Do We Need White House Reporters?

Ana Maria Cox says no, arguing that White House reporters rarely break scoops of any significance and offering, as a replacement, this sensible idea:

[P]utting a horde of reporters on the site where the big decisions about the country’s future are made is no guarantee of enhanced coverage. Instead of heaping more telegenic reporters into a single White House beat, break up the work among the corps of plugged-in journalists. When the president speaks out on AIG, let financial and labor reporters truth-squad him; when North Korea launches a missile, let defense and Asia specialists assess the White House reaction. Let the beleaguered journalism business prove its worth by providing something you can’t get by watching the White House’s YouTube channel.

I basically agree, with the caveat that spending a lot of time at the White House and breaking frivolous stories might serve to develop a reporter’s relationships with administration staffers, which, one hopes, might lead to staffers becoming comfortable enough to talk in a non-scripted way, at least on occasion. It’s probably good to have reporters around that staffers could talk to about important matters, even most of what gets said is silly.