Tag Archives: Josh Kurtz

Josh Kurtz Raising Money for New Media Venture

By Adam Pagnucco.

Legendary Maryland politics writer Josh Kurtz is raising money for a new independent media venture.  He has partners and he has an angel investor, so this could be for real, folks!

Kurtz, whose statehouse and local political reporting led to the Gazette’s Politics and Business edition twenty years ago, is regarded by many as Maryland’s best political columnist.  Over the last few years, his columns have been published weekly by Center Maryland.  But Kurtz is not content with his current gig.  Like many in the state, he has identified a void in state and local news coverage as we described in our Politics After the Gazette series.  And now Kurtz and a team of supporters are actually doing something about that: they are starting a new independent news site called Maryland Matters.

The concept of Maryland Matters is to have a lean, online news operation that would provide objective reporting and, eventually, commentary.  Kurtz would like to have five full-time reporters, a couple of editors and a few business and technology people when the site is fully built out.  Revenue would come from contributions that would be matched by a family foundation (more below).  Other journalists who are connected to the project include former Post reporter Miranda Spivack, Bethesda Magazine reporter Lou Peck, former editor of Charles County’s Maryland Independent Angela Breck and University of Maryland journalism professor Adrianne Flynn.  One or more of these folks might eventually provide content to the site.  Kurtz has a steering committee featuring MANY prominent names from Maryland political circles.

Kurtz is holding a fundraiser in Annapolis on October 24 featuring the Post’s superstar national political analyst Chris Cillizza.  If you follow Maryland news and politics, you should consider supporting this venture.  Josh Kurtz’s credentials are beyond question and if this new site succeeds, it could be a turning point for state news coverage.

Following is the blast email promoting the fundraiser.

*****

maryland-matters

Dear [ ]:

Want to hear from one of the nation’s premier political prognosticators just two weeks before Election Day — and support a great cause at the same time?

Then you’ll want to join us at a fundraiser in Annapolis on Monday, October 24 for Maryland Matters, an independent news website intended to be a one-stop shop for government and political coverage in Annapolis and in local jurisdictions around the Free State. Chris Cillizza, author of “The Fix” column at The Washington Post, will be our special guest.

For the past year, several journalists, as well as concerned citizens from business, communications, law and the public sector, have been working to launch Maryland Matters. It’s modeled on other excellent nonprofit online publications — from California and Texas to Connecticut and Vermont — created to ensure the survival of the type of “accountability journalism” that, for more than a century, was largely the province of the nation’s newspapers.

I don’t have to tell you that the resources devoted to state and local coverage by such institutions as the Post and The Baltimore Sun have shrunk dramatically in recent years. Other publications that once did an excellent job covering the State House, like The Gazette and The Examiner, are gone completely.

We aspire to fill this void by establishing the largest news bureau in Annapolis during the three months of the year when the General Assembly is in session, as well as providing year-round coverage of the executive branch and state regulatory agencies, major local jurisdictions, and the Maryland congressional delegation in Washington. Our plan is to launch Maryland Matters in 2017.

We’re happy to say that our idea has met with overwhelmingly positive reviews. The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region has created a fund for Maryland Matters, which enables us to solicit and collect tax-deductible contributions. Needless to say, it will cost a significant amount of money to pull this off.

But as we say in the news business, I’m burying the lede here: Just a couple of weeks ago, we got a financial angel — a family foundation has informed us that if we can raise $250,000, they will match it. This is exciting news and puts a lot of wind at our backs. Every contribution we receive is now essentially doubled.

So we are inviting you to our first Annapolis fundraiser, to be held from 5-7 p.m. onMonday, October 24, in the upstairs room at Stan & Joe’s, at 37 West Street. We’re honored to have Chris Cillizza joining us. We can’t think of a better person to talk about this crazy election year — and we hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to chat with him.

The suggested contribution is $250. We welcome donations both larger and smaller. Checks may be made out to: Maryland Matters Fund/Community Foundation. They can be brought to the event at Stan & Joe’s or mailed to the community foundation at 1201 15th St. NW, Suite 420, Washington, DC 20005.

We hope to see you on the 24th, so you can be more fully informed about our plans and spread the word to others. If you are not able to make it, I hope you can send along a contribution anyway — and tell your friends and colleagues about what we’re trying to do.

