Tristan Ahtone, Editor-in-Chief
Tristan Ahtone is a member of the Kiowa Tribe and serves as editor-in-chief at the Texas Observer. He has reported for PBS NewsHour, National Native News, Wyoming Public Radio, Fronteras Desk, and High Country News. Tristan’s stories have won multiple honors, including investigative awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Gannett Foundation. He additionally was part of the Al Jazeera team that received a Delta Chi Award in 2015. Tristan was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to study at Harvard University in 2017 and is president of the Native American Journalists Association. You can contact him at [email protected].
Megan Kimble, Executive Editor
Megan Kimble is executive editor at the Observer. Previously, she was the founding editor of Edible Baja Arizona, a bimonthly magazine covering Tucson and the borderlands. Megan is the author of Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food, and has written about housing and agriculture for CityLab, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Arizona, loves hiking and camping, and always eats breakfast. You can contact her at [email protected] or on Signal: 512-522-8434.
Christopher Collins, Associate Editor
Christopher Collins is an investigative journalist based in Abilene. The Wichita Falls native graduated from Midwestern State University in 2012 with a degree in Mass Communication. He previously has worked as a reporter at the Abilene Reporter-News and the Wichita Falls Times Record News, along with running a freelance reporting business. At the Observer, he writes about rural Texas. He can be reached on Twitter, at [email protected], or on Signal: 940-631-1828.
Sophie Novack, Associate Editor
Sophie Novack covers public health at the Observer. She was previously a staff correspondent at National Journal in Washington, D.C., where she reported on Congress, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, abortion legislation and more. Her work has also appeared in The Atlantic and CityLab, and been cited by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNN, and the 2014 Supreme Court brief for the Hobby Lobby case. Originally from New York City, she has a bachelor’s degree in English from Dartmouth College. You can contact her at [email protected] or on Signal: 512-666-9109.
Danielle Lopez, Digital Editor
Danielle Lopez is the digital editor at the Observer. She hails from the Rio Grande Valley and holds a journalism degree from The University of Texas at Austin. Before arriving at the Observer, she worked as the social media coordinator for Texas Exes and as assistant editor of the Alcalde. She also served as a digital content producer for the Austin American-Statesman. You can reach her on Twitter or via email at [email protected].
Lise Olsen, Senior Editor and Reporter
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). Her email is [email protected] and Twitter handle is @lisedigger.
Amal Ahmed, Staff Writer
Amal Ahmed is a general assignment reporter at the Texas Observer. Originally from Dallas, she has a journalism degree from Northwestern University and previously worked at The Atlantic and Texas Monthly. You can contact her at [email protected].
Michael Barajas, Staff Writer
Michael Barajas is a staff writer covering civil rights for the Observer. Before joining the Observer, he was editor of the San Antonio Current and managing editor of the Houston Press. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. You can reach him on Twitter or at [email protected].
Gus Bova, Staff Writer
Gus Bova reports on immigration, the U.S.-Mexico border and grassroots movements for the Observer. He formerly worked at a shelter for asylum-seekers and refugees. You can contact him at [email protected].
Justin Miller, Staff Writer
Justin Miller covers politics for the Observer. He was previously a writing fellow at The American Prospect magazine in Washington, D.C., where he covered the labor beat and wrote broadly about national politics and policy. He’s also written for The Intercept, The New Republic and In These Times. A Twin Cities native, he received a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota. You can follow him on Twitter and reach him at [email protected] or on Signal: 682-422-7686.
Pauly Denetclaw, Staff Writer
Pauly Denetclaw is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and from Manuelito, New Mexico. She is Haltsooí (Meadow People) born for Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House People). Denetclaw is currently the Indigenous Affairs reporter for the Texas Observer. Previously, she was a staff reporter for the Navajo Times. She is a board member for the Native American Journalist Association. She was a Knight-CUNYJ Journalism Fellow in New York City, Emerging Fellow for the Journalism and Women Symposium and an Indian Country Today Tribal Media Fellow in Washington D.C. Her radio work has aired on National Native News, NPR’s Latino USA and Texas Public Radio. Follow her on Twitter, @pdineclah.
Nic Yeager, Culture Fellow
Mike Kanin, Publisher
Mike Kanin is the publisher of the Texas Observer. He has many years of media experience, including a role as the founding publisher of the nonprofit local daily the Austin Monitor. Before that, he spent some time on the other side of the wall, as both a freelancer and a staffer. His work has appeared in the Washington City Paper, the Washington Post’s Express, the Boston Herald, Boston’s Weekly Dig, the Austin Chronicle and the Texas Observer. He’s also served as the Washington City Paper’s City Lights Editor and as the co-founding editor of Unfit Times. You can contact him at [email protected].
Loren Lynch, Development Director
Loren Lynch is the development director at the Texas Observer. Previously, she was at The Nation, where she fundraised and oversaw special revenue programs and events. She holds bachelor’s degrees in English and Philosophy and a MA in international affairs with a focus on media and culture from The New School in New York City. When not talking about the importance of independent, local journalism, she writes about science fiction, TV, films, and comic books. You can contact her at [email protected].
DaLyah Jones, Director of Community Engagement
DaLyah Jones is the director of community engagement. Formerly, she was a staff writer for Texas Observer covering the environment. She has also worked as a general assignment reporter and All Things Considered producer for Austin’s NPR Station, KUT 90.5, where she focused on rural and suburban stories outside of the Capital’s urban core. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Signal: 512-693-8951.
Marisol Gomez, Office Manager
Marisol Gomez is the office manager for the Observer. A proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, Marisol was born and raised in Southern California. She holds a degree in fashion design from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. When not behind her sewing machine, she can be found outdoors hiking, camping or paddle-boarding.
Zacharia Washington, News Initiative Fellow
Zacharia E. Washington is currently the News Initiative Fellow at the Texas Observer, working on our community engagement initiative. She is a recent graduate of Huston-Tillotson University, the only HBCU right in the heart of East Austin. She graduated with a degree in Communication with a concentration in journalism and a minor in professional writing. Previously, Zacharia worked at CBS Austin News (KEYE-TV), Austin PBS (KLRU-TV), FloSports, and many more. In August 2021, she will begin her masters program at the University of Texas at Austin to further establish her career as a journalist. You can reach Zacharia on Twitter or via email at [email protected].
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, Fiction 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.
Michael Patti, Art Director
Michael Patti is the art director at the Texas Observer. Before joining the Observer, he was based in New York, most recently designing for Ellé Decor, Veranda, and Food & Wine. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. He is thrilled to be a new Texan and can’t wait to explore the state (and try every taco he can find). He can be reached at [email protected].