Politics & Business

Occupy Baltimore Evicted — By Tomorrow?!

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According to the stalwart protesters in Baltimore’s McKeldin Square, the city has refused their request for a permit and set a deadline to clear the square. And that deadline is tomorrow.

Well, it’s not a total eviction — two people can stay. Which doesn’t make for much of an occupation, according to organizers

The city suggests that the demonstrators agree in good faith to
maintain only one overnight tent with just two people. Occupy
Baltimore counters that anyone who wants to stay in their space is
allowed a safe place to stay, out of the elements and with enough food
to eat. Furthermore, Occupy Baltimore has a complex infrastructure
already, with media, food, direct action, outreach, security, and
other working groups, which couldn’t possibly be contained within two
people.

What will happen tomorrow? That remains to be seen.

Newsweek Names T. Rowe Least Green

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Courtesy Citybizlist –

Newsweek ranked T. Rowe Price (Nasdaq:TROW) the least green of America’s biggest companies.

The publication’s Green Rankings looked at the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the United States to compile an overallGreen Score – derived from an aggregation of environmental impact, environmental management, and disclosure.

T. Rowe Price ranked dead last, at 500.

Even the vilified Monsanto (NYSE:MON), which creates genetically engineered seed, fared better than Baltimore-based investment firm.

Read the rest of the story at citybizlist.

Business Insider’s Complicated Stance Re "Occupy" Movement

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In 2003, Henry Blodget was permanently barred from the securities industry by the SEC and required to pay four million dollars for securities fraud—publishing reports on companies that inflated their value or stability, and that contradicted his private, negative opinion of them. He’s now CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider, a blog reporting business trends and research. By all rights, he should be the last guy to publicly declare his sympathy for the gripes of the “Occupy” protesters.

But a quick search of Business Insider’s website yields article after article by Blodget, in which he outlines his general agreement with their complaints and qualified support for their aims. He calls “the juxtaposition of 1) extreme inequality, 2) super-high unemployment, and 3) record high corporate profits” a “serious problem” and even agrees with some of Occupy Wall Street’s recent demands.

But behind some of his seemingly even-handed statements lies poor reasoning. “The entire country bears responsibility for our massive debt build-up and financial crisis, from Wall Street to Main Street to K Street to the Federal Reserve to the White House to Capitol Hill,” he states in a recent article. But the implication that “Main Street” shares an equal (or nearly equal) amount of blame as Wall Street and Capitol Hill? Outrageous. An unequal distribution of power (which Blodget has the charts to demonstrate) excludes an equal distribution of responsibility.

In the same piece, he lists what he judges legitimate frustrations of Wall Streeters. Wall Street is frustrated “that its success, which the country needs much more of, is being vilified.” But is that claim, that the country needs “much more” success from Wall Street, justified? Doesn’t record high unemployment paired with record high corporate profits cast doubt on the assumption that success on Wall Street brings some automatic benefit to the country as a whole? In fact, isn’t this the whole point — that large corporations and the financial sector have increased their wealth at the expense of the vast majority of Americans?

Still, Blodget’s sympathy with the grievances of the Occupy movement (which includes an ongoing “Occupy Baltimore” protest) ought to be heartening. Perhaps more of the “one-percent” will realize how much they depend on the other ninety-nine and earnestly work to rectify the situation.

Which State Has the Most-Educated Lawmakers?

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As more and more jobs require bachelor’s or even master’s degrees, it’s comforting to know that there’s one place you can succeed without the benefit of a college education:  government.

According to an extensive survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education, the 7,400 people who make up our states’ legislatures have a varied set of educational credentials. Expectedly, the state legislators are a more diverse and populist bunch than their Congressional counterparts. About one in four lawmakers at the state level lack a college degree. When the Chronicle asked state legislators about their educational backgrounds, a few listed themselves as “self-educated,” or students of the “School of Life,” or — most frighteningly — “gun school.” For comparison, 75 percent of U.S. senators have advanced degrees; more than half of them are lawyers.

