News coverage of state governments, which has been declining for two decades, will get a boost in 14 states next year and in 2021 with funding to The Associated Press from Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

Applications for the jobs will open Dec. 2 and the journalists will begin reporting in June. They will be in Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah. "A data journalist will support their efforts and work to bring policy journalism to all 50 states," AP reports.

“An investment in AP at the statehouse is an investment in the health of an entire state news ecosystem,” Noreen Gillespie, AP's deputy managing editor for U.S. news, said in the story. “We are pleased to be working with Report for America to ensure citizens have better and more access to information about their government at work, from budgets and policy issues to holding elected officials accountable.”

The journalists will also report on state and federal elections; issues related to voter access, vote suppression and vote security; and "break news on the impact of new administrations and changes of power at the state level," AP reports. Most states elect governors and legislators next year.

“One of the most important crises facing our democracy is the alarming shortage of local news coverage about state government, which determines much of the public policy affecting the lives of Americans,” Report for America President Steven Waldman said in the story. Charles Sennott, CEO of The GroundTruth Project, added: “Although Congress gets far more attention, state government has at least as much impact and garners far fewer headlines.”

The new reporters' work will be available to non-AP news organizations, such as nonprofit news outlets, public radio stations and independent online sites, and AP will distribute many stories produced by other Report for America journalists who are already covering statehouses.