States Newsroom Launches Oklahoma Voice
Janelle Stecklein to lead States Newsroom’s Oklahoma Outlet
Oklahoma City – States Newsroom, the nation’s leading network of state-based nonprofit news outlets, today launched Oklahoma Voice to provide people in the Sooner State with free, nonpartisan reporting on some of the state’s biggest issues, including public schools, health care, hunger, transportation, criminal justice reform and workforce development. With the launch of Oklahoma Voice, States Newsroom’s network now includes 36 newsrooms.
Oklahoma Voice will be led by Editor-in-Chief Janelle Stecklein. Stecklein has been covering Oklahoma government since 2014 as CNHI’s Capitol bureau chief. Since graduating from college with degrees in journalism and political science, she has worked for publications of all sizes, including the Herald-Banner in Greenville, Texas, the Amarillo Globe-News and The Salt Lake Tribune. Stecklein is particularly interested in examining how government policy decisions impact Oklahomans living outside the state’s two largest cities. She resides in the Oklahoma City area with her husband and two children.
Additional members of the newsroom include:
Carmen Forman is a reporter in Oklahoma City. She has covered government and politics for more than nine years across three states. Despite being born and raised in Norman, Oklahoma, and graduating from the University of Oklahoma, her college football knowledge is surprisingly limited. Before moving back to her home state, Forman covered Virginia politics in the Blue Ridge Mountains for The Roanoke Times and worked for The Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. She also previously covered the state capital for The Oklahoman and the Tulsa World. Forman and her husband have two rambunctious Australian cattle dogs, Quigley and Lemmy.
Mindy Ragan Wood began her career in 2005 and has worked in both rural communities and the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Her experience encompasses reporting on city and county government, with an emphasis in fiscal policy and infrastructure.
Nuria Martinez-Keel is an education reporter based in Oklahoma City. She grew up in Tulsa and got her start in journalism at Oklahoma State University and its student newspaper, the O’Colly. She landed her first full-time newspaper job as the city reporter at the Sedalia Democrat in Sedalia, Missouri. Nuria returned to her home state in 2019 to join The Oklahoman, where she had interned twice as a college student. After four months covering courts, she found her wheelhouse on the education beat, where she remains today at Oklahoma Voice.
“We are excited to see Janelle and the team at Oklahoma Voice hit the ground running,” said Chris Fitzsimon, Director and Publisher of States Newsroom. “News deserts have proven to be a persistent and growing issue throughout Oklahoma – robbing residents of opportunities to be engaged in their state’s public affairs. Through dedicated reporting without a paywall, Oklahoma Voice will make stories about the decisions being made in Oklahoma City accessible to Sooners across the state.”
States Newsroom plans to launch newsrooms in Maine and South Carolina soon, nearing the organization’s goal of having newsrooms in roughly 40 states by mid 2024. As part of its continued growth, States Newsroom announced in March 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 around the country. States Newsroom also launched content-sharing partnerships with eight independent nonprofit outlets, including The Texas Tribune, to host reporting on News from the States, its comprehensive statehouse news site.
Last year, in a comprehensive 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 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.