It's no secret the news media have retrenched in their coverage of local and state governments as news staffs have shrunk, a result of commercial journalism's imploded business model. (The Internet giveth, the Internet taketh away.)
Washington still gets plenty of attention, as recent weeks proved. But statehouses are covered by just a fraction of the reporters who watched them a decade or more ago.
But there are efforts to make up for that loss in the coverage of issues, politicians and policies that typically touch citizens more immediately than Washington does.
One of those attempts is StateImpact, a collaboration between NPR and member stations in eight pilot states to provide broadcast and online coverage of the ways public policy affects people's lives.
The project plans to launch one new site in each state, focusing around a policy issue of local importance and providing a rich source for readers and listeners of how these governments work (or don't.)
Four policy areas will draw the initial focus: budgets, education, energy and the economy. The first states to get the StateImpact treatment are Florida, Indiana, Idaho, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Which brings us to Elise Hu who works for the project and will be writing occasional posts for It's All Politics blog connected to StateImpact's coverage. We look forward to reading her posts.