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How Specialist Media and 24-Hour News Outlets Work in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., is host to a diverse array of specialist media outlets and 24-hour news oulets. Several of these specialist media outlets, including the National Journal, Congressional Quarterly, The Hill, and Roll Call, conduct in-depth reporting on the federal government and Congress in particular. In recent years, Politico has attempted to imitate this intense political focus while appealing to a broader audience on the web and across the country.

Even these papers are pretty broad-based in comparison to extremely issue- and industry-specific publications. Companies like BNA (now owned by Bloomberg) have teams of reporters that cover federal activities in narrow silos like the environment, healthcare, homeland security, and trade.

They then charge hefty fees to corporate clients who need to stay abreast of the issues — and who know that such specialized intelligence will appear too late, if ever, in more mainstream media outlets.

The newest players on the block are the 24-hour cable news channels and social media. Most Americans are probably all too familiar with the major U.S. cable news networks. CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC cover the national political scene with less depth than the major national papers but greater urgency than an emergency room doctor.

In fact, in the eyes of some, the “He said/She said” interminable political back-and-forth that these networks have fostered has seriously influenced the political tone in Washington.

The cable news channels have been joined by an even more unfiltered, 24/7 media player that is collectively referred to as social media. At the upper end of this spectrum are professionally run news sites that aggregate news stories and blog postings. At the lower, more scattered end of the spectrum is everything from Facebook pages and Twitter tweets to YouTube videos and personal rants.

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