Jen Reel

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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:

Victor Erives playing with his pet parrot, Rio.
Border

Observatory Podcast No. 4: Living Undocumented

When the DACA Act was implemented, 24-year-old Victor Erives was able to legally live, work and attend school in the country he calls home. Now a Supreme Court ruling could jeopardize those same opportunities for millions of others.

When the DACA Act was implemented, 24-year-old Victor Erives was able to legally live, work and attend school in the country he calls home. Now a Supreme Court ruling could jeopardize those same opportunities for millions of others. Read More

Dara Musick, second from left, rehearsing at the Dougherty Arts Center in Austin for "Mothers and Daughters, a staged reading coordinated by Conspire Theater.
Criminal Justice

Observatory Podcast No. 2: Second Chances

Dara Musick was a career criminal with nearly two decades behind bars; now, she's sharing her story in Texas theaters.

Dara Musick was a career criminal with nearly two decades behind bars; now, she's sharing her story in Texas theaters. Here's her journey, in her own words. Read More

201510-case0378-pendant-reel-hero
Border

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

Jennifer Chance when she was four years old.
LGBT Rights

Observatory Podcast No. 1: Chance

Chance was 16 years old when she told her parents she was gay. Here's what it was like for a kid to grow up in an environment where she's told over and over again that who she genuinely feels herself to be, is wrong. Read More

Austin
Culture

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
Culture

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

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