Staff

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 senior 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 GuardianThe 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.

Sunny Sone, Digital Editor

Sunny Sone is the digital editor at the Observer. Before arriving at the Observer, they held an assortment of odd jobs, including city reporter, bookseller, and amateur archivist. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin. You can contact them on Twitter, via email at [email protected], or on Signal: 469-454-0643.

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].

DaLyah Jones, Staff Writer

DaLyah Jones is a staff writer for Texas Observer covering environment. She’s former general assignments 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.

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.

Arya Sundaram, Editorial Fellow

Arya Sundaram is a reporting fellow at the Texas Observer and hails from North Carolina. Her immigration and criminal justice journalism has appeared in the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Texas Tribune. You can contact her at [email protected].

Yasmine Askari, Editorial Fellow

Yasmine Askari is a reporting fellow at the Texas Observer. She has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and previously worked at the Maryland Independent and the Washington Monthly. You can reach her at [email protected]

Nic Yeager, Culture Fellow

Nic Yeager is the culture fellow at the Observer and the author of the guidebook 111 Places in Austin That You Must Not Miss. You can contact Nic at [email protected].

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 HeraldBoston’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].

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.

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].

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