Our Team

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Chris Fitzsimon

Director & Publisher

Chris oversees the content and themes of the organization, managing financial resources, and supervising the state editors. He also travels frequently to hire and visit editors and grantees and appears weekly on the TV political talk show NC SPIN.

From 2004 to 2017, Fitzsimon was the founder and original director of NC Policy Watch, North Carolina's leading online news and commentary outlet, where he led a team of seven journalists, hosted a weekly radio show and wrote a syndicated column on North Carolina politics and government.

Fitzsimon was also the founder and director of Common Sense Foundation, a progressive think tank in Raleigh. From 1991 to 1994, he was the spokesperson, speech writer and policy adviser for N.C. Speaker of the House Dan Blue. Before his stint with Speaker Blue, Fitzsimon was an award-winning television news reporter covering politics and government.

Chris oversees the content and themes of the organization, managing financial resources, and supervising the state editors. He also travels frequently to hire and visit editors and grantees and appears weekly on the TV political talk show NC SPIN.

From 2004 to 2017, Fitzsimon was the founder and original director of NC Policy Watch, North Carolina's leading online news and commentary outlet, where he led a team of seven journalists, hosted a weekly radio show and wrote a syndicated column on North Carolina politics and government.

Fitzsimon was also the founder and director of Common Sense Foundation, a progressive think tank in Raleigh. From 1991 to 1994, he was the spokesperson, speech writer and policy adviser for N.C. Speaker of the House Dan Blue. Before his stint with Speaker Blue, Fitzsimon was an award-winning television news reporter covering politics and government.

Andrea Verykoukis

Deputy Director

Andrea is the former Communications Director for Public Schools First NC, a statewide education advocacy organization, and a longtime contributor to NC Policy Watch’s blog. She and Chris worked together (many) years ago to quantify the dearth of state political coverage on capital area TV news, a project that helped inspire the creation of NC Policy Watch and later States Newsroom. She plays a long game.

Between stints in the political and journalism worlds, Andrea raised two kids and volunteered for auctions, boards, fundraisers, and as a reading tutor for underprivileged students in Durham and Chapel Hill. Supporting Chris’s work as publisher, Andrea travels regularly to develop leads for editors and reporters in the states and manages day-to-day functions in States Newsroom.

Andrea is the former Communications Director for Public Schools First NC, a statewide education advocacy organization, and a longtime contributor to NC Policy Watch’s blog. She and Chris worked together (many) years ago to quantify the dearth of state political coverage on capital area TV news, a project that helped inspire the creation of NC Policy Watch and later States Newsroom. She plays a long game.

Between stints in the political and journalism worlds, Andrea raised two kids and volunteered for auctions, boards, fundraisers, and as a reading tutor for underprivileged students in Durham and Chapel Hill. Supporting Chris’s work as publisher, Andrea travels regularly to develop leads for editors and reporters in the states and manages day-to-day functions in States Newsroom.

Breanne Porter

Operations Director

Breanne oversees personnel, finance, and systems management for States Newsroom. Her responsibilities include interfacing with third-party vendors, arranging and managing lease agreements and contractors, conducting financial analyses, and maintaining monthly budget tracking.

Before coming to States Newsroom, she worked at Arabella Advisors, LLC, where she provided operational, programmatic, financial, and business development support for a portfolio of fiscally sponsored nonprofit projects. Her portfolio focused on policy and advocacy issues such as healthcare and tax reform, civic engagement, and access to education research and resources.

Breanne has a BA in political science from Yale University, where she earned distinction in the political science major and served on the executive board for the Yale Mock Trial Association.

Breanne oversees personnel, finance, and systems management for States Newsroom. Her responsibilities include interfacing with third-party vendors, arranging and managing lease agreements and contractors, conducting financial analyses, and maintaining monthly budget tracking.

Before coming to States Newsroom, she worked at Arabella Advisors, LLC, where she provided operational, programmatic, financial, and business development support for a portfolio of fiscally sponsored nonprofit projects. Her portfolio focused on policy and advocacy issues such as healthcare and tax reform, civic engagement, and access to education research and resources.

Breanne has a BA in political science from Yale University, where she earned distinction in the political science major and served on the executive board for the Yale Mock Trial Association.

Andrea Shaw

Senior National Editor

Andrea leads the national editorial team and works with state editors to maintain editorial standards, expand the reach of each state’s reporting and commentary, and advise on cross-outlet projects.

Andrea Shaw is a North Carolina native who spent 23 years at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans as senior editor, reporter and bureau chief. She was part of the team of journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2006 after chronicling Hurricane Katrina and its deadly, chaotic aftermath. Before heading south to New Orleans, Andrea was city editor of The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Va. Her work there was recognized by the Virginia Press Association and the Virginia Bar Association.

