SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Pew looks at Statehouse reporters

Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

* New York Times

The nation’s statehouses lost more than one-third of the journalists devoted to covering legislative matters full time, according to a study released on Thursday morning by the Journalism Project at the Pew Research Center.

The study, which surveyed all 50 statehouses, found a loss of 164 full-time statehouse reporters since 2003. The total number of full-time statehouse reporters dipped to roughly 300.

The study defined these journalists as reporters who worked physically in the statehouses. At the same time, nontraditional news organizations added journalists at state houses, including for-profit and nonprofit digital news organizations, ideologically driven publications and expensive trade newsletters catering to lobbyists.

* Economics is obviously at play here, but the weird thing about the Illinois data is that the period of decline in Illinois Statehouse reporters spanned one of the most gut-wrenching political eras Springfield had ever seen. From the Pew study

In order to provide a direct comparison with today, Pew researchers examined staffing at the papers included in both 2003 and 2009 AJR studies as well as in the current 2014 data. Those 220 papers had 467 full-time statehouse reporters in 2003, which dropped to 343 in 2009 and then to 303 in 2014. That amounts to a 27% decline from 2003 to 2009, a 12% loss from 2009 to 2014, and an overall decline of 35%.

These cutbacks are not uniform across the board, however. Newspapers’ statehouse staffing among this cohort of papers dwindled in 23 states between 2009 and 2014. The sharpest cuts occurred in Illinois, which lost seven full-time newspaper slots—from 12 to five—during that period.

When I first arrived at the Statehouse, even the Alton Telegraph had a full-time reporter. The Champaign News-Gazette, the Rockford Register-Star both dumped their Statehouse bureaus in recent years, as have others. One explanation

“Way back in the day, 35 years ago, a lot of the small papers had reporters in the statehouse,” said Susan Moeller, news editor of the Cape Cod Times in Massachusetts. Her paper had a two-person statehouse bureau, which was cut to one and then zero during the recession, she said.

“You can lay off your statehouse reporter or you can lay off somebody covering your town that is nearer and dearer to people’s hearts,” Moeller said. “You will lay off the statehouse reporter because you can get that from another source.” Last year, Moeller said, editors hired a reporter to cover the statehouse part time—but he is based on Cape Cod and also responsible for covering the town of Hyannis.

* Pew reports that 43 percent of all full-time statehouse reporters work for newspapers, another 12 percent work for wire services, and 12 percent work for TV stations. 9 percent work for radio and three percent file stories across multiple platforms. Another 7 percent are folks like me…

A total of 73 reporters cover state government for specialty publications aimed at government insiders, and 49 of them are full time—accounting for 7% of the total full-time statehouse reporting corps. Five reporters cover the statehouse only during legislative sessions, and 15 do so part time. Two of the journalists are students and two are in the category of “other.”

These outlets often charge hefty subscription fees, placing the content outside the reach of a general audience. They target lawmakers, lobbyists, activists and even journalists who are willing to pay for highly specialized information about the inner workings of government. Indeed, some of these outlets are owned by lobbyists or interest groups.

Prices for these outlets vary widely. The Alaska Budget Report charges $2,397 a year, the Austin Monitor $1,099 a year and the Tennessee Journal, $247 a year, to name a few.

$2,397 a year?

* Ideological outlets, like the Franklin Center’s Illinois Watchdog, have stepped in to fill part of the void…

Among the nontraditional statehouse outlets are those that have a stated ideological point of view. Most of them define themselves as conservative or as in favor of a “free market,” a basic tenet of economic conservatism. Only one outlet, NC Policy Watch, calls itself progressive.

The ideological outlets assign 53 reporters to the statehouse. Those outlets assign 17 reporters to state government full time, just 2% of all full-time reporters. They dispatch 15 reporters to the statehouse only during legislative sessions and 19 are part time. In addition, they have two student reporters. Most of these publications are digital only and many also are nonprofits. But because they describe themselves in ideological terms, we created a category to distinguish them.

