February 7, 2023

For Immediate Release


Sean Manning

- [email protected]

Kicking Off 2023, States Newsroom Launches Alabama Reflector

The New Alabama Outlet is the 32nd Outlet in the 5-Year-Old Nonprofit News Network

MONTGOMERY, AL – States Newsroom, the nation’s leading network of state-based nonprofit news outlets, launched the Alabama Reflector to provide free, high-quality, non-partisan reporting on the crucial issues affecting the Yellowhammer State. With the launch of the Alabama Reflector, States Newsroom now has outlets in 32 states.

Award-winning reporter Brian Lyman will lead the Reflector’s newsroom as Editor. Lyman has been covering Alabama’s state government since 2006. He was previously at the Montgomery Advertiser; the Press-Register and The Anniston Star. His reporting has focused on a wide range of issues, from the death penalty to climate change to Alabama history.

Additional members of the Alabama Reflector’s newsroom include:

  • Ralph Chapoco, Senior Reporter: Prior to joining the Reflector, Chapoco was a political watchdog reporter for Florida Today, focused on covering local politicians and the impact their policies have on the community. He has been a journalist for over 8 years, beginning in 2014 as an education reporter for a year and half for the Rio Grande Sun in New Mexico and the North Platte Telegraph in North Platte, Nebraska. He also went on to spend more than 3 years at the Washington County Daily News as the local political journalist. He obtained a master’s degree from the University of Missouri, focusing on data journalism and business reporting.
  • Alander Rocha, Reporter: Rocha was previously at the Red & Black, Georgia University’s independent student newspaper. During his time, he also hosted The Athens Frontline, a podcast focused on health issues affecting Northeast Georgia. He has also reported for Kaiser Health News, where he covered community health workers’ successful efforts to vaccinate refugees in an Atlanta suburb. Rocha is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), and Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). Prior to becoming a journalist, Rocha served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador where he worked with English teachers in Shell, a small Amazonian town on the foothills of the Andes. He has a master’s degree in health and medical journalism from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s from Tulane University.
  • Jemma Stephenson, Reporter: Before joining the Alabama Reflector, Stephenson was a children and education reporter for The Montgomery Advertiser. In 2022, she was selected to be a reporting fellow for the Education Writers Association. She is a graduate of Smith College and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

“We are thrilled to announce the launch of our 32nd outlet and our first outlet in 2023,” said Chris Fitzsimon, Director and Publisher of States Newsroom. “Brian has assembled a great team who I know will provide excellent and needed reporting for the people of Alabama to inform their decisions and hold their leaders accountable.”

The launch of the Alabama Reflector comes after Pew Research Center cited States Newsroom and other nonprofit newsrooms as key to filling the void in statehouse 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.

In 2021, States Newsroom announced major plans to expand its footprint to have independent newsrooms in roughly 40 states and launched News from the States, a comprehensive source for statehouse news across the country. Recently, the network of nonprofit outlets expanded the reach of its reporting by launching new content-sharing partnerships with eight independent nonprofit outlets, including the Texas Tribune, to host their reporting on News from the States.

States Newsroom, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is funded 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 Newsroom affiliates and partners are:

    Alaska Beacon –
    Arkansas Advocate –
    Arizona Mirror –
    Colorado Newsline –
    Florida Phoenix –
    Georgia Recorder –
    Idaho Capital Sun –
    Indiana Capital Chronicle –
    Iowa Capital Dispatch –
    Kansas Reflector –
    Kentucky Lantern –
    Louisiana Illuminator –
    Maine Beacon –
    Maryland Matters –
    Michigan Advance –
    Minnesota Reformer –
    Missouri Independent –
    Daily Montanan –
    Nebraska Examiner –
    Nevada Current –
    New Hampshire Bulletin –
    New Jersey Monitor –
    Source New Mexico –
    NC Policy Watch –
    Ohio Capital Journal –
    Oregon Capital Chronicle –
    Pennsylvania Capital-Star –
    South Dakota Searchlight –
    Tennessee Lookout –
    Virginia Mercury –
    Wisconsin Examiner –

In addition to its network of 32 state-based outlets, States Newsroom has content-sharing agreements with eight leading nonprofit newsrooms: CommonWealth (Massachusetts), Connecticut Mirror, Honolulu Civil Beat (Hawaii), Mountain State Spotlight (West Virginia), Mississippi Today, Texas Tribune, VTDigger (Vermont), and WyoFile (Wyoming).