How does Maryland stack up? As you might’ve guessed, our state legislators are more educated than average. Fourteen percent have no/some college, a third have a bachelor’s, and 52 percent have an advanced degree — 11 percentage points more than the national average. (The national average for state lawmakers, that is; nationwide, 28 percent of adults have bachelor’s degrees.) In other words, 97.4 percent of lawmakers have at least some college in their background — the second highest rate in the country, in fact. (South Carolina beats us, barely, with 97.7 percent.) The most popular school in our state house is, unsurprisingly, the University of Maryland at College Park, where 31 of them got their degrees.

The states with the least-educated legislatures? New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, New Mexico, and Arkansas. Hopefully they all went to the school of life instead.

Partisan Politics Wins Out Over Conscience for O’Malley’s Gerrymander

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Gov. O’Malley’s Congressional redistricting map, plainly gerrymandered to increase the number of Democratic delegates Maryland sends to the House of Representatives from six to seven (decreasing the number of Republicans from two to one), was approved by the Maryland House of Delegates and is off to the Senate this morning where it is expected to be approved without incident.

Despite the well-founded objections of Republicans, principled Democrats, and minority groups (who may also see their voting influence diluted by the swirly map) the plan passed 91 to 46, which means that except for two Democrats who voted “no,” it was a purely partisan vote.

According to an article in The Sun, the implicit argument in favor of O’Malley’s plan is that Republicans will be making similar moves in states where they control the process.

But the idea that Maryland needs to disempower its conservative voters (and minorities along the way) because other states are moving to disempower their liberal voters is absurd. Our governor and House of Delegates should understand that they are in office to serve their constituents (and for O’Malley that includes our state’s Republican voters), not to score points in some national partisan chess game.

It’s My Job: The Belvedere Wedding Planner

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Name: Kat Philgreen
Occupation: Event Coordinator for Truffles at the Belvedere
Age: 27
Neighborhood: Mount Vernon
Years in Baltimore: 1 ½

Kat Philgreen is a genuine romantic. She knows the pitfalls of working in the wedding business—“it’s very easy to grow cynical,” she points out—but the glamorous redhead loves her job, and even when she’s been working hard right down to the very last minute, she still finds herself crying during ceremonies almost every time.

Kat came to Baltimore a year and a half ago from Charleston, SC, where she worked in sales and event operations. She moved here after acing an interview with Truffles, the catering and events company based in the old Belvedere Hotel, and it’s a sign of how devoted she is to her job that Kat and her husband live right across from the Belvedere, on Chase Street in the heart of Mount Vernon.

Truffles was taken over by new management in August 2009, and since then, the owners have refurbished all the Belvedere’s five grand ballrooms, laying down new carpets, installing dance floors, and updating the furniture. As a result, the company has seen an upswing in business, and that’s good news for the venerable hotel, once known as the most glamorous place to stay in Baltimore. Today it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1903 on the site of John Eager Howard’s Belvedere estate, the hotel hosted JFK, Woodrow Wilson, Wallis Warfield Simpson and Clark Gable, to name-drop just a few. For the last couple of decades the Baltimore landmark’s reputation had diminished as the city has undergone tremendous change. Now it’s back on the rise. Although evenings during the week are often quiet, there can be as many as five weddings every night at the weekend, and Kat is busy booking brides into 2013.

“Once the bride has set her date, it’s my job to hold her hand and guide her through everything, helping to calm her nerves and ease the stress,” explains Kat. “I help people select their vendors, I make menu recommendations, I plan the flow of the wedding, and I keep everything on track. And of course, I’m there on the big day as well. I’ve literally had to make corsages when there haven’t been enough. I’ve even had to take out my own bobby pins to fix the bride’s hair in place.”

One of the things Kat loves most about her job is learning about wedding customs from other cultures. “I’ve been involved with so many different kinds of weddings,” she says. “Here in Baltimore, there are so many different faiths, cultures and ethnicities. For example, a few weeks ago, we had a wedding where the bride was Indian and the bridegroom was French, and they were both from very prestigious families. The bridegroom had a Hindi ceremonial procession, which is called a baraat. In India, they sometimes use an elephant, but in this case they had a horse, which the groom rode from Eager Street, up Charles Street and right to the front of the Belvedere. There was Indian music playing, and all the guests were singing and chanting. It was one of the most ornate weddings I’ve ever seen. The invitations were so beautiful. The family invited me to attend the ceremony, which was two and a half hours long—they did it in Hindi, French, and English.”

