Fair. Fearless. Free: States Newsroom Launches Utah News Dispatch
McKenzie Romero to Lead States Newsroom’s Utah Outlet
Salt Lake City, Utah – States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization, today launched Utah News Dispatch to provide free, non-partisan coverage of the state issues that most affect Utahns’ daily lives.
The launch of the Dispatch marks an exciting start to the year for States Newsroom, which is now just two states away from reaching its goal of having a presence in every state in the nation. With 39 state outlets and nine content partners currently under its umbrella, States Newsroom will soon elevate its status to a fully national news network amid a staggering decline of local news outlets across the country.
The Dispatch’s newsroom will be spearheaded by McKenzie Romero, who started her career in Utah journalism when she was 15 years old writing for the Standard-Examiner’s teen section. After studying journalism and Spanish at Southern Utah University, she went on to more than a decade as a reporter and editor at Deseret News in Salt Lake City where she covered courts, crime and community, and led a team of award-winning journalists. A longtime member of the Society of Professional Journalists, she is a board member for the Utah Headliners Chapter and represents journalists in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. She is a passionate advocate for open meetings and records, ethical reporting, and the future of journalism.
Additional members of the newsroom include:
- Katie McKellar, Senior Reporter: Katie McKellar is a reporter based in Salt Lake City. She has worked in journalism for 10 years, specializing in government and policy reporting. Before coming to Utah News Dispatch, she led state and local political coverage for the state’s oldest newspaper, the Deseret News. She has won multiple awards from the Utah chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for her work reporting on city and county councils, the governor, and the Utah Legislature, covering every legislative session since 2014. She has particular expertise in growth and housing issues, and she’s most passionate about keeping Utahns informed about decisions that impact their daily lives.
- Kyle Dunphey, Reporter: Kyle Dunphey covers politics, public safety, and the environment for Utah News Dispatch. He previously reported on crime, immigration, the environment, and general news for the Deseret News, where in 2023 he won the Utah Society of Professional Journalists’ award for Best Newspaper Reporter. Kyle moved to Utah in 2013 from his home state of Vermont and has degrees from Salt Lake Community College and the University of Utah. Whether on his skis or bike, Kyle enjoys exploring Utah’s mountains and public land, preferably out of cell service.
- Alixel Cabrera, Reporter: Alixel Cabrera is a Salt Lake City-based journalist and writes about the status of diverse Utah communities, growth, infrastructure, and education for Utah News Dispatch. She was previously a Report for America corps member covering west-side communities for The Salt Lake Tribune and has reported on the economy, energy, food, and culture for other newspapers and websites in Venezuela and the U.S.
“We are thrilled to keep the ball rolling in 2024 with the launch of the Dispatch,” said Chris Fitzsimon, Director and Publisher of States Newsroom. “Utahns deserve free and factual reporting on the decision-making within their state government. McKenzie and her team of skilled journalists are ready to provide reliable, daily coverage of the issues and policies shaping life in the Beehive State. As local news outlets across the nation dwindle, we look forward to expanding to all 50 states in the coming months.”
As part of its continued growth, States Newsroom announced last year that it was selected by The Pew Charitable Trusts to be the new home of Stateline – merging the two state policy-focused organizations to expand their incisive reporting on state government. States Newsroom also has launched content-sharing partnerships with nine independent nonprofit outlets, including CalMatters and The Texas Tribune, to feature their reporting on News from the States, its comprehensive statehouse news site.
In a 2022 national study on statehouse reporting, Pew Research Center cited States Newsroom and other nonprofit newsrooms as key to filling the void in coverage left by staffing cuts at legacy media outlets. According to Pew, the overall percentage of reporters working for nonprofit newsrooms in the statehouse press corps has more than tripled since 2014 and now makes up the largest portion of statehouse reporters in 10 states and the second largest in 17 states.
States Newsroom is the nation’s fastest-growing nonprofit news organization. We shine a light on policy and politics in state capitals around the nation and we provide that coverage for free; no pop-ups, paywalls, or ads. In an era of rampant disinformation and news deserts, we provide non-partisan coverage of the state issues that most affect people’s daily lives.
We run – or partner with – news outlets in 48 state capitals.
We fully fund newsrooms in 39 states, each with its own website. They are:
Alabama Reflector – alabamareflector.com
Alaska Beacon – alaskabeacon.com
Arkansas Advocate – arkansasadvocate.com
Arizona Mirror – azmirror.com
Colorado Newsline – coloradonewsline.com
Florida Phoenix – floridaphoenix.com
Georgia Recorder – georgiarecorder.com
Idaho Capital Sun – idahocapitalsun.com
Indiana Capital Chronicle – indianacapitalchronicle.com
Iowa Capital Dispatch – iowacapitaldispatch.com
Kansas Reflector – kansasreflector.com
Kentucky Lantern – kentuckylantern.com
Louisiana Illuminator – lailluminator.com
Maine Morning Star – mainemorningstar.com
Maryland Matters – marylandmatters.org
Michigan Advance – michiganadvance.com
Minnesota Reformer – minnesotareformer.com
Missouri Independent – missouriindependent.com
Daily Montanan – dailymontanan.com
Nebraska Examiner – nebraskaexaminer.com
Nevada Current – nevadacurrent.com
New Hampshire Bulletin – newhampshirebulletin.com
New Jersey Monitor – newjerseymonitor.com
Source New Mexico – sourcenm.com
NC Newsline – ncnewsline.com
North Dakota Monitor – northdakotamonitor.com
Ohio Capital Journal – ohiocapitaljournal.com
Oklahoma Voice – oklahomavoice.com
Oregon Capital Chronicle – oregoncapitalchronicle.com
Pennsylvania Capital-Star – penncapital-star.com
Rhode Island Current – rhodeislandcurrent.com
South Carolina Daily Gazette – scdailygazette.com
South Dakota Searchlight – southdakotasearchlight.com
Stateline – stateline.org
Tennessee Lookout – tennesseelookout.com
Virginia Mercury – virginiamercury.com
Washington State Standard – washingtonstatestandard.com
West Virginia Watch – westvirginiawatch.com
Wisconsin Examiner – wisconsinexaminer.com
States Newsroom also has content-sharing agreements with nine leading nonprofit newsrooms: CalMatters (California), CommonWealth Beacon (Massachusetts), Connecticut Mirror, Honolulu Civil Beat (Hawaii), Mississippi Today, New York Focus, The Texas Tribune, VTDigger (Vermont), and WyoFile (Wyoming).