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Arizona Republic Looks to Legislators for Legitimacy

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Who reads the AZ Republic? Apparently, the paper isn't so sure anymore.

Which is why the Republic invited a group of Arizona lawmakers to a "test group" two weeks ago hoping to learn whether the paper's still relevant.

According to one of the participating politicians (who would not go on record for fear of angering their host), the state representatives were asked questions about which sections of the daily they read, and how reporting could be improved.

It's a sad when the state's largest-circulating newspaper needs to ask the political movers-and-shakers if they still read it. Sadder still, when the answer might very well be "no."

The test group is just another bump in the steady decline of what was once Arizona's leading news source. First, in 2007, the Republic got rid of the Valley&State and Business sections of the paper. Then it slashed distribution and cut more than 100 staffers -- including 20 reporters.

As for the meeting itself? Says one of a half-dozen or so politicians present (Representatives Rae Waters, David Lujan, Andy Tobin, and John McComish were confirmed participants), people were polite and positive in their critiques of the Republic.

Then again, why wouldn't they be? The daily still gives political endorsements -- and politicians, being politicians, take what they can get.

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