The Texas Tribune is a lean and mean operation. So it’s not every day you get to announce three — yes three! — phenomenal new hires, plus a key promotion.

Emily Yount is our new interactive designer and developer for audience engagement, meaning she’ll develop features to help get our readers even more engaged in our journalism. She’s joining us from The Washington Post, where she produced award-winning digital projects like an interactive “museum” of President Obama’s legacy and a multimedia exploration of the N-word’s place in the American vernacular. Emily, an alum of UNC-Chapel Hill and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, was a key player in the Post’s graphics and social strategy for the 2016 election.

Emma Platoff, who wowed us as a reporting, events and audience engagement fellow these last seven months, will come aboard full-time as our first breaking news and civil courts reporter. Emma’s a native of New Haven, Conn., and a graduate of Yale, and has reported for both the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Hartford Courant.

And Shannon Najmabadi, another unbelievable reporting and investigative fellow at the Trib, will be our next higher education reporter. Shannon, who previously reported for the Chronicle of Higher Education, was raised in San Diego and is a graduate of UC-Berkeley and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.

What does Shannon’s arrival mean for our storied higher ed reporter, Matthew Watkins? Great question. Matthew becomes our first-ever breaking news editor, responsible for driving the daily conversation and working with reporters to get top headlines up first and fast. Matthew has impeccable judgment, he’s a lovely storyteller, he’s cool under pressure and he boasts mad karaoke skills — making him a perfect addition to the editing team.

Please join me in welcoming and congratulating this remarkable crew. Come January, we look forward to showing you what they can do. 

Read related Tribune coverage: