Thursday, July 10, 2014

Decline in statehouse reporters continues, but at slower rate, Pew Research Center finds

About 70 percent of daily newspapers and 86 percent of television stations don't assign a reporter of any kind to cover their statehouse, according to a study of 801 dailies by the Pew Research Center. Since 2003 the number of full-time reporters assigned to statehouses has dropped by 164, a decrease of 35 percent. Of the 918 local television stations studied, only 130 assign a reporter to the statehouse.

Among statehouse reporters, 139, or 9 percent, work for wire services, the report found. Of those 139 reporters, 91 are full-time and 69 of those work for The Associated Press. "Although the wire service reduced statehouse staffing during the recession, the AP is now increasing the size of some of its Capitol bureaus," the Pew report says.

Newspapers still have the highest percentage of statehouse reporters, but 16 percent now work for non-traditional outlets, such as digital-only sites, the study found.

Fewer than half of the 1,592 journalists who cover statehouses do so full-time, the report found. Texas has the most full-time reporters, at 53; South Dakota has the fewest, two. The study defines full-time reporters as "those physically assigned to the Capitol building to cover the news there, from legislative activity to the governor’s office to individual state agencies." To read the full study click here.

UPDATE, July 24: Pew has developed an interactive map to show the number of statehouse reporters for every 500,000 people in each state. Here's a screen grab with an example:

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