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Who are the best political reporters in the state? For the second time in three years, the Washington Post
's popular political blog The Fix
is offering up a list of the best state-based political reporters around the country. And once again, the names for Tennessee include none from Nashville.
The Fix singles out Tom Humphrey
of the Knoxville News Sentinel
and Richard Locker
of the Memphis Commercial Appeal
as the state's best. Each is Nashville bureau chief for his paper, so "the best," unsurprisingly, are here in town covering the capital and the Capitol. And to be sure, the Post
's methodology, relying in part on reader nominations, lies somewhere between loose and suspect.
Even so, the absence of any print or broadcast reporters affiliated with press outlets based in Nashville -- the state's capital and largest metropolitan area -- raises questions about the health of serious journalism here in Music City. The problem is perhaps more institutional than individual: Nashville has some talented political reporters, but the papers and stations they work for aren't creating the conditions for aggressive, full-time beat coverage of state government and politics.