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The Media's Eastern Centrism In Map Form

Strange Maps comes through again with this cool graphical representation of where wire stories are datelined. It's certainly not all that big a surprise that New York and DC dominate coverage, but the scale of their domination is pretty impressive--more stories are datelined in DC than in the entire state of California. And look how puny states like Texas, Illinois, and Ohio appear compared to smaller eastern states like Massachusetts and Connecticut.

It's also worth noting that perhaps the grossest political distortion journalism produces is toward federal politics, even though decisions made in state capitals and cities have nearly as much impact (if not more) on the everyday life of the average American as decisions made in Washington. The general level of awareness surrounding state and local issues is painfully low, and, as the American Journalism Review has noted:

Coverage of state government is in steep decline. In capital press rooms around the country, there are more and more empty desks and silent phones. Bureaus are shrinking, reporters are younger and less experienced, stories get less space and poorer play, and all too frequently editors just don’t care.

Not that this is all that surprising either--with a few notable exceptions, state government is decidedly unsexy, and nobody really likes writing (or reading) about policy. But the lack of quality coverage at the state level still poses a major quandary for those of us who believe that federalism is an underrated virtue.

--Josh Patashnik