About Us

Our Staff

Becca Aaronson

Senior Designer/Developer

baaronson@texastribune.org
512-716-8615

Becca Aaronson designs and builds interactive features to expand the reach of reporting, analyzes data for projects and runs the interactive data and visuals team's fellowship program. She also works on tools to simplify workflows and conducts user research to improve design processes and reader experience. Becca joined the Tribune in 2010 and was promoted in 2012 to cover health care, during which time she was nationally recognized for her coverage of women’s health and abortion politics. A founding member of the Tribune’s interactive data and visuals team, Becca left the health care beat in 2014 to develop interactive features full-time. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural theory from Scripps College in Claremont, Calif.

Julián Aguilar reports on politics and border affairs from the Texas-Mexico border. His focuses include immigration reform and enforcement, voter ID, international trade, border security, and the drug trade. His political coverage has included local, legislative and congressional races in Texas, as well as local and national elections in Mexico. Before joining the Tribune, he was a freelance writer for the Fort Worth Weekly; a government and crime reporter for the Laredo Morning Times; and a political writer for the Rio Grande Guardian. A native of El Paso, he has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Texas and a master's degree in journalism from the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas.

Emily Albracht is a designer at The Texas Tribune. She creates all materials for the Texas Tribune Events series and collaborates with the editorial staff and news apps team to visualize investigative stories in a meaningful way. Before joining the Tribune’s creative team in the spring of 2014, she worked as a freelance designer with the Austin music and festival scene.

Liam Andrew is content engineer at the Tribune, a media and technology researcher, and a musician. Prior to the Tribune he was a masters student and researcher in MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program, a Google Journalism Fellow with the Nieman Journalism Lab, and an engineer for New York-based news curation startup Wiser. An Iowa native, Liam earned his bachelors studying literature and music at Yale University.

Aman Batheja worked for eight years at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, most of that time covering state and local politics. A native of Cedarhurst, New York, he has an undergraduate degree in journalism and psychology from New York University and a master's in economics from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Bobby Blanchard runs the Tribune’s social media efforts. A graduate of UT-Austin, Bobby spent his first year out of college at The Dallas Morning News as a reporting fellow, covering Texas politics and breaking news. He got his start in journalism in the poorly lit basement of The Daily Texan, followed by internships at the Houston Chronicle, KUT News and yes, the Tribune. Born and raised in the Houston area, Bobby is a native Texan. He relies on a steady supply of Tex-Mex and Red Bull to survive.

Joshua Blank is the manager of polling and research at the Texas Politics Project and a doctoral candidate in the government department at the University of Texas at Austin. Born in New York, NY, he has a bachelor's degree in political science from Boston University and a master's degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin.

Erin Boon

Research Analyst and Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow

eboon@texastribune.org

Erin Boon Erin is the Research Analyst and Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow at the Texas Tribune. Her focus is on the effective use of collected data in problem solving across departments. After completing her PhD in Celtic Languages and Linguistics at Harvard University in 2014, she studied Statistics and worked in the tech industry in California.

Natalie Choate

Director of Media Relations & Partnerships

nchoate@texastribune.org
512-716-8640

Natalie Choate has a long history in Texas politics. Choate started as Legislative Aide for her hometown State Representative and then served as the Government Relations Coordinator for Trinity Industries. After working her second Legislative Session as Legislative Director, she completed Annie's List Campaign School and worked as a Campaign Consultant eventually to be brought on staff as Deputy Campaign Manager. Subsequently, she accepted a position as Fund-Raising Coordinator with a prominent fundraising firm in Houston. In 2010, she served as Precinct Chair Coordinator focusing on grassroots politics. Natalie has her Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas with specification in Government, Political Communication and Ethics and Leadership.

Natalia Ciolko

Sales Operations Manager

nciolko@texastribune.org
512-716-8641

Natalia Ciolko assists the Tribune's business-side operations, serving as sponsor liaison for all departments and managing the inventory of digital advertising on the site. From July 2012 to January 2014, she served as the Tribune's event coordinator, helping to promote and produce over 50 panels and symposiums each year. Her previous post as publications manager at Sundance Film Festival was preceded by roles with Bunkhouse Group, Beaty Palmer Architects, The Guardian, San Antonio Current and The Daily Texan. Natalia is a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and a native of San Antonio.

Nicole Cobler is an investigative reporting fellow at the Texas Tribune and a junior at the University of Texas at Austin where she studies journalism. She previously worked as a metro desk intern for the Austin American-Statesman and as an intern in the Austin bureau for the San Antonio Express-News covering the Texas Legislature. She also worked as a reporter, editor and a senior tech member at The Daily Texan.

