The Associated Press

The Associated Press announced Thursday it will create "a team of state government specialists" in an effort to bolster coverage of statehouses across America:

As announced today to the AP staff, the specialists will collaborate with statehouse reporters, as well as on their own projects and stories focused on government accountability and strong explanatory reporting. Their over-arching goal will be “to show how state government is impacting the lives of people across the country,” said Brian Carovillano, managing editor for U.S. news.

The new team will "be a resource to our statehouse reporters looking for help broadening the scope of their reporting," Brian Carovillano, AP's managing editor for U.S. news, wrote in a brief Q and A accompanying the announcement. They will also work with a projects team that will turn out "ambitious enterprise" journalism on state government.

"The message here is that state government coverage is essential to AP and its members, and we are doubling down on that commitment, which should benefit the entire cooperative," Carovillano wrote.

The members of the team include:

  • Tom Verdin, currently an administrative correspondent in Sacramento, will lead the team of specialists.
  • David Crary, a national writer
  • David Lieb, a reporter
  • Ryan Foley, a reporter
  • Christina Almeida Cassidy, a reporter
  • Tom McCarthy, central enterprise editor

The AP's investment in statehouse reporting comes during a decline in state government journalism nationwide. In July, Pew released a survey showing the number of state government reporters have fallen by 35 percent since 2003.

In September, The Center for Public Integrity announced it was hiring 50 freelancers for a nationwide investigation into indicators of corruption in state government.