What I read: Dann Mead Smith

Dann Mead Smith of the Washington Policy Center (http://www.washingtonpolicy.org) has led this independent public-policy think tank to a position of growing influence since he took over as WPC President in 2001. The Center, based in Seattle with satellite offices in Olympia and Eastern Washington, has more than doubled in size in the past decade and now has a staff of 17 and a $2 million operating budget. (Full Disclosure: I was Vice President of the organization when it was the Washington Institute for Policy Studies in the mid-1990s.) The WPC focuses on programs and activities that promote free-market solutions to state problems. Its fulltime research centers address education, environment, government reform, health care, small business, technology/telecommunications, and transportation issues. Its WashingtonVotes.org tracks all bills and votes in the state Legislature. Its “Policy Guide for Washington State” lays out 150 recommendations. Dann is on the board of trustees of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and a member of Seattle #4 Rotary. He was appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire to the Washington State Performance Review Citizen Advisory Board, and the WPC was part of Gov. Gregoire’s budget committee that made recommendations for her proposed budget for the next biennium.

1. What are your favorite local news outlets? Why?

Puget Business Journal – they really have the best local coverage of both business and policy issues.  With the downsizing of staff at the local dailies, the PSBJ covers policy and legislative issues better than anyone.
TVW – not only do they provide  a great service with their coverage of the Legislative Session, but they also have great weekly shows that cover policy issues and they produce in-depth reports on what is happening in Olympia that affects all of us. Up Front with Robert Mak – no one covers local politics and issues better than Robert so it’s great to have him back on KING TV.  This is the last of the local issues shows on the major networks and the only place to go in-depth on local issues every Sunday.

2. What do you consider “must reads” every day? Must watch? Must hear?

I am still a fan of reading the actual newspaper vs. online, so I read The Seattle Times every day.  I also read the Puget Business Journal every week and try to catch “Up Front” on Sundays and “The John Carlson Show” on KOMO radio when I am in the car.  And I would add The Olympian during the legislative session as they have the best daily coverage.

3. Do you consume news through: print, television, radio, laptop, smart phone, ipad, podcasts, other?

Mostly via print and radio.

4. Do you use Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or Twitter for news and information?

I use Facebook and LinkedIn but not for much for my daily news, mainly just to connect and post information.

5. What online news sites or aggregators do you visit regularly?

I visit the Olympian during Session, sign up for the Puget Sound Business Journal’s daily email, and try to visit the Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal as often as I can.

6. Do you regularly visit any individual blogs for news, analysis and opinion?

I have to say both our Washington Policy Center blog, washingtonpolicyblog.org and our OlympiaPolicyWatch.org, because I think we really do break news and with the downsizing of the Capitol press bureau, you have only limited places to get your local news.  I also visit Sound Politics from time to time.

7. Have your news consumption habits changed in the last few years? If so, how?

I still prefer to read a newspaper but I definitely get more Information from the internet.

8. Do you read for fun? If so, what? Last novel you read? Non-fiction book?

After reading and editing public policy publications all day, I prefer not to read for fun when I get home from work.  I tend to read management-type books and the last one I read, which is great, is “6 Habits of Highly Successful Managers” by John Cioffi and Ken Willig.  The best way for me to relax is to read a music magazine and I have been hooked on NME and Q which are both from England.


About John Hamer
JOHN HAMER is President of the Washington News Council, an independent forum for media fairness that he co-founded in 1998. Hamer was formerly Associate Editorial-Page Editor at The Seattle Times and previously Associate Editor with Congressional Quarterly/Editorial Research Reports in Washington, D.C. Read more about John or read John's blog posts.