We're thrilled to announce we’ve hired two familiar faces at the Texas Capitol: longtime Texas Tribune reporting fellow Edgar Walters and the Austin American-Statesman's Kiah Collier.
Edgar, our longest-serving (two years) and tallest-ever (6’7”) intern, covered health policy for us during the 2015 legislative session — all while finishing up his honors thesis and playing volleyball at UT-Austin. He’s so talented that we couldn’t wait to scoop him up; post-graduation, we’ve done just that. He starts with us immediately.
Kiah's been on our radar screen for years — as a Scripps/San Angelo Standard Times government and environment reporter, as a Houston Chronicle county government reporter, and at the Statesman, where she rocked coverage of public education and the budget during the 84th Legislature. She'll join the Trib staff next month in a hybrid role, playing first fiddle for us on beats she knows well: public education and the environment.
You may be thinking: Where’s Morgan Smith going? Nowhere, thank goodness. After four-plus years on the public ed beat, Morgan is eager to try her hand at something new — so she'll move into a political enterprise and investigative reporting role, where she’ll churn out profiles, navigate conflicts and interests, and dig deep into state agencies. Morgan has beautiful prose, tough reporting chops and a great nose for what doesn’t pass the sniff test. This will be a great new chapter for her (and us).
Kiah’s hire is a departure of sorts from our longstanding “one reporter, one beat” system (though our reporters might argue it’s been “one reporter, many beats” for some time). We’re excited to experiment with the kind of collaborative, team-style reporting you saw our reporters excel at during the session.
Morgan and higher ed reporter Matthew Watkins will both keep a hand in public ed; Matthew via the K-16 pipeline, Morgan through an investigative lens. When it comes to the environment, we’re lucky to have Neena Satija, an investigative reporter and producer, pursuing meaty projects on the subject for the national radio show Reveal, and energy reporter Jim Malewitz training his sights on the intersection of oil and gas and the environment.
We’re overjoyed to have Edgar and Kiah joining our team, and we're as excited as can be about Morgan’s new opportunity here. We can’t wait to bring you even more in-depth stories on two of our most crucial beats.