Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

We in the media occupy an odd place in Capitol politics.

Inescapably, we are part of the process because what we write and broadcast and how we do it affects outcomes of issues inside the Capitol and political campaigns outside.

That’s why those in and around the Capitol employ hundreds of media advisers and spokespersons – outnumbering journalists by multiple factors – to affect, if they can, what we in the media do.

That said, we are not combatants or stakeholders. At best, we are the public’s eyes and ears. We monitor hearings, debates and other official activities, talk to the participants and sort through thousands of bills and countless other bits of official paperwork.

We try to figure out what’s happening and why and decide – imperfectly, to be sure – what’s pertinent for our audiences.

I’ve been doing that in the Capitol for more than 37 years, ever since Jerry Brown began his first stint as governor. And I’ve never seen a time when the relationship between the media and those in the Capitol has been more contentious.

But that’s good.

Journalists, especially newspapers such as The Bee, have ramped up their watchdog role as never before – in part because with media fragmentation, investigative efforts are original and unique content.

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