A local non-profit investigative journalism organization says it’s assigning a reporter to cover the local congressional delegation in Washington D.C., a move that would restore San Diego-oriented coverage in the nation’s capital.
The Watchdog Institute also announced today that The San Diego Union-Tribune is severing its financial ties to the organization. The newspaper had helped fund the institute and published many of its stories. In addition, most of the institute’s staff came from the U-T.
In an indication that it is facing hurdles on the money front, the institute’s executive director said the institute has cut its staff and will rely in part on freelancers until it reaches “greater financial stability.”
No local news organization has had a full-time staffer covering Washington D.C. since the U-T eliminated its 64-year-old capital bureau in 2008 amid several rounds of newsroom staff cutbacks. All of the bureau’s four remaining reporters left the paper.
The Copley Press (which officially ran the bureau) and the U-T shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for exposing the epic corruption by local Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who ended up going to prison.
Lorie Hearn, a former U-T editor who runs the San Diego State-based institute, said reporter Brooke Williams will cover the local congressional delegation. Williams joined the institute from the U-T.