As a journalist, I’m not used to asking others for contributions. But all of us involved in this venture believe that nothing less than an informed public — elected officials, political activists, and voters at large — is at stake. So please be as generous as you can.

All the best,

Josh Kurtz

 

Maryland Matters Steering Committee Includes:

Hon. Michael Barnes

Angela Breck

Hon. Bill Bronrott

Bonnie Casper

Thomas Dennison

Adrianne Flynn

Andrew Friedson

Keith Haller

Ed Holzinger

Curtis Johnson

Hamza Khan

Joel Kirkland

Josh Kurtz

Hon. Terry Lierman

Len Lucchi

Hon. Connie Morella

Tyler Patton

Lou Peck

Hon. Steve Silverman

Hon. Jeffrey Slavin

Miranda Spivack

Hon. Chris Trumbauer

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Kurtz’s Take Down of the Democratic Field

Center Maryland Columnist Josh Kurtz has written must-read analysis on the race for the Democratic nomination in the Eighth District. Fearless in its criticism, I doubt any of the candidates will be rushing to put quotes from it on their brochures.

On Trone and Matthews:

In this primary, for starters, we have the mega-rich and the merely rich.

In the former role is David Trone, the Bethesda booze baron who entered the Democratic primary just two weeks ago and immediately dropped $900,000 on TV and web ads, which have already become unavoidable.

In the latter category is Kathleen Matthews, the former broadcaster and Marriott executive who is married to MSNBC yakker Chris Matthews. Kathleen and Chris are part of the D.C. elite. . . .

[Y]ou also get the feeling that Trone and Matthews don’t know a lot about the rest of us – and the communities they are presuming to serve. Do we really want someone with a sky’s-the-limit approach to campaign spending like Trone to represent us in Congress? Do we want someone like Matthews who seems to be accepting campaign contributions from every K Street lawyer, D.C. financier, media celebrity and bold-faced name?

On the trio of state legislators:

State Sen. Jamie Raskin is an accomplished legislator, a genuine progressive, a nice guy – and a legal scholar to boot. But he has said he wants to be “a transformational” member of Congress – when all he’ll be, for the foreseeable future, is a junior member of the minority party. Raskin is running a grass-roots campaign. . . . But this isn’t quite like Bernie Sanders . . . . Raskin has plenty of big donors, too – from the extensive list of D.C. lefty intelligentsia.

Del. Kumar Barve . . .  is also an accomplished lawmaker and a nice guy – and doesn’t take himself too seriously. But Barve has been perhaps a little too cautious in his political career. You can’t help feeling that somehow, his moment to ascend to Congress should have been a decade or two ago.

Del. Ana Sol Guttierez is also a committed progressive who was one of the first public figures . . . to acknowledge and craft policy that reflected the county’s demographic changes. But she has never really laid out a rationale for her congressional bid. Gutierrez would be a freshman member of Congress at the age of 75. She is not running a serious campaign.

On Jawando and Rubin:

Will Jawando and Joel Rubin are young guys who have worked for the Obama administration and on Capitol Hill. There are tens of thousands of people just like them rattling around the D.C. area. They are smart, attractive guys and dedicated public servants with political acumen . . . . But maybe they should have looked at running for a more humble office than Congress to launch their political careers.

Read the whole column.

 

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Kurtz on Madaleno

In Center Maryland, see Josh Kurtz’s column about Rich Madaleno’s role as a central opponent of the Hogan administration:

With Hogan riding high in the polls – a circumstance fueled partially by his commitment to cutting taxes, fees and tolls (regardless of the consequences to state government) – Madaleno has become a one-man truth squad. No one in the legislature has so consistently questioned the governor’s policies and the arguments behind them – especially on fiscal matters, where Madaleno, vice chairman of the Budget & Taxation Committee, has a particular expertise. . . .

“It did strike me at the beginning of this term, Hogan ran on a budget and tax platform,” Madaleno says. “I became the vice chair of the Budget & Tax Committee. It just seemed that I was positioned to be able to make the counter-arguments to the governor’s, I think, flawed agenda. So I was happy to step up and push back on what I think are many misrepresentations of what we’ve done over the last eight years.”

Madaleno has been especially vocal about critiquing Hogan’s education spending priorities. When Hogan announced earlier this fall that he was cutting certain fees for state services, Madaleno was quick to try to point out what he saw as the consequences – and take issue with some of the governor’s accounting.

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