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At the end of an extremely busy news year in Texas, I am delighted to announce five fantastic additions to The Texas Tribune’s newsroom and events team.
Emily Foxhall joined us Dec. 19 as our new energy reporter. Previously, Emily covered the environment for the Houston Chronicle, her hometown newspaper, where she worked since 2015, following a two-year stint at the Los Angeles Times. Emily distinguished herself in covering the Santa Fe High School shooting and was part of a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news for coverage of Hurricane Harvey. She then roamed the state as “Texas Storyteller,” covering far-flung stories, including the first few months of COVID-19 across the regions of Texas.
Moving to the environment beat in 2020, Emily covered climate disasters, industrial pollution, flood infrastructure and environmental policy. She has a gift for weaving science and policy into human-centered narratives. As our energy reporter, Emily will remain based in Houston and again roam the state, covering oil, gas and renewables from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast, as well as the electrical grid and energy regulation (or the lack of it). Emily was a standout Texas Tribune fellow in 2012 while she was a student at Yale. We are thrilled to welcome her back.
Laura Garcia, previously a health care reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, started Oct. 31 as our afternoon/evening news editor. Laura has been writing about health care, insurance and biomedical industries, with a focus on health inequities and the impacts on South Texas consumers, since 2019. As a fellow of the University of Southern California Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, Laura secured grants for a series on health disparities in San Antonio, focusing on a historic lack of investment in the city’s South Side.
From 2014-19, Laura was a senior reporter and then a features editor at The Victoria Advocate. She reported on health and nonprofits in a seven-county region and became an editor in 2017, managing arts and entertainment coverage. Previously, Laura was a reporter for The Roanoke Times in Virginia in 2013 and a copy editor and contributing editor at SA Scene magazine in San Antonio from 2011-13. Laura was born in Pearsall and has spent most of her life in San Antonio. She graduated from San Antonio College, where she edited the student paper, The Ranger, and from Texas State University in San Marcos.
Michele Gonzalez joined us as deputy director of events and live journalism on Dec. 19, after eight years at the Austin Convention Center, where she was a senior event coordinator, working with trade associations, nonprofits, corporations, universities and government entities. Born in Fort Polk, Louisiana, where her father served in the Army, Michele grew up in neighboring Leesville and studied radio, television and film at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. During college, she worked at KTVE, the NBC affiliate. In 2001, she began her events career in Washington, D.C., supporting what is now the Radio Television Digital News Association as a project coordinator and membership manager.
In 2004, Michele joined the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, where over a decade she worked her way up from professional development director to director of conventions and special events. During that time, she moved to Austin in 2008 and served as associate director of NAHJ’s Parity Project, an initiative to bring more Latino press representation to areas with large Latino populations. A certified meeting planner, Michele is active with Meeting Professionals International and is a member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and the International Association of Venue Managers. She is the vice president for education on the board of MPI’s Texas Hill Country chapter.
Julia Guilbeau,also a native of Louisiana, joined the Tribune as an audience producer on Dec. 7. She comes to us from Baton Rouge, where she worked as a digital content editor for The Advocate, The Acadiana Advocate and The Times-Picayune. She has assisted with breaking news coverage, managed social media platforms and contributed to engagement projects and the newsrooms’ newsletters.
Some of the work she’s proudest of includes a Twitter Moment about a woman being denied an abortion even though she had a nonviable pregnancy, and the community- and reader-first reporting project Curious Louisiana. Julia graduated from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette in 2020 and was recognized as a college journalist of the year by the Southeast Journalism Conference. She is a Lafayette native and loves the bayous, food and festivals that shape her hometown.
Last in alphabetical order, but certainly not least … Stephen Simpson, an experienced journalist in his native Arkansas, will join us on Jan. 30 as our first-ever mental health reporter. Stephen is part of the statehouse reporting team at The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, where he has worked since 2018. He has covered multiple elections; stories about race, education and COVID-19; and the spring 2019 floods along the Arkansas River, one of the costliest disasters in the state’s history. Like Laura Garcia, Stephen received a fellowship from the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, which he used to write “The Great Delta Divide,” a series of stories about health disparities in the Arkansas Delta.
Previously, Stephen was a reporter for The Jonesboro Sun, where he covered police, courts and criminal justice, and for The Commercial in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where he was a general assignment reporter while also working on copy editing, production and photography. A native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, he grew up in Little Rock. His father served in the Marine Corps, and his mother is a licensed behavioral health therapist, working with families in the child welfare system. Stephen graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway in 2014 with a degree in print and online journalism and a minor in digital filmmaking.
We couldn’t be happier to welcome Emily, Laura, Michele, Julia and Stephen to the staff of the Tribune.
Disclosure: San Antonio College 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.
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