About half of the ideological sites (14 out of 33) are owned by the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, a nonprofit that was founded in 2009 “to address the falloff in statehouse reporting as well as the steep decline in investigative reporting in the country,” said spokesman Michael Moroney. The center, based just outside Washington, D.C., in Alexandria, Va., supports a free market, he said.

* A couple of charts. Statehouse reporters in the ten biggest states…

Over two-thirds of newspapers don’t have a statehouse reporter…

* This is a really long study, so I’ve cherry-picked all the Illinois stuff for you…

In Illinois, the State Journal-Register, based in Springfield, covers the statehouse for all Illinois newspapers owned by its parent company, GateHouse Media. […]

In addition, eight full-time journalists work for professional publications, such as local business journals or others that target a specific industry. Two full-time statehouse reporters work for outlets owned by universities—one each at the University of Illinois and the University of Missouri. […]

“We receive several wire service reports, but no longer have a reporter in Springfield,” said Philip Angelo, senior editor of the Small Newspaper Group, which has a handful of papers in Illinois. “We’ve had several rounds of layoffs.” […]

Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio are roughly comparable, with 12.8 million, 12.7 million and 11.5 million residents, respectively. But Ohio, the least populous of the three, has considerably more full-time statehouse reporters—32—than Illinois (22) or Pennsylvania (24). […]

In Illinois, the House and Senate provide live audio and video streams of floor sessions and committee hearings, said Steve Brown, press secretary to Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan, a Democrat. “In some ways, you may be able to get more information because there are more things available to average citizens through state government itself,” said Brown, who has worked in the capitol for more than 30 years, initially as a newspaper reporter. But, he added, “It’s not the same as when your news was dropped at your door.”

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


14 Comments
  1. - Nonplussed - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    Rich, were any of the 7 reporters lost due to consolidation vs. pure cuts by the paper they worked for?


  2. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    The Franklin Center advocates for the “free market,” but can’t seem to spout its right-wing advocacy without massive subsidies from largely anonymous donors. I guess there isn’t much of a market for that kind of journalism.


  3. - WilCo23 - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    The Pew study compiled a chart breaking down the makeup of statehouse reporters in each state. All of the “student reporters” for Illinois are from UIS’ Public Affairs Reporting program.


  4. - Jack Handy - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    Many people don’t read the newspaper or watch local TV anymore. The internets is free.


  5. - Try-4-Truth - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    Rich,

    I’ve always wondered by an operation like Gatehouse didn’t hire you as a contract employee to cover the statehouse for them. All you would need to do is insert different quotes from a few local legislators and the stories could be the same.

    At the very least, more papers should subscribe to your syndicated column. I don’t get it, but then again, what do I know.


  6. - Esteban - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    And the SJ-R doesn’t even have a political
    cartooninsr.


  7. - the Patriot - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    What is there to cover? Well folks, the legislators all sat around for 4 months again this year and waited for the Speaker to tell them what they were going to get and how to vote. See you next year.


  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    I feel like I might’ve saved over 2 grand a year reading CF. Kinda.


  9. - A guy... - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    anonymous 1:33pm was me. Mea culpa!


  10. - walker - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    The Daily Herald has a history of solid reporters in Springfield, starting with Brownie right up to Riopell. I hope they never give it up. They dig a little deeper than the generic news services, and usually quote our local legislators.


  11. - A guy... - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 2:12 pm:

    Walk, not to mention Kerry Lester, who was a good reporter and very easy on the eyes. Local Legislators called her back quickly and breathlessly.


  12. - Jimbo - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    If laid off reporters in other states were smart they’d emulate Rich’s business model. I’m not saying it makes him rich, but he’s very successful at being the only one getting all the stuff people like us need.


  13. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:17 pm:

    ==At the very least, more papers should subscribe to your syndicated column==

    According to Robert Feder’s article when Rich moved to Crain’s, he distributes it for free and the news hole in those small papers could certainly use some content. It’s a win-win.