Apart from attending lavish weddings, what are the other perks of the job? “I’ve made so many friends,” says Kat. “After the wedding’s over, I’ll often get to know the couples and I’ll see them when they come back to the Owl Bar. And I’ve learned so much about different wedding customs and ceremonies.”

Still, things don’t always go smoothly. Kat describes a recent wedding between a Jewish Syrian groom and an American bride. “It was going really well,” she says, “until it was time for the groom to stamp on the glass. They’d put the glass in a special cloth pouch to protect it, but it was heirloom blown glass, which must have been really strong, because it went right through the groom’s shoes and cut into his foot. We had to run and get the first aid kit and bandage him up.”

Other than that, most of Kat’s weddings come off without a hitch, though tense and anxious families will sometimes use her as a scapegoat when things get out of control. “We recently had a wedding where the officiant was half an hour late, and everybody was freaking out,” she recalls. “Obviously, there was nothing I could do except to keep calm and offer the bride another glass of champagne.”

I ask Kat whether there’d been an increase in gay weddings at the Belvedere. “Not yet,” she tells me. “I’m hoping we’ll do more in the future, but right now, the civil ceremony has to take place somewhere else. We had a gay wedding last Saturday in the Palm Room, although they had to go to DC for their civil ceremony. They were a great couple, so happy and romantic. They’d asked for the chef’s choice, and that always depends on what’s available. But they were lucky because that weekend, we had four other weddings, so the chef’s choice was this amazing entrée duet of steak and salmon. It was perfect.”

Truffles organizes other events, too, as well as weddings. “We also do Mitzvahs, holiday parties, corporate events and high school proms,” Kat says. “There’s this one high school that has a Great Gatsby lunch every year, after they’ve all finished reading the novel. That’s always a lot of fun.” Has she organized any themed weddings? “Not many, no, but on the Belvedere Bride blog, Averil, our sales and marketing manager, has suggested a number of movie themes to fit with each of the ballrooms.” How about a “Mad Men”-style wedding? “We haven’t had one yet, but I think the show’s done a lot to change the way people think about décor and aesthetics. I know it’s done a lot for me. People are always telling me I look like Joan Holloway, and I use her as my own personal style guide. Whenever I’m making an important decision, I think to myself, “Now, what would Joan do?”

Loyola U. MD Receives $5.2 Million – Largest Gift in Its History

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Loyola University announced yesterday that it received the largest gift in its history from Ed Hanway, Class of 1974, and his wife Ellen.  The $5.2 million gift from Hanway, who is the head of the university’s board of trustees, will support a number of key initiatives, including its global studies program, York Road Initiative, and living-learning communities for first-year students, as well as create a new, endowed, full-tuition scholarship. 

The Hanways’ gift stems from the longstanding, positive impact the University has had on their family, and on the belief in its potential for future success. “Loyola is at an interesting point in its history, with a solid strategy in place that really cuts to the core of what the university is about—programs and education, not buildings,” said Ed Hanway, a Media, Pa., resident who retired as chief executive officer of CIGNA in 2009.

The University’s global studies program, an interdisciplinary major combining economics, political science, history, and sociology, is the largest beneficiary of the Hanways’ gift. Their support will allow for the creation of an endowed faculty chair and endowed speakers’ series, as well as provide additional resources for faculty scholarship.

The gift also provides additional funding for Loyola’s planned living-learning program, set to launch in the fall of 2013. While many colleges and universities—including Loyola—offer living-learning experiences in which students take one or more courses with immediate neighbors in their residence halls, Loyola’s will be unusual in extending the experience to all first-year students, and in the depth and breadth of extra- and co-curricular programs it includes.

Additional resources would also be made available for Loyola’s York Road Initiative, a University-wide effort to improve the quality of life for those living, working, and learning in the neighborhoods just east of Loyola’s Evergreen campus in North Baltimore, as well as for the creation of an endowed, full-tuition scholarship.

Under Armour Doubles Up in Locust Point

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Sportswear firm Under Armour has announced plans to double the size of its Locust Point headquarters. The proposed expansion (which adds 400,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of retail space) would facilitate further growth for a company that thus far has managed not only to survive the recession, but to thrive in it.

