Coverage of the nation’s statehouses has never been more important as consequential debates over education, public health, housing, gun ownership and more happen at the state level. Despite increasing need, the number of full-time statehouse reporters has declined by 34% since 2014 according to Pew Research Center. In that time, university-led reporting has stepped in to fill the gap. Today, some of the most rigorous reporting on urgent issues is being done by student reporters in states across the country.
During 2022, about 250 student statehouse reporters in university-led programs produced more than 1,000 stories that were made available to more than 1,200 media outlets in the 17 states. In total, the 20 leaders managing these university-led programs have 440 years of experience at more than 75 media outlets from local papers, to regional and national outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
Increasing the number and strength of university-led statehouse reporting programs is a top priority for the Center for Community News, which hosted its first ever University Statehouse Reporting Conference in September 2023 in coordination with the University of Missouri. With the success of these early efforts, CCN plans to expand resources and attention to these programs in 2024.
Read the full report on University-Led Student Statehouse Reporting to learn more.