About Us

Our Staff

Becca Aaronson develops news applications and works on special investigative projects for The Texas Tribune. As a native of Austin with a bachelor’s degree in cultural theory from Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., Becca joined the Tribune in 2010 with a passion for building a new media model that promotes civic engagement. She was promoted in 2012 to cover health care for the Tribune, during which time she was nationally recognized for her coverage of women’s health and abortion politics. A founding member of the Tribune’s news apps team, Becca left the health care beat in 2014 to work on news apps full-time.

Julián Aguilar reports on politics and border affairs from the Texas-Mexico border. His focuses include immigration reform and enforcement, voter ID, international trade, border security, and the drug trade. His political coverage has included local, legislative and congressional races in Texas, as well as local and national elections in Mexico. Before joining the Tribune, he was a freelance writer for the Fort Worth Weekly; a government and crime reporter for the Laredo Morning Times; and a political writer for the Rio Grande Guardian. A native of El Paso, he has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Texas and a master's degree in journalism from the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas.

Christine Ayala Christine Ayala is a Texas Tribune fellow focused on newsletter production, previously a reporting fellow. Before joining the Tribune, Christine interned for the Austin American-Statesman features desk and Dallas Morning News public safety desk. She is a journalism senior at the University of Texas at Austin where she reported and edited for The Daily Texan.

Aman Batheja worked for eight years at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, most of that time covering state and local politics. A native of Cedarhurst, New York, he has an undergraduate degree in journalism and psychology from New York University and a master's in economics from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Kathryn Beaty is a developer at the Texas Tribune. Kathryn is a passionate yogi who brings a zen approach to her work. Before web development, Kathryn spent a few years working in online publishing as an editor. Born in Oklahoma and raised in Pennsylvania before moving to Austin, Kathryn has a bachelor’s degree in History of Art & Architecture and English Writing (poetry track) from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to art, poetry, and yoga, some of her main interests include music, vegetables, chocolate, and craft beer.

Bobby Blanchard Bobby Blanchard is a reporting fellow for The Texas Tribune and a journalism senior at the University of Texas at Austin. Bobby previously interned at the Houston Chronicle and KUT News, and he got his start in journalism in the poorly lit basement of The Daily Texan.

Joshua Blank is the manager of polling and research at the Texas Politics Project and a doctoral candidate in the government department at the University of Texas at Austin. Born in New York, NY, he has a bachelor's degree in political science from Boston University and a master's degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin.

Christopher Chang is a developer at the Texas Tribune. Originally from Houston, he studied electrical engineering and solid state electronics at the University of Texas at Austin. Afterwards, he worked at Synthetic Pictures; specializing in post production, and wrote several web apps. After some time freelancing in Chicago, Chris moved back to Austin to join the Texas Tribune.

Natalie Choate has a long history in Texas politics. Choate started as Legislative Aide for her hometown State Representative and then served as the Government Relations Coordinator for Trinity Industries. After working her second Legislative Session as Legislative Director, she completed Annie's List Campaign School and worked as a Campaign Consultant eventually to be brought on staff as Deputy Campaign Manager. Subsequently, she accepted a position as Fund-Raising Coordinator with a prominent fundraising firm in Houston. In 2010, she served as Precinct Chair Coordinator focusing on grassroots politics. Natalie Choate is a graduate of the University of Texas with degrees in Government, Political Communication and Ethics and Leadership.

Natalia Ciolko assists the Tribune's business-side operations, serving as sponsor liaison for all departments and managing the inventory of digital advertising on the site. From July 2012 to January 2014, she served as the Tribune's event coordinator, helping to promote and produce over 50 panels and symposiums each year. Her previous post as publications manager at Sundance Film Festival was preceded by roles with Bunkhouse Group, Beaty Palmer Architects, The Guardian, San Antonio Current and The Daily Texan. Natalia is a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and a native of San Antonio.

Daniel Craigmile previously worked at Mutual Mobile, The University of Texas at Austin, Electronic Data Systems and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He grew up in San Antonio and holds a degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University.

Annie Daniel joined The Texas Tribune in 2014 shortly after graduating from UNC Chapel Hill where she studied both multimedia journalism and political science. Before moving to Texas, Annie interned at The Washington Post on their graphics team. She is now a proud member of the Tribune’s news apps team where she develops interactives, analyzes datasets and creates graphics.

