A New Year’s Resolution for the Media: Write More About What They Do and Less on What They Say

From New Year’s resolutions for the media by Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell:

Spend more time talking about the things the government actually does and less time covering what government officials say or who’s ahead in the horse race.

There is excellent beat reporting being done on how the government is (or isn’t) restructuring health care, immigration, housing, environmental regulations and other issues that affect Americans. But we in the pundit class often instead emphasize palace intrigue, political jockeying, or how a particular development advantages one party or another at the ballot box. We need to remember that the purpose of elections isn’t just to win more elections; it’s to elect a government that actually does stuff.

Next year, let’s do a better job of explaining how political leaders’ actions affect people’s daily lives. Not just the political leaders in the White House, and not just those in Washington either — state and local government actions get far too little coverage relative to the amount of influence they have over how Americans live and work. That’s partly a function of the hollowing out of local news organizations, of course. But those of us employed at national organizations must do more to cover these issues, too.

Some significant policy developments are hard to understand and even harder to explain clearly and telegenically. Those are exactly the issues we in the media need to cover better.

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