I’m thrilled to share the news that Jessica Priest is joining The Texas Tribune and ProPublica as an engagement reporter on our investigative unit.
Jessica has covered many communities across the state in her journalism career. After graduating from Sam Houston State University in 2011, she went on to work as a reporter for the Temple Daily Telegram, the Victoria Advocate and the Fort Worth Report. She’s also been an investigative reporter for USA Today out of the Austin American-Statesman’s newsroom.
Her work has often made an impact — be it local officials in Victoria pursuing funding for mental health after she highlighted a gap in services for community members or the state’s court of criminal appeals vacating the murder conviction of a death row inmate after her reporting exposed conflicts of interests of the case’s prosecutor.
As an engagement reporter on the investigative unit, Jessica will focus her efforts on reporting stories that result from community outreach and engagement. She’ll utilize crowdsourcing and participate in projects to engage diverse audiences in the unit’s investigative journalism. She’ll hold state officials accountable in service to Texans all across our great state.
Jessica will excel in this role. I know this because, in addition to her long list of accomplishments and excellent stories, she’s demonstrated she is someone who puts the reader first. At the top of her resume — before her contact information, her long history in Texas and the list of many awards and recognitions her work has received — Jessica leads with a quote from a reader: “Thank you for your outstanding investigative report on the mess at Calhoun Port Authority. It read like a novel – I couldn’t put it down. Obviously, changes need to be made and some heads need to roll.”
When she’s not reporting, Jessica likes walking on the trails along the Trinity River in Fort Worth and watching sci-fi and horror movies.
Jessica began her new role Jan. 18, and she will relocate to Austin in the spring.
Disclosure: Sam Houston State University has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.