Justin Dehn is a multimedia producer at the Tribune whose focus is videography and television production. He's been shooting TV news for more than a decade, most recently as a staff photojournalist at Austin's KVUE-TV from 2006 to 2010. At the Tribune, Dehn has been behind the camera for Tribune franchises Stump Interrupted, Face-Off and all the TribLive conversations, as well the stories we've produced each week for our dozen TV partners around the state.

Tanya Erlach spent the past eight years as the senior talent manager at The New Yorker, where she programmed and produced a variety of public events, including the annual New Yorker Festival. Previously, she held editorial positions at Nylon, Interview and Spin. Originally from California, she holds a degree in international business from San Diego State University and a graduate degree in publishing from New York University.

Rodney Gibbs ensures The Texas Tribune leverages technology wisely and creatively across all aspects of the organization. He has started two digital media companies. The first, Fizz Factor, developed handheld games for Nintendo and Sony platforms. The second, Ricochet Labs, created social-mobile games for news and entertainment brands, including the BBC, Lollapalooza, and The Texas Tribune. Active in the digital media community, Rodney serves on the boards of KUT, Austin's NPR affiliate; the Austin Film Society; and KLRU, Austin's PBS affiliate. He has a bachelor's degree in sociology from Rice University and a MFA from The University of Texas.

Tim Griggs leads the Tribune's business-side departments and operations. Prior to joining the Texas Tribune, he worked for The New York Times Company for 15 years, most recently as The Times's executive director of cross-platform monetization. In that position, he was responsible for revenue-generating products across The Times’s digital platforms (web, tablet, smartphone, email, games and video) and led four product teams: paid products, advertising products, email, and e-commerce. He served as The Times director of paid products, where he helped lead its successful digital subscription business, as well as director of strategic planning. Tim spent the bulk of his career as a journalist, most notably as executive editor at the Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News. He's a graduate of Virginia Tech, holds an executive MBA from UNC-Wilmington, was a 2010 Fellow at the Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at Columbia University, and in 2003 was named one of Presstime Magazine’s “20 Under 40” industry achievers. Tim is also a full-time newlywed, a part-time travel nut and a competitive Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner.

Ben Hasson previously worked at RMM Online Advertising and interned at media company Super!Alright! He has also worked as a freelance designer for print and the web, mostly for the Austin independent music and film scene. He grew up in Tucson and graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in design.

Jim Henson directs the Texas Politics project and teaches in the Department of Government at The University of Texas, where he also received a doctorate. He helped design public interest multimedia for the Benton Foundation in Washington, D.C., in the late 1990s and has written about politics in general-interest and academic publications. He also serves as associate director of the College of Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services unit at UT, where he has helped produce several award-winning instructional media projects. In 2008, he and Daron Shaw, a fellow UT government professor, established the first statewide, publicly available internet survey of public opinion in Texas using matched random sampling. He lives in Austin, where he also serves as a member of the City of Austin Ethics Review Commission.

Eva Hershaw is an intern at the Texas Tribune. In the two years before arriving to the Tribune, she worked as a freelance journalist for VICE News, The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic online, and Al Jazeera America in Mexico and Brazil. Born in Idaho and raised in eastern Washington State, she holds graduate degrees in journalism and Latin American studies from the University of Texas.

April Hinkle spent more than 20 years at Texas Monthly, stepping down as publisher in May 2010. During her tenure, she positioned the publication as one of the top 10 monthly publications in the country based on total advertising pages and was also instrumental in the launch of texasmonthly.com and its ongoing development. Hinkle, who holds an advertising degree from the University of Texas, served on the national marketing board for the National Retail Federation and was the founding chairwoman of its Retail Advertising and Marketing Association Southwest Advisory Committee. She also served on the Austin Society Board-Philanthropy Chair, Club Corporation of America and is a founding board member of Lake Travis Young Life and past board member of Young Life Austin West. Recently, she received the Media Star Award from the Human Development and Consumer Sciences Department in the College of Technology at the University of Houston. She is married and has four children. As a family, they have been featured in marketing campaigns for Southwest Airlines and Chevrolet.

