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Political reporter Jo Mannies joins the Beacon

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 1, 2009 - If you follow politics in Missouri, you know the work of Jo Mannies, the Post-Dispatch's longtime political reporter who retired last fall. Jo has an amazing track record not only for finding out what's going on but also for reporting it in a way that all sides consider fair. In politics, this is truly a rare feat.

With decades of experience, Jo has an encyclopedic knowledge of people and issues. That means she understands the context of any controversy and can explain what's at stake for the people of our region. This is exactly the kind of reporting we emphasize here at the Beacon - the meaning of our motto "News That Matters."

For all these reasons, we're thrilled to share the news that Jo is joining the Beacon staff. Along with Bob Joiner, who has been covering politics since the Beacon's inception, Jo will be instrumental in building the most insightful and interesting political report available to our region. Soon, she'll be starting a blog that will spotlight important developments. She'll also be reporting stories with the depth and context we've come to expect and appreciate. Jo's position has been funded by a grant for local reporting from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In coming weeks, we expect to announce a second staff addition funded by the grant.

Politics is not just a game for insiders. We all have much at stake in political debate and governmental decisions. The economic crisis demonstrates that, like it or not, our daily lives depend on sound public policy. The explosion of grassroots (and netroots) involvement in last fall's election demonstrates that a little effort by a lot of citizens can make a big difference. With a new president and new governors in place in both Missouri and Illinois, we seem to be at a turning point in history.

But good citizens and good policy depend on good information - timely, well-vetted, pertinent reports that challenge conventional wisdom and pave the way to wise judgment. In other words, good citizens need good journalism. That's what the Beacon aims to deliver. That's where Jo excels. We hope you'll visit the Beacon frequently to stay current on the political News That Matters in her reports.