Olympian’s Legislature team is the largest in Washington state

jredecker@theolympian.comJanuary 6, 2013 

The 2013 Legislature has big challenges as it strives to restart Washington’s economy, coming out of the Great Recession.

As a state capital newspaper, The Olympian has geared up to cover the session as no other news outlet can. We have the largest reporter team in the legislative press corps. I’d like to introduce them to you.

Northwest native Brad Shannon has served as The Olympian’s political editor since March 1999, covering politics and state government out of the newspaper’s Capitol bureau. Before that he covered city government, courts, tribal issues and public education, and served as an editor. Brad is a graduate of The Evergreen State College and lives with his wife and son near Olympia. This session, Brad will turn much of his attention to state worker issues.

Jordan Schrader was the Capitol reporter for the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times in Raleigh before moving to Olympia three years ago. He also covered the police beat for the Citizen-Times. Jordan majored in history at the University of Michigan, where he was the editor-in-chief of the independent student paper, The Michigan Daily. Readers will see stories by both reporters, as well as joint bylines, throughout the 105-day session and beyond.

New to the team this year, but not new to the region, is Melissa Santos. She will be responsible for full-time digital coverage and a dedicated print page. She worked for The News Tribune from 2007-10, covering suburban communities in Pierce County and issues in the Legislature that affected those communities. Before that, she covered the Legislature as an intern for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Washington as well as a degree in digital media and Web design from the University of Maryland. She left The News Tribune to move to Italy with her husband, who is active-duty Navy, and recently returned.

Also joining the team is Jimmy Lovaas, a journalism intern from the University of Washington. The Olympian continues its longstanding tradition of mentoring journalists and giving them hands-on experience in the halls of the Capitol. It’s a new career for Jimmy, who also has been a flight steward, a salesman and a bouncer. There are some who would say those skills are not incompatible with journalism!

In addition, we have a close relationship with The Seattle Times and The Associated Press, both of which have several staffers covering the session.

These reporters, with the support of our photojournalism staff, comprise the largest news-gathering team on the Capitol Campus. Statewide, the Legislative press corps has been cut by about 50 percent from its high of more than two dozen reporters. However, The Olympian and its parent company, McClatchy, have recognized the importance of state government coverage and continue to dedicate substantial resources so readers can get state government news in print, online and on mobile devices, anytime, anyplace.

Jerre Redecker: 360-754-5422 jredecker@theolympian.com

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