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Dig deep on policy issues to hold leaders accountable

Journalist's Resource looks at what accountability journalism entails, from the perspective of a local mayor is Massachusetts.

In an interesting interview with a local government leader, Journalist’s Resource asked about accountability and local news from the opposite end of the spectrum. Setti Warren, who served as Newton, Mass. mayor until 2018, talked about what it was like to run for governor and not have a local reporter with him for nearly half the time.

A few tidbits:

  • Warren admitted the only way tax payers knew a proposed tax package was working, and what it was being spent on, was the result of dogged local reporting. “We spent every dollar where we said we were going to spend it. But the only reason why people would know that is because the Newton Tab and the Boston Globe were asking me these questions,” he said.
  • Warren suggests politicians often “dumb down” issues, by avoiding deeper complex issues and attacking opponents instead. Newsrooms could avoid this and instead dig deep on complex issues, regardless of what is happening on social media.
  • There’s a wave of activism around certain issues, like gun control, Warren said, and journalists could help the public by explaining what legislators are doing or saying.