Karen Peterson: New reporter moves from Royals to Mariners

EXECUTIVE EDITORDecember 1, 2013 

A roundup of some news in and around the TNT:

NEW MARINERS WRITER COMING

We’re excited that Bob Dutton, veteran baseball writer for The Kansas City Star, will join our staff Dec. 9 as our beat writer for the Seattle Mariners.

A native of Delaware, Bob worked at a handful of small papers before arriving at The Star in 1981. He was a copy editor and assistant sports editor there (with a brief turn at The Dallas Morning News) before returning to a reporting role in 1991.

Bob covered Kansas State and Kansas before becoming a full-time baseball writer in 2000, covering the Kansas City Royals. He was president of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 2008 and serves on the committee that nominates players to the Hall of Fame.

Bob is well-sourced and relentless in his reporting. He has 24,850 Twitter followers. He thinks it’s cool that he gets paid to go to the ballpark every day. And he and his wife are excited about moving to Tacoma.

Covering a Major League Baseball team is no small commitment for a news organization or a reporter. The travel starts in February with several weeks of spring training and continues with games straight through to October (in the good years ending with a few weeks of playoffs). That means tens of thousands of dollars in travel costs for the paper and countless nights away from home for the reporter.

In this age of a 24-hour news cycle, the writer must gather and share news almost around the clock. Even in the offseason, teams are hiring and firing coaches and players, making news at every turn.

Our readers have shown great support for our coverage of this beat, where it’s important to have an independent journalist keeping an eye on the team. Even when the news isn’t good for the Mariners, our readers want to know.

Dutton will start his Mariners gig at the MLB winter meetings in Florida and join us on the ground shortly afterward.

He takes over for Ryan Divish, who left last month to cover the Mariners for The Seattle Times.

KUDOS FOR FULL-TIME OPEN GOVERNMENT OMBUDSMAN

We congratulate state Attorney General Bob Ferguson for following through on his campaign promise to promote government transparency by hiring a full-time open-government ombudsman.

I wrote a column on the topic in January after Ferguson took office. The ombudsman position, created by previous Attorney General Rob McKenna in 2005, subsequently was reduced to part time. Budget constraints threatened even the part-time position, but Ferguson said when he took office he hoped to save it.

The ombudsman serves as a consultant to government agencies, helping them to understand and follow laws governing open meetings and public documents. The ombudsman also helps citizens of Washington — including journalists — understand the laws and responds to complaints about possible violations.

Many times, the ombudsman pried open meetings or pried free documents wrongfully kept secret by state or local agencies.

Sitting part-time ombudsman Tim Ford left the attorney general’s office in August. Ferguson announced in September that he would hire a full-time ombudsman. Last month, he named Nancy Krier, a lawyer for the state Public Disclosure Commission, to that position.

Krier worked as a reporter and has a law degree from the University of Washington. She professes a commitment to ensuring open government. We look forward to working with her.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

It’s that time of year again when we revisit newsmakers from the past year and see what they’re up to. Traditionally, we run these updates during the last couple weeks of the year. They have become a reader favorite.

We’re looking for interesting people (or animals) with whom our readers would want to catch up. We’re not looking for updates on issues.

To suggest a where-are-they-now idea, email Randy McCarthy at randy.mccarthy@thenewstribune.com.

Karen Peterson: 253-597-8434
karen.peterson@thenewstribune.com

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