Haslam urges media be ‘active and engaged’ as ‘unheard of outside money’ enters TN politics

Gov. Bill Haslam told Tennessee Press Association members Thursday that he hopes they maintain their news coverage in a “really important political year” despite economic pressures facing newspapers and that he believes there should be “not just a free press but an active and engaged press matters,” reports the Times Free Press.

“This is a real governor’s race….. We have a Senate race which will be incredibly important not just to the state but the country, right?”

…”You’re going to see unheard of outside money pouring into the state,” predicted Haslam… “My fear is that in all the races … and realizing there are a lot fewer assets in your world to work with — there just is, I get it — all of it won’t be covered in the detail that they traditionally have.”

The governor said that “as a candidate, you don’t always like” the news coverage, but he believes it ultimately makes “the process of running so much better. And the media is really an incredible part of the process.”

Haslam, who noted he reads five print newspapers daily, also voiced concerns about what he hears from people he talks to, particularly those under age 35, about where they’re getting their news.

“The answers are really discouraging to me,” he said, noting that it often comes from questionable online sources, many without editors maintaining traditional news standards.

“It’s really important this year, because there’s a different environment,” Haslam said.

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