Illustration of the RocaNews logo with two people checking their phones for the news

Count on RocaNews for Fact-Based, Nonpartisan News

The on-the-rise independent news source aims to help their readers lead happier, less divided and more informed lives.
December 8, 2021
9 mins read

I doubt I’m the only American, heck, human, who finds themselves constantly drained by partisan news sources. Whether they’re slightly or radically left or right, it’s very frustrating never to receive the facts without intrusive rhetoric. Call it exhausting, manipulative or straight-up horse malarkey. I would agree it’s time, especially in an era where the United States seems so divided, that people invest their time in reading from a news source that informs the public without any agenda — RocaNews.

Who is the RocaNews team?

RocaNews first consists of Billy Carney, who is the co-founder and chairman of RocaNews. He previously worked as a finance professional in New York City and graduated from the University of Notre Dame. Next, there is Jen Flanagan, who is the executive director at RocaNews. Flanagan previously worked as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and obtained a degree from the University of Notre Dame as well.

Another member of the team is Max Frost. Frost is the co-founder and president of RocaNews. He has experience writing, editing and hosting a podcast, and he has degrees from the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins. Lastly, the fourth representative of RocaNews is Max Towey. He is another co-founder and the CEO of RocaNews. He previously co-hosted a podcast, and, like Carney and Flanagan, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame.

When and why did they launch?

RocaNews came to be in August 2020, when founders Carney, Frost and Towey quit their jobs to create a media company that “helped people live happier, healthier, and more informed lives.” Individually, they were sick and tired of the fear-based, divisive and outwardly biased news media sources plaguing the population’s mental well-being. Why should people be afforded news that raises their blood pressure, the founders often asked themselves. So, ever since that August day, the three have set out to “create convenient news products” for everyone to consume appropriately.

Where does the name come from?

The name RocaNews derives from the term “Roca.” Roca is short for “Pororoca,” a biannual wave that sweeps the Amazon River. It’s said that surfers come from across the world to surf the Pororoca; ultimately, it’s a wave that brings people together. That’s Roca’s ultimate mission with the news they provide to their readers from their website.

What do RocaNews’ reports generally consist of?

RocaNews begins its daily newsletter with a humorous introduction that lightens the mood before entering more serious news topics. Whether it’s a much-obliged thank you to their readers or wishes for a happy whatever the occasion may be, it’s a welcome part of the report.

After the opening, the daily newsletter begins with Key Stories. Usually, there are around four key stories that cover what is going on that particular day. For example, on Nov. 29, 2021, the key stories include the Omicron variant of COVID-19, India’s crypto ban, the start of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial and CEO of JP Morgan Jamie Dimon’s apology to China for insensitive jokes. Each story has a bulleted list of about three to four essential facts and “dives deeper” into the topic with a quick bit of background.

Next, to ease the tension a bit, is an interactive activity known as “What Do You Think?” It consists of a “Today’s Poll,” which generally asks an open-ended question such as, “Will you follow Ghislaine Maxwell’s Trial?” To follow is “Today’s Question” where readers are encouraged to reply in an email format to questions such as, “What’s one lesson we should have learned from the pandemic?”

“Popcorn,” also known as miscellaneous, keeps the ball rolling with general trivia that serves more as entertainment yet is still informative. This section is split into categories. There is the “Sports and Culture” section, which reported that Adele’s album “30” had the biggest opening week of any album in 2021; the sales, however, were way lower than the debut of “25.”

Then there is the “Business” category, where it was reported that Black Friday traffic at retail stores was down 28% compared to pre-pandemic levels yet up 47.5% from a year ago. And then there is a “Wildcard” portion, which entails topics such as the $2 million raised for the victims of the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy.

Finally, there is the Roca Wrap, where viewers can unwind and take a deep look into the “Newsletter Exclusive” on whichever topic RocaNews decides to speak on. According to the Nov. 29, 2021, opening Wrap paragraph, they cover ‘the greatest entertainer of them all’, the ‘playboy of the Western world’, Washington DC’s ‘most-sought-after bachelor’,” Ardeshir Zahedi, who died in November at the age of 93.

To conclude their newsletter, they provide feedback from the last published newsletter and final thoughts until their following news recap.

For those not subscribed to RocaNews’ daily newsletter, the team also provides news through their Instagram account — ridethenews. The team creates slides also known as “Quick Cards,” which range from an assortment of topics often described similarly to their daily newsletter. On top of the “Quick Cards,” they provide short stories called “Roca Wraps,” which feature a deeper look into a relevant topic.

A recent Wrap was about how Thanksgiving came to be with the help of Squanto — a Native American who was a member of the Patuxet, a band of the Wampanoag confederation of tribes. Squanto’s story of being kidnapped by English traders, being unexpectedly bought by Spanish Franciscan Monks and becoming an assistant to a merchant all ultimately led him back to his childhood village. Squanto was held captive by a neighboring local native village and translated with the arriving English Pilgrims from the Mayflower to talk treaties. He negotiated a peace treaty between the Wampanoag confederation and the settlers.

Deemed as a traitor by some, Squanto became close with the settlers, teaching them how to use fish for fertilizer, extract sap from maple trees and plant beans and squash around corn, which reports from the time claimed helped half of the original Pilgrims live until spring.

Come autumn 1621, the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest succeeded, and their governor organized a celebratory feast, known today as America’s first Thanksgiving. The dinner included the Native American allies and Squanto, who the Pilgrims introduced as the man who saved the settlement. The treaty Squanto initially negotiated lasted 50 years, and without Squanto, Thanksgiving may have never come to be.

The very detailed “Roca Wraps” reel in readers and teach them, as they taught me, valuable lessons on things we never knew.

The Roca Wrap on RocaNews

The success they have today — 1 million Instagram followers and tens of thousands of subscribers to their daily newsletter — certainly didn’t just fall into their laps. RocaNews has survived criticism and ill will from those who wish to see them vanish from existence. They have thrashed the odds arrayed against them by becoming one of the fastest-growing media companies in the world.

RocaNews wouldn’t be where they are without their loyal followers who make such a supportive community of Riders, and for that, they are appreciative. They will go to any lengths to deliver news that brings people together rather than pull them apart.

Tori Walz, Eastern Michigan University

Writer Profile

Tori Walz

Eastern Michigan University
English with a Concentration in Professional Writing

Hi I am Tori and I am glad to be here. :)

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