John Jordan works "under the hood" at The Texas Tribune, writing and editing Tribpedia entries, maintaining and updating the Tribune's Directory of elected officials, helping with the social media feeds and answering mail from involved readers, among other duties. Before coming to work at the Tribune, John spent several decades as a touring and recording musician. In 2005, he left the road to join a statewide political campaign. After that, John worked for an Austin-based nonprofit, then joined the Austin bureau of The Dallas Morning News, where he worked for four years before joining the staff at The Texas Tribune.

Amanda Krauss was a freelance developer before joining the Tribune, and before that, she was a Latin professor. Her work in education provided excellent preparation for translating technical concepts into plain English as well as for juggling multiple files, projects, and ideas in a productive way. Amanda has worked with Sharp Skirts, a network for women entrepreneurs, and is on the board of the Dionsyium, Austin's original intellectual variety show. She has a bachelor's degree in Classical Studies from the University of Michigan, and a master's and Ph.D in Classics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Terri Langford Born in Oceanside, California. Naturalized Texan. Comes by her tough love of government honestly. She majored in it at the University of Texas. First courtroom stories were in the Atticus Finch-like Lowndes County courthouse in Valdosta, Georgia, where two months into that first job for the Jacksonville-based Florida Times Union, she found herself covering a quadruple murder. Eventually moved to Jacksonville, covering social services and began unpacking the conflicted rules of government social work and public housing redevelopment for readers. Joined the Associated Press in Dallas and worked there and in Houston covering some of the state's biggest trials and complicated legal issues including the Branch Davidian standoff with ATF agents and the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas as well as witnessing several state executions. Worked for the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle, where she covered everything from airport security, civil courts and the 9/11 attacks to the strains of the Texas Child Protective Services system, the state's removal of more than 400 children from their polygamist parents in West Texas, the Allan Stanford Ponzi scheme trial and the world of Medicare fraud in Houston's private ambulance networks. Langford was named Texas Reporter of the Year in 2011 for her work on the connection between private ambulances in Houston and the non-regulated mental health clinics there. Before joining the Tribune in March 2014, she tried her hand at public radio, working for WNYC in Trenton, covering New Jersey government.

Abby Livingston has covered political campaigns, House leadership and Congress for Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper. A seventh-generation Texan, Abby graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She grew up in Fort Worth and has appeared in an episode of "The Bold and The Beautiful." Abby pitched and produced political segments for CNN’s John King, USA and worked as a TV editor for The Hotline, National Journal’s campaign tipsheet. Abby began her journalism career as a desk assistant at NBC News in Washington, working her way up to the political unit, where she researched stories for Nightly News, the Today Show and Meet the Press. In keeping with the Trib’s great history of hiring softball stars, Abby is a two-time MVP for The Bad News Babes, the women’s press softball team that takes on female members of Congress in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball breast cancer charity game.

Corrie MacLaggan is the Tribune's news editor. Previously, the Austin native worked as a national correspondent for Reuters, writing and editing stories about Texas and nearby states and overseeing a network of freelance writers. Before joining Reuters, she covered Texas government and politics for the Austin American-Statesman, writing about everything from gubernatorial races to food stamp application backlogs. She spent her first year at the Statesman writing for the newspaper's weekly Spanish-language publication. She has also worked in Mexico City, where she wrote for publications including the Miami Herald's Mexico edition, Latin Trade magazine and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Her first reporting job was at the El Paso Times. Corrie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and Spanish.

Jim Malewitz covers energy for the Tribune. Before arriving, he spent two years covering energy and environmental issues for Stateline, a nonprofit news service in Washington, D.C., where his work also appeared in The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune, among other newspapers. A native of Michigan, Jim has an undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in Iowa, where he played varsity baseball. He also holds a master’s from the University of Iowa, where he helped launch the nonprofit Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism. Jim loves tacos and barbecue, making him a good match for Austin’s eating scene. However, he remains on the lookout for great waffles.

Ryan McCrimmon is a reporting intern for The Texas Tribune and a senior at Northwestern University in Chicago. Ryan previously covered national politics and foreign affairs for the Medill News Service in Washington, D.C. He has also worked as an anchor and producer for the Northwestern News Network and a local news reporter for the C-ville Weekly in his hometown, Charlottesville, Virginia. Ryan studies journalism and Middle East studies at Northwestern.

Jolie McCullough develops data interactives and news apps for the Texas Tribune. She came to the Tribune in early 2015 from the Albuquerque Journal, where her work as a web designer and developer earned her national recognition. She was at the Journal for four years and specialized in interactive maps and data-driven special projects. She is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication; while there, she interned as a reporter and online producer at the Arizona Republic and served as the web editor of the student-run newspaper, the State Press.