Andrea’s journey began as a cub reporter covering farming, the military and education at the Fayetteville Observer-Times. She won a New York Times Chairman’s Award for reporting while working at the Morning Star in Wilmington.

Andrea leads the national editorial team and works with state editors to maintain editorial standards, expand the reach of each state’s reporting and commentary, and advise on cross-outlet projects.

Andrea Shaw is a North Carolina native who spent 23 years at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans as senior editor, reporter and bureau chief. She was part of the team of journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2006 after chronicling Hurricane Katrina and its deadly, chaotic aftermath. Before heading south to New Orleans, Andrea was city editor of The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Va. Her work there was recognized by the Virginia Press Association and the Virginia Bar Association.

Andrea’s journey began as a cub reporter covering farming, the military and education at the Fayetteville Observer-Times. She won a New York Times Chairman’s Award for reporting while working at the Morning Star in Wilmington.

Mika’il Petin

Equity, Inclusion & Strategic Initiatives Director

Mika’il supports States Newsroom by leading the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across the organization. His responsibilities include working with the Executive Team to actualize new and ongoing goals while infusing knowledge and best practices in organizational planning, communications, policymaking, professional development, hiring/retention, and broadly, community-building.

Before joining the team at States Newsroom, “MP” spent years working for a variety of private and public organizations as they wrestled with being impactful, equitable, and socially responsive. A few of his previous roles are Chief of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at All Hands and Hearts; Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; and Associate Director of African and African American Studies.

MP holds a doctorate in Cultural Studies with focuses on Media Studies and Race/Ethnicity from George Mason University, as well as a MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BFA in Two-dimensional art and graphic design from Radford University.

Mika’il supports States Newsroom by leading the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across the organization. His responsibilities include working with the Executive Team to actualize new and ongoing goals while infusing knowledge and best practices in organizational planning, communications, policymaking, professional development, hiring/retention, and broadly, community-building.

Before joining the team at States Newsroom, “MP” spent years working for a variety of private and public organizations as they wrestled with being impactful, equitable, and socially responsive. A few of his previous roles are Chief of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at All Hands and Hearts; Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; and Associate Director of African and African American Studies.

MP holds a doctorate in Cultural Studies with focuses on Media Studies and Race/Ethnicity from George Mason University, as well as a MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BFA in Two-dimensional art and graphic design from Radford University.

Nelle Dunlap

Digital Director

Nelle manages digital projects, exploring new ways to expand the reach and engagement of each state’s reporting and commentary. This includes outlet launches and training, audience development, and building strategies for multimedia storytelling.

Nelle spent several years as the New Media Director for NC Policy Watch; prior to that, she worked primarily in education and art/design spaces. She currently serves on the boards of two NC-based arts organizations: the Durham Art Guild and School of the Alternative.

Nelle has an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BFA from the University of Iowa.

Nelle manages digital projects, exploring new ways to expand the reach and engagement of each state’s reporting and commentary. This includes outlet launches and training, audience development, and building strategies for multimedia storytelling.

Nelle spent several years as the New Media Director for NC Policy Watch; prior to that, she worked primarily in education and art/design spaces. She currently serves on the boards of two NC-based arts organizations: the Durham Art Guild and School of the Alternative.

Nelle has an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BFA from the University of Iowa.

Andrea Shaw

Senior National Editor

Andrea leads the national editorial team and works with state editors to maintain editorial standards, expand the reach of each state’s reporting and commentary, and advise on cross-outlet projects.

Andrea Shaw is a North Carolina native who spent 23 years at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans as senior editor, reporter and bureau chief. She was part of the team of journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2006 after chronicling Hurricane Katrina and its deadly, chaotic aftermath. Before heading south to New Orleans, Andrea was city editor of The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Va. Her work there was recognized by the Virginia Press Association and the Virginia Bar Association.

Andrea’s journey began as a cub reporter covering farming, the military and education at the Fayetteville Observer-Times. She won a New York Times Chairman’s Award for reporting while working at the Morning Star in Wilmington.

Andrea leads the national editorial team and works with state editors to maintain editorial standards, expand the reach of each state’s reporting and commentary, and advise on cross-outlet projects.

Andrea Shaw is a North Carolina native who spent 23 years at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans as senior editor, reporter and bureau chief. She was part of the team of journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2006 after chronicling Hurricane Katrina and its deadly, chaotic aftermath. Before heading south to New Orleans, Andrea was city editor of The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Va. Her work there was recognized by the Virginia Press Association and the Virginia Bar Association.

