Thank You, Walter Jones

Members of the Capitol Hill press  corps recently took Walter Jones to lunch to honor his time  covering the Gold Dome.  L to R, Kristina Torres, AJC; Maggie Lee, Macon Telegraph; Johnny Kaiffman, WABE, Jones; Aaron Gould Sheinin, AJC, James Salzer, AJC.
Members of the Capitol Hill press corps recently took Walter Jones to lunch to honor his time covering the Gold Dome. L to R, Kristina Torres, AJC; Maggie Lee, Macon Telegraph; Johnny Kaiffman, WABE, Jones; Kyle Wingfield, AJC; Aaron Gould Sheinin, AJC; James Salzer, AJC.
Walter Jones is the political reporter for the Morris News Service, providing political content since 1998 for a consortium of newspapers including the Athens Banner-Herald, the Savannah Morning News, the Georgia Times Union and the Augusta Chronicle. I’ve covered news events with him in locations as diverse as the Varsity, the North Atlanta Trade Center, the Commerce Club and of course the state house, where he could be found in the House or Senate press gallery, or talking to our friends in the hall on the third floor balcony. Walter is also on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Press Club.

Today is the last day for Morris News. The newspaper’s parent has decided to close its capitol bureaus in Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Texas, in addition to its NASCAR bureau. Instead of covering politics, Walter will be writing for the Chronicle. In that sense, he’s lucky, since the other displaced reporters are still looking for employment.

The layoffs at Morris News are part of a larger trend. A 2014 Pew Research study reports that the number of newspaper reporters assigned to work at state capitols declined by 35% between 2003 and 2014, and that 71% of U.S. newspapers don’t have a statehouse reporter. Much of the coverage of state government now comes from non-traditional outlets such as GeorgiaPol.com. In fact, 16% of the coverage comes from non traditional outlets, just one percentage point less than TV. The reasons for the increasing ranks of unemployed journalists are many, including the loss of newspaper classified ad revenue, the move to consume news online instead of print, and the public’s short attention span, with more people interested in the latest about Miley, Taylor or Jennifer than they are in rural healthcare, education funding or criminal justice reform.

But I digress.

Walter’s work has formed the basis for many of our posts, both here and at the old place, and we thank him for that. But most of all, we want to send best wishes to an excellent journalist as he moves on to the next step in his career. And we hope he will be able to find some time to stop by the Gold Dome next January and say hello.

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TheManUndertheBridgeTerixdogWill DurantDave Bearse Recent comment authors
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Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

He provides a valuable standard of integrity and reporting, the diminishment of which is fueling the rise of Trump and pols like him.

Will Durant
Will Durant

Which Jennifer?

xdog
xdog

Jones has been a featured contributor to the ABH for years. Lately, he’s about the only reason to pick up the rag. Good luck, Mr. Jones.

Teri
Teri

Walter Jones is a class act. I remember when I met him in late 2000 – I was two years post-college and extremely green, doing my best to navigate Georgia’s public affairs field. Walter was – and is – always generous with his time and advice, and never dismissed me, even way back in the day when I was a wet-behind-the-ears baby flack. He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s a heck of a writer, and his Capitol coverage is a loss – but Georgia is fortunate he’ll still be in print. (Digression/rant: I’m a die-hard print media reader, and I wholeheartedly… Read more »

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Here, here on print media. Some citizen journalists are good though, but unfortunately most people can’t tell the difference.

TheManUndertheBridge
TheManUndertheBridge

To me this is the saddest fact quoted from the Pew study: “A 2014 Pew Research study reports that the number of newspaper reporters assigned to work at state capitols declined by 35% between 2003 and 2014, and that 71% of U.S. newspapers don’t have a statehouse reporter. ” I am sorry for those still displaced by the decisions at Morris News. A Nation without Walter Jones and his ilk suffers the loss of a true Fourth Estate, the importance of investigative reporting, and ability to reach rural areas. I say this at the risk of sounding foreboding, but that… Read more »