To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Saturday, October 31, 2020

New Observercast

The Incredible Shrinking Capitol Press Corps

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BY ARNOLD HAMILTON

The Tulsa World’s layoffs are bad news for Oklahoma journalism – and even worse news for civic discourse and understanding.

Among the 26 newsroom personnel getting pink slips were two of the World’s three Capitol bureau reporters: Mick Hinton and Tom Lindley. Only Bureau Chief Barbara Hoberock survived Bloody Tuesday.

Hinton had been with the World four years [after a long career with the Daily Oklahoman]. Lindley came aboard in August, when Angel Riggs decided to pursue her PhD.

Both were providing excellent coverage at a time when Oklahoma faces enormous challenges: There’s a looming $309.6 million budget shortfall. Prisons are overcrowded and crumbling. State roads and bridges need at least $1 billion in improvements. Six-hundred-thousand residents don’t have health insurance.

Need I continue?

More context: Hinton’s and Lindley’s departures from the Capitol Press Room come just months after the Oklahoman pushed one of the state’s finest political journalists, John Greiner, into retirement.

At a time when Oklahomans’ need-to-know has never been greater, they won’t have the benefit of turning to these three excellent political journalists.

What a shame.

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.