Tuesday, February 2, 2010


The common belief is that once you go from being a journalist to working for a politician, you can't go back to reporting. Crossing over from journalism to partisan politics is often called "going over to the dark side."

Deborah Howlett worked for the Newark Star Ledger after coming to New Jersey from USA Today. She aggresively covered then-Governor Jon Corzine and was among the most persistent reporters when it came to asking Corzine questions about his past romantic relationship with former state worker union leader Carla Katz and whether that relationship tainted public employee contract negotiations.

Howlett was ultimately hired by the Corzine Administration to work as communications director. She ended her time with "Team Corzine" by working in a policy position. She is now back on press row in the State House in Trenton where she's taken an office for her new venture called, iwitnessnj.com.

On the website Howlett explains her mission statement by writing, "There were once more than 50 journalists who covered the Statehouse in Trenton. Now there are about 20. I’d like to grow that number to 500 ... or more. I want to give Flip cameras to citizen journalists and let them go out and cover whatever they think is important. We’d take those videos and post them on line at iwitnessnj.com. ... It’s democracy one video at a time."

I happen to like and respect Howlett quite a bit, but I can't help but wonder what it will be like if she is covering a press event featuring Governor Chris Christie who defeated Deborah's old boss in the November gubernatorial election.

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