Andrea’s journey began as a cub reporter covering farming, the military and education at the Fayetteville Observer-Times. She won a New York Times Chairman’s Award for reporting while working at the Morning Star in Wilmington.

Mary Cornatzer

National Editor

Mary works with the state editors to maintain editorial standards, expand the reach of each state’s reporting and commentary, and advise on cross-outlet projects. She also provides editorial support and works with Chris and Andrea on States Newsroom's growth.

Before coming to States Newsroom, Mary was a longtime reporter and editor at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., where she was at various times responsible for business and political coverage. In another lifetime (before she became a mom), Mary was also The N&O's music critic.

Mary works with the state editors to maintain editorial standards, expand the reach of each state’s reporting and commentary, and advise on cross-outlet projects. She also provides editorial support and works with Chris and Andrea on States Newsroom's growth.

Before coming to States Newsroom, Mary was a longtime reporter and editor at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., where she was at various times responsible for business and political coverage. In another lifetime (before she became a mom), Mary was also The N&O's music critic.

Sean Scully

National Editor

Sean works with the state editors, primarily in the West, to maintain editorial standards and expand the reach of each state’s reporting and commentary.

A Virginia native, Sean has been in journalism for more than 30 years in a variety of roles and locations. Most recently he was editor and director of news content for the Napa Valley Register, where he worked relentlessly to protect local news coverage in the face of sweeping changes in the newspaper industry. Previously he worked as a reporter at the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, Ca; editor of the Weekly Calistogan, the local newspaper in the town where he and his family now live; at daily papers in VA and MD; and at the Washington Times. His work has also appeared in Time and People magazine, among other publications.

Sean works with the state editors, primarily in the West, to maintain editorial standards and expand the reach of each state’s reporting and commentary.

A Virginia native, Sean has been in journalism for more than 30 years in a variety of roles and locations. Most recently he was editor and director of news content for the Napa Valley Register, where he worked relentlessly to protect local news coverage in the face of sweeping changes in the newspaper industry. Previously he worked as a reporter at the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, Ca; editor of the Weekly Calistogan, the local newspaper in the town where he and his family now live; at daily papers in VA and MD; and at the Washington Times. His work has also appeared in Time and People magazine, among other publications.

Nelle Dunlap

Digital Director

Nelle manages digital projects, exploring new ways to expand the reach and engagement of each state’s reporting and commentary. This includes outlet launches and training, audience development, and building strategies for multimedia storytelling.

Nelle spent several years as the New Media Director for NC Policy Watch; prior to that, she worked primarily in education and art/design spaces. She currently serves on the boards of two NC-based arts organizations: the Durham Art Guild and School of the Alternative.

Nelle has an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BFA from the University of Iowa.

Nelle manages digital projects, exploring new ways to expand the reach and engagement of each state’s reporting and commentary. This includes outlet launches and training, audience development, and building strategies for multimedia storytelling.

Nelle spent several years as the New Media Director for NC Policy Watch; prior to that, she worked primarily in education and art/design spaces. She currently serves on the boards of two NC-based arts organizations: the Durham Art Guild and School of the Alternative.

Nelle has an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BFA from the University of Iowa.

Goran Butorac

Senior Full-stack Developer

Goran Butorac is a decades-long computer enthusiast with a social justice streak. He thinks a lot about ethics in software and has been called many things in the past: software engineer, designer, filmmaker/animator, educator... He is a co-founder of Filmaktiv, a film and video production and education non-profit based in Rijeka, Croatia. Today he focuses on FLOSS technologies and how they shape our immediate and distant futures.

Goran Butorac is a decades-long computer enthusiast with a social justice streak. He thinks a lot about ethics in software and has been called many things in the past: software engineer, designer, filmmaker/animator, educator... He is a co-founder of Filmaktiv, a film and video production and education non-profit based in Rijeka, Croatia. Today he focuses on FLOSS technologies and how they shape our immediate and distant futures.

Mary-Kate Murphy

Digital Project Coordinator

Mary-Kate supports editors and reporters with day-to-day publishing needs, manages website launches, provides digital onboarding of new media outlets, maintains the health of newsletters, manages rollout of training tutorials, and supports in design and graphics.

Before joining the team at the States Newsroom, she spent 7 years as an Elementary School teacher advocating for multicultural education, social justice, and equity in curriculum and classrooms. Prior to that she taught overseas for two years. One year in Yilan, Taiwan as an English Teaching Assistant through the Fulbright Program, and another year teaching English in Valladolid, Spain through a program with the Spanish government.

Mary-Kate holds a Masters in Education from Roger Williams University, as well as a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Cognitive Science and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Central Florida.

