KUTV's Rick Shenkman, one of local television's toughest reporters and a best-selling non-fiction author, has packed his bags and moved east.

But don't worry. He's still wearing Ch. 2's uniform (a "2 Together" T-shirt and a "Celebrate Utah" baseball cap, no doubt). Shenkman has been assigned to Washington, D.C., as KUTV's new bureau chief there. (Mike Goldfein, KUTV's former Washington-based reporter, was not re-signed by the station when his most recent contract expired.)It wasn't too long ago that KUTV had pretty much decided to close its Washington bureau permanently. The expense of staffing the bureau and the shortage of Utah-oriented stories emanating from there in the past prompted KUTV decision-makers to question the cost-effectiveness of the operation.

But Ch. 2's affiliation with the CONUS satellite news gathering cooperative has helped ease the financial strain (Shenkman will work out of the CONUS Washington bureau, which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the White House). And Shenkman's clearly stated interest in the job gave them the encouragement they needed to go ahead and take the D.C. plunge. Again.

"Rick is self-motivated and a hard worker," said managing editor Brad Remington. "I think he'll give us our best Washington coverage since the days of Lucky Severson."

Remington said he anticipates airing Shenkman-produced stories "four or five times a week." According to Shenkman, those stories will be about "what Utah's representatives are doing, and how they are doing their job."

"I want to explain to the audience the politics behind political actions," the Vassar- and Harvard-educated reporter said. "In addition, I'll be reporting on Utah companies' lobbying efforts in the capitol."

He'll probably also find some time to follow up on the success of "Legends, Lies and Cherished Myths of American History," his non-fiction book that is currently enjoying a long stay on the New York Times Best Seller List. I mean, you have to believe that covering politics in Washington, D.C., will introduce him to even more "Legends, Lies and Cherished Myths."