The Startland News Team


Tommy Felts, Editor-in-Chief

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Tommy is editor-in-chief for Startland News, a Kansas City-based nonprofit newsroom that uses storytelling to elevate the region’s startup community of entrepreneurs, innovators, hustlers, creatives and risk-takers.

Under Tommy’s leadership, Startland News has expanded its coverage from a primarily high-tech, high-growth focus to a more wide-ranging and inclusive look at the faces of entrepreneurism, innovation and business.

Before joining Startland News in 2017, Tommy worked for 12 years as an award-winning newspaper journalist, designer, editor and publisher. He was named one of Editor & Publisher magazine’s top “25 Under 35” in 2014.

Austin Barnes, Executive Editor

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An award winning multimedia journalist, Austin taps into more than 10 years of reporting and production experience at the local, regional and national levels of broadcast news to lead the Startland News team and its business and strategic development.

Under Austin’s leadership, the publication has engaged more than 15,000 readers through its series of news engagement and entrepreneurship community building events and successfully started scaling its high-quality entrepreneurship reporting beyond the Kansas City metropolitan area.


Nikki Overfelt Chifalu, Reporter

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Nikki brings to Startland News both community journalism and entrepreneurship experience and she loves being able to tell the inspiring stories of fellow creatives and risk-takers.

Before joining Startland News, she worked for over 10 years writing and editing for daily newspapers in Lawrence, Topeka, Duluth, Minnesota, and Park Hills, Missouri. She took a short hiatus from journalism to pursue her dream of becoming a pastry chef and starting her own baking business.



Taylor Wilmore, Reporter

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Taylor Wilmore, hailing from Lee’s Summit, is a dedicated reporter and a recent graduate of the University of Missouri, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Taylor channels her deep-seated passion for writing and storytelling to create compelling narratives that shed light on the diverse residents of Kansas City.

Prior to her role at Startland News, Taylor made valuable contributions as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian newspaper, where she covered a wide range of community news and higher education stories.



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