Mary-Kate supports editors and reporters with day-to-day publishing needs, manages website launches, provides digital onboarding of new media outlets, maintains the health of newsletters, manages rollout of training tutorials, and supports in design and graphics.

Before joining the team at the States Newsroom, she spent 7 years as an Elementary School teacher advocating for multicultural education, social justice, and equity in curriculum and classrooms. Prior to that she taught overseas for two years. One year in Yilan, Taiwan as an English Teaching Assistant through the Fulbright Program, and another year teaching English in Valladolid, Spain through a program with the Spanish government.

Mary-Kate holds a Masters in Education from Roger Williams University, as well as a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Cognitive Science and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Central Florida.

Shayne Nuesca

Audience Strategy Director

Shayne expands our audiences by identifying opportunities to reach more people with the stories published by our reporters and editors. This includes growing our republishing program, advising social media strategies and collaborating on launch campaigns.

Shayne is based in Anchorage, Alaska. Before States Newsroom, she was the director of content strategy and digital editor at KTOO, the NPR station in Juneau. Throughout her career, she has been most passionate about connecting newsrooms with communities historically underrepresented and underserved by news media.

Shayne was part of the KTVA 11 News digital team which was recognized nationally for leveraging digital platforms for immersive multimedia storytelling, earning an Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in social media. She has a Master of Science in communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, where she studied journalism innovation.

Shayne expands our audiences by identifying opportunities to reach more people with the stories published by our reporters and editors. This includes growing our republishing program, advising social media strategies and collaborating on launch campaigns.

Shayne is based in Anchorage, Alaska. Before States Newsroom, she was the director of content strategy and digital editor at KTOO, the NPR station in Juneau. Throughout her career, she has been most passionate about connecting newsrooms with communities historically underrepresented and underserved by news media.

Shayne was part of the KTVA 11 News digital team which was recognized nationally for leveraging digital platforms for immersive multimedia storytelling, earning an Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in social media. She has a Master of Science in communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, where she studied journalism innovation.

Breanne Porter

Operations Director

Breanne oversees personnel, finance, and systems management for States Newsroom. Her responsibilities include interfacing with third-party vendors, arranging and managing lease agreements and contractors, conducting financial analyses, and maintaining monthly budget tracking.

Before coming to States Newsroom, she worked at Arabella Advisors, LLC, where she provided operational, programmatic, financial, and business development support for a portfolio of fiscally sponsored nonprofit projects. Her portfolio focused on policy and advocacy issues such as healthcare and tax reform, civic engagement, and access to education research and resources.

Breanne has a BA in political science from Yale University, where she earned distinction in the political science major and served on the executive board for the Yale Mock Trial Association.

Breanne oversees personnel, finance, and systems management for States Newsroom. Her responsibilities include interfacing with third-party vendors, arranging and managing lease agreements and contractors, conducting financial analyses, and maintaining monthly budget tracking.

Before coming to States Newsroom, she worked at Arabella Advisors, LLC, where she provided operational, programmatic, financial, and business development support for a portfolio of fiscally sponsored nonprofit projects. Her portfolio focused on policy and advocacy issues such as healthcare and tax reform, civic engagement, and access to education research and resources.

Breanne has a BA in political science from Yale University, where she earned distinction in the political science major and served on the executive board for the Yale Mock Trial Association.

Dustin Burleson

Operations Associate

Dustin provides operational support for States Newsroom centered around invoicing, data management, analytics, research and special projects. He has an eye for detail, an appreciation for aesthetics, and a passion for process design.

Before coming to States Newsroom, he worked in higher education where he provided administrative and internal communications support for the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School MBA Program and the Design Lab for K-12 Education at the NC State College of Design.

Dustin has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in General Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a student, he served on the Yackety Yack yearbook staff and was a member of Carolina Union Activities Board. Go Heels!

Dustin provides operational support for States Newsroom centered around invoicing, data management, analytics, research and special projects. He has an eye for detail, an appreciation for aesthetics, and a passion for process design.

Before coming to States Newsroom, he worked in higher education where he provided administrative and internal communications support for the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School MBA Program and the Design Lab for K-12 Education at the NC State College of Design.

Dustin has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in General Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a student, he served on the Yackety Yack yearbook staff and was a member of Carolina Union Activities Board. Go Heels!

Tonya Khakazi

HR/Operations Assistant

Tonya provides support to The HR and Operations Departments of States Newsroom. Among her duties are maintaining employee files, managing HR Inquiries, processing expense requests, and serving as an assistant to the Operations Director.

Before coming to States Newsroom, she worked in the hospitality industry as a Trainer and Manager, where she encouraged employee engagement and provided ongoing support.

Tonya is a mom, plant mom, a native of Philadelphia, and earned her BFA in Jazz Voice & Business from Howard University in Washington, DC.

Tonya provides support to The HR and Operations Departments of States Newsroom. Among her duties are maintaining employee files, managing HR Inquiries, processing expense requests, and serving as an assistant to the Operations Director.

Before coming to States Newsroom, she worked in the hospitality industry as a Trainer and Manager, where she encouraged employee engagement and provided ongoing support.

Tonya is a mom, plant mom, a native of Philadelphia, and earned her BFA in Jazz Voice & Business from Howard University in Washington, DC.

Mina Ouanvilay

Administrative Assistant

Mina Ouanvilay is a Greensboro, NC native, and graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Social Work. She has had 4 years of nonprofit experience, previously working at the National Alliance of Mental Illness of Wake County based in Raleigh, NC.

Her many roles included being a programs intern, gratitude caller, registration coordinator and volunteer intake specialist along the span of those years. She received the Youth Empowerment award in 2020 for her dedication to supporting NAMI's mission through programs, advocacy and engagement. Coming from an immigrant family culture, her career aspirations include providing context and color around the stories of marginalized individuals, families and communities to uplift and strengthen their narratives.

In her free time you might find her journaling, listening to NPR Invisibilia, or playing new music for her cat, Percy.

Mina Ouanvilay is a Greensboro, NC native, and graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Social Work. She has had 4 years of nonprofit experience, previously working at the National Alliance of Mental Illness of Wake County based in Raleigh, NC.

Her many roles included being a programs intern, gratitude caller, registration coordinator and volunteer intake specialist along the span of those years. She received the Youth Empowerment award in 2020 for her dedication to supporting NAMI's mission through programs, advocacy and engagement. Coming from an immigrant family culture, her career aspirations include providing context and color around the stories of marginalized individuals, families and communities to uplift and strengthen their narratives.

In her free time you might find her journaling, listening to NPR Invisibilia, or playing new music for her cat, Percy.

Emily Dobler Siddiqi

National Newsletter Editor/Producer

Emily Dobler Siddiqi works with the national and digital teams to maintain the News From The States homepage and produce a daily newsletter that analyzes the top trends and themes emerging from the states.

She's currently based in Baltimore. Emily previously served as a night policy editor and a deputy production director for POLITICO Pro, the publication's subscription service, in Washington, D.C. Before that, she was a copy editor and front-page designer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Originally from New York, she attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Emily Dobler Siddiqi works with the national and digital teams to maintain the News From The States homepage and produce a daily newsletter that analyzes the top trends and themes emerging from the states.

She's currently based in Baltimore. Emily previously served as a night policy editor and a deputy production director for POLITICO Pro, the publication's subscription service, in Washington, D.C. Before that, she was a copy editor and front-page designer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Originally from New York, she attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Kate Elizabeth Queram

National Newsletter Author

Kate is the author of the News From The States Evening Wrap, a daily newsletter that analyzes the top trends and themes emerging in news from the states. She’s based in Washington, D.C.

Kate is a recovering newspaper reporter who most recently worked as a senior correspondent for Route Fifty, a Washington, D.C.-based publication that covers state and local government. Her work has been recognized by the Virginia Press Association and the North Carolina Press Association. A native Wisconsinite, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland. She lives in the burbs with her husband, twin toddlers, three pets and zero personal space.

Kate is the author of the News From The States Evening Wrap, a daily newsletter that analyzes the top trends and themes emerging in news from the states. She’s based in Washington, D.C.

Kate is a recovering newspaper reporter who most recently worked as a senior correspondent for Route Fifty, a Washington, D.C.-based publication that covers state and local government. Her work has been recognized by the Virginia Press Association and the North Carolina Press Association. A native Wisconsinite, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland. She lives in the burbs with her husband, twin toddlers, three pets and zero personal space.

Moses Eshiet

National Digital Content Associate

Moses Eshiet works with the national and digital teams to maintain the News From The States homepage and shares news from States Newsroom's content partners. He is based in his hometown of Durham, North Carolina. Prior to working with States Newsroom, Moses worked in public affairs at SKDKnickerbocker. He also has experience working in community engagement, nonprofit sectors, and digital content maintenance. Moses graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in communication studies.

Moses Eshiet works with the national and digital teams to maintain the News From The States homepage and shares news from States Newsroom's content partners. He is based in his hometown of Durham, North Carolina. Prior to working with States Newsroom, Moses worked in public affairs at SKDKnickerbocker. He also has experience working in community engagement, nonprofit sectors, and digital content maintenance. Moses graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a degree in communication studies.

Kira Lerner

Democracy Reporter

Kira is the democracy reporter for States Newsroom where she covers voting, elections, redistricting, and efforts to subvert democracy.

Before joining States Newsroom, Kira was managing editor of Votebeat, a pop-up newsroom launched to cover election administration and voting before and after the 2020 election. She has also covered voting rights, criminal justice, and civil rights issues for outlets including The Appeal and ThinkProgress. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Guardian, Slate, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.

Kira has a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and is a native of the Washington, D.C. area.

Kira is the democracy reporter for States Newsroom where she covers voting, elections, redistricting, and efforts to subvert democracy.

Before joining States Newsroom, Kira was managing editor of Votebeat, a pop-up newsroom launched to cover election administration and voting before and after the 2020 election. She has also covered voting rights, criminal justice, and civil rights issues for outlets including The Appeal and ThinkProgress. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Guardian, Slate, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.

Kira has a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and is a native of the Washington, D.C. area.

Casey Quinlan

Economy Reporter

Casey Quinlan is a reporter in Washington DC. In the past 10 years or so, they have reported on national politics and state politics, LGBTQ rights, abortion access, labor issues, education, Supreme Court news and more for publications including The American Independent, ThinkProgress, New Republic, Rewire News, SCOTUSblog, In These Times, and Vox. Some of their stories have included coverage of 2018-2019 teachers strikes, a medication abortion ban in Arkansas, the effects of the pandemic on LGBTQ workers, and the fallout of efforts to remove books with LGBTQ characters from school libraries and community libraries across the country.

Casey Quinlan is a reporter in Washington DC. In the past 10 years or so, they have reported on national politics and state politics, LGBTQ rights, abortion access, labor issues, education, Supreme Court news and more for publications including The American Independent, ThinkProgress, New Republic, Rewire News, SCOTUSblog, In These Times, and Vox. Some of their stories have included coverage of 2018-2019 teachers strikes, a medication abortion ban in Arkansas, the effects of the pandemic on LGBTQ workers, and the fallout of efforts to remove books with LGBTQ characters from school libraries and community libraries across the country.

Robert Zullo

Energy Transition Reporter

Robert Zullo is a national energy reporter based in southern Illinois focusing on renewable power and the electric grid. Robert joined States Newsroom in 2018 as the founding editor of the Virginia Mercury. Before that, he spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. He has a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey.

Robert Zullo is a national energy reporter based in southern Illinois focusing on renewable power and the electric grid. Robert joined States Newsroom in 2018 as the founding editor of the Virginia Mercury. Before that, he spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. He has a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey.

Jane Norman

DC Bureau Chief

Jane directs national coverage, managing staff and freelance reporters in the nation’s capital and assigning and editing state-specific daily and enterprise stories.

Before coming to States Newsroom, she was the editor for national education policy and the congressional budget and appropriations process for POLITICO.

A native of Illinois, Jane earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Drake University in Des Moines and landed her first job at The Des Moines Tribune, which shut down a year later. Switching to the sister paper, The Des Moines Register, she covered everything from small-town city councils to the Iowa Statehouse to the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Jane then moved to the Register’s Washington bureau, where for 20 years she followed the Iowa congressional delegation and wrote the “Potomac Fever” weekly column. In 2009, she joined CQ Roll Call, where she was a reporter and editor for eight years.

Jane directs national coverage, managing staff and freelance reporters in the nation’s capital and assigning and editing state-specific daily and enterprise stories.

Before coming to States Newsroom, she was the editor for national education policy and the congressional budget and appropriations process for POLITICO.

A native of Illinois, Jane earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Drake University in Des Moines and landed her first job at The Des Moines Tribune, which shut down a year later. Switching to the sister paper, The Des Moines Register, she covered everything from small-town city councils to the Iowa Statehouse to the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Jane then moved to the Register’s Washington bureau, where for 20 years she followed the Iowa congressional delegation and wrote the “Potomac Fever” weekly column. In 2009, she joined CQ Roll Call, where she was a reporter and editor for eight years.

Jacob Fischler

DC Bureau Senior Reporter

Jacob covers federal policy as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Based in Oregon, he focuses on Western issues. His coverage areas include climate, energy development, public lands and infrastructure.

Before joining States Newsroom, Jacob was a national reporter for CQ Roll Call, where he covered state policy trends and federal-state relations. He also wrote about transportation and infrastructure policy on Capitol Hill for CQRC. He began his career covering local government for The Monitor newspaper in McAllen, Texas.

