Gubernatorial Coverage: Where's the Substance?

Let me say, up front, that there is a touch of hypocrisy in what I'm about to say. This reporter, as much as any, is guilty of focusing on the "horse race" rather than candidates' records during campaign season. But in my defense, that's our shtick here at the Phoenix. We're small, we're the alt-weekly, it's what we do.

The ProJo is certainly obligated to cover the horse race, too. It's interesting, it's now, and it does say something important about the candidates and how they'd govern. But this reader, and former ProJo employee, wants something more.

It is probably unfair to compare the ProJo to the Boston Globe. The Globe is a much bigger paper. But with both broadsheets following hotly contested, three-way races for governor, one can't help but notice the differences. While the Globe digs into Republican candidate Charlie Baker's tenure as chief of health insurer Harvard Pilgrim, say, or independent Tim Cahill's early career as a businessman, we get nothing similar in Rhode Island.

How about a close look at Lincoln Chafee's tenure as mayor of Warwick? What about Frank Caprio's career as a State House legislator, or an examination of the political reach of his family that goes beyond Mike Stanton's probing - and important - stories on Frank Caprio, Sr.'s push to get jobs for friends.

There are still a few weeks left in the campaign. Perhaps this is all still to come. But time is running out. The ProJo has the talent to pull this sort of coverage off. We'll see if it happens. 


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