Friday, March 26, 2010

CapitalSoup.Com Provides a Steady Diet of News for Florida Political Junkies

By Ryan Banfill

You caught me, red handed. I admit it. I confess and throw myself on the mercy of the court.

I am a political junkie.

I not only hunger for public policy news, I actively seek it out so I can get my next fix. I can’t start my day without Morning Joe. In the evenings, while my daughter watches American Idol, I bounce from MSNBC to Fox News to CNN to C-SPAN and back again.

When I get insomnia on the weekends I often find myself watching replays of legislative committee meetings on the Florida Channel -- and I enjoy it.

In fact, as I write this, I’m watching the final passage of the reconciliation fix to the federal health care reform bill.

Yes, what lawmakers refer to as “the process” was made for people like me. I sincerely like watching the legislative “sausage” being made.

And, the process produces a lot of interesting stories for political junkies like me. Stories that unfortunately don’t get the attention they deserve.

How can a bill entitled, an act related to (fill in the blank and name your favorite bill subject here) ever compete with the latest sagas involving the indiscretions of famous celebrities and D-listers who are not as famous.

So, one day my colleagues and I were sitting around kvetching about the impact of a smaller press corps and shrinking news holes on the coverage of news and policy issues out of the Capitol.

Then the proverbial light bulb collectively went off above our heads.

We hit on an idea to create a web site where people could read in real time the assorted press releases that come out of the Capitol on a daily basis.

We set out, built the web site and dubbed it where readers can get news “straight from the source.”

Since we launched, this news has been steadily coming through my in-box and I’ve been spending a good amount of time lately updating the site.

It is fascinating how much news is produced in Tallahassee on a daily basis. It is also sobering the amount of time and resources that are dedicated to getting this information out to the public. Too often, the laudable effort that goes on daily to inform people about what our government and elected representatives has ended up in limbo.

In essence, we have witnessed suspended animation for public information.

We hope will provide some light for the news that often doesn’t get the attention of a stretched-too-thin press corps but deserves to gain notice of information-hungry political and policy junkies.

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