Five things I think I think about today's St. Pete Times (5/8)

in Uncategorized by

It’s very likely that if you are reading this blog, you probably know full well about the meltdown which took place late Friday night and early Saturday morning in the Florida Legislature. But if you don’t, Janet Zink has a helpful tick-tock of the series of events which took place.

Kudos to Zink and the rest of her colleagues in the Times‘ Tallahassee bureau for sixty days of excellent coverage. Now, if the newspaper would spend as much time and effort covering the campaigns of those who are sent to Tallahassee.

We often hear about how the lawmaking process is comparable to watching sausage being made (did you know Bismark is credited with that quip?). Well, wouldn’t the sausage taste better if we paid more attention to the ingredients which originally go into it.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t make sense for the newspaper to assign a veteran reporter to cover a legislative race. Instead, the Times, like most other local newspapers, devotes its resources to elections it can influence, like races for County Commission or School Board. It’s not just a coincidence that the newspaper’s readership overlaps a great deal with the scope of those races. Legislative campaigns, however, are much smaller in scope, but involve much more money — and the newspaper can’t influence the outcome as much as it can a County Commission race where there are a lot of voters, but not a lot of money.

That’s why I think it would be interesting if an ace reporter like Steve Bosquet spent 2012 focused on a state Senate race.

A couple other of thoughts about the political coverage:

But enough about politics today because there are a lot of other interesting reads in the paper today (although the Perspective page is, surprisingly, a real snoozer. In fact, the lead story in that section, written by foreign correspondent Susan Taylor Martin, about what Osama bin Laden economically cost the United States, seems to be cribbing from an Ezra Klein blog post from earlier this week.)

What I found most interesting was Jim Webster’s account of his 2,000 mile road trip to sample James Beard Award nominees’ dishes.

So I set out on a day trip to Palm Beach across State Road 60 and back to eat at Caf?oulud. A few days later, I drove U.S. 19 to Interstate 10 to New Orleans to sample the goods at Commander’s Palace, Lilette and Cochon. Then I headed north on Interstate 59 to Birmingham and the Hot and Hot Fish Club. (Tornadoes devastated the state two weeks later, though the restaurant wasn’t damaged.)

This exactly the kind of story I want to see coming from the newspaper’s food critic. Adventuresome, exciting, informative. Yet, while reading this story, I couldn’t help but be reminded that this road trip story would have made for some great material for a food blog. Unfortunately, the Times did away with its food blog last year, despite the popularity of such blogs on many other news sites. Fortunately, Webster will be Tweeting from the Beard Awards on Monday. You can follow him at @jwscoop.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.