Ayan Mittra joined the Tribune after working more than 10 years at The Dallas Morning News. He spent his first seven years there as a copy editor. In 2008, he moved to the political desk, supervising the daily presentations and working with reporters in the field. He then worked as a night city editor, supervising the coverage of late-breaking news. He was also on the editing team for the 2009 and 2011 legislative sessions. A native of Beaumont, Ayan graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Julie Montgomery believes the best policy ideas in the world make very little difference unless people hear and talk about them. Before coming to the Tribune, Julie managed events and outreach for the Center for Health and Social Policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. She's also a veteran of the nonpartisan House Research Organization within the Texas Legislature and of a nonprofit Texas policy think tank. Julie grew up in Austin and happily stuck around to earn a BS in Electrical Engineering, a BA in Government, and a Master of Public Affairs from UT Austin.

Ryan Murphy plays a role in developing the Tribune's collection of data interactives (with a focus on mapping), conducts data analysis and currently maintains and updates the government employee salary database. Ryan graduated in 2010 with a degree in multimedia journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, where he served as the web editor for The Daily Texan.

David Muto is the editor of TribTalk, The Texas Tribune's opinion page. He is also the Tribune's copy editor. A Richardson native, he attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned degrees in journalism and Spanish.

Allison Netzer leads the Tribune's Consumer Marketing department. Prior to joining the Texas Tribune, she served as the Director of Marketing and Sales Enablement for Phunware, where she created the company's first formal marketing organization and led the go-to-market teams across 13 mobile products. In this position, Allison was responsible for the thought-leadership and PR strategy that resulted in 3 major recognitions for the company (Inc. 500 (#40), Forbes Most Promising Companies (#36) and Austin FAST 50 (#1). Prior to Phunware, she spent the bulk of her career in a variety of sales and marketing leadership roles at Dell, most notably as Director of Global eCommerce and Marketing. She is a graduate of North Carolina State University and a proud new mom.

Mary Pharris A native of Beaumont, Mary graduated from the University of North Texas with degrees in Political Science and Journalism. She's a veteran political fundraiser, having worked for Texas and federal PACs, organizations and presidential, state and municipal campaigns. She is also currently pursuing her MBA at the University of Texas' McCombs School of Business. Mary recently moved back to Austin after nearly two years in Washington, D.C. When she's not working or studying, she enjoys trying new restaurants with her husband or chasing her 10-pound chihuahua mix Mr. Brooks around Zilker Park. She is incredibly happy to be back home in Texas and working with the best news organization in the state.

Terry Quinn is a fifth-generation Texan and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. She has worked as a volunteer and professional for over 20 years to raise funds to support many non-profit organizations in Austin and around Texas, most recently The Nature Conservancy of Texas and The Contemporary Austin. Terry coordinates the activities and outreach to the Circle Level members of The Texas Tribune and the individuals whose philanthropy make the mission of the Tribune possible.

Ross Ramsey is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, Ross was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly for 15 years. He did a 28-month stint in government as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Before that, he reported for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as its Austin bureau chief, and worked as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, writing for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ross got his start in journalism in broadcasting, covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.

Emily Ramshaw is the editor of The Texas Tribune. Under her leadership, the Tribune has won three national Edward R. Murrow Awards, IRE's Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism and a general excellence award from the Online News Association. Before coming aboard as one of the Tribune’s original reporters, Ramshaw spent six years at The Dallas Morning News, where she broke national stories about sexual abuse inside Texas’ youth lock-ups, reported from inside a West Texas polygamist compound, uncovered “fight clubs” inside state institutions for the disabled and investigated a series of deadly transplants where patients received rabies-tainted organs. The Texas APME named Ramshaw its 2008 Star Reporter of the Year.

John Reynolds is the newsletters editor for the Tribune. Prior to that, he was a reporter for Quorum Report, a non-partisan online political newsletter focusing on the ins and outs under the Dome, for more than seven years – covering the waterfront from health and human services and redistricting to pensions and elections. A native of Atlanta, Ga., he started his journalistic career one day after the attacks of Sept. 11 in Lubbock, Texas, where he rotated through a slew of beats at The Avalanche-Journal. He received his undergraduate degree from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and studied at the University of Georgia's graduate school in journalism. When not at work, he actively attempts to convince himself he is adept at tennis with varying levels of success. And he has adopted the Austin custom of appreciating smoked meats and listening to music in grassy/muddy fields.

