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About

State policies directly affect people’s daily lives, and state-level political battles shape the national landscape. But in many state capitals, too many stories go underreported or unreported. There’s a void in our news ecosystem and it’s only growing.

While traditional news coverage of national politics has increased in recent years, those successes are isolated to a few major outlets. State coverage continues to shrink:

  • Newsroom employment in the U.S. fell 25% between 2008 and 2018, with a 47% decline at newspapers, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center report. 
  • Only 30 percent of newspapers have anyone assigned to cover their statehouses, and students working part-time account for 14 percent of those covering the capitals, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study. 
  • And, The Boston Globe reported that the newspaper industry has lost an average of one thousand jobs per month in recent years. 

As a result, there are fewer eyes on state government, with real consequences for real people. 

States Newsroom is bucking that trend: we now employ more than 70 full-time editors, reporters, and support staff in 18 states across the country. States Newsroom has established a new, philanthropic business model that focuses on state politics and policy. Our model is different: it is entirely made possible by donors of all sizes and unlike virtually every other for-profit and nonprofit media outlet, we don’t run ads of any kind or accept corporate donations or underwriting. Read more about our funding.

We believe that no matter who you are or where you live, you need access to high-quality, non-partisan reporting on the crucial issues of our time. We provide leading reporters and editors with the resources they need to cover their communities. 

States Newsroom is a network of affiliates we created and independent partner news sites that we support. Every newsroom is led by a veteran local journalist with deep knowledge of the state’s political history and media landscape who oversees a staff of experienced capital reporters. Our Washington, D.C., bureau reports on congressional delegations and key Supreme Court and administrative decisions that affect the states. Read our ethics policy.

States Newsroom is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit with offices in Chapel Hill, N.C., and Washington, D.C. All donations to States Newsroom affiliates and partners are tax-deductible.

Meet The Staff

Director and Publisher

Chris Fitzsimon

Chris oversees the content and themes of the organization, managing financial resources, and supervising the state editors. He also travels frequently to hire and visit editors and grantees and appears weekly on the TV political talk show NC SPIN.

From 2004 to 2017, Fitzsimon was the founder and original director of NC Policy Watch, North Carolina's leading online news and commentary outlet, where he led a team of seven journalists, hosted a weekly radio show and wrote a syndicated column on North Carolina politics and government.

Fitzsimon was also the founder and director of Common Sense Foundation, a progressive think tank in Raleigh. From 1991 to 1994, he was the spokesperson, speech writer and policy adviser for N.C. Speaker of the House Dan Blue. Before his stint with Speaker Blue, Fitzsimon was an award-winning television news reporter covering politics and government.

Deputy Director

Andrea Verykoukis

Andrea is the former Communications Director for Public Schools First NC, a statewide education advocacy organization, and a longtime contributor to NC Policy Watch’s blog. She and Chris worked together (many) years ago to quantify the dearth of state political coverage on capital area TV news, a project that helped inspire the creation of NC Policy Watch and later States Newsroom. She plays a long game.

Between stints in the political and journalism worlds, Andrea raised two kids and volunteered for auctions, boards, fundraisers, and as a reading tutor for underprivileged students in Durham and Chapel Hill. Supporting Chris’s work as publisher, Andrea travels regularly to develop leads for editors and reporters in the states and manages day-to-day functions in States Newsroom.

National Editor

Mary Cornatzer

Mary works with the state editors to maintain editorial standards, expand the reach of each state’s reporting and commentary, and advise on cross-outlet projects. She also provides editorial support and works with Chris and Andrea on States Newsroom's growth.

Before coming to States Newsroom, Mary was a longtime reporter and editor at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., where she was at various times responsible for business and political coverage. In another lifetime (before she became a mom), Mary was also The N&O's music critic.

National Editor

Andrea Shaw

Andrea works with the state editors to maintain editorial standards, expand the reach of each state’s reporting and commentary, and advise on cross-outlet projects.

Andrea Shaw is a North Carolina native who spent 23 years at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans as senior editor, reporter and bureau chief. She was part of the team of journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2006 after chronicling Hurricane Katrina and its deadly, chaotic aftermath. Before heading south to New Orleans, Andrea was city editor of The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Va. Her work there was recognized by the Virginia Press Association and the Virginia Bar Association.

Andrea’s journey began as a cub reporter covering farming, the military and education at the Fayetteville Observer-Times. She won a New York Times Chairman’s Award for reporting while working at the Morning Star in Wilmington.

