Jen Reel

Jen Reel was an Observer intern before joining the staff in July 2010, first as Web Editor, and most recently as Multimedia Editor. She received a Masters in Journalism with a concentration in Photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was co-chair for the student chapter of the National Press Photographers Association. She has worked in the non-profit sector for the Peruvian-American Medical Society and has been published in Utne Reader magazine, the Village Voice and Pitchfork Music.

By Jen Reel:


Observatory Podcast No. 2: Second Chances

by | Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 1:02 pm CST

The Things They Left Behind

When migrants die in South Texas, the objects they leave behind hold clues to their identities.

In the fall of 2013, Observer reporter Melissa del Bosque and I visited Baylor University’s forensics lab, one of several Texas labs that handles the remains of unidentified migrants who die in Texas after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The forensic … Read More


Direct Quote: Grief’s Gift

Melba Martinez has spent most of her life in the theater. She’s won numerous awards as both an actor and director, received a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies in theater, film and performance arts, and spent 22 years teaching and directing at St. Edward’s Mary Moody Northen Theatre in Austin. The last nine of those years she served as the department chair. But the death of her niece over a decade ago sent Martinez into a deep depression that eventually led her to change course and become a painter of roses. Read More

Jennifer Rose Davis

Direct Quote:
Renaissance Woman

Jennifer Rose Davis started her career as a graphic designer. Tt was her hobbies and a later bachelor's degree in music that led her to a career in designing, acting, musical scoring and costume- and mask-making. Read More


Direct Quote: An Inside View

Lauren Johnson knows all too well the stigma that's often associated with having a felony conviction. Johnson now advocates with Austin-based nonprofit Grassroots Leadership to help people with a criminal history and their families get access to food stamps. Read More