A little insider info from the PPH

In Sunday's Washington Post, ex-Portland Press Herald DC correspondent Jonathan Kaplan laments the decreasing number of Washington correspondents reporting for regional and local newspapers around the country. It's as much a plea for his old job back as anything else - of course, the guy might properly claim to have been duped, as in December 2007 the PPH hired him away from The Hill, where he had worked for five years, and then barely six months later laid him off

But his piece also shows how well the Press Herald brass handled the layoffs - while he was being interviewed before being hired, PPH execs were "proud ... they had a bureau in Washington ... (and) never implied that the lone Maine reporter's seat in the Capitol was in jeopardy of growing cold."

But lo, on June 23, a human-resources staffer sent Kaplan himself an e-mail intended for his bosses, asking when he'd be canned. It wasn't until three days later that the editor actually bothered to confirm what, at that point, had to be some serious suspicions.

And he ends the piece with an ironic bit political-theater reporting that Kaplan says justifies keeping DC correspondents. Back in May, he tells Post readers, US Senator Susan Collins praised an aspect of the farm bill, and then voted against the entire bill.

If that's his strongest argument for having a Washington bureau, it's a weak argument indeed - Kaplan was on the job in May, and never told his readers about that event.

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