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Blog Posts by Steven Waldman

State SPANs

by Steven Waldman, Senior Advisor to the Chairman
June 14, 2011 - 02:05 PM

From 2003 to 2008, the amount spent by state governments rose almost 20 percent. During the same time, the number of reporters covering state government declined by one third. Though it's no panacea, one thing that might help is if every state in the country had a state-level C-SPAN. 

Chapter 8 of the Information Needs of Communities report states:

“Currently, state public affairs networks (SPANs) air on cable TV systems in 23 states and the District of Columbia, delivering gavel-to-gavel coverage of state legislative, executive, judicial, and agency proceedings, as well as public policy events, supplemented with a wide variety of produced public affairs programming.7 Furthermore, the National Conference on State Legis­latures has found that live webcasts (audio, video, or both) of legislative proceedings are available from at least one chamber (House, Senate, or both) in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.8 Al­though many of these webcasts are available to the public via broadcast or online links, in 29 states or territories they are not carried on cable.9 To date, satellite providers have not carried SPANs in any state except Alaska.10

In several states, SPANs have played a key role in providing statehouse and other political coverage. For example:

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