But residents of the sort-of-hidden-away-but-prime-for-development-I-mean-c’mon-it’s-right-on-the-water-what-do-you-expect peninsular neighborhood are wary of how the expansion might change life in the neighborhood. They fear development creating visual obstructions and an influx of new businesses that might edge out the old ones.

Community members have even created a task force to work with Under Armour and voice their concerns throughout the development process.

In a time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, you’ve got to respect the farsightedness of a neighborhood that refuses to sell out their values to the promise of more jobs.

Just Because It’s Viral Doesn’t Mean It’s True

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If you’re an avid facebooker with socially conscious facebook friends you may have seen these recently. If you’re socially conscious yourself, you may have reposted them.

One is a chart comparing the ratio of salaries of CEOs to those of average workers across countries. According to the chart, the lowest is Japan at 11 to 1. The highest (by far) is the United States at 475 to 1.
 
The other began as a chain email and outlines the “Congressional Reform Act of 2011,” demanding, among other things, that Congressmen “participate in social security,” that they “no longer vote themselves a payraise,” and that they “participate in the same healthcare system as the American people.”

But where do these posts come from, and are they based on fact?

Pulitzer Prize winning website PolitiFact tackled the pay chart last week. Apparently the chart comes from paper penned by three Louisana Tech College of Business students in 2005. According to their professor, the data were included in the paper with no citation.

As far as the validity of the numbers, one major institutes calculates a pay ratio in the United States of CEO to the average worker at 185 to 1. Another (using a different system) puts the ratio at 325 to 1. Both figures may be shockingly high (“Wait, if the average work makes $20,000…”) but neither agrees with the unsourced table. Neither group calculates ratios for other countries.

The “Congressional Reform Act” was evaluated in by FactCheck.org. The site points out that members of Congress have been participating in Social Security since 1984, that their payraises are determined by a cost-of-living algorithm (Congress has actually voted to receive no pay increase the last two years!), and that their health coverage options are the same as “millions of other federal employees.”

But don’t lose heart, social networking activists! Just do some research and cite your sources.

Baltimore Media Insurgents

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Late last month, Timothy E. Ryan, president, publisher, and CEO of The Baltimore Sun Media Group (BSMG), dropped a bomblet by announcing that, beginning October 10, the company would sell “subscriptions” to its flagship newspaper’s website. Adopting a paywall model similar, if slightly less generous, to the one established by The New York Times Co. for use of its newspaper’s website earlier this year, baltimoresun.com readers now pay $2.50 per week or $50 for six months for unlimited access to what Ryan unblushingly — and, apparently, without irony — terms the site’s “unique, in-depth local news and information.” All of which prompted a Baltimore Fishbowl colleague to deadpan “lots of luck.”

“Unique”? Well, no. “In-depth”? Well, occasionally. The sustained viability of even a free online omnibus content provider such as baltimoresun.com seems somewhat dubious; one that charges viewers seems somewhat fanciful. 

Meanwhile, over the past several years, a handful of local news-and-information websites have established distinct online presences and gained burgeoning individual viewerships by concentrating on discrete niches: business, culture, investigative reporting, neighborhood doings, and lowbrow lore. For free. Most have been founded by restive innovators who ascertained an online vacuum for the very “unique, in-depth local news and information” claimed by BSMG boss Ryan.

The following local media insurgents already have demonstrated their sites’ utility, worthiness, and, perhaps, indispensability.    

 

Edwin Warfield (57), CEO and founder, Citybizlist (citybizlist.com)

Edwin Warfield understood early on – perhaps too early on – the advantages of dispensing local business news via the Internet. In 1994, the publisher of the venerable Baltimore-based weekday legal/business newspaper The Daily Record and slick monthly business features magazine Warfield’s sold those ventures, pulled up stakes in the city, and relocated to Fort Lauderdale, where he launched the Web-only ReviewNet.com. Re-branded the Local Business Network in 2000, the site never flourished to Warfield’s satisfaction, and, in 2002, he sold controlling interest in the company and hightailed it back to Baltimore.

Rebooting on familiar territory, in 2006 he launched citybizlist.com, offering local business news and financial information. This time: pay dirt. “The local part of the Internet has only started in the last five years,” Warfield contends. Published weekdays, “Citybizlist is distinguished by its SEC [Security and Exchange Commission] focus, real-time news operation, 18-hours-a-day news cycle, and user-generated content,” Warfield explains, pointing out that “71 percent of our readership is C-level executives [chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief operating officer, et al.], entrepreneurs, and professionals.”

