Five years ago, Pew Research published an alarming report — statehouse coverage from newspapers was shrinking. From 2003 to 2014, it declined by 35%.
Pew hasn’t updated that research yet, but a July report offered more alarming, if not surprising, numbers — employment at newspapers plummeted 47% between 2008 and 2018.
On Monday, the Associated Press and Report For America put out a number of their own.
The two organizations will work together to create 14 new reporting positions to cover state government.
That number is small, yes, but it’s a start.
The collaboration will bring more coverage to Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah. The positions, mostly funded by the AP and RFA, will last for 18 months and begin next June. The AP will make the coverage from the new positions available for free to other media in those states.
The AP currently has statehouse reporters in all 50 states. RFA is working with local newsrooms around the country in a Peace Corps-like model to create positions and joint funding. Both organizations have already worked together, but this collaboration seemed like an obvious one, said Steven Waldman, RFA’s co-founder.
“The significance of state government keeps going up, up, up and the number of statehouse reporters keeps going down, down, down,” he said. “So we have a severe accountability crisis when it comes to state government.”
The AP created a formula to choose the states getting reporters, said Noreen Gillespie,
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2019/the-ap-and-report-for-america-are-creating-14-new-statehouse-jobs/