Digital Director

Nelle Dunlap

Nelle manages digital projects, exploring new ways to expand the reach and engagement of each state’s reporting and commentary. This includes outlet launches and training, audience development, and building strategies for multimedia storytelling.

Nelle spent several years as the New Media Director for NC Policy Watch; prior to that, she worked primarily in education and art/design spaces. She currently serves on the boards of two NC-based arts organizations: the Durham Art Guild and School of the Alternative.

Nelle has a Community Arts MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a Graphic Design BFA from the University of Iowa. As a student, she was graphics editor of the Daily Iowan student paper and had an internship at Bloomberg News.

Operations Director

Breanne Porter

Breanne oversees personnel, finance, and systems management for States Newsroom. Her responsibilities include interfacing with third-party vendors, arranging and managing lease agreements and contractors, conducting financial analyses, and maintaining monthly budget tracking.

Before coming to States Newsroom, she worked at Arabella Advisors, LLC, where she provided operational, programmatic, financial, and business development support for a portfolio of fiscally sponsored nonprofit projects. Her portfolio focused on policy and advocacy issues such as healthcare and tax reform, civic engagement, and access to education research and resources.

Breanne has a BA in political science from Yale University, where she earned distinction in the political science major and served on the executive board for the Yale Mock Trial Association.

Principal Engineer

Joe Wright

Joe supports States Newsroom by developing modern and responsive code for web, building custom software solutions to solve business needs, administering web servers and security, continuously implementing best modern practices in strategic SEO, and providing technical support and assistance.

Before joining the team at States Newsroom, he worked with a variety of tech startups across several industries to build web presences and software, turning big ideas into realities.

Joe holds a 20th Century Literature MA from North Carolina State University, as well as a BS in Engineering and a BA in English from the same.

Media Administrative Coordinator

Dustin Burleson

Dustin provides administrative support for States Newsroom centered around invoicing, analytics, research and special projects. He has an eye for detail, an appreciation for aesthetics, and a passion for process design.

Before coming to States Newsroom, he worked in higher education where he provided administrative and internal communications support for the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School MBA Program and the Design Lab for K-12 Education at the NC State College of Design.

Dustin has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in General Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a student, he served on the Yackety Yack yearbook staff and was a member of Carolina Union Activities Board. Go Heels!

DC Bureau

DC Bureau Chief

Jane Norman

Jane directs national coverage, managing staff and freelance reporters in the nation’s capital and assigning and editing state-specific daily and enterprise stories.

Before coming to States Newsroom, she was the editor for national education policy and the congressional budget and appropriations process for POLITICO.

A native of Illinois, Jane earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Drake University in Des Moines and landed her first job at The Des Moines Tribune, which shut down a year later. Switching to the sister paper, The Des Moines Register, she covered everything from small-town city councils to the Iowa Statehouse to the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Jane then moved to the Register’s Washington bureau, where for 20 years she followed the Iowa congressional delegation and wrote the “Potomac Fever” weekly column. In 2009, she joined CQ Roll Call, where she was a reporter and editor for eight years.

DC Bureau Senior Reporter

Laura Olson

Laura covers the nation's capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.

Before joining States Newsroom, Laura was the Washington correspondent for the Allentown Morning Call, where she covered Pennsylvania's congressional delegation, public policies affecting the state, and federal elections. She also wrote about Pennsylvania state politics for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Capitolwire.com, and covered the California state capital for The Associated Press and the Orange County Register.

A Nebraska native, Laura has a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and political science.

DC Bureau Reporter

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance.

Before joining States Newsroom, Ariana covered public health and chemical policy on Capitol Hill for E&E News. As a Florida native, she's worked for the Miami Herald and her hometown paper, the Tampa Bay Times. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and NPR.

She is a graduate of the University of Florida.

Newsroom Editors

Arizona Mirror

Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations.

Colorado Newsline

Quentin Young

Quentin Young is an award-winning journalist who has served as a reporter and editor at the Boulder Daily Camera, Longmont Times-Call and other Colorado outlets. His career includes stints covering news, writing editorials, and reviewing art exhibitions and theater. His in-depth story, published in 5280, about the FBI special agent who led a raid on the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant earned top investigative reporting honors from the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Before joining Newsline, Young served as the Boulder Daily Camera opinion page editor.

Florida Phoenix

Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.