  14. - Late to the Party - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 7:49 am:

    Maybe Illinois doesn’t need too many reporters covering the statehouse; much news about our pols comes from Police Beat. :-)


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* *** UPDATED x1 *** Get ready for more heated rhetoric
* Rauner wants fewer managed care companies to serve lots more Medicaid clients
* Question of the day
* What's with the secrecy?
* Pawar on Madigan
* It's just a bill
* "I don't know what else they can do but go on strike"
* Trib defends Rauner's tenure
* Biss to decide on bid soon
* Rauner skips White House dinner attended by 46 governors
* Emulate Trump at your peril
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............
<


Loading


* Governor Continues Push for Pension Reform - Al.....
* Chance the Rapper, Rauner to talk Chicago schoo.....
* Chance the Rapper is meeting with Illinois' gov.....
* Rauner says Medicaid revamp will save money, im.....
* Chance the Rapper, Rauner to talk Chicago schoo.....
* Chance the Rapper, Rauner to talk Chicago schoo.....


* 2 nabbed in separate Medicaid fraud probes by state police
* American Airlines flight diverts to Denver after turbulence
* Man accused in killing mistakenly released from custody
* Man accused in killing mistakenly released from custody
* Illinois town in Trump territory backs detained immigrant
* Chance the Rapper, Rauner to talk Chicago school funding
* Chicago schools continue effort in court to get more funds
* Chicago schools continue effort in court to get more funds
* Cairo housing complex residents report poor conditions
* Judge: Probation for Cook County clerk's office employee

* Rauner, Chance the Rapper to talk Chicago school funding
* United announces plans for more flights, new destinations
* Gov. Rauner wants more Medicaid clients on managed care
* Sanctuary issue draws dueling demonstrations to Capitol
* Rauner's office: Gov spends 55% of Illinois nights at Mansion
* Report: State senator's law firm dealings under scrutiny
* Durbin wants open look at Russian involvement in election
* Trump puts moderate GOP governors in awkward spot
* Economic stakes high for Springfield in labor showdown
* AFSCME authorizes strike, but still wants to bargain with Rauner

* Oscars oops could spell lasting brand damage for PricewaterhouseCoopers
* Trump promises 'something special' on health care before speech
* CPS might end school year weeks early: reports
* Charter school group touts success in getting grads to college
* Rauner scraps Medicaid managed care, outlines new plan


* The day in pictures: Cubs vs. White Sox
* Accountants take ‘full responsibility’ for Oscar flub, slow fix
* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for Feb. 28, 2017
* Dear Abby: Let’s celebrate day child was adopted
* Public asked to help identify man found in West Rogers Park
* Police: Robberies reported in Armour Square
* Jerry ‘Augie’ Morelli founded thriving suburban restaurants
* Tankers beware: Copying Cubs process ain’t cheap – or guaranteed
* 2 men shot in East Garfield Park
* Brown: Jesse Jr. a mix of confidence, confusion, anger, self-pity


* Duckworth: I'll work with Trump on transportation spending plan
* Malaysia to charge 2 women with murder in N. Korean's death
* Judge to hear arguments on Dakota Access oil pipeline work
* Fire chief: 4 dead, 2 injured as small plane crashes into two homes in California
* Trump to direct rollback of Obama-era water rule Tuesday
* Boys basketball: Mike Helfgot's Top 20
* Trump says Obama is helping to organize protests against his presidency
* Trump touts spending plan, but promise to leave entitlements alone puts GOP in a quandary
* No. 3 Marshall girls survive scare from No. 19 Antioch, clinch 26th state appearance
* Jewish centers, schools face more bomb threats; graves vandalized


» Rauner, Chance The Rapper To Talk Chicago School Funding
» Advocates: Caps On Charter Schools Are 'Bad For Our City'
» CPS: School Year May End Early If State Doesn't Provide More Money
» Doctors Warn Against Teen Pot Use Amid Looser Marijuana Laws
» Illinois Town In Trump Territory Backs Detained Immigrant
» Chicagoans Rally To Support Trans Rights After Trump Rescinds Student Protections
» Rauner Has Plan To Keep Government Running In Case Of Strike
» Congressman Rush Declares His Offices As Sanctuaries
» Weekend Funerals For Young Victims Of Chicago Violence
» CPS Relents, Returns $15 Million to Poorest Chicago Schools


