CPB awards $2.25M to bolster statehouse reporting

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The Texas state capitol building in Austin.

CPB is providing $2.25 million to assist seven public media newsrooms and NPR with statehouse reporting.

The grant program responds to a “drop in the overall number of full-time statehouse reporters across the country,” CPB said in a press release announcing the grants Wednesday during the Public Media Content Conference in Philadelphia.  

A report by Pew Research Center last year found that the number of statehouse reporters increased between 2014 and 2022, but fewer journalists were on the beat full-time in 2022.  

CPB President Patricia Harrison said in the release that the grants will “address an urgent need as we increase the number of journalists at public media stations reporting statehouse news and policy decisions. Their coverage will be made available to all citizens in those seven states.”

The funding will go to:

  • Alaska Public Media in Anchorage — $196,588 for a full-time, year-round state government reporter.
  • Connecticut Public in Hartford — $217,775 for a full-time, year-round state government reporter.
  • WHYY in Philadelphia — $300,000 to provide multimedia enterprise coverage of the state government in Delaware.
  • Louisville Public Media in Kentucky — $294,727 to expand its state government news team to four journalists. 
  • KOSU in Stillwater, Okla. — $250,000 to add a full-time journalist to report on state government and public policy issues.
  • Wyoming Public Media in Laramie — $360,999 to partner with Jackson Hole Community Radio in hiring a multiplatform journalist covering state government and a full-time digital content coordinator. 
  • KERA in Dallas — $250,000 to support one editor and one reporter focused on investigative reporting for the Texas Newsroom.  
  • NPR in Washington, D.C. —  $380,577 to add a second state government editor who will work with station reporters to identify trends in legislation and governance across states and to provide training for state government reporters. 

Oklahoma, Connecticut, Alaska and Wyoming currently lack any dedicated statehouse reporting by public media outlets.

The two-year grants require the stations to share their state government coverage with public media and other outlets across the state. In Connecticut, for example, the reporting will be shared with WSHU in Fairfield, Conn.; public media stations in the New England News Collaborative; Spanish-language news outlets; and the nonprofit digital news organization CT Mirror. 

The recipients were chosen from 20 proposals and “fill gaps” in state government coverage that were identified in CPB’s 2022 study of public media’s statehouse coverage, according to the release.  

At the Public Media Content Conference, Kathy Merritt, CPB’s senior VP for radio, journalism and CSG services, said the funder is considering releasing another request for proposals for statehouse coverage.

Current Digital Editor Mike Janssen contributed to this article.

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