Rep. Norton Blasts “Shortsighted” Layoffs, Closure at Local DC News Outfit

by Xara Aziz
Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

The lone congressional representative of Washington, D.C. has spoken out against the layoffs of 15 city journalists, stating that it will make reporting of issues of importance more difficult.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said in an interview with Courthouse News that the shuttering of DCist, a community-focused publication, in addition to the loss of 15 staffers as part of WAMU, Washington’s National Public Radio affiliate station, was a “double loss,” adding that “they’re cutting criminal justice when crime has been going up in places like D.C. They cut reporters on immigration, when immigration might be the top issue in the country, and they’re cutting reporters on the environment. That’s a loss that will be felt in this region in a number of different ways.”

The news comes after a string of layoffs in what some have considered to be the “spiraling” of the journalism industry in recent years.

WAMU is known to be one of the city’s most reputable media outlets, cultivating news and reporting that fosters transparent communication. The outlet is in collaboration with American University and is known to incorporate a dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion in all facets of reporting.

Now that a portion of the media outlet will be shut down, Norton says the community has lost a resource “to find out news before you can find it anywhere else.” She further added that several journalists laid off from WAMU were responsible for covering subjects significant to both the Washington, D.C. community and the wider population. Getting rid of the publication, she said, means people would lose avenues to learn more about Congress’ efforts to “clamp down on the capital city’s self-governance,” according to Courthouse News.

“It is a trying time for the district,” the lawmaker said, “when they’re doing everything they can to take away even what little home rule we have.”

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