The Associated Press is adding 14 statehouse reporters for 18-month jobs through a collaboration with Report for America, a group dedicated to local reporting.
Report for America is part of a growing effort to help local media. In rural areas and even many cities, papers are shrinking and shutting down while coverage peters out. The media group GroundTruth Project, which supports younger journalists globally, launched the initiative in 2017.
Report for America recruits reporters and pays part of their salaries, putting them to work at existing news organizations. It has funded reporters at newspapers, online publications, radio and TV outlets, and other news organizations such as the AP.
The initiative is one of many designed to support local news. Other efforts to fund local reporting have come from journalism foundations; tech companies like Google, which has a partnership with newspaper publisher McClatchy; and media organizations like the investigatory nonprofit website ProPublica.
AP’s new reporters will be in Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah. They will be joined by a data journalist covering all 50 states. They will report on state politics and policy, as well as issues such as voter access, health care and state budgets.
“An investment in AP at the statehouse is an investment in the health of an entire state news ecosystem,” Noreen Gillespie, AP’s deputy managing editor for U.S. news, said in a statement.
Reporters’ stories will be available to AP’s customers and other news outlets in those states. AP will also distribute stories by other Report for America journalists.
“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,” Report for America President Steven Waldman said in a statement.