October 20, 2020

For Immediate Release


Jillian Susi

- [email protected]

States Newsroom Launches The Missouri Independent

Experienced Watchdog Reporter Jason Hancock to Lead the New Outlet

Jefferson City, MO — Today States Newsroom, the nation’s premier nonprofit news network announced the launch of the organization’s 19th news outlet, The Missouri Independent. The Independent will be led by Jason Hancock, a veteran Kansas City Star watchdog reporter, and will focus on state government and oversight.

The Independent’s staff of four full-time journalists make it the largest news operation focused on state government in Missouri. Its goal will be providing citizens with the information they need to hold elected officials, political appointees and state agencies accountable.

“State government has such a huge, tangible impact on the daily lives of people across our state,” said Jason Hancock, editor-in-chief of The Independent. “Having watchdog reporters on the state government beat is critical to a functioning democracy. I am thrilled to take on this new role to help ensure Missourians get honest, accurate and quality reporting.”

Hancock has been covering Missouri’s government since 2011. He previously served as lead political reporter for The Kansas City Star. Hancock has a long history of shining a light government abuse and holding public officials accountable for several newspapers in the Midwest.

Hancock will be joined by a team of well-established journalists:

  • Deputy Editor Rudi Keller has spent 22 of his 30 years in journalism covering Missouri government and politics, most recently as the news editor of The Columbia Daily Tribune. Keller has won awards for spot news and investigative reporting.
  • Rebecca Rivas has been reporting in Missouri since 2001, most recently as senior reporter and video producer at the St. Louis American, the nation’s leading African-American newspaper. As a Fulbright scholar, she investigated Peru’s high maternal-death rate among Andean women and produced a 45-minute documentary that has been used as an educational tool in college campuses nationwide.
  • Reporter Tessa Weinberg previously covered the Missouri legislature for The Kansas City Star and The Columbia Missourian, where her reporting into social media use by the governor prompted an investigation by the Attorney General’s office. She most recently covered state government in Texas for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“Holding public officials accountable is the bedrock of journalism which is, in turn, the most important pillar of our democracy.” said Chris Fitzsimon, Director and Publisher of States Newsroom. “Our vision for States Newsroom is similar to our views on journalism, that hard hitting and meticulous reporting needs to be accessible to the public. That is exactly what The Missouri Independent will provide.”

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 –
Colorado Newsline –
Florida Phoenix –
Georgia Recorder –
Iowa Capital Dispatch –
Kansas Reflector  –
Louisiana Illuminator –
Maine Beacon –
Maryland Matters –
Michigan Advance –
Minnesota Reformer –
Nevada Current –
NC Policy Watch –
Ohio Capital Journal –
Pennsylvania Capital-Star –
Tennessee Lookout –
Virginia Mercury –
Wisconsin Examiner –