Kiah Collier reports on the environment and public education for the Tribune, where she began working in July 2015. Since graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 2009 with degrees in philosophy and multimedia journalism, Kiah has reported on government and politics for publications across the state, including the Austin-American Statesman and the Houston Chronicle. A Central Texas native, Kiah began her career at the San Angelo Standard-Times in West Texas, where she covered the city council and 83rd Legislature and won awards for her reporting on the oil-and-gas boom and prolific drought. When she is not reporting the news, Kiah enjoys consuming the news, cooking, exercising and belly laughing with friends and family. She also enjoys spending time with her calico cat, Carol.

Daniel Craigmile previously worked at Mutual Mobile, The University of Texas at Austin, Electronic Data Systems and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He grew up in San Antonio and holds a degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University.

Annie Daniel joined The Texas Tribune in 2014 shortly after graduating from UNC Chapel Hill where she studied both multimedia journalism and political science. Before moving to Texas, Annie interned at The Washington Post on their graphics team. She is now a proud member of the Tribune’s interactive data & visuals team where she develops interactives, analyzes datasets and creates graphics.

Eleanor Dearman is a newsletters fellow for The Texas Tribune and a journalism junior at The University of Texas at Austin. Eleanor worked at The Daily Texan for four semesters prior to her arrival at The Tribune, most recently covering the Texas Legislature.

Justin Dehn is a multimedia producer at the Tribune whose focus is video and television production. He's been shooting and producing TV news for more than a decade, most recently as a staff photojournalist at Austin's KVUE-TV from 2006 to 2010. At the Tribune, Dehn has been behind the camera for Tribune special projects God and Governing, Hurting for Work and Paid to Prosecute, as well the stories we produce each week for our dozen TV partners around the state and segments for social media.

Suzanne Geiger

Development Manager

sgeiger@texastribune.org

Suzanne Geiger Suzanne Geiger brings a life-long love of journalism to her position as part of the Tribune’s development team. She previously served as the assistant development officer for McDonald Observatory, where she handled special events and donor and foundation communications. Before working in the nonprofit world, she was with Public Strategies, the Texas Bar Journal, and the Austin American-Statesman. She is a native Coloradoan in a household of Texans, including her husband Charles and two Texas-born daughters.

Rodney Gibbs ensures The Texas Tribune leverages technology wisely and creatively across all aspects of the organization. He has started two digital media companies. The first, Fizz Factor, developed handheld games for Nintendo and Sony platforms. The second, Ricochet Labs, created social-mobile games for news and entertainment brands, including the BBC, Lollapalooza, and The Texas Tribune. Active in the digital media community, Rodney serves on the boards of KUT, Austin's NPR affiliate; the Austin Film Society; and KLRU, Austin's PBS affiliate. He has a bachelor's degree in sociology from Rice University and a MFA from The University of Texas.

Ben Hasson previously worked at RMM Online Advertising and interned at media company Super!Alright! He has also worked as a freelance designer for print and the web, mostly for the Austin independent music and film scene. He grew up in Tucson and graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in design.

Jim Henson directs the Texas Politics project and teaches in the Department of Government at The University of Texas, where he also received a doctorate. He helped design public interest multimedia for the Benton Foundation in Washington, D.C., in the late 1990s and has written about politics in general-interest and academic publications. He also serves as associate director of the College of Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services unit at UT, where he has helped produce several award-winning instructional media projects. In 2008, he and Daron Shaw, a fellow UT government professor, established the first statewide, publicly available internet survey of public opinion in Texas using matched random sampling. He lives in Austin, where he also serves as a member of the City of Austin Ethics Review Commission.

April Hinkle

Chief Revenue Officer

ahinkle@texastribune.org
512-716-8634

April Hinkle spent more than 20 years at Texas Monthly, stepping down as publisher in May 2010. During her tenure, she positioned the publication as one of the top 10 monthly publications in the country based on total advertising pages and was also instrumental in the launch of texasmonthly.com and its ongoing development. Hinkle, who holds an advertising degree from the University of Texas, served on the national marketing board for the National Retail Federation and was the founding chairwoman of its Retail Advertising and Marketing Association Southwest Advisory Committee. She also served on the Austin Society Board-Philanthropy Chair, Club Corporation of America and is a founding board member of Lake Travis Young Life and past board member of Young Life Austin West. Recently, she received the Media Star Award from the Human Development and Consumer Sciences Department in the College of Technology at the University of Houston. She is married and has four children. As a family, they have been featured in marketing campaigns for Southwest Airlines and Chevrolet.

