Gabriel Arana Editor-in-Chief

Gabriel Arana is a queer, Mexican-American, progressive journalist who grew up on the border in Nogales, Arizona. A writer-editor passionate about longform journalism and narrative storytelling, he has served as an editor at legacy progressive publications like The Nation and The American Prospect, as well as digital outlets like The Huffington Post and millennial news site Mic. He has written about LGBTQ+ issues, media and diversity, Latinx politics, and mental health for The New York Times, The New Republic, Salon, The Atlantic, and then won awards for his coverage of the fight for marriage equality and the epidemic of violence against trans women of color.

Ivan Armando Flores Creative Director

Ivan Armando Flores is the staff photographer at the Texas Observer. Originally from Miami, before joining the Observer Ivan was a freelance photographer covering the conflict in Afghanistan and its impacts on Afghan civilians. He has a masters degree in journalism from the City University of New York. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR and Foreign Policy.

Lise Olsen Senior Reporter and Editor

Lise Olsen is a Houston-based senior reporter and editor at the Texas Observer. Lise has investigated many twisted Texas tales, including crooked judges, an unjust execution, massive environmental disasters, myriad cases of corporate and public corruption, and unsolved serial killings. Her reports in three states over 20 years contributed to the prosecutions of a former congressman and a federal judge, inspired laws and reforms, helped solve cold cases, restored names to unidentified murder victims, and freed dozens of wrongfully-held prisoners. Her work is featured in CNN’s “The Wrong Man” (2015) about the innocence claims of executed offender Ruben Cantu and the six-part A&E series on the victims of a 1970s serial killer, The Eleven, (2017). She is the author of Code of Silence: Sexual Misconduct by Federal Judges, the Secret System that Protects Them and the Women who Blew the Whistle.

Gayle Reaves Editor-at-Large

Gayle Reaves is editor-at-large at the Texas Observer. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has worked everywhere from tiny weeklies to major daily papers, as state capitol bureau chief, Washington correspondent, and investigative reporter and editor. She and a Dallas Morning News team won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for a series on violence against women worldwide. With two other News reporters, she won a George Polk Award for courageous regional reporting on drug-related corruption in South Texas. Born in Hallettsville, Texas, she lives in Fort Worth and is a past president of the Journalism and Women Symposium. She also writes poetry, including a chapbook, Spectral Analysis. For several years, she has edited the Best American Newspaper Narratives anthologies, published by UNT Press in connection with the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

a smiling white person against a dark bg with wavy brown hair, bushy eyebrows, a very light mustache and a big Irish nose and broad forehead. They are wearing a puffy white blouse, dark red and white scarf and green metal wayfarer glasses.
Kit O’Connell Digital Editor

Kit O’Connell is a genderqueer movement journalist, and Digital Editor at the Texas Observer, who has lived in Texas since 1998. Their citizen journalism during Occupy Wall Street led to Kit becoming an editor at the formative political blog Firedoglake, where they broke the story of Occupy Austin’s infiltration by six undercover Austin police officers who entrapped activists into felony charges. Later, Kit spent four years writing about the hemp and cannabis industry as an editor at Ministry of Hemp and correspondent for Hemp magazine, where they influenced federal policy into giving Western hemp farmers access to water rights and allowing some people with drug convictions to re-enter the industry. Their journalism has also appeared in Truthout, Yes! Magazine, and the Austin Chronicle, among others.

Gus Bova Senior Writer & Assistant Editor

Gus Bova is a senior staff writer and assistant editor at the Texas Observer. He covers labor, politics, and other major Texas stories. He has written extensively on topics ranging from the border wall to homelessness. Before coming to the Observer, he worked at a shelter for recently arrived immigrants and asylum-seekers. He studied Latin American Studies at the University of Kansas.

Justin Miller Senior Writer

Justin Miller covers politics and state government for the Texas Observer. He previously worked for The American Prospect magazine in Washington, D.C., and has also written for The Intercept, The New Republic and In These Times. Originally from the Twin Cities, he received a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota.

Delger Erdenesanaa Staff Writer

Delger Erdenesanaa is a staff writer at the Texas Observer who covers climate change and the environment, as well as related health and economic issues. She was previously a reporting fellow at Inside Climate News, and studied science, health, and environmental reporting at New York University. She is based in San Antonio.

Michelle Pitcher Staff Writer

Michelle Pitcher is a staff writer at the Texas Observer, covering criminal justice, housing, and education. She received her master’s in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley and was part of the team at The Marshall Project that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, FiveThirtyEight, The Dallas Morning News, and more. Michelle was born and raised in Dallas and is now based in Austin.

Josephine Lee smiles at the camera.
Josephine Lee McHam Reporting Fellow

Josephine Lee is Texas Observer’s 2023 David McHam Investigative Reporting Fellow. She has previously worked as an educator and community organizer. Her reporting on labor, environment, politics, and education has been featured on Salon, Daily Beast, Truthout, and other outlets. She was raised in and lives in Houston.

Steven Monacelli Special Investigative Correspondent

Steven Monacelli is an investigative journalist in Dallas. His reporting has been featured in Rolling Stone, The Daily Beast, The Real News, Dallas Observer, Dallas Weekly, and more. He is also the publisher of Protean Magazine, a nonprofit literary publication.

James Canup Managing Director

James Canup is managing director for the Texas Observer and Texas Democracy Foundation. For two decades, James has been a lead fundraiser and manager in advocacy and nonprofit settings like Annie’s List, the ACLU of Texas, and the American Red Cross. James lives in Austin and is from Dallas and Rockwall County.

Lauren Benavides Development Manager

Lauren Benavides is development manager at the Texas Observer. Lauren was born and raised on the West Side of San Antonio. Her experiences growing up are the foundation of her passion to work to uplift the voices that surrounded her, many of which are marginalized and unheard. This passion has guided her almost decade-long not-for-profit fundraising career. She currently resides with her wife and pug in the San Antonio region.

Naomi Shihab Nye Poetry Editor

Naomi Shihab Nye has long been the poetry editor of the Texas Observer. She 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, a bald, older white man with a bushy white beard is dressed in a suit and red bowtie, with his artistic tools, including pens, in front of him.
Ben Sargent Staff Cartoonist

Ben Sargent is the Texas Observer‘s staff cartoonist. He 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).