But it’s fair to note that two of the reporters who were most aggressively reporting on the state’s House Speaker are gone—and that while the investigation into that lawmaker continues, the P&C has hardly reported on the case since a story filed by Largen more than two months ago, according to a search of the paper’s archives. It’s also worth pointing out that coverage next session from whoever winds up in Columbia with the State House beat is likely to draw much interest from politics junkies in the wake of Dudley and Largen’s departure.

Pugh—who joined the P&C after Dudley and Byrd left—did not respond to follow-up email questions this week about the paper’s record of developing young reporters. But during our interview, when asked directly if the paper is pulling punches with the Speaker of the House, he pushed back strongly.

“I don’t believe anybody that we cover thinks they’re getting any kind of break,” he said. “We’ve got some of the most aggressive watchdog journalists in the state, frankly, some of the only aggressive watchdog journalists in the state. I don’t think anyone feels they’re getting any kind of break from us.”


Corey Hutchins is CJR's correspondent for Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia. A former alt-weekly staffer, he has twice been named journalist of the year in the weekly division by the S.C. Press Association. Hutchins recently worked on the State Integrity Investigation at the Center for Public Integrity, and he has contributed to Slate, The Nation, and Medium, among others. Follow him on Twitter @coreyhutchins or email him at coreyhutchins@gmail.com.