die, jerkoffs.

I agree with Greg, throw them all out since none of them do anything even resembling good reporting any way. They could shoe horses and be more relevant to the world of today.

Jerkoffs? Classy! Great company you keep here. Talk about professionalism.

You can't make Cum from Community. Com maybe, or Cun, but not Cum.

Greg Patterson? The same Greg Patterson who is a lobbyist and therefore banned from the floor of the house and the senate? You are a lawyer and should know these things. I do not know of any journalists who are also lobbyists. As a part-time blogger, you should not be able to discuss politics from an unbiased perspective on any media outlet with full-time journalists.
I also think that kicking the press out of the Capitol should be the last thing on the Republican's to-do list.

"We're they're eyes and ears"??? Dude, next time you post, make sure a copy editor reads your gibberish first. Let's see, no UPI reporter, no Gazette Capitol reporters, no Tribune Capitol reporters, no Citizen Capitol reporter, no KTAR Capitol reporters, KFYI's Bill Gruver is long gone, and TV reporters barely know how to find the place. Do we see a trend here? This discussion will soon be moot, because Matt and Howie will be the only ones left. Solution: Convert the broom closet.

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