Home>Feature>Star-Ledger closing Washington bureau, with respected journalist Jonathan Salant departing this week

Jonathan D. Salant. (Photo: Jonathan D. Salant via LinkedIn).

Star-Ledger closing Washington bureau, with respected journalist Jonathan Salant departing this week

By David Wildstein, March 01 2023 12:14 pm

In a stunning blow to local journalism and the ability of New Jerseyans to monitor the state’s congressional delegation on Capitol Hill, the Star-Ledger and NJ Advance Media have decided to close their Washington bureau and let their one reporter, Jonathan D. Salant, go.

Salant’s last day is March 3.  A number of news photographers are also being

This marks the first time in over 100 years that the state’s largest newspaper will not have a reporter assigned to cover New Jersey’s U.S. Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington.

Salant, a respected workhorse respected by both parties because of his reputation for fairness, has covered the New Jersey delegation alone since 2014.  He’s covered Washington since joining the Newhouse News Service in 1987.  He’s spent 47 years as a reporter and has been a consistent watchdog for the state.

“I have no plans to call it quits and hope to get another job in daily journalism in Washington. That means we could wind up working together again on stories going forward,” Salant said in an email to congressional staffers.  “And I want to keep my seniority on Capitol Hill, which falls between Chris Smith and Frank Pallone Jr. among the delegation members.”

For NJ Advance Media, Salant churns out a significant amount of content for the Star-Ledger, NJ.com and other newspapers owned by Advance Publications.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-Paterson) skewered the Star-Ledger for their decision.

“This is absolutely devastating for our state which deserves a lot better. We’re a state with over nine million people for heaven’s sakes. What kind of paper has no reporters and offers no coverage? And for what? So some millionaires can keep strip-mining the coverage of news in our country. Like I said: Devastating,” Pascrell stated.  “Jonathan Salant is a bloodhound and did an outstanding job day in and day out. Journalists matter deeply to the health of our democracy. This state of affairs can’t continue.”

Gannett, which operates nine daily newspapers in New Jersey, has not had a Washington-based New  Jersey reporter since the venerable Herb Jackson took an early retirement package in December 2018.  The (Bergen) Record and Gannett never replaced Jackson.

Salant was re-elected to the Standing Committee of Correspondents that accredits news reporters for the Senate and House press galleries after a contested election in January.

This story was updated at 3:35 PM with a comment from Pascrell.  

Spread the news: