Do you read the local competition?
Any favorites? (Even beyond the locals)
I read as much as I can of my colleagues -- though not as much as I should. We're in an era of crazy information overload, I fear. I have abiding respect for anyone who pursues the beat -- because it would be a disservice to so many peers to enumerate everyone (and wish accidentally excluding anyone), I would say that I am incredibly lucky to work with Rob Bradford in my internet neck of the woods; and John Tomase has been one of the foremost influences on my understanding of the beat, both as a writer and friend. National stuff -- man, again, too far-reaching to detail.
One phenomenon worthy of mention: there are an insane number of great writers who aren't on the beat. I love the work done by guys like Marc Normandin and OTM, among many others who aren't around the team on a day to day basis but are idea factories.
Put another way: There's more good stuff out there than there is time to read it.