Dave Mann, Editor
Dave Mann joined the Observer in 2003 as a Legislative reporter, becoming Associate Editor in 2004 and Executive Editor in 2011. Before joining the Observer, Dave was a freelance journalist based in Austin. His work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman, The Washington Post and Salon, among others. Prior to arriving in Austin, Dave worked as a staff writer for Fort Worth Weekly, contributing writer for Washington City Paper, and sports writer for The Winchester Starin Winchester, Va. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from George Washington University.
Piper Stege Nelson, Publisher
Before returning to Austin in 2011 to take on the role of Publisher, Nelson served as the Senior Development Manager for the National Democratic Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to building democracy around the world. In this position, Ms. Nelson focused on identifying and securing private funding sources for the Institute’s work around the world and worked with private donors, corporations and foundations. Before assuming this position in 2008, Ms. Nelson worked with NDI’s women’s political participation team, during which time she authored a training manual for women contesting the 2008 local elections in Sierra Leone and traveled to Freetown to train local women candidates, resulting in a 13% increase in the number of women elected to local office. Prior to joining the Institute in 2006, Ms. Nelson served in the US Environmental Protection Agency where she worked to build public participation in local environmental decision making in the Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Ukraine. Earlier, Ms. Nelson worked on a number of Texas and New Mexico state political campaigns and served as legislative director for Texas State Representative Jessica Farrar. She also was awarded a Fulbright grant, and spent a year in Ecuador studying the economic, social and health conditions of women working on rose plantations around Cayambe. Ms. Nelson earned her master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and her undergraduate degree from Carleton College in Minnesota. In her free time, she loves to cuddle with her 2-year-old Molly Magnolia, her husband and her good dog, Lua.
Brad Tyer, Managing Editor
Houston native, 7th-generation Texan, and Rice graduate Brad Tyer has contributed to the Observer since the mid-1990s, most recently as managing editor (2008-2009). A former editor of the Missoula, Montana Independent and widely published freelance, Brad was awarded a 2010 Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan and a 2011 grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism to support research for his first book, Opportunity, Montana, scheduled for publication by Beacon Press in spring 2013.
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.
Jonathan McNamara, Web Editor
Jonathan McNamara joined the Observer in 2011. Previously, he worked for Phoenix New Times as the publication’s first web editor. Jonathan holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin where he majored in Multimedia Journalism. As a student, he spent most of his time reporting and editing feature stories, building multimedia packages and writing for the entertainment section of the Daily Texan. His work has also appeared in Spin Magazine, The Japan Times, Kansai Scene Magazine and Houston Press.
Melissa del Bosque, Investigative Reporter
Melissa del Bosque is the investigative reporter for the Observer. Prior to working at the Observer, she spent five years in the Texas Senate as a policy analyst and communications director. She has a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s in Public Health from Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health. Prior to the Texas Senate, she covered the environment and health beat along the Texas-Mexico border for the Monitor newspaper in McAllen, Texas, and worked as a freelance journalist. Her work has been published in Time magazine, the Dallas Morning News, the Austin Chronicle and the Utne Reader.
Forrest Wilder, Staff Writer
Forrest Wilder joined the Observer as staff writer in April 2005 after working as an intern. Forrest graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in December 2003 with a major in Anthropology. While a student, he wrote music reviews, op-eds, and news stories for the Daily Texan and co-founded a student watchdog group. He has worked in the non-profit sector and has published in the Austin Chronicle, Santa Barbara News-Press, ZNet, and the NACLA Report on the Americas.
Patrick Michels, Staff Writer
Patrick Michels is a reporter for the Texas Observer and a former legislative intern. He has been a staff writer and web editor at the Dallas Observer, and a former editor of the Texas Independent. He has a bachelor’s in journalism from Northwestern University, a master’s in photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and a healthy appreciation for competitive eating.
Emily DePrang, Staff Writer (Houston Office)
Emily DePrang freelanced for The Texas Observer for ten years before joining the staff as a reporter. A former nonfiction editor of the Sonora Review, her work has appeared in Black Book, FHM, and several publications that have since gone out of print. She has a bachelor’s in English from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Arizona. She is happy to be home.
Krissi Trumeter, Controller
Krissi Trumeter joined the Observer in July, 2011 as Bookkeeper and Office Manager. She has over ten years accounting and administrative experience. When she is not obsessing over ways to save money for the Observer, Krissi spends her time doing pro-bono bookkeeping for East Side Pedal Pushers and volunteering with other local non-profits. Her favorite pastimes are riding her bicycle and dancing at The Broken Spoke.
Jenny Leigh Walthall, Membership Manager
Jenny Leigh Walthall joined the Observer in November, 2012 as Membership Manager. After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Angelo State University, Jenny spent time event planning and fundraising for multiple non-profits. She currently spends time volunteering for other local non-profits, exploring Austin by bike and has infrequent run-ins with reality television.
Naomi Shihab Nye, Poetry Editor
Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, essayist, and novelist. She has received a Lannan Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and four Pushcart Prizes. 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. Although Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as “a wandering poet,” she calls San Antonio, Texas, home.
David Duhr, Fiction Editor
David Duhr is co-founder of WriteByNight, a writers’ service and writing center in Austin. He is also Fiction Editor at Fringe Magazine, and his writing has appeared in Publishing Perspectives, Gulf Coast, Iowa Review, and many others. After having lived in Milwaukee, D.C., Denver, Boston and Florida, he has found a home in Austin, where you will often see him walking down the street with his nose in a book. Which is very dangerous.
Erin Mayes, Kate Iltis & Joanna Wojtkowiak / EmDash LLC, Art Director
Erin Mayes and Kate Iltis of EmDash LLC produce the magazine on contract every month. Their award-winning firm was established in 2007.