Robert Inks is editor of TribTalk, the opinion page of The Texas Tribune. Before joining the Tribune in October 2015, Robert copy edited for several newspapers in and outside Texas. He also was a writer and editor for online global affairs website Stratfor and a project manager for newspaper publisher GateHouse Media. Robert is an Austin native and a UT-Austin graduate.

John Jordan works "under the hood" at The Texas Tribune, writing and editing Tribpedia entries, maintaining and updating the Tribune's Directory of elected officials, helping with the social media feeds and answering mail from involved readers, among other duties. Before coming to work at the Tribune, John spent several decades as a touring and recording musician. In 2005, he left the road to join a statewide political campaign. After that, John worked for an Austin-based nonprofit, then joined the Austin bureau of The Dallas Morning News, where he worked for four years before joining the staff at The Texas Tribune.

Abby Livingston joined the Tribune in 2014 as the publication's first Washington Bureau Chief. Previously, she covered political campaigns, House leadership and Congress for Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper. A seventh-generation Texan, Abby graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. She grew up in Fort Worth and has appeared in an episode of "The Bold and The Beautiful." Abby pitched and produced political segments for CNN and worked as an editor for The Hotline, National Journal’s campaign tipsheet. Abby began her journalism career as a desk assistant at NBC News in Washington, working her way up to the political unit, where she researched stories for Nightly News, the Today Show and Meet the Press. In keeping with the Trib’s great history of hiring softball stars, Abby is a two-time MVP for The Bad News Babes, the women’s press softball team that takes on female members of Congress in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball breast cancer charity game.

Corrie MacLaggan is the Tribune's news editor. Previously, the Austin native worked as a national correspondent for Reuters, writing and editing stories about Texas and nearby states and overseeing a network of freelance writers. Before joining Reuters, she covered Texas government and politics for the Austin American-Statesman, writing about everything from gubernatorial races to food stamp application backlogs. She spent her first year at the Statesman writing for the newspaper's weekly Spanish-language publication. She has also worked in Mexico City, where she wrote for publications including the Miami Herald's Mexico edition, Latin Trade magazine and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Her first reporting job was at the El Paso Times. Corrie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and Spanish.

Jim Malewitz primarily covers energy and the environment for the Tribune. Before arriving in 2013, he covered those issues for Stateline, a nonprofit news service in Washington, D.C. The Michigan native majored in political science at Grinnell College in Iowa and holds a master’s from the University of Iowa. There, he helped launch the nonprofit Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, where he currently serves on the board of directors. Jim also coaches the Texas Tribune Runoffs, which, sources say, is the scrappiest coed newsroom softball team west of the Mississippi.

Jolie McCullough develops data interactives and news apps and reports on criminal justice issues for the Texas Tribune.. She came to the Tribune in early 2015 from the Albuquerque Journal, where her work as a web designer and developer earned her national recognition. She was at the Journal for four years and specialized in interactive maps and data-driven special projects. She is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication; while there, she interned as a reporter and online producer at the Arizona Republic and served as the web editor of the student-run newspaper, the State Press.

Madlin Mekelburg is a reporting fellow for The Texas Tribune and a junior at the University of Texas at Austin where she studies journalism and French. Madlin previously worked at the Houston Chronicle as both a metro intern in Houston and as an intern in their Austin bureau covering the Texas Legislature. She has worked at The Daily Texan since her freshman year and has been an editor and writer, as well as co-host of the Texan Podcast.

Ayan Mittra joined the Tribune after working more than 10 years at The Dallas Morning News. He spent his first seven years there as a copy editor. In 2008, he moved to the political desk, supervising the daily presentations and working with reporters in the field. He then worked as a night city editor, supervising the coverage of late-breaking news. He was also on the editing team for the 2009 and 2011 legislative sessions. A native of Beaumont, Ayan graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Ryan Murphy creates graphics, interactive stories and data-driven features, wrangles difficult datasets and works on tools to make development for the team more efficient. He also oversees the design and maintenance of our large-scale explorers.

David Pasztor David Pasztor has been a professional journalist for more than 30 years, working as a reporter, editor or corporate executive at newspapers in Missouri, Texas, Arizona and California.

Rebecca Quarls

Digital Marketing Manager

rquarls@texastribune.org
512.716.8686

Rebecca Quarls is the Tribune’s Digital Marketing Manager, happily taking ownership of membership and consumer revenue functions. Before moving to Austin, she worked for a marketing and PR agency in New Orleans where she led strategy and implementation for clients with digital objectives around political campaigns, crisis management, neighborhood relations and more. Before that, she spent two years with NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, where she helped reporters transition to digital-first journalism, reach audience growth goals and better utilize social media and community management to enhance reporting and sourcing. Off the clock, the Lafayette, Louisiana, native seeks out carbohydrates, compelling stories and all things Cajun.

Terry Quinn

Chief Development Officer

tquinn@texastribune.org
512-716-8613

Terry Quinn is a fifth-generation Texan and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. She has worked as a volunteer and professional for over 20 years to raise funds to support many non-profit organizations in Austin and around Texas, most recently The Nature Conservancy of Texas and The Contemporary Austin. Terry coordinates the activities and outreach to the Circle Level members of The Texas Tribune and the individuals whose philanthropy make the mission of the Tribune possible.

Ross Ramsey is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, Ross was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly for 15 years. He did a 28-month stint in government as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Before that, he reported for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as its Austin bureau chief, and worked as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, writing for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ross got his start in journalism in broadcasting, covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.

Emily Ramshaw is editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune. Under her leadership, the Tribune has won six national Edward R. Murrow Awards, IRE's Gannett Award for Innovation in Watchdog Journalism and a general excellence award from the Online News Association. Before coming aboard as one of the Tribune’s original reporters, Ramshaw spent six years at The Dallas Morning News, where she broke national stories about sexual abuse inside Texas’ youth lock-ups, reported from inside a West Texas polygamist compound, uncovered “fight clubs” inside state institutions for the disabled and investigated a series of deadly transplants where patients received rabies-tainted organs. The Texas APME named Ramshaw its 2008 Star Reporter of the Year.

John Reynolds is the newsletters editor for the Tribune. Prior to that, he was a reporter for Quorum Report, a non-partisan online political newsletter focusing on the ins and outs under the Dome, for more than seven years – covering the waterfront from health and human services and redistricting to pensions and elections. A native of Atlanta, Ga., he started his journalistic career one day after the attacks of Sept. 11 in Lubbock, Texas, where he rotated through a slew of beats at The Avalanche-Journal. He received his undergraduate degree from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and studied at the University of Georgia's graduate school in journalism. When not at work, he actively attempts to convince himself he is adept at tennis with varying levels of success. And he has adopted the Austin custom of appreciating smoked meats and listening to music in grassy/muddy fields.

Alana Rocha joined the Tribune staff as the multimedia reporter after working eight years in television and radio news. She's covered politics for stations in Florida, Kansas and most recently in Austin as YNN's lead political reporter. Her work at the cable news outlet took her around the country reporting from the presidential campaign trail. A native of Tampa, Florida, Alana received bachelor's degrees in Journalism and Spanish from the University of Florida.

Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when Root walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't resist the draw: it was the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and soon realized it wasn't for him. Root applied for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. Root has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.Root is the author of “Oops! A Diary From The 2012 Campaign Trail,” an insider’s account of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s dramatic collapse in the 2012 presidential race. The book was released in September, 2012.

Neena Satija is an investigative reporter and radio producer for the Tribune and Reveal, a public radio program from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Previously, she was the environment reporter at the Tribune. A native of the Washington, D.C. area, she graduated from Yale University in 2011, and then worked for the New Haven Independent, the Connecticut Mirror, and WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio. She has also been a regular contributor to National Public Radio. As an East Coast transplant she is particularly thrilled with Austin tacos and warm weather.

Debbie Seeger is The Texas Tribune’s Chief Financial Officer. A CPA for over 20 years, she’s spent of that time in non-profit leadership and management. Debbie began as an accountant for a large non-profit agency in Houston. In Corpus Christi, she worked in grants and federal relations for the local university before becoming the CEO of the Workforce Development Board. Debbie provided consulting services for eight years and then joined Corpus Christi ISD, first as a director in HR and later as the Director for Strategic Initiatives. Debbie is the daughter of a government and history teacher and spent hours on long drives responding to endless questions on Texas and US history and government. With her lifelong interest in government and politics, she became a Texas Tribune member long before joining the staff and has listened to virtually every TribCast.

Johnathan Silver reports on the state’s criminal justice system for The Texas Tribune. Prior to the Tribune, Johnathan was a Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Buster Haas intern and staff reporter at the Victoria Advocate. A Fort Worth native, Johnathan graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington with bachelor’s degrees in political science and criminal justice – and a graduation mug from The Shorthorn, the campus student newspaper.

