T-Squared: Alana Rocha is joining the Institute for Nonprofit News

Alana Rocha in 2018, speaking at a Texas Tribune symposium on the future of rural Texas, held in College Station. (Marjorie Kamys Cotera For The Texas Tribune, Marjorie Kamys Cotera For The Texas Tribune)

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Over nearly a decade, Alana Rocha has been a multimedia innovator and pioneer at The Texas Tribune as one of the most prominent representatives of our journalism and a leader of our fellowships and partnerships.

So it is with a mix of both pride and sadness that we share the news that Alana is leaving us to join the Institute for Nonprofit News in the critical new role of editor for the Rural News Network and Special Projects. The network, which involves more than 60 outlets in 30 states, will focus on the most pressing issues facing rural communities, especially communities of color.

Alana joined the Tribune as a multimedia reporter in 2012, coming from what was then known as YNN (now known as Spectrum News 1) in Austin. Partnering with Justin Dehn, Alana helped us create polished video news packages that we shared with partners across the state. Alana conceived and helped execute our “State of Mind” series. She was a critical part of the Trib’s “God and Governing” project, which was recognized nationally by the Online Journalism Association and the Edward R. Murrow Awards. Another stellar project Alana helped lead was “13 Hours to Midnight,” our documentary noting the five-year anniversary of Wendy Davis’ filibuster targeting abortion legislation.

Alana also started “The Brief,” which continues to climb in popularity as many Texans use the podcast to start their day. During the pandemic, she worked with Todd Wiseman and with Justin on the “Weekend Brief,” which focused on Texas’ experiences during the pandemic. People across Texas have gotten to know Alana through her regular media appearances on behalf of the Tribune. During the pandemic, she oversaw the production of a limited-series Spanish-language podcast focused on providing accurate and timely information about COVID-19.

Promoted to director of news partnerships last year, Alana has worked seamlessly with various teams across the Trib to find philanthropic support for new opportunities for emerging journalists. While we will miss Alana deeply, we are thrilled that she is continuing her leadership journey in the growing field of nonprofit news and with INN, of which the Tribune is a longstanding, active member.

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