State Senate Bans Selected Reporters From Capitol Press Room and Lawmakers' Offices

The Arizona Guardian, a Web site begun this week by former East Valley Tribune reporters, is already running into trouble with its plan to cover State Capitol news. 

The site reported yesterday that its reporters have been banned from working in the Capitol press room, which is in the Senate building, because they don't lease space there. And, they reportedly were told, news agencies that won't pony up the dough to rent a spot in the press room don't get access to the legislators' offices, either.

As we reported previously, the press is already on its way out from the room, but they were supposed to be getting new office space on the Capitol's fourth floor. Now even that looks iffy -- the Guardian's report says no new leases will be issued, an edict that also affects Arizona Capitol Times reporters.

Senator Bob Burns, a Peoria Republican, (pictured at left), has not told the Guardian why he's discriminating against its reporters.

It can't be legit for legislators to ban all reporters from their offices except for those who can afford an expensive lease (when the leases are even available, that is).

There must be a more equitable solution.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.