Because of the value of that local expertise, MacGillis said, national journalists in DC and New York “need to care a lot about the deterioration of local coverage.” While the job market for political journalists along the Acela corridor is strong, he worries that “there are stories we’re simply not going to know about, or to parachute into, because the flare won’t be sent up in the first place.”

And as a DC-based writer himself, MacGillis makes no apologies for the way he covers politics around the country. His trip to Milwaukee, when he picked up the print edition of “Dividing Lines,” coincided with the glad-handing White House Correspondents’ Dinner, he noted. “There’s something even worse than parachuting journalists,” MacGillis said. “It’s journalists that don’t even get on the damn plane.”

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Anna Clark is CJR's correspondent for Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A 2011 Fulbright fellow, Clark has written for The New York Times, The American Prospect, and Grantland. She can be found online at and on Twitter @annaleighclark. She lives in Detroit.