To date, Citybizlist has enjoyed a handful of editorial coups, notably beating all other Baltimore media in breaking stories about the corporate marriages between Constellation Energy and Exelon, and M&T and Provident banks. Additionally, its success has spawned Citybizlist affiliates in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Houston, South Florida, Charlotte/Raleigh, and Washington, D.C., with content delivered on local websites, mobile applications, and the usual social network suspects (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).

Expanding its non-editorial scope, the Baltimore edition recently unveiled Citybizlist Rewards, a glammy analogue to Groupon and Social Living. “We are offering a limited number of advertisers the chance to put their business in front of our very high profile audience,” Warfield notes. “Our philosophy is ‘you’ve worked hard, you’ve earned it; now enjoy yourself.’” 

Fern Shen (55), editor and publisher, Baltimore Brew (baltimorebrew.com)

The post-Watergate halo effect that accrued to daily newspaper journalism (embodied by the book/film All the President’s Men) had already begun to dim when Fern Shen joined the profession’s ranks in the early 1980s. A 1978 graduate of Harvard University, Shen worked as a staffer at major and minor dailies in Oregon and Connecticut, freelanced for The New York Times, and, after a stint at the now-defunct Evening Sun here in Baltimore, put in 17 years at The Washington Post, principally as a reporter on its Metro desk, a beat that included covering Maryland’s Statehouse. Over the course of 25-plus years, from inside the bubble, Shen witnessed daily newspapers close foreign bureaus, slash staffs, and wave bye-bye to readers and advertisers decamping to the Internet.

Eventually, she joined the exodus, and in 2009 launched the fiercely local, unself-consciously crusading, weekday-only Baltimore Brew. “Baltimore has a proud history and a great heart, but terrible problems,” she explains. “It deserves a smart, funny, inclusive, hard-hitting news website, and that’s what we’re trying hard to make here.”

For resources, Shen tapped into the burgeoning pool of writers who’d either fled or been shed by The Baltimore Sun to produce what she terms “solidly sourced, original reporting,” covering city politics (the site’s strength), education, development, neighborhood issues, and culture/arts. She is particularly proud of Brew staffer (and ex-Sun reporter) Mark Reutter’s on-the-cusp-of-the-primary-election expose concerning the more than $130,000 that developers and others conducting commerce with the city showered on Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s mayoral campaign.

Earnest and adamant without being dour, Shen says, “We absolutely need a Fourth Estate to hold government accountable and give people a way to share ideas on how to improve and enjoy the place where they live.”      

 

Doug Donovan (40), regional editor, Patch (patch.com)

Media leviathan AOL foresaw the potential of Web-based locavore-ization when it inaugurated its Patch franchise in February 2009, and has since rolled out approximately 1,000 hyperlocal news-and-info sites nationwide: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Virginia, et al. Patch landed in the Baltimore area in August 2010, spawning PerryHallPatch and Lutherville-TimoniumPatch. 

Metastasizing, Patch has now invaded 48 Maryland communities — Catonsville, North Baltimore, College Park, Westminster, Havre de Grace, and Glen Burnie, among others — reporting on community politics, sports, culture, events, meetings, and lifestyle. Each site employs one full-time editor/writer, augmented by freelancers. (Given this rabbit-like reproduction rate, can we eventually expect microlocal editions such as AlonzovillePatch, ultimately leading to extreme-local manifestations: YourBlockPatch, and, inevitably, YourHousePatch?)        

Riding herd on this unwieldy flash mob: five regional editors, including, in the Baltimore area, career journalist Doug Donovan, who spent 2003 to 2008 as a staff writer at The Baltimore Sun. “I believe Patch’s model not only provides news and information — original and aggregated content about our towns — but also works hard to try to engage the people in our communities,” explains Donovan. “I wanted a model that would empower people to participate in coverage of their neighborhoods, so that we were fostering a conversation, spurring a dialogue or debate, and not simply engaging in a one-way traditional method of delivering news.” 

