February 4, 2020

For Immediate Release


Michael Czin

- [email protected]

States Newsroom Launches Minnesota Reformer; Announces Major Expansion

Former Star Tribune journalist J. Patrick Coolican to lead Minnesota newsroom

Twin Cities, MN – Today, States Newsroom, the nation’s leading network of state-based nonprofit news outlets announced a new effort to expand to more than 20 states by 2021 and launched the Minnesota Reformer, the organization’s 15th newsroom and fifth in the Midwest. Minnesota Reformer will be led by veteran journalist J. Patrick Coolican.

“We are reimagining journalism at the state level to ensure that no matter who you are or where you live, you have access to high-quality, non-partisan reporting on the crucial issues of our time,” said Chris Fitzsimon, Director and Publisher of States Newsroom. “In the last year, we’ve grown from 9 to 15 outlets, added a Washington, DC, bureau and now have almost 60 reporters, editors and support staff. We’re going to continue to expand on these successes and grow in the coming months and years.”

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, newsroom employment in the U.S. fell 25% between 2008 and 2018, with a 47% decline in newspapers. As a result, important state issues are under-covered, with real consequences for real people. States Newsroom is bucking that trend.

States Newsroom outlets like the Minnesota Reformer provide top-quality journalism focused on keeping government accountable and ensuring readers have a voice in the issues that affect them most: education, health care, agriculture and the environment, jobs and the economy, justice and public safety.

“It’s no secret that statehouse news coverage is declining across the country. It’s a shame to see and leaves a hole that needs to be filled, as too many stories are going underreported or simply unreported,” said J. Patrick Coolican, Editor of the Minnesota Reformer. “I am thrilled to join States Newsroom to buck that trend and to provide high-quality, non-partisan reporting on the crucial issues of our time.”

Coolican comes to States Newsroom following five years at the Star Tribune. He joined the newspaper in 2014 and has been the voice of the Star Tribune’s daily newsletter, Morning Hot Dish.
Coolican will be joined by veteran reporters Richard Lopez, who worked at the Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017; Max Nesterak, who joins the Reformer from Minnesota Public Radio’s Morning Edition; and Rilyn Eischens, a Minnesota native who has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia.

States Newsroom is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is funded exclusively by the generous contributions of readers and philanthropists. States Newsroom is committed to supporting fact-based, non-partisan news to the public at no cost and ad-free.

Other States Newsrooms affiliates and partners are:

  • Arizona Mirror –
  • The Colorado Independent –
  • Florida Phoenix –
  • Georgia Recorder –
  • Iowa Capital Dispatch –
  • Maine Beacon –
  • Maryland Matters –
  • Michigan Advance –
  • Nevada Current –
  • NC Policy Watch –
  • Ohio Capital Journal –
  • Pennsylvania Capital-Star –
  • Virginia Mercury –
  • Wisconsin Examiner –