Des Moines Register Closes DC Bureau, Well-Known Ag Journalist Philip Brasher Let Go

Journalism is necessary to inform the public and maintain our democracy. The agriculture beat was once an important area of coverage at all major outlets, delivering information about rural areas as well as policy making on food in Washington.

But the “agriculture beat” has been dying a slow death for five decades. On June 22 the DC-based agriculture reporter Philip Brasher was let go by the Des Moines Register.

The loss is a reflection of the climate in journalism today, in which most mainstream media is forced to make cutbacks to editorial and reporting staff due to losses in advertising revenue.

But here is why you should really be concerned about the future of food and agriculture policy in this country:

“This is a critical time for food and agricultural policy because of the deep budget cuts that are coming and the choices that Congress is going to have make… about what money there is available. It’s vital that the public understands the impact of those policy choices and the tradeoffs they involve.”

Philip Brasher

Without journalists to shine a light on food policy, the public will remain critically uninformed and policy decisions will continue to be dominated by industry players in Washington.

Paula Crossfield

Read the rest of editor Paula Crossfield’s comments at Civil Eats.