Alana Rocha joined the Tribune staff as the multimedia reporter after working eight years in television and radio news. She's covered politics for stations in Florida, Kansas and most recently in Austin as YNN's lead political reporter. Her work at the cable news outlet took her around the country reporting from the presidential campaign trail. A native of Tampa, Florida, Alana received bachelor's degrees in Journalism and Spanish from the University of Florida.

Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when Root walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't resist the draw: it was the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and soon realized it wasn't for him. Root applied for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. Root has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.Root is the author of “Oops! A Diary From The 2012 Campaign Trail,” an insider’s account of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s dramatic collapse in the 2012 presidential race. The book was released in September, 2012.

Neena Satija covers the environment for the Tribune. A native of the Washington, D.C. area, she graduated from Yale University in 2011, and then worked for a number of area news outlets, including the New Haven Independent, the Connecticut Mirror, and WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio. She has also been a regular contributor to National Public Radio. She previously worked for the Toledo Blade, the Dallas Morning News, and the Boston Globe. In her spare time, she enjoys singing (especially in group settings), running, and playing the addictive board game Settlers of Catan. As an East Coast transplant she is particularly thrilled with Austin tacos and warm weather.

Morgan Smith reports on politics and education for the Tribune, which she joined in November 2009. She writes about the effects of the state budget, school finance reform, accountability and testing in Texas public schools. Her political coverage has included congressional and legislative races, as well as Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign, which she followed to Iowa and New Hampshire. In 2013, she received a National Education Writers Association award for "Death of a District," a series on school closures. After earning a bachelor's degree in English from Wellesley College, she moved to Austin in 2008 to enter law school at the University of Texas. A San Antonio native, her work has also appeared in Slate, where she spent a year as an editorial intern in Washington D.C.

Evan Smith is the Editor-in-Chief, CEO and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news organization recently called “one of the nonprofit news sector’s runaway success stories.” The Tribune's deep coverage of Texas politics and public policy can be found at its website, texastribune.org, in newspapers and on TV and radio stations across the state, and in the print and online editions of the Washington Post. Since its launch in 2009, the Tribune has won international acclaim and numerous honors, including nine Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association. Previously Evan spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, including eight years as Editor and a year as President and Editor-in-Chief.

Patrick Svitek is a reporter for the Texas Tribune. He previously worked for the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau. He graduated in 2014 from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He originally is from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Alexa Ura covers politics and demographics for The Texas Tribune, where she started as an intern in 2013. She previously covered health care for the Trib. While earning her journalism degree at the University of Texas at Austin, she was a reporter and editor for The Daily Texan. A Laredo native, Alexa is a fluent Spanish-speaker and is constantly seeking genuine Mexican food in Austin.

Agnes Varnum joined the Tribune events team after five years in membership and marketing at the Austin Film Society. Before moving to Texas, Agnes held positions with Icarus Films, the Center for Social Media at American University and as a freelance writer for Indiewire.com and Documentary magazine. She has worked on the AFI Fest in LA, Independent Film Week in NYC, and she has served on programming committees for Silverdocs, Newport International Film Festival, AOL True Stories (now Snag Films) and SXSW.

Jacob Villanueva was most recently the interactive director and media producer for the Austin-based media agency Super!Alright! He has previously served as creative director for Youth InterACTIVE, lead graphic designer and new media specialist for CoComm Creative, and art director for Feedback magazine. He has worked as a freelance designer of print, web, video and interactive work for his personal projects at Digital Purity. He has a bachelor's degree in studio art with an emphasis in digital media from the University of Texas.

Edgar Walters covers health care for The Texas Tribune, where he started as an intern in September 2013. When not in the newsroom or at the Capitol, he can be found on the volleyball court, where he stands 6'7".

Todd Wiseman previously worked at the Austin School of Film and Synthetic Pictures and interned for director Richard Linklater. At the Tribune, Todd has helped develop the Stump Interrupted series, which won a national Edward R. Murrow award. A Fort Worth native, he graduated from the University of Southern California with a dual degree in film and English.