Staff

Forrest Wilder, Editor

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is the editor of the Observer. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. You can contact him at [email protected]

Rose Cahalan, Managing Editor

Rose Cahalan is managing editor at the Observer and also edits the magazine’s arts and culture coverage. She was previously senior editor at the University of Texas at Austin alumni magazine, the Alcalde, where she wrote about everything from geology research in the Arctic to human rights in Iran. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Rice University, enjoys knitting and running, and is always planning her next trip to Big Bend. You can contact her at [email protected]

Kolten Parker, Digital Editor

Kolten Parker is the digital editor of the Observer. He holds a journalism degree from Texas State University and previously worked as a reporter and digital news editor for the San Antonio Express-News. Beyond journalism and politics, he enjoys soccer, skydiving and tacos. The Stephenville, Texas, native can be reached on Twitter or at [email protected].

Jen Reel, Multimedia Editor

Jen Reel was an Observer intern before joining the staff in July 2010 as Web Content Manager 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.  Her work has been mentioned in various news and radio outlets, including Univision and NPR’s Morning Edition. You can contact her at [email protected]

Melissa del Bosque, Staff Writer

Melissa del Bosque is a staff reporter and a Lannan reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. Del Bosque’s work has been featured in various national and international media outlets, including the Guardian, and the Mexico City-based Nexos magazine. Her work has also been featured on Democracy Now!, PBS, Al Jazeera, the BBC, and NPR. In 2015, del Bosque’s 4-part series on migrant deaths in South Texas won a National Magazine Award in the multimedia category and an award from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Her 2012 investigative feature about massacres in the Juarez Valley, Mexico, was a National Magazine Award finalist in the reporting category, and won awards from both the Association of Alternative News Media and the Pan American Health Organization. Del Bosque holds a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Texas-Austin and a Master’s in Public Health from the Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health. You can contact her at [email protected]

Naveena Sadasivam, Staff Writer

Naveena Sadasivam is a staff writer covering energy and the environment at the Observer. Prior to joining the Observer, she wrote about the coal industry for InsideClimate News and the water woes of the West and fracking for ProPublica. She has a degree in chemical engineering and a master’s in environmental and science reporting from New York University. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Bloomberg and Salon. You can contact her at [email protected].

Gus Bova, Staff Writer

Gus Bova is a reporter-researcher at the Observer. He focuses on immigration, the U.S.-Mexico border and grassroots movements. Before the Observer, he worked at a shelter for asylum-seekers and refugees. You can contact him 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].

Christopher Collins, Staff Writer

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 or at [email protected].

Sophie Novack, Reporting Fellow

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].

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].

Grace Gonzales, Development Manager

Grace Gonzales is development manager at the Observer.  Her background in nonprofit development and fundraising includes work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, YMCA and the Girl Scouts. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, she spent the past 13 years in Orlando, Florida, and is happy to be back home. When not visiting with donors throughout Texas, handling our special events or assisting in a grant proposal, Grace is an avid runner who also loves watching sports and traveling.

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, Copy 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.

Drue Wagner, Art Director

Drue Wagner is the art director at the Observer. Born in Dallas, she got her start in graphic design and illustration at Pentagram Design in Austin, then dove into the magazine world in New York, working at various magazines including GQ, Bon Appetit and Golf Digest. After a stint on the Off Duty section of the Wall Street Journal newspaper, she moved backed to Austin and is happy to be close to all the Greenbelt swimming holes.

Top