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New Online Publication to Cover Maryland State Politics


Len Lazarick | Image by marylandreporter.com

Remember Len Lazarick? He was the State House bureau chief for the Baltimore

Examiner

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, when that daily was still a going concern. Before that, he was a producer at Maryland Public Television, and he worked first as political editor, then managing editor, at Patuxent Publishing before that. Suffice to say that the guy's been around Maryland journalism a while.

The Examiner

closed up shop in early 2009, leaving Lazarick and his fellow reporters without jobs in an economy that has not been kind to journalism. One of the paper's investigative reporters, Stephen Janis (an erstwhile

City Paper

contributor), founded his own online news publication,

Investigative Voice

, and now Lazarick's name and visage have turned up at another new online publication called

.

The site, which Lazarick founded with grant money from the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, will cover goings on in state government via a web site and a subscriber-based newsletter that'll be delivered to e-mail inboxes Monday through Friday. On the home page of its new site, Maryland Reporter says it will "fill the gap" created by the loss of State House coverage in other (presumably, print) publications and "fill the public's need to know the workings of the government they pay for."

According to Lazarick, the Franklin Center-which promotes journalism that educates the public about corruption and abuse by government officials-has been funding the creation of new state-government bureaus around the nation. The funders, he says, "are concerned with the loss of State House coverage, and what that will mean for the lack of eyes looking at what the government is doing."

Lazarick says he got a skeletal version of the site up and running in August and has spent the intervening time playing the role of entrepreneur, rather than newsman: He incorporated his business under the name marylandreporter.com, obtained an Employer Identification Number, and filed for nonprofit status with the IRS. He's learning about payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, bookkeeping, and web development.

"I was kind of curious about this process, because I had been at the [suburban Maryland]

Business Monthly

as news editor, a part-time job, for about eight years," he says. "So I covered a lot of small business and learned about he travails of small businesses, but I've never really gone through the process myself."

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Though it's now online, Maryland Reporter won't really be ready to roll out until late October. At the moment, the operation is a one-man show, though Lazarick says he has hired Andy Rosen, State House reporter for the

Daily Record

, to serve as assistant editor. Rosen's last day with the

Record

is this week, and he will start with Maryland Reporter next week. Lazarick says that eventually he'll look for interns and contributors, but for the time being it'll just be the two of them.

"Once Andy gets on, I'm hoping that we'll have the infrastructure basically up and running," he says. "We haven't determined yet whether we're going to do a soft launch exactly, or how we're going to get this launched. But at some point soon we're going to start doing journalism."

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