Georgia Recorder

John McCosh

John McCosh is a seasoned writer and editor with decades of experience in journalism and government public affairs. His skills were forged in Georgia newsrooms, where he was a business and investigative reporter, editor and bureau chief. He expanded his experience during years in nonprofit and corporate communications roles. For more than a decade at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, McCosh investigated state and local government officials and operations. He also tracked regional growth and development with a focus on metro Atlanta’s population-related problems, including traffic congestion, air pollution and water quality. He first learned the power of public records to unlock information when he was a commercial real estate reporter at the Atlanta Business Chronicle. McCosh is a board member of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation and active in the Georgia State Signal Alumni Group, which advises student journalists.

Iowa Capital Dispatch

Kathie Obradovich

Editor Kathie Obradovich has been covering Iowa government and politics for more than 30 years, most recently as political columnist and opinion editor for the Des Moines Register. She previously covered the Iowa Statehouse for 10 years for newspapers in Davenport, Waterloo, Sioux City, Mason City and Muscatine. She is a leading voice on Iowa politics and makes regular appearances on state, national and international news programs. She has led national-award-winning coverage of the Iowa Caucuses and the Register’s Iowa Poll.

Kansas Reflector

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal, where he started on the copy desk, then oversaw digital operations, was the managing editor and reported from the Statehouse. A lifelong Kansan, he graduated from Emporia State University in 2004 as a Shepherd Scholar with a degree in English.

Louisiana Illuminator

Jarvis DeBerry

Jarvis DeBerry, editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later NOLA.com) as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns.

Maine Beacon (Partner)

Lauren McCauley

Lauren McCauley is Editor of Maine Beacon. Previously, she was a senior editor at Common Dreams covering national and international politics and progressive news. Lauren also helped produce a number of documentary films, including the award-winning Soundtrack for a Revolution and The Hollywood Complex, as well as one currently in production about civil rights icon James Meredith. Her writing has been featured on Newsweek, BillMoyers.com, TruthDig, Truthout, In These Times,and Extra! the newsletter of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. She currently lives in Kennebunk, Maine with her husband, two children, a dog and several chickens.

Maryland Matters (Partner)

Josh Kurtz

Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and also spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics.

For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.

Michigan Advance

Susan Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 20-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.”

Minnesota Reformer

Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican is Editor-in-Chief of Minnesota Reformer. Previously, he was a Capitol reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for five years, after a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan and time at the Las Vegas Sun, Seattle Times and a few other stops along the way. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and son where they are restoring a 135 year old home. He has been to 48 Phish concerts and is not ashamed.

Missouri Independent

Jason Hancock

Jason Hancock has been writing about Missouri since 2011, most recently as lead political reporter for The Kansas City Star. He has spent nearly two decades covering politics and policy for news organizations across the Midwest, and has a track record of exposing government wrongdoing and holding elected officials accountable.

Nevada Current

Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. He also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV for several years. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.

NC Policy Watch (Partner)

Rob Schofield

Rob Schofield has three decades of experience as a lawyer, lobbyist, writer and commentator. At Policy Watch, Rob writes and edits daily online commentaries and handles numerous public speaking and electronic media appearances. He also delivers a radio commentary that’s broadcast weekdays on WRAL-FM and WCHL and hosts News and Views, a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.

Ohio Capital Journal

David DeWitt

David C. DeWitt is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience covering Ohio politics and policy, including covering education, health care, crime and courts, poverty, government, business, labor, energy, environment, and social issues. He has worked for the National Journal, The New York Observer, The Athens NEWS, and Plunderbund.com. His work has also appeared in Government Executive, the Columbus Dispatch, Girlfriends magazine, Bleacher Report, and the Ashtabula Star Beacon, among others.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star

John Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

Tennessee Lookout

Holly McCall

Holly McCall is a fixture in Tennessee media and politics, with decades of experience. She began her journalism career covering City Hall with Suburban News Publications in Columbus, Ohio, and wrote for the Joplin Globe in Missouri and the Nashville Business Journal. She has served as political analyst for WZTV Fox 17 and provided communications consulting for political campaigns at all levels, from city council to presidential. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.

Virginia Mercury

Robert Zullo

Robert Zullo spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers, beginning at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., where he was a staff writer and managing editor. He spent five years in south Louisiana as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. A former waiter, armored car guard and a graduate of the College of William and Mary, he grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey.

Wisconsin Examiner

Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine where she worked for many years from both Madison and Washington, DC. Shortly after Donald Trump took office she moved with her family to Oaxaca, Mexico, and covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Trump. Conniff is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She graduated from Yale University in 1990, where she ran track and edited the campus magazine The New Journal. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters.