JON RALSTON, FOUNDER & EDITOR
Jon has been covering politics in Nevada for more than 30 years. His blog, Ralston Reports, was founded in 2012 and now lives on The Nevada Independent website. Jon wrote for the Las Vegas Review-Journal for 15 years, the last seven as a freelance columnist. In 1999, Greenspun Media Group purchased his political newsletter, The Ralston Report, and hired him as a columnist for the Las Vegas Sun where his byline appeared until September 2012. He was also a columnist for the Reno Gazette-Journal from January 2015 until November 2016, when he left to start The Indy.
Over the years, Jon has hosted several TV programs, including "Ralston Live" on Vegas PBS and "Ralston Reports" on KSNV News 3. He also writes and publishes a Nevada-centric email newsletter called "Flash" that frames the political agenda for the day, breaks news and offers analysis and snark. In 2012, Politico named Jon one of the Top 50 "Politicos to Watch." He frequently appears on MSNBC, FOX News, and PBS, and he has also appeared on NBC's long-running "Meet the Press."
Jon's many press awards include:
- Nevada Press Association - Best Local Column (2017 & 2018)
- Nevada Press Association - Best Non-Staff Columnist (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2015)
- Associated Press News Executive Council award for best local column (2009)
- Best Columnist of the Year (1991 & 1992)
- Nevada Press Association - Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year (1986)
Jon is originally from Buffalo, New York. He has a B.A. in English from Cornell University and a M.A. in journalism from University of Michigan. He came to Las Vegas in 1984 as the night police reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, later covering general assignment and county government before becoming a political reporter in 1986. He has a son, Jake. Jon loves movies and movie trivia and aspires to one day be The Nevada Independent's film critic, if they'll let him.
Follow Jon on Twitter @ralstonreports.
E. THOMPSON, MANAGING EDITOR
Elizabeth (or just "E" to friends and media colleagues) has been covering Nevada politics and government since 2008. She is a writer at heart, but her television work includes hosting Nevada Week in Review on VegasPBS for most of 2014, co-hosting the daily political talk show The Agenda on KSNV News 3 from 2012—2013 and working as the political analyst for KTNV News 13 from 2009—2011. E's been published in the Wall Street Journal and National Review Online and has provided political analysis and commentary for CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and numerous Nevada television and radio stations.
She is the founder and former publisher (and still sits on the executive board) of the Nevada News Bureau, a nonprofit that serves as the parent company of The Nevada Independent. The Bureau's primary initiative, a news website covering state government and politics, first went live in late 2009 as a media project of Citizen Outreach. E's Nevada media stint started in 2008 when she launched an indie political blog covering Nevada and national politics. The following year, she won the Sam Adams Alliance's Best New Political Blogger Award. In 2010, she co-founded RFC, an internet radio station featuring political talk plus classic rock, and also served as the Nevada correspondent for National Review Online's Battle '10 election blog.
She is also the founder of E Thompson Media, a small consulting firm specializing in copywriting, media management, custom digital content, marketing and public relations. Her firm's Nevada clients are:
- Wealth management advisory firm HighTower Las Vegas
- the Stat Pack & Fact Pack, a website and weekly business and economic newsletter co-published by HighTower Las Vegas partner (and Nevada Independent treasurer) Mike PeQueen and economist John Restrepo of RCG Economics.
E grew up in rural Michigan where she had a horse, a dog, numerous cats, and more chores than she wanted. She was editor of both her high school and community college newspapers. In 1989, assisted by the Michigan chapter of the ACLU, she won a freedom of press case that made national news. She moved to Nevada in 1998 and has a B.A. in English Literature from UNLV. In her leisure time, E enjoys watching documentaries and films, dining out, checking out live music venues, nature walks, and traveling the globe. She loves good coffee, good champagne and good conversation enjoyed with either.
Follow E on Twitter @elizthompsn.
CJ KEENEY, CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
CJ has been with The Nevada Independent since its launch in 2017. He has served in critical roles for a number of Las Vegas startup companies over the last decade. In 2009, he developed the first Clark County real estate foreclosure investment software while working at Griffin Group Holdings. In 2013, CJ co-founded Pigeonly and led a team of engineers to build a product that empowers users to find and communicate with their loved ones in prison. In 2015, he attended the Y Combinator startup incubator in San Francisco.
CJ joined The Nevada Independent because he was excited about the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and again help create something new.
In 2017, the website CJ built (in less than two months) for The Indy's big launch won Best Website from the Nevada Press Association. In 2018, CJ also led the team that won First place in Digital Innovation from the Nevada Press Association for The Indy's Presidential Candidate Tracker.
CJ is married and has three children, Emilia, Nathan and Cameron. He grew up near Pensacola, FL and obtained a B.S. degree in math from University of Florida in 2009. He enjoys scuba diving, hiking, and playing poker.
STEPHANIE LAUER, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT & OPERATIONS MANAGER
Stephanie joined the The Nevada Independent in August 2021.
Prior to that, she worked for a law firm and also was the office and operations manager for Sundance Books and Music in Reno. She loves being behind the scenes making everything work.
She has B.A. in English Literature from Allegheny College, and holds the SHRM-SCP Senior Professional Certification in Human Resources. When not at work she is hiking, reading, or spending time with her husband and two big rescue dogs.
LUZ GRAY, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Luz Gray has been with The Nevada Independent since its launch in 2017. She writes and edits Spanish-language stories, as well as produces and hosts the Cafecito radio show and podcast. She was the host and producer for “Contacto con Luz,” a weekly community affairs show on Univision Radio Las Vegas, from 2005 through 2016. Her show featured community leaders, politicians, nonprofit executives, and others, providing a valuable connection between them and the Las Vegas Hispanic community.
In 2014, Luz served as President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Nevada chapter (NAHJ-NV). In 2010, Luz was awarded an Electronic Media Award by Nevada Broadcasters Association for “Radio Station Hispanic Public Service Program.” In 2019, Luz was awarded a Celebrate Progress by Battle Born Progress for Voice of Reason Award.
Before Univision Radio, Luz worked for a number of Spanish-language magazines and newspapers in Southern Nevada. In 2004, she was a Spanish translator for Vegas.com. She also served as editor of La Brujula de Las Vegas Magazine. From 2001 to 2003, she was a reporter and editor for Sucesos of Las Vegas newspaper. Luz also briefly worked as a freelance correspondent for Mexico’s City Grupo Reforma, covering Las Vegas entertainment and events. She worked for a number of news organizations in Mexico City after college graduation.
Luz obtained a bachelor’s degree in Journalism in 1998 from Universidad de Periodismo y Arte en Radio y Television in Mexico City. She was her class valedictorian.
Luz is passionate about helping inform her community and bridging the gap between policy and people. Luz enjoys spending time with her 8-year old rescue cat named Chicago. She and her husband, Christopher, have shared one adventure after another for more than 17 years.
Follow Luz on Twitter @LuzGrayNV.
MICHELLE RINDELS, ASSISTANT EDITOR
Michelle has been with The Nevada Independent since January of 2017. She spent six years at The Associated Press (AP) before coming to The Nevada Independent. She alternated between Carson City and Las Vegas to cover the Legislature, campaigns, and Nevada and Utah breaking news for national and international audiences.
Prior to her tenure at the AP, Michelle was a staff writer for The Union Newspaper in Grass Valley, California, where she covered local government, education and religion beats. She had internships at the AP in Los Angeles, the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D., Religion News Service in Washington D.C., and The Manteca Bulletin in her hometown.
In 2020, Michelle won First place for Explanatory Journalism from the Nevada Press Association for The Cannabis Files, an in-depth look at the issues, problems and major players inside the Nevada marijuana industry.
Michelle has a B.A. in Journalism and Spanish from Biola University, where she was an honors student and editor of the student newspaper. She studied Economics and Political Journalism for a summer at Georgetown University. She currently serves as financial officer on the board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Originally from California's Central Valley, Michelle is always up for an evening at the Smith Center and is quite possibly Craig Ranch Regional Park's biggest fan. She enjoys traveling, trying out new restaurants with family and friends, and a good cat GIF. She's the proud owner of a Siamese named Macy.
Follow Michelle on Twitter @MichelleRindels.
RILEY SNYDER, ASSISTANT EDITOR
Riley is an assistant editor and senior reporter with The Nevada Independent, covering legislative sessions, state government, elections and energy policy. He was the winner of the 2019 Journalist of Merit award from the Nevada Press Association, and has won numerous other journalism awards.
Prior to joining The Nevada Independent in 2017, he worked for Nevada PolitiFact during the 2016 campaign season and was a legislative reporter for the Associated Press in 2015. He also interned for the Los Angeles Times, the Las Vegas Sun and the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Riley graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2014.
Follow him on Twitter @RileySnyder.
MEGAN MESSERLY, SENIOR REPORTER
Megan has worked at The Nevada Independent since January 2017 covering politics, elections and health care. Before joining the Independent, Megan was a reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, where she covered the 2016 election as the paper’s one-woman politics team.
Megan got her start covering politics as an intern for the San Francisco Chronicle. She has a B.A. in English and Media Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated magna cum laude and with honors in the English department.
At Berkeley, she was editor of the independent student newspaper, The Daily Californian, and worked with fellows at UC Berkeley's Investigative Reporting Program on her own projects. She also studied Mandarin while living in Beijing in summer 2014. Like many other journalists, she traces her beginnings in journalism back to high school, where she was editor of her high school's magazine and yearbook.
Since becoming a political reporter, Megan has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, PBS, WBUR, KNPR, KUNR, Capital Public Radio and Vegas PBS.
Megan was a key part of the Indy team that took first place in Digital Innovation in the 2018 Nevada Press Association awards for our Presidential Candidate Tracker, an interactive map that showed constituents exactly when and where candidates visited along with the names of any host groups. She also was recognized in 2021 by a variety of organizations for her COVID-19 reporting and data projects.
Megan was born and raised in Orange County, CA.
Follow Megan on Twitter @meganmesserly.
JACKIE VALLEY, SENIOR REPORTER
Before joining The Nevada Independent in 2017, Jackie spent six years as a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun, where she started as an intern. She covered everything from wildfires and narcotics raids to stadium deals and finding love in Las Vegas. Jackie's work has been recognized at both the local and national level. She was the recipient of the 2014 Dart Award for coverage of trauma and won a 2015 Education Writers Association award for her mental health stories, as well as earning several honors from the Nevada Press Association.
In 2010, Jackie graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor degree in newspaper journalism. She loved the camaraderie of student media and served as editor of the Daily Kent Stater. Her experience in that newsroom led to a 2009 Dow Jones copy editing internship at The Virginian-Pilot and, later, the Las Vegas Sun.
Jackie's favorite stories capture how events or public policy shape people's lives. For instance, she followed a Nevada family for a year, chronicling their physical and emotional recovery after a heinous crime. Her reporting culminated in a seven-part series. She also examined shortcomings in how Nevada treats children with mental health problems.
In 2018, Jackie won first place for Explanatory Journalism from the Nevada Press Association — and was also the first place winner in the national Education Writers Association annual awards — for Stars and Struggles, a series that went deep into the challenges facing teachers, parents and students at Sunrise Acres Elementary School in East Las Vegas.
Jackie has lived in northwest Indiana, upstate South Carolina, Cleveland, and Dayton, Ohio. Her parents, twin sister and brother reside in the Dayton-Cincinnati area, so she racks up frequent flyer miles visiting them. She's also fond of visiting beaches, playing softball, reading magazines and spending time with friends and family — near and far.
Follow Jackie on Twitter at @JackieValley.
DANIEL ROTHBERG, SENIOR REPORTER
Daniel joined The Nevada Independent in 2018. He is based in Reno and covers the environment, water and energy. He reported on technology and energy for two years at the Las Vegas Sun, where his coverage was recognized with a Journalist of Merit award from the Nevada Press Association.
Daniel won third place in the 2021 Best in the West contest for Feature Writing for a story on bighorn sheep, and Daniel and Indy reporter Riley Snyder won first place in the Business Spot News category in 2018 for their story on NV Energy's plans for an ambitious renewable energy ramp up amid a push to deregulate the market.
As a freelancer, Daniel’s reporting appeared in Bloomberg, Sierra Magazine, Water Deeply, Utility Dive and Ensia.
Daniel graduated magna cum laude from USC with a degree in political science and narrative studies.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @danielrothberg.
JACOB SOLIS, REPORTER
Before joining The Nevada Independent, Jacob interned for Nevada Public Radio, where he covered the 2017 legislative session, and Reno Public Radio, where he was on general assignment covering everything from immigration to traffic to the Northern Nevada housing crunch. During that time, he also worked for UNR's student paper, The Nevada Sagebrush, serving as Editor-in-Chief from 2016 to 2018.
Jacob graduated magna cum laude from UNR in May 2018 with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in political science. He also received the Outstanding Electronic Media Student award from the Reynolds School of Journalism and was inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, the national journalism honor society. Earlier in the year, he received a second place award from the Associated Press Television and Radio Association for his reporting on the reverberations of 1 October at UNR, where more than a third of students call Las Vegas home. Jacob was also a member of the 2018 KUNR public radio team that won a regional Murrow award for "Priced Out," an investigative series on affordable housing.
Born and raised in Henderson, Nevada, Jacob spends his spare time watching sports, catching up on reading, or playing a video game or two.
Follow Jacob on Twitter @jacobsolisnv.
JOEY LOVATO, MULTIMEDIA EDITOR
Before taking over the production of multimedia content at The Nevada Independent in 2018, Joey was the Indy's first intern, serving during the 2017 legislative session, and helped launch the Indy’s two podcasts, IndyMatters and Cafecito con Luz.
His leadership and production skills spurred The Nevada Independent to a first place award for Best Podcast from the Nevada Press Association in 2019.
Prior to working at The Indy, Joey interned at KUNR Reno Public Radio where he helped launch the station’s first podcast. He also has worked at KNPB (Reno Public Broadcasting) on the TV show Wild Nevada.
Joey produces two podcasts of his own called Niche and Residual Culture. He also was part of NPR’s NextGeneration Radio program, producing a story that aired on NPR stations in Nevada. He also worked at Australian Radio station 4EB FM as a reporter and producer in 2016. Joey was a member of the 2018 KUNR public radio team that won a regional Murrow award for “Priced Out,” an investigative series on affordable housing.
In 2018, Joey wrote a proposal and got the Territorial Enterprise, one of the first newspapers in Nevada, recognized as a historically significant landmark in journalism by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).
Joey graduated from UNR with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in economics. When he is not working on podcasts, he likes to hike, play board games, play his guitar, explore rural Nevada with his 35mm film cameras and pet dogs and cats — especially the two unofficial mascots of The Indy, Moby and Macy. He also loves to talk about all things multimedia. Feel free to send him any tech questions you have, from gear to the video and audio editing process.
Follow Joey on Twitter @joey_lovato_.
JAZMIN OROZCO RODRIGUEZ, REPORTER
Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez joined The Nevada Independent as a Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellow in June 2020 after completing a successful internship including writing dozens of compelling stories and working closely with our Spanish language team.
Before joining The Indy, Jazmin interned with KUNR Public Radio as a bilingual reporter, focusing on issues within the local Latino community. Also an alum of NPR’s Next Generation Radio Bootcamp fellowship, she created a multimedia project about a local EMT working the night shift for REMSA. Additionally, Jazmin had the opportunity to produce a bilingual short film documentary about a local Latinx drag queen, “Reyna Latina.”
An alumnus of UNR with degrees in journalism and Spanish literature and culture, Jazmin received the Robert Laxalt Distinguished Writer award from the Reynolds School of Journalism in 2019.