Patch’s intensely locally focused editorial microscope has resulted in scoops about a Baltimore County Council candidate who failed to pay his federal and state taxes; a Bel Air town commissioner charged with theft of $5,000; and the dubious ties between a grassroots Facebook advocacy group favoring expansion of speed cameras in Baltimore County school zones and the company hired by the county to oversee its speed-camera initiative. 

“We are so locally oriented,” notes Donovan, “that the news related to neighborhoods doesn’t get buried or lost in the crush of regional, state, and national content.”

Scott Huffines (48) and Tom Warner (54), founders and editors, Baltimore or Less

(baltimoreorless.com)

Scott Huffines and Tom Warner operate decidedly outside the mainstream media, cheekily celebrating the outré, the odd, the outlandish, and the odoriferous about their native city. While a handful of local feature-oriented websites labor predictably to establish some manner of misguided hipster cred, Baltimore or Less, launched in mid-2010, instead effortlessly plucks and then posts what Warner, a librarian in the Enoch Pratt Central Branch’s Sights and Sounds Department, terms “the unknown or unusual or serendipitous charms of Charm City.”

Recent original items include Warner’s waggish essay on the relentless misspelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s middle name as “Allen,” notably by the should-know-better MPT. The site also judiciously aggregates media stories — local and national, past and present — that probe Baltimore’s sometimes dogged, sometimes hangdog sensibility. “We pre-digest weird Baltimore-related news that most people aren’t interested in, and regurgitate it like mama birds feeding their young,” explains Huffines, a Web development specialist for the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Anesthesia.

Click on “Baltimorons” or “Pranks,” for instance, from the site’s extensive archives, and discover what Huffines calls “insane tidbits,” such as “Iggy Pop recorded a live album on Pulaski Highway; Babe Ruth got sick injecting a serum made from sheep’s testicles; and a  stunt balloonist drank six beers, and then fell a half-mile to his death in Highlandtown.”

Not everything comes across as Baltimore Babylon, though. BMoL plays nice, too. One example: Jackie Nickel’s (Huffines late newspaperwoman mother) endearing story about Essex-based, crab-eating social group the Ancient and Honorable Nobles of the Hardshells. 

Bonus: The site brims with pertinent videos and audio components, including a “Baltimore Soundtrack” that features jaunty, decades-old Natty Boh jingles and the long-gone Baltimore Clippers minor league hockey team’s rah-rah theme song.

“Scott and I are archivists of sorts,” says Warner, “and we’re interested in what makes Baltimore such a unique place, its balance between the profane and the mundane, the highbrow and lowbrow — particularly the lowbrow.”

 

 

 

Len Lazarick (63), editor and publisher, Maryland Reporter (MarylandReporter.com)

When his job as State House bureau chief for Baltimore Examiner disappeared in early 2009 with the demise of that relatively short-lived daily newspaper, Len Lazarick detected an acute disturbance in the journalistic force, as coverage of state government and politics, both in Maryland and nationwide, continued to erode. Five months later, he discovered a potential angel to help fill the gradually expanding void: the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which funds nonprofit websites that provide online news and information about the wonky world of state government. After securing a grant from the Franklin Center, Lazarick incorporated MarylandReporter.com as a nonprofit in September 2009, and then launched the site that November.

Led by Lazarick, who has covered Maryland’s state government since the 1980s (Patuxent Publishing, MPT), each weekday Maryland Reporter’s staff blankets Annapolis’ myriad commissions, agencies, and departments – plus the General Assembly and the governor’s office – to offer consistently thoughtful, incisive, and clearly written articles that probe an often murky realm. “Our experienced journalists produce original stories about how state government spends taxpayer dollars,” Lazarick explains. Additionally, Maryland Reporter “scours over 50 websites every day to give our readers a daily roundup of state government news from newspapers, broadcast stations, and bloggers.”

This past March, Associate Editor Megan Poinski’s story about state employees who rake in $100,000-plus salaries — she found 5,139 such anointed worker bees – created a minor tsunami, given the context of Maryland’s straitened financial circumstances. Also, Maryland Reporter broke the curious tale of Baltimore City Democratic Delegate Curt Anderson’s brief flirtation with the legislature’s Tea Party Caucus. More recently, the site has adroitly sifted through the impenetrable arcana of the Congressional redistricting process, including Lazarick’s hint-of-snark piece about the serpentine nature of the proposed new 3rd district.
 

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