Forrest Wilder, Editor
Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is the editor of the Observer. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. You can contact him at [email protected]
Emily Williams, Publisher
A native of Fort Worth and a graduate of the University of Texas, Emily Williams has worked with government agencies, nonprofits, and political campaigns focusing on fund development before coming to the Observer in 2014. She has served as the Development Director for a statewide environmental organization, Finance Director on a nationally targeted congressional race, and as a consultant to a number of campaigns and organizations across the state.
Nancy Nusser, Managing Editor
Nancy Nusser, who worked as the Mexico City bureau chief for Cox Newspapers and as an editor for Richmond magazine and New Jersey Monthly, has joined the Observer as its managing editor. Nancy also has written for leading national publications, including the Washington Post, the Nation, Mother Jones, British Marie Claire and London’s Sunday Times Magazine. You can contact her at [email protected]
Andrea Grimes, Digital Editor
Andrea, a native North Texan and Bloody Mary aficionado, signed on as the Observer‘s digital editor in September 2015. She holds a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Texas and a bachelor’s degree in digital journalism from New York University. Previously, she covered reproductive justice issues across Texas for RH Reality Check and worked as an investigative journalist at the Dallas Observer, covering crime and city politics. Her work has also appeared in Ms., Jezebel, the Austin Chronicle and D Magazine. She lives in Austin with her husband, two cats and a badly behaved hound dog. You can contact her at [email protected]
Jen Reel, Multimedia Editor
Jen Reel was an Observer intern before joining the staff in July 2010 as Web 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. You can contact her at [email protected]
Melissa del Bosque, Staff Writer
Melissa del Bosque is a staff reporter and a Lannan reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. Del Bosque’s work has been featured in various national and international media outlets, including the Guardian, and the Mexico City-based Nexos magazine. Her work has also been featured on Democracy Now!, PBS, Al Jazeera, the BBC, and NPR. In 2015, del Bosque’s 4-part series on migrant deaths in South Texas won a National Magazine Award in the multimedia category and an award from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Her 2012 investigative feature about massacres in the Juarez Valley, Mexico, was a National Magazine Award finalist in the reporting category, and won awards from both the Association of Alternative News Media and the Pan American Health Organization. Del Bosque holds a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Texas-Austin and a Master’s in Public Health from the Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health. You can contact her at [email protected]
Patrick Michels, Staff Writer
Staff writer Patrick Michels covers school reform and crime for the Observer. He holds degrees in journalism from Northwestern University and the University of Texas at Austin, and his work has been published in Politico Magazine, Grantland, Mashable and the Dallas Observer. You can contact him at [email protected]
Christopher Hooks, Staff Writer
Christopher Hooks joined the Observer in 2014. Previously, he was a freelance journalist in Austin, where he grew up. His work has appeared in Politico Magazine, Slate, and Texas Monthly, among others. He graduated from The New School in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in history. You can contact him at [email protected]
Alexa Garcia-Ditta, Staff Writer
Alexa Garcia-Ditta is an Observer reporter (and former intern) covering women’s health, reproductive health and health care access across the Lone Star State. Before joining the Observer, she was a staff news writer at the San Antonio Current. She holds an MA in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and BA in journalism and Spanish from UT-Arlington, where she worked for three years on her college newspaper. After graduate school, she dipped her toe in public policy communications at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. When she’s not at work, she’s probably training for her next marathon. You can contact her at [email protected]
Jacqueline Galvan, Membership Manager
Jacqueline joined the Texas Observer as membership manager in May 2014. Prior to joining the Observer, she worked in both the government and nonprofit sectors, focusing on social justice as a constituent services and field representative in the U.S. House of Representatives and assisting with administrative and development tasks at Creative Action, a youth development nonprofit based in Austin. Jacqueline graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in linguistics. Among her favorite things are spending time with her 60-pound lab/chow mix, reading Amazon product reviews and keeping up with the fake Twitter profiles of characters from The West Wing.
Michael Schrantz, Audience Development Manager
Michael Schrantz did stints at newspapers in Alaska and Colorado before joining the Texas Observer in 2015 as the audience development manager. He has bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Missouri at Columbia. In his free time, he dreams (and sometimes writes) about skiing as a way to beat the heat.
Tess Bonn, Web Producer
A Texas Hill Country native, Tess has lived all over the country, including New York, where she gained experience at Simon & Schuster, Forbes and Condé Nast. Having worked on the production and editorial side, she has a wide range of skills across the ever-changing digital landscape. Tess has a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, and a master’s degree from New York University in Digital and Print Media.
Mandy Estepp, Bookkeeper and Office Manager
Mandy Estepp is a San Antonio native and is currently enrolled in the New College program at St. Edward’s University. She joined the Observer in June 2015 as the bookkeeper and office manager after working for several years in the finance and investment industry. In her free time, Mandy enjoys making profane cross-stitch and embroidery art, reading sad novels and binge-watching television shows on Netflix. She lives in the middle of nowhere east of Austin with her husband, son, two dogs and cat.
Naomi Shihab Nye, Poetry Editor
Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, essayist, and novelist, living in San Antonio. She has edited eight anthologies of poetry, including Is This Forever or What? Poems & Paintings from Texas. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is the author of two acclaimed novels for teens, Habibi and Going Going, and a recent novel for children, The Turtle of Oman.
Ben Sargent, Staff Cartoonist
Ben Sargent launched his career drawing editorial cartoons for the Austin American-Statesman in 1974. He was born in Amarillo into a newspaper family and learned the printing trade from age 12 and started working for the local daily as a proof runner at 14. He attended Amarillo College and received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1970. Sargent won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1982. He has also received awards from Women in Communications, Inc., Common Cause of Texas, and Cox Newspapers. He is the author of Texas Statehouse Blues (1980) and Big Brother Blues (1984).
Sargent is married to Diane Holloway, former television critic for the Austin American-Statesman.
David Duhr, Copy Editor
David Duhr is co-founder of WriteByNight, a writers’ service dedicated to helping authors achieve their goals. He lives in New York City and writes about books for The Dallas Morning News, Publishing Perspectives, and others.
Chad Tomlinson, Art Director
Chad Tomlinson has designed for the Dallas Observer, Details, Real Simple, Saveur, Worth, T Magazine and the National Geographic Society.