Apr 7, 2022 - News

Colorado sees increase in Capitol watchdogs, new study shows

Change in statehouse reporters, 2014-2022
Data: Pew Research Center; Note: Includes part-time and contract workers; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Colorado is a bright spot when it comes to informing the public about what's happening at the state Capitol.

Driving the news: A new study by Pew Research Center counted 30 journalists covering the statehouse, a slight uptick from 2014, when the study was last conducted.

  • New for-profit and nonprofit outlets are driving the gains in Colorado and nationwide, replacing dwindling newspaper staff.
  • The report highlighted Axios, the Colorado Sun and States Newsroom, whose local affiliate is Colorado Newsline.

Why it matters: The accountability focus of statehouse coverage is core to journalism's public service mission — and one we take seriously here at Axios Denver, John writes.

  • The Colorado governor and legislature make billion-dollar decisions and set the tone on major policies from the economy to the environment.

Yes, but: The increasing demands on reporters mean they're stretched thinner than ever.

  • The number of full-time reporters in Colorado is closer to half the total from 2014, but still more robust than most states.

The bottom line: "As Coloradans, we're spoiled when it comes to statehouse reporting," says Corey Hutchins, the interim director of the Journalism Institute at Colorado College.

  • "If you want the latest news out of the Capitol, you can get it from a variety of reporters and from perspectives that align with pretty much whatever ideological flavor you prefer from your news, information, and commentary. Not everyone can say that."
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