* Scott Reeder: AFSCME needs to understand the necessity of sacrifice
* Rauner, Chance the Rapper to talk Chicago school funding
* United announces plans for more flights, new destinations
* Gov. Rauner wants more Medicaid clients on managed care
* Sanctuary issue draws dueling demonstrations to Capitol
* Angie Muhs: It's time to name another Reader Advisory Board
* Bernard Schoenburg: Duckworth names 'thoughtful' former boss to downstate post
* Statehouse Insider: It's not the money, it's the appearance
* Our View: It's time for penance at the Capitol
* Rauner's office: Gov spends 55% of Illinois nights at Mansion


* Randall Hubbard
* Earl Milton
* Betty Neely
* Bishop Roger Moore
* Marcia Stephens
* William McKenzie
* Emma McKemie
* David Leach Sr.
* Gina Forsythe-Walsh
* Elhart Oetjen


* Des Plaines man gets probation for lying in probe of Cook County court clerk
* Constable: Oscars serve sweet slice of Americana
* Wheeling incumbent trustee candidates support Argiris
* Elgin police not changing stance on immigration
* Police searching for inmate mistakenly released from prison

* Protesters converge on US Rep. Randy Hultg...
* GOP congressman appears to distance himsel...
* US Representative Randy Hultgren visits ne...
* Hultgren posts comments on health care ref...
* Congressmen Call for Probe into Macedonian...
* Hultgren criticizes immigration ban, Roska...
* Hultgren to participate in veterans forum ...
* Hultgren to join veterans' forum at Geneva...
* Majority of IL Congressional Delegation Op...
* Group upset with Trump wants Town Hall mee...

* Durbin wants independent Russia probes as ......
* Richard Durbin wants independent Russia pr......

* Senator Tammy Duckworth Hosts Transportati......
* Duckworth says she'd work with Trump on a ......

* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* Do Beatty & Dunaway now deserve a fate worse than Bonnie and Clyde?
* Has anyone been to the Chatham 14 Theaters
* The immigration debate: What does the Catholic Church teach?
* Rauner to meet with Chance the Rapper
* Illinois’s only true meadery is riding the current wave of interest in the fermented honey beverage
* The One-Minute Festival offers a takedown of the entire Trump administration in just 60 seconds
* A tiny takeout joint in a Wilmette strip mall serves some of the most lovingly made Pakistani food in the Chicago area
* Hundreds gather for ‘Not My President’ rally outside Trump Tower, and other Chicago news
* Mardi Gras shrimp boil, Wayne's World live reading, and more things to do in Chicago this week


* Governor Announces Medicaid Managed Care Reboot
* Returning Illinois Products Expo Offers 'Taste of Illinois Agriculture' - Supporting Illinois agri-businesses creates boost to Illinois economy
* Governor Celebrates Black History Month
* Governor Bruce Rauner Honors Carnegie Hero From Buffalo Grove
* Governor Addresses State Board of Education to Emphasize Importance of Strong Accountability Standards

  
* T-Mobile’s “Third Line Free” promo starts March 1
* Walmart’s app will now let Pharmacy and Money Services customers skip the line
* AT&T and Time Warner effectively cleared for deal by FCC’s Pai
* HTC U (Ocean) supposedly includes Edge Sense, may be part of Sense Touch UI
* Sony Xperia Touch is an interactive tabletop projector for €1,499
* You’re watching 1 billion hours of video on YouTube daily
* Mozilla buys Pocket, looks to leverage its 10 million users

* Abreu slugs first Sox homer; Giolito debuts
* Giolito: 'A lot to work on' after White Sox debut
* Abreu slugs first Sox homer; Giolito debuts
* Abreu slugs first Sox homer; Giolito debuts
* Moncada flashes defense in first spring start
* Moncada flashes defense in first spring start
* Facing Cubs, Renteria 'really happy' with Sox


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller