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Missouri Independent Aims To Shed New Light On Jefferson City

This week, the Missouri Independent launched with big plans for covering Missouri state government. The nonprofit news site promises to provide “relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Jefferson City are made and how those decisions affect Missourians” — and it will deliver this service for free. Readers will not see ads or be blocked by paywalls.

As editor-in-chief of the new organization, Jason Hancock noted: “I know many of you will look upon us with skepticism at first. Frankly, I would, too.”

But after spending decades working for for-profit news organizations, Hancock said he believes the nonprofit model is the future of the news industry — that people, foundations and groups want to help sustain the public good that is journalism.

The Missouri Independent is part of a network of affiliates in 18 states that together form States Newsroom, a national nonprofit funded by individual contributions and institutional grants. The Missouri branch is the fourth to open this year.

For Hancock, not being beholden to corporate interests allows his team to ignore the pressure for clicks. And without the daily demands of a traditional newspaper, reporters can dig deep into stories others simply wouldn’t have time to fully investigate.

He likened it to covering the climate instead of the weather. Instead of asking, “What temperature is it today,” he wants his team to answer questions like, “Why is it warmer today?”

Hancock joined host Sarah Fenske on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, alongside Missouri Independent reporter Rebecca Rivas. A Missouri journalist since 2001, Rivas worked most recently as senior reporter and video producer for the St. Louis American.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Jason Hancock is editor-in-chief of the Missouri Independent. Rebecca Rivas is a reporter for the organization.
Jason Hancock and Rebecca Rivas /
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Jason Hancock is editor-in-chief of the Missouri Independent. Rebecca Rivas is a reporter for the organization.

Emily Woodbury joined the St. Louis on the Air team in July 2019. Prior to that, she worked at Iowa Public Radio as a producer for two daily, statewide talk programs. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a degree in journalism and a minor in political science. She got her start in news radio by working at her college radio station as a news director. Emily enjoys playing roller derby, working with dogs, and playing games – both video and tabletop.