Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gazette Shifts Away from Local Reporting in East County

Combining its Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Wheaton and Burtonsville editions is not the only change the Gazette is making in East County. According to an email from one of its departing reporters, the Gazette will be replacing its local reporting system with topical, or subject-based, reporting in East County. So instead of having reporters focus on geographic areas (like Burtonsville), the Gazette will have reporters focus on subjects (like crime) all across East County. The rest of the county will retain local reporters, but if the East County arrangement works out, it could spread elsewhere.

Following is an email sent to Gazette sources last week by reporter Jason Tomassini explaining the changes.


Hey everyone, it’s Jason Tomassini from the Silver Spring Gazette. Some of you I have already spoke with about this, but to all, Friday July 16 will be my last day at The Gazette. If you’re receiving this e-mail, it’s because you have been a hugely important help to me in my two years covering Silver Spring. Some of you I’ve spoken with more than others and some of you I’ve probably pissed off from time to time, but covering an entire town of 80,000 was an exciting and challenging task and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all of you.

Many of you are also people whom I’ve contacted recently about stories that are still in the process of needing coverage. So I’d like to let you know what the next steps are to ensure that any announcements you may have can receive the right coverage in The Gazette and to ensure there is as minimal a lapse in news coverage as possible. For the first time in some years, The Gazette will not have a specific Silver Spring reporter, as I was. The desk of four reporters and one editor that have been covering Silver Spring, Wheaton, Takoma Park and Burtonsville will still cover the specific East County area of Montgomery, but will do so with topical beats.

The beats will include crime, education, planning/development and business but any story that doesn’t neatly fit that criteria will be covered. So if a crime occurs in Silver Spring, the East County crime reporter needs to know about it. If news breaks in the Sligo Creek Golf Course debate, our planning/development reporter will likely need to know about it. As those beats begin to firm up in the coming weeks, it will become clear which reporter will handle certain issues. For the time being, if you have an announcement, comment, tip or a story to pitch, please contact the East County Editor, Sophie Yarborough, who can be reached at, 240 473 7561 and is copied on this e-mail. Please forward this to anyone who I might have missed.

Jason Tomassini
The Gazette - Montgomery County