In case you missed it, the editorial pages of both the Greensboro News & Record and Winston-Salem Journal are both featuring an editorial that blasts the leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly for exiling the Capital Press Corps from the space it has long occupied to the basement of the state Legislative Building. In a piece entitled “In the cheap seats,” the authors decry the decision (and Senator Phil Berger’s disingenuous claim to know nothing about it) as the latest in a string of anti-news media moves and “petty and vindictive.” As the editorial notes:
You may not know much about working conditions for reporters who cover the state legislature in Raleigh.
But maybe you should.
They’ve been consigned to a room in a basement.
Or exiled or banished, depending on how you look at it, from their previous work room directly adjacent to the legislative chambers to one that is barely within commuting distance.
OK, it’s not quite that far-off, but new work space is in the farthest corner of the building from where the state House and Senate conduct their business. And it’s 25 percent smaller.
That means it’s harder for reporters to do their jobs, in a cramped room in the nether regions of state government that accommodates fewer of them.
After explaining that the move was — officially anyway — the decision of Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore’s hired building manager, former right-wing politician, Paul Coble, the editorial concludes this way:
For now, Coble seems to be following the Realtors’ mantra of “location, location, location.”
The farther he can separate lawmakers from reporters — and by extension, the voting public — the better.
The shift of press facilities to an obscure corner seems petty and vindictive.
It’s not only an affront to the people who attempt to cover the General Assembly for the state’s print and broadcast media, it’s an affront to the public, on whose behalf they do their jobs.
Berger and Moore should put an immediate end to this foolishness.