Morgan Smith reports on politics and education for the Tribune, which she joined in November 2009. She writes about the effects of the state budget, school finance reform, accountability and testing in Texas public schools. Her political coverage has included congressional and legislative races, as well as Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign, which she followed to Iowa and New Hampshire. In 2013, she received a National Education Writers Association award for "Death of a District," a series on school closures. After earning a bachelor's degree in English from Wellesley College, she moved to Austin in 2008 to enter law school at the University of Texas. A San Antonio native, her work has also appeared in Slate, where she spent a year as an editorial intern in Washington D.C.

Evan Smith is the CEO and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news organization recently called “one of the nonprofit news sector’s runaway success stories.” The Tribune's deep coverage of Texas politics and public policy can be found at its website, texastribune.org, in newspapers and on TV and radio stations across the state, and in the print and online editions of the Washington Post. Since its launch in 2009, the Tribune has won international acclaim and numerous honors, including eight national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association and six awards from the Online News Association. Previously Evan spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, including eight years as Editor and a year as President and Editor-in-Chief.

Keith Sommer

Sponsorship Sales Manager

ksommer@texastribune.org

Keith Sommer brings over 20 years of executive marketing and media experience from the broadcast industry to The Texas Tribune. Keith’s passion for helping people find solutions that fit their needs is evident by his attention to detail along with his positive, creative, and outgoing personality. Keith is skilled at developing creative strategies and unique marketing plans for business owners and groups to showcase their brand and position their messaging. A native Texan and originally from San Antonio, Keith is a graduate of Texas Tech University and has lived in Austin for over 10 years. Keith is proud to call the Austin area his home and enjoys all of the excitement and activity Central Texas has to offer.

Patrick Svitek is a reporter for the Texas Tribune. He previously worked for the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau. He graduated in 2014 from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He originally is from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Alexa Ura covers politics and demographics for The Texas Tribune, where she started as an intern in 2013. She previously covered health care for the Trib. While earning her journalism degree at the University of Texas at Austin, she was a reporter and editor for The Daily Texan. A Laredo native, Alexa is a fluent Spanish-speaker and is constantly seeking genuine Mexican food in Austin.

Agnes Varnum

Director of Events

avarnum@texastribune.org
512-716-8691

Agnes Varnum joined the Tribune events team after five years in membership and marketing at the Austin Film Society. Before moving to Texas, Agnes held positions with Icarus Films, the Center for Social Media at American University and as a freelance writer for Indiewire.com and Documentary magazine. She has worked on the AFI Fest in LA, Independent Film Week in NYC, and she has served on programming committees for Silverdocs, Newport International Film Festival, AOL True Stories (now Snag Films) and SXSW.

Jacob Villanueva manages a creative team of designers and multimedia producers for the editorial and business departments of the organization. He brings his knowledge of over 15 years in design, photography and digital media production.

Edgar Walters covers health care for The Texas Tribune, where he started as an intern in September 2013. When not in the newsroom or at the Capitol, he can be found on the volleyball court, where he stands 6'7".

Matthew Watkins writes about higher education and the business of college sports for the Tribune. Previously, he has covered local government at The Dallas Morning News and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. A Texas native, Matthew grew up in Austin and has lived in Houston, Dallas and Bryan. He earned his bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University in 2008.

Jessica Weaver manages the Tribune's year-round events program as well as all things Texas Tribune Festival. Before joining the Tribune in 2015, she worked in the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, for South by Southwest and as a freelance copywriter. A Houston native, Jessica holds a history degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Todd Wiseman previously worked at the Austin School of Film and Synthetic Pictures and interned for director Richard Linklater. At the Tribune, Todd has helped develop the Stump Interrupted series, which won a national Edward R. Murrow award. A Fort Worth native, he graduated from the University of Southern California with a dual degree in film and English.

Amanda Zamora leads the Tribune’s audience growth and engagement efforts. A native Texan, Amanda joined the Tribune in 2016 after spending 13 years on the East Coast working for news organizations including The Huffington Post Investigative Fund, The Washington Post and ProPublica. Amanda got her start as a cub reporter at the Austin American-Statesman after graduating from the University of Texas. She strives to leverage her storytelling, digital and audience skills to create journalism that actively engages people in the issues that matter most to them. When she’s not poring over spreadsheets, she’s (hopefully) dancing, cooking or traveling the world.