Originally from Minneapolis, Jacob has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Jacob covers federal policy as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Based in Oregon, he focuses on Western issues. His coverage areas include climate, energy development, public lands and infrastructure.

Before joining States Newsroom, Jacob was a national reporter for CQ Roll Call, where he covered state policy trends and federal-state relations. He also wrote about transportation and infrastructure policy on Capitol Hill for CQRC. He began his career covering local government for The Monitor newspaper in McAllen, Texas.

Originally from Minneapolis, Jacob has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Jennifer Shutt

DC Bureau Senior Reporter

Jennifer covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include congressional policy, politics and legal challenges with a focus on health care, unemployment, housing and aid to families.

Before joining States Newsroom, Jennifer covered Congress for CQ Roll Call for more than six years. As a budget and appropriations reporter, she tracked the annual federal funding process as well as disaster aid and COVID-19 spending.

Jennifer is originally from northern Pennsylvania and holds degrees in journalism and political science from Penn State University. After graduating, she began her journalism career as a reporter for The Daily Times in Maryland where she covered local and state government. Jennifer then moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a web producer at Politico.

Jennifer covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include congressional policy, politics and legal challenges with a focus on health care, unemployment, housing and aid to families.

Before joining States Newsroom, Jennifer covered Congress for CQ Roll Call for more than six years. As a budget and appropriations reporter, she tracked the annual federal funding process as well as disaster aid and COVID-19 spending.

Jennifer is originally from northern Pennsylvania and holds degrees in journalism and political science from Penn State University. After graduating, she began her journalism career as a reporter for The Daily Times in Maryland where she covered local and state government. Jennifer then moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a web producer at Politico.

Ariana Figueroa

DC Bureau Reporter

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance.

Before joining States Newsroom, Ariana covered public health and chemical policy on Capitol Hill for E&E News. As a Florida native, she's worked for the Miami Herald and her hometown paper, the Tampa Bay Times. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and NPR.

She is a graduate of the University of Florida.

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance.

Before joining States Newsroom, Ariana covered public health and chemical policy on Capitol Hill for E&E News. As a Florida native, she's worked for the Miami Herald and her hometown paper, the Tampa Bay Times. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and NPR.

She is a graduate of the University of Florida.

Chris Fitzsimon

President, Director and Publisher

Chris Fitzsimon leads the content and themes of the organization, managing financial resources and overseeing the digital, editorial, and operations departments. He also travels frequently to hire and visit editors and grantees.

From 2004 to 2017, Fitzsimon was the founder and original director of NC Policy Watch, North Carolina's leading online news and commentary outlet, where he led a team of seven journalists, hosted a weekly radio show and wrote a syndicated column on North Carolina politics and government.

Fitzsimon was also the founder and director of Common Sense Foundation, a progressive think tank in Raleigh. From 1991 to 1994, he was the spokesperson, speech writer and policy adviser for N.C. Speaker of the House Dan Blue. Before his stint with Speaker Blue, Fitzsimon was an award-winning television news reporter covering politics and government.

Chris Fitzsimon leads the content and themes of the organization, managing financial resources and overseeing the digital, editorial, and operations departments. He also travels frequently to hire and visit editors and grantees.

From 2004 to 2017, Fitzsimon was the founder and original director of NC Policy Watch, North Carolina's leading online news and commentary outlet, where he led a team of seven journalists, hosted a weekly radio show and wrote a syndicated column on North Carolina politics and government.

Fitzsimon was also the founder and director of Common Sense Foundation, a progressive think tank in Raleigh. From 1991 to 1994, he was the spokesperson, speech writer and policy adviser for N.C. Speaker of the House Dan Blue. Before his stint with Speaker Blue, Fitzsimon was an award-winning television news reporter covering politics and government.

Adam Searing

Director and Treasurer

Adam Searing is an Associate Professor of the Practice at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families where he focuses on Medicaid and other health coverage programs.

Before joining CCF, Searing served seventeen years as Director of the Health Access Coalition for the North Carolina Justice Center. The Health Access Coalition is North Carolina’s leading voice for health reforms that address the needs of the uninsured and underinsured. During his tenure, Searing fought to keep health plans and hospitals nonprofit and community-focused, won and helped implement expansions of the state Medicaid program, helped pass a model state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program and worked on passage and implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act. In addition, Searing taught public policy courses as adjunct faculty at both the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy.

In 2012 he was named a Health Advocate of the Year by the national consumer group Families USA. Also in 2012 he was recognized as a “Champion of Change” in health care by the White House. He is a recipient of both the NC Pediatric Society’s Tom Vitaglione Child Health Advocacy Award and the NC Primary Health Care Association’s Evelyn D. Schmidt Award for Outstanding Service. Searing is a licensed attorney with degrees in both law and public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Adam Searing is an Associate Professor of the Practice at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Center for Children and Families where he focuses on Medicaid and other health coverage programs.

