Governor-discomfiting reporter Jacob Gershman prepares to leave the Albany beat

governor-discomfiting-reporter-jacob-gershman-prepares-leave-albany
Gershman, center, with Cuomo and Josh Vlasto. (Reid Pillifant)
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Veteran Albany reporter Jacob Gershman of the Wall Street Journal is preparing to leave the Capitol beat and report on legal matters for the paper, according to a knowledgable source.

News Corp., which owns the Journal, posted a help-wanted ad for the Albany reporter position on Tuesday.

Gershman, an enterprising reporter who has spent years covering state government, will be hard to replace.

He began reporting on Albany in the mid-2000s for the New York Sun (where I also used to work). When that paper folded in 2008, Gershman went out with a bang, with a report about how the powerful New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, commuted to Albany—at taxpayer expense—by flying from Queens to Washington and then to Albany.

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He landed at the Journal afterward, and kept up his old habits, getting ahead of the curve on policy debates. (Remember that bagel tax?)

One former aide to Eliot Spitzer told me Gershman's reporting, particularly on their budget negotiations with the legislature, was "like he was in the room" with them. The aide, who wasn't happy about it at the time, meant it as a compliment.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has gotten a taste of this, too.

Last November, Gershman reported that Cuomo was working on a plan to change the state's tax structure to assuage criticism from fellow Democrats who were advocating for a millionaire's tax. Cuomo dismissed the story as "breathless" reporting.

It turned out to be 100 percent accurate.

A spokesperson for the Journal did not provide any additional information about Gershman's position.