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T-Squared: Meet five star reporters on the ProPublica/Texas Tribune investigative team

In the first wave of hires for our ambitious investigative partnership, we've added five standout reporters who are smart, authentic and fearless truth-tellers.

Top row, from left: Kiah Collier, Vianna Davila and Lomi Kriel. Bottom row: Jeremy Schwartz and Perla Trevizo.

We’re thrilled to introduce five outstanding journalists we’ve hired as our inaugural reporters for the ProPublica/The Texas Tribune joint reporting unit.

Kiah Collier, Vianna Davila, Lomi Kriel, Jeremy Schwartz and Perla Trevizo will join me in this investigative effort, with their journalism powering the platforms of both news organizations.

This is a dream team of reporters.

They are smart, authentic, fearless truth-tellers, with a deep love and understanding of Texas. I could not be prouder than to stand alongside Kiah, Vianna, Lomi, Jeremy and Perla on this journey.

It's been a fun start since I joined the team. I got to read the applications of 139 qualified journalists who raised their hands to join our crew. That in itself has been encouraging. Working with ProPublica’s Charlie Ornstein and The Texas Tribune’s Ayan Mittra, we thoughtfully chose our five accomplished journalists — who view their work as a public trust.

So a word of warning: If you are doing bad things in Texas, well, you'll be hearing from us.

Here's a closer look at our five investigative reporters.

Kiah Collier, a seventh-generation Texan, has been a Tribune reporter and associate editor since 2015, covering energy and environment through the lens of state government and politics. She was a reporter on “Hell and High Water,” a Peabody Award-winning collaboration between ProPublica and the Tribune that explored the vulnerability of the Houston area to a large, devastating hurricane. Kiah previously worked at the Austin American-Statesman and the Houston Chronicle covering state and local government. In addition to the Peabody Award, she has been honored with the Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism, the national Edward R. Murrow Award for best investigation, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Kavli Science Journalism Award.

Vianna Davila, a 10th-generation Texan, is the editor of the Seattle Times’ Project Homeless initiative, which examines the causes and effects of homelessness in the Seattle region. She began with the project in 2017 as a reporter before becoming editor in 2019. She previously reported for the San Antonio Express-News, where over 13 years she produced stories on city politics, regional transportation and criminal justice. Her six-part project “The Next Million” explored gentrification, affordable housing, changing demographics and other urban issues in San Antonio, winning the Best of the West 2017 Journalism Contest for online presentation.

Lomi Kriel just won this year’s George Polk Award for national reporting for her immigration coverage. She has been a reporter at the Houston Chronicle since 2014 covering immigration, often focused on the Texas border. Six months before the family separation policy was announced, Lomi uncovered how the Trump administration secretly used prosecution of illegal entry to detain parents until deportation and send children to federal shelters, with her stories resulting in the release of one mother. Lomi, who was born in South Africa, has also worked as a Central American correspondent for Thomson Reuters and a criminal justice reporter for the San Antonio Express-News.

Jeremy Schwartz has been an investigative reporter for nearly a decade, covering issues including voting rights and border security for the Austin American-Statesman and USA Today Network. His work has resulted in the overhaul of Texas' inspection process for farmworker housing, sparked congressional investigations of a failed Department of Veterans Affairs research program, and uncovered misleading border arrest and drug seizure statistics maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety. He has won the National Association of Hispanic Journalists' Latino Issues award for his 2017 investigation into the political underrepresentation of Latinos in Texas cities and counties, and the Headliners Foundation of Texas Reporter of the Year award, among other honors. Jeremy, who hails from Boston, served as Cox Newspapers' Latin America correspondent in Mexico City from 2005 to 2009. Before that, he covered the U.S. Border Patrol and immigration at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Perla Trevizo is a Mexican American reporter born in Ciudad Juárez and raised across the border in El Paso, where she began her journalism career. Perla spent more than 10 years covering immigration and border issues in Tennessee and Arizona before joining the Houston Chronicle as an environmental reporter. She’s written from about a dozen countries, from refugee camps in Africa to remote Guatemalan villages, with the goal of broadening readers’ understanding of the global issues that impact the local communities where she’s worked. Her work has earned her national and state awards, including the Dori J. Maynard Award for Diversity in Journalism, the French-American Foundation Immigration Journalism Award and a national Edward R. Murrow for a story done in collaboration with Arizona Public Media. She is also a Livingston Award finalist. She was also honored as the 2019 Arizona Journalist of the Year by the Arizona Newspaper Association.

These outstanding journalists will be coming on board throughout March. We will also be adding to the investigative team a data reporter, an engagement producer and a research reporter.

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