By Jacqueline Policastro, special to the News Media Alliance
In Laredo, Texas, a woman could lose the land she owns to make way for a border wall. In North Platte, Nebraska, people might not have access to their rural airport. In Toledo, Ohio, families relying on food stamps are worried about how they will get by if their benefits are cut.
It’s budget season in Washington. How will lawmakers choose to fund defense, transportation and programs for Americans most in need?
Gray Television Washington News Bureau works to make national issues local and bring local issues to the national spotlight.
For example, the threat of Asian Carp in the Great Lakes could be devastating to the local economy, so the Bureau pressed lawmakers to find out what they are doing about it.
And, we exposed the opioid abuse scandal at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin, taking cameras directly to the Senators accused of fumbling whistleblower reports.
Currently, the Washington News Bureau is pushing for access to nearly 200 members of Congress who represent citizens in 57 television markets across 29 states.
But the fight doesn’t stop at Capitol Hill. The Washington-based reporters question high-level administration officials, from the President’s Chief of Staff and Press Secretary to members of his Cabinet. In February, they attended a dinner with the President in the White House State Dining Room, an unprecedented event for local television news journalists. Having a presence in Washington helps facilitate dialogue that wouldn’t occur otherwise.
The Washington News Bureau is reporting on the issues that matter, asking the Environmental Protection Agency administrator for example what the President’s regulation rollbacks mean to the coal industry in Hazard, Kentucky; and the energy secretary about the safety of a nuclear waste disposal site near our viewers in Reno, Nevada.
The Washington News Bureau is fighting for local stations to have a seat at the national table. It’s a responsibility not to be taken lightly.
Jacqueline Policastro created the Gray Television Washington News Bureau and has more than a decade of experience covering Congress and the White House.
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.