Before joining CCF, Searing served seventeen years as Director of the Health Access Coalition for the North Carolina Justice Center. The Health Access Coalition is North Carolina’s leading voice for health reforms that address the needs of the uninsured and underinsured. During his tenure, Searing fought to keep health plans and hospitals nonprofit and community-focused, won and helped implement expansions of the state Medicaid program, helped pass a model state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program and worked on passage and implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act. In addition, Searing taught public policy courses as adjunct faculty at both the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy.

In 2012 he was named a Health Advocate of the Year by the national consumer group Families USA. Also in 2012 he was recognized as a “Champion of Change” in health care by the White House. He is a recipient of both the NC Pediatric Society’s Tom Vitaglione Child Health Advocacy Award and the NC Primary Health Care Association’s Evelyn D. Schmidt Award for Outstanding Service. Searing is a licensed attorney with degrees in both law and public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

David Hudson

Director

David Hudson is the Senior Director of Digital Content and Social Media at the Motion Picture Association, based in Washington, D.C.

Before joining MPA, Hudson served as Digital Director for Accountable US. Prior to that, he was with Precision Strategies, a communications firm, where he helped build awareness of MPA’s diversity and inclusion programming in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite. He also helped launch the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s inaugural Smithsonian African American Film Festival.

Hudson’s resume also includes the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, the Center for American Progress, and the Obama White House, where he was Associate Director for Content, managing among other things the We the People petition platform and other interactive content for WhiteHouse.gov.

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Hudson received his bachelor's degree in English and African American and African Studies from the University of Virginia.

David Hudson is the Senior Director of Digital Content and Social Media at the Motion Picture Association, based in Washington, D.C.

Before joining MPA, Hudson served as Digital Director for Accountable US. Prior to that, he was with Precision Strategies, a communications firm, where he helped build awareness of MPA’s diversity and inclusion programming in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite. He also helped launch the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s inaugural Smithsonian African American Film Festival.

Hudson’s resume also includes the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, the Center for American Progress, and the Obama White House, where he was Associate Director for Content, managing among other things the We the People petition platform and other interactive content for WhiteHouse.gov.

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Hudson received his bachelor's degree in English and African American and African Studies from the University of Virginia.

Jarvis DeBerry

Director

Jarvis DeBerry is an opinion editor for MSNBC Digital and the former editor of the Louisiana Illuminator. Jarvis spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later NOLA.com) as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed.

In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns. A collection of his Times-Picayune columns, “I Feel to Believe” was published by the University of New Orleans Press in September 2020.

Jarvis DeBerry is an opinion editor for MSNBC Digital and the former editor of the Louisiana Illuminator. Jarvis spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later NOLA.com) as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed.

In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns. A collection of his Times-Picayune columns, “I Feel to Believe” was published by the University of New Orleans Press in September 2020.

Kathy Best

Director

Kathy Best is director of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

As former executive editor and managing editor for digital news, Best led the Seattle Times staff to two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of breaking news, including real-time reporting of the manhunt for a gunman who shot four police officers. The staff also won two prestigious Online Journalism Awards under her watch for a project on ocean acidification and coverage of a devastating mudslide in Oso, Washington, that claimed 43 lives.

As a reporter, Best covered the Illinois Legislature and state politics in Springfield and Chicago before joining the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Washington, D.C., Bureau, where she covered the Supreme Court, Congress and presidential politics.

Best switched to editing full time in 1996, directing coverage of earthquakes, hurricanes, domestic whale hunts, priest abuse, National Security Agency boondoggles, riots and other forms of mayhem in Seattle, St. Louis and Baltimore.

Kathy Best is director of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

As former executive editor and managing editor for digital news, Best led the Seattle Times staff to two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of breaking news, including real-time reporting of the manhunt for a gunman who shot four police officers. The staff also won two prestigious Online Journalism Awards under her watch for a project on ocean acidification and coverage of a devastating mudslide in Oso, Washington, that claimed 43 lives.

As a reporter, Best covered the Illinois Legislature and state politics in Springfield and Chicago before joining the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Washington, D.C., Bureau, where she covered the Supreme Court, Congress and presidential politics.

Best switched to editing full time in 1996, directing coverage of earthquakes, hurricanes, domestic whale hunts, priest abuse, National Security Agency boondoggles, riots and other forms of mayhem in Seattle, St. Louis and Baltimore.