Jazmin was born and raised in Reno, and loves spending her free time exploring the Silver State with camping trips that include dips into freshwater lakes and natural hot springs.
Follow Jazmin on Twitter @jazmin1orozco.
HUMBERTO SANCHEZ, REPORTER
Before joining the Indy staff in April 2021, Humberto was a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. He previously covered Senate leadership for Roll Call and the federal budget and appropriations process for National Journal.
After beginning his career at States News Service, he worked in financial journalism covering the Securities and Exchange Commission for Dow Jones Newswires, where his byline appeared in the Wall Street Journal. He also spent time covering tax, transportation and infrastructure policy and financing for The Bond Buyer.
A graduate of James Madison University, Humberto studied philosophy and enjoys telling stories that focus on the personalities that animate and humanize government, policy and politics at all levels.
Follow Humberto on Twitter @hsanchez128.
HOWARD STUTZ, SENIOR REPORTER
Howard Stutz, who has spent nearly four decades in Las Vegas and is an award-winning journalist, joined The Nevada Independent in May 2021 to cover the state’s gaming and tourism industry. Prior to his hiring, Howard freelanced numerous gaming stories for The Independent.
During two stints with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, from 1987 to 1991 and from 2004 to 2016, Howard covered the gaming industry from a local, statewide, national and international perspective. He earned several awards for his coverage from the Nevada Press Association, including Best Local Column in 2016. Howard also spent three years as the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports.
Howard’s vast experience following gaming gives him a knowledge of the industry’s history and a unique insight and perspective into Nevada and national gaming issues. He was part of the Review-Journal team that uncovered the Adelson family as the secret buyers of the newspaper that earned the journalists several ethics awards in 2015, including the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism from Northwestern University and the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism from the University of Oregon.
Howard is a native of Southern California and a loyal fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he considers Nevada his home state. He and his wife Valorie have a daughter, Brianna. He enjoys attending live sporting events, including UNLV football, Las Vegas Aviators and the Vegas Golden Knights.
Follow Howard on Twitter @howardstutz.
TABITHA MUELLER, REPORTER
Tabitha Mueller arrived at The Indy to work as an intern in 2019 after working as a freelance contributor for This is Reno. She is fascinated by storytelling, place, and the intersection of narrative and data analysis.
Tabitha holds a B.A. from Middlebury College where she majored in English and Geography with a Japanese minor. When she is not tracking down a story or listening to podcasts, you can find her hiking Nevada’s gorgeous terrain, perusing local bookstores, playing Quidditch, and discovering Reno’s hidden stories.
Follow Tabitha on Twitter @Tabitha_Mueller.
KRISTYN LEONARD, AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
Kristyn grew up in Las Vegas before moving to Denton, TX for college. She currently resides in Reno. She runs The Indy’s social media accounts and helps expand the reach of the work the staff does every day.
Kristyn graduated from the University of North Texas in May 2020 with a B.A. in English with a concentration in Writing and Rhetoric and a minor in Strategic Communication. She spent her Fall 2019 semester abroad in Scotland, studying creative and travel writing. While completing her undergraduate degree, she wrote and defended her Honors Thesis, a collection of writing about the city of Las Vegas.
From January to December 2020, Kristyn interned for The Nevada Independent, covering food security, addiction and behavioral health resources and local government, among other things. Following her internship, she worked for Silver State Government Relations during the 81st session of the Legislature.
Kristyn enjoys live music, fantasy novels and traveling, and she’s always looking for a good place to get pad thai.
JANNELLE CALDERÓN, INTERN
Before The Indy, Jannelle interned at the Las Vegas Review-Journal covering politics, breaking news, business and education. She graduated from UNLV with a bachelor’s in journalism and media studies in spring 2020. During her time at UNLV she wrote and edited for the Scarlet and Gray Free Press. Jannelle moved to Las Vegas when she was nine years-old from Mexico City and is fluent in Spanish. When not on the job, you can find her crafting, baking or exploring and photographing the city and desert.
Follow Jannelle on Twitter @NewsyJan.
SEAN GOLONKA, INTERN
