The Associated Press, through an unprecedented collaboration with Report for America, will bolster its 50-state presence with the addition of 14 statehouse reporters, providing local newsrooms with essential accountability journalism and state government coverage.
Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, will help fund the 18-month positions and recruit the journalists, who will begin reporting in June 2020.
The addition of 14 reporters underscores AP’s wide-ranging efforts to address the local news crisis head-on, infusing significant resources at a time when many local newsrooms are forced to make tough decisions about coverage priorities, and when critical decisions — from gerrymandering to gun regulations — are made at the state level.
The reporters will be located in: Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah. A data journalist will support their efforts and work to bring policy journalism to all 50 states.
“An investment in AP at the statehouse is an investment in the health of an entire state news ecosystem,” said Noreen Gillespie, deputy managing editor for U.S. news. “We are pleased to be working with Report for America to ensure citizens have better and more access to information about their government at work, from budgets and policy issues to holding elected officials accountable.”
The journalists will report on congressional, statehouse and state-level elections; cover budget and policy decisions; reveal issues connected to voter access, voter suppression and voter security; break news on the impact of new administrations and changes of power at the state level; and work with the AP State Government Team and other national beat teams to deliver impactful journalism.
“One of the most important crises facing our democracy is the alarming shortage of local news coverage about state government, which determines much of the public policy affecting the lives of Americans,” said Report for America President Steven Waldman.
Charles Sennott, CEO of The GroundTruth Project, added: “Although Congress gets far more attention, state government has at least as much impact and garners far fewer headlines. We are proud to work with The Associated Press, which has long been a national leader in providing statehouse coverage.”
The work of the statehouse reporters will be available to AP member news organizations and customers, as well as to other news outlets in the states in which they report, such as nonprofit news organizations, public radio stations and independent digital news sites.
AP will also distribute many of the stories produced by other Report for America journalists covering statehouses.
Applications for the statehouse reporting positions will become available on Dec. 2.