Number of reporters assigned to statehouses up double digits: study

There are more local reporters assigned to statehouses across the country than there were eight years ago, a new study has found, though fewer of the journalists working the state government beat are doing so full time.

The total number of reporters assigned to the 50 state capitols has spiked by 11 percent since 2014, according to a Pew Research Center study released this week.

However, out of the 1,761 statehouse reporters identified in Pew’s survey, less than half, 850, report on the statehouse full time. In 2014, the last time Pew commissioned its study on journalists covering statehouses, it found that more than half of such reporters were doing so on a full-time basis. 

Pew attributed the trend to a number of factors, including steep cuts to the local daily newspaper industry and an emergence of nonprofit news organizations in some of the nation’s biggest regional markets.

Nonprofit reporters alone now constitute 20 percent of the overall statehouse press corps, Pew found, compared with 6 percent in 2014.

Meanwhile, 448 of the statehouse reporters Pew identified work at newspapers, making up 25 percent of the statehouse press corps as of this year, compared with 38 percent in 2014.

The number of reporters covering local statehouse increased in 31 states, including Wisconsin, Virginia and Oklahoma. Sixteen states have seen the number of reporters covering their statehouses decrease, including Texas, Michigan and Florida.

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