Washington State Wire is an independent nonpartisan news gathering organization focusing on Washington state government and the policies that affect Washington residents’ daily lives. We’re a hybrid of original content and news links aggregated from other sources — sort of a sifting of the most important stories we see here in the state’s capital city. We’re not just a blog — we like to think of ourselves as part of the next wave of journalism, sort of an evolutionary step in the news business. We invite you to read what you see on our “front page,” and follow some of the links we’ve posted — and judge for yourself.
Erik Smith, News Editor and Staff Writer
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Erik Smith, Washington State Wire’s lead writer and editor, is a reporter with a longtime background in Washington state politics. The 2013 legislative session will be his 14th.
Erik is a graduate of the University of Washington, where he was editor of his campus newspaper, the Daily. Shortly after graduation he came to Olympia to cover the 1987 legislative session, where he developed a fascination with state politics that has become a lifetime career. For 10 sessions he covered the Legislature and state politics for the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash., while also writing a well-read and award-winning weekly political column. He left the state in 1997 for a job at the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., and as a freelancer landed stories in such publications as the Los Angeles Times. Today he continues to freelance on a regular basis for the magazine Seattle Business. In 2005 he returned to his hometown of Spokane to manage a pair of family-owned small businesses – an experience that gave him an intimate familiarity with the issues that small-business owners face.
Erik returned to Olympia in 2009 for the venture that eventually became WSW. He has brought a seasoned newsman’s judgment to the WSW that has elevated it beyond the ordinary opinion-blog in writing quality, insight and influence. Erik’s interest in policy and politics has allowed him to regularly “scoop” the dwindling press corps in Olympia with stories that not only explain what happens but why.
Erik’s focus on issues of interest to the business community has allowed him to set the pace for coverage by other media on such topics as workers’ compensation, environmental regulation, tax policy and government reform. His coverage of last year’s Moxie Media campaign scandal was credited by many for the Public Disclosure Commission’s decision to refer the case for prosecution.
Erik is one of those who believes state politics is more interesting and relevant to people’s daily lives than anything that happens in the “other Washington.” And as the ranks of daily newspaper reporters in Olympia continue to decline, his voice has become all the more influential.