The Rural Data Journalism Cooperative project is a collaboration of journalists and technologists dedicated to providing transparently sourced data-driven reporting on topics important to America’s rural citizens.

Katherine Ann Rowlands has worked as a journalist for 30 years, covering news in the Bay Area, Central California and overseas. As a 2016-17 JSK Fellow at Stanford University, she focused her research on how to overcome gender disparities in newsrooms, especially in leadership positions, and how to bolster local news coverage in the Bay Area. Before buying Bay City News Service and launching Bay City News Foundation in 2018, she was an editor for the Mercury News and Bay Area News Group, directing coverage of business and technology in Silicon Valley. She also worked as East Bay Metro Editor, overseeing local and regional news coverage for Alameda and Contra Costa counties, and State and Regional Editor for the newspaper group. Before that she was Business Editor for the San Luis Obispo Tribune and spent four years as a correspondent in Honduras. A Berkeley native, she got her start in journalism as a summer intern for Bay City News Service. She studied at Macalester College, London School of Economics and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Alan Dawkins brings strategic media industry experience in corporate, operating, acquisition and startup contexts. For Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK and affiliated companies, he served as president of Gannett Directories; as chief technology officer of InfiNet (a Gannett/Knight-Ridder partnership that built one of the first digital publishing infrastructures for major news organizations); and as a corporate consultant, program manager, production director and software development manager. He is a graduate of Spring Hill College and earned a certificate in International Business Management from Georgetown University.

Lori Duffy Foster is a former newspaper reporter who writes fiction and nonfiction from the hills of Northern Pennsylvania. She started her career at The Post-Standard in Syracuse, N.Y., where she covered everything from crime to education to the military for more than a decade. Her freelance work has appeared in Healthy Living, Running Times, Literary Mama, Crimespree, Parent.com and Mountain Home magazines.  Her short fiction has appeared in the journal Aethlon, and in the anthologies Short Story America and Childhood Regained.  She is author of Raising Identical Twins: The Unique Challenges and Joys of the Early Years and has three crime novels forthcoming from Black Opal Books.  She also teaches English part-time at Alfred University.

Richard Sullivan lives in the Carlsbad, California and is a former chief executive of WCNY public television and managing editor of The (Syracuse, N.Y.) Post-Standard. He has led news teams for more than 30 years.


Melanie Eversley has worked in journalism for more than 35 years, most recently on the breaking news desk at USA Today, where she was on staff for 13 years. She also is former Washington correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Detroit Free Press. She is launching a startup, Beyond the Railroad, focused on issues of race and culture throughout New York State and more. She has won multiple awards for her work, including the Ethel Payne Fellowship for reporting from Africa. She is an honors graduate from Columbia Journalism School and an alum of Oberlin College. 

Tom Foster lives on a family farm in Pennsylvania and is the editor of the Rural Data Journalism project. He is as a project manager and has worked as both a technologist and journalist for several years for the USA Today Network and The (Syracuse, N.Y.) Post-Standard. He was part of a team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1993 and co-authored Their Darkest Day, a book about the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.