With the legislative session just over the rise, we're beefing up our reporting team — and shifting roles to maximize the impact of everything our awesome newsroom is producing.
Next month, Aliyya Swaby will come aboard to cover public ed for the Tribune. Aliyya spent the last two years covering education and other topics for the nonprofit New Haven Independent and producing "In Transit," a transportation radio show. She’s a Yale University graduate and fluent Spanish speaker who spent a year in Panama City reporting on social issues affecting Afro-Panamanian communities. Aliyya loves biking downhill, experimenting with new recipes to satisfy her sweet tooth and chatting with strangers in different countries. She starts Oct. 24.
Aliyya will replace Kiah Collier, who will wave farewell to public ed and return full-time to her first love, energy and environment reporting. Kiah will still play point on school finance during the legislative session until Aliyya gets up to speed.
Also next month, Marissa Evans arrives as our new health and human services reporter. Marissa comes to us from CQ Roll Call in D.C., where she is a state health policy reporter. She previously worked as health editor for a newsletter called the Morning Consult and as a Kaiser Health News web reporting fellow. In 2013, the year she graduated from Marquette University, she was named the National Association of Black Journalists' student journalist of the year. Marissa loves Medicaid policy, "Scandal" plot theories and late-night Target runs. She starts taking health scoops — and taco and margarita recommendations — on Oct. 10.
Marissa replaces Edgar Walters, and Kiah replaces Jim Malewitz — two of the Trib's finest — who are taking on full-time investigative roles. In their new positions, these all-stars will emphasize quick-turn watchdog work that holds elected officials and public agencies accountable. They've already proven a penchant for it. See: Edgar’s scoop on Gov. Greg Abbott quietly courting the feds for health care money and Jim’s revelation that a pipeline company had ghostwritten a Texas energy regulator’s letter. They'll also be instrumental in our budget coverage during the 2017 legislative session.
We couldn't be happier about these new jobs and new hires, and we can't wait to see the great work they'll do for Texas.