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Alaina Bookman covers violence prevention in Birmingham, Alabama, for AL.com. Raised in Dallas, she developed an interest in social activism during the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. After moving to pursue her bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, she fell in love with the city's commitment to justice and tolerance. She covered social issues affecting the Black community. She also worked at the UT Austin Benson Latin American Collection as an AKA scholar Black diaspora archive intern, assisting in processing the Miss Black Austin Pageant collection. She also interned with the public affairs team at the university's College of Liberal Arts, where she wrote press releases and articles for Life and Letters Magazine.
AL.com is the largest digital news site in Alabama, and one of the nation’s largest local news sites. It is part of the Alabama Media Group, which also operates social brand “It’s a Southern Thing,” “This is Alabama,” “People of Alabama” and the millennial-focused news brand “Reckon.” Alabama Media Group is part of Advance Local. Content for AL.com comes from three Advance Local newspapers: The Mobile Press Register, Birmingham News, Huntsville Times. The staff includes 75 reporters, editors, social producers and videographers.
Cory Johnson is a multimedia journalist covering Mississippi’s George and Greene counties for WKRG, a CBS affiliate based in Mobile, Alabama. Johnson previously worked as an associate producer for Gray Television’s national investigative unit, and was a reporter and supervising producer for KOMU, mid-Missouri’s NBC affiliate. Johnson’s work as a reporter for two community newspapers in Wauseon, Ohio, his hometown, was recognized by the National Press Club. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he’s a member of the university’s prestigious Rollins Society for having served impoverished communities throughout Missouri, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Peru and Thailand. An Eagle Scout, he enjoys biking, camping, canoeing and hiking.
Sarah Swetlik is a Statehouse reporter focusing on gender and politics for AL.com, which reports on news across Alabama. Prior to this, Swetlik covered public policy for Fresh Take Georgia, a digital news service at the Center for Sustainable Journalism in Kennesaw, Georgia. Her coverage has been featured by The Associated Press, U.S. News & World Report, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Public Broadcasting. Her passion for humanity-centered storytelling has allowed her to highlight struggles such as metro Atlanta’s housing crisis and resource disparities impacting Georgia’s most vulnerable. Swetlik, a Georgia native, earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kennesaw State University in 2021.
AL.com is the largest news site in Alabama, and part of the Alabama Media Group. The site has a statewide focus and grew out of the 2012 online combination of the Mobile Press-Register, The Birmingham News and The Huntsville Times, which remain news sources for print readers in those communities. AL.com operates hubs in those three cities, and has 75 reporters, editors, digital producers and videographers based throughout the state.
Hadley Hitson covers the rural South and the Black Belt communities in Alabama for the Montgomery Advertiser, a daily newspaper in the state capital. Hadley previously worked as a freelance education reporter for Fortune magazine, while the media outlet launched its first annual list of the Best Online MBA Programs. As a Fortune editorial intern, she authored articles on the technology, business, and politics beats. Hadley is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she was the managing editor of the university’s award-winning, student-run newspaper, The Daily Mississippian. She has also interviewed a member of the presidential Cabinet, covered the relocation of a 114-year-old Confederate monument, and appeared on the The Paul Finebaum Show for the SEC Network.
Kyra Miles is an education reporter for WBHM, the listener-supported station of the University of Alabama in Birmingham. This radio reporter from Greenville, North Carolina has a passion for telling stories that uplift diverse communities. As a student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Miles was a reporter and producer for Carolina Connection, the radio newscast created by students in the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Notably, one program she worked on received the 2020 Student Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in audio newscast. A multimedia journalist, Miles covered arts and culture for The Daily Tar Heel, the student paper at UNC, and interned at a news website for faculty and staff. Miles graduated with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism in 2021.
Rebecca Griesbach covers the educational opportunity gap in Birmingham, Alabama, for AL.com, which reports on Alabama news. Prior to joining AL, Griesbach tracked and reported on COVID-19 cases in correctional facilities for The New York Times, and gathered election data for OpenElections.net. Her journalism career started when she joined her high school newspaper as a hopeful comics artist in the 10th grade. There, she worked with ProPublica journalists to tell the story of school segregation in her hometown of Tuscaloosa. As a college intern for Chalkbeat, Griesbach covered education history, equity and access across Alabama and in Memphis. She holds a master's degree in gender and race studies from The University of Alabama, where she earned her bachelor's in journalism and was editor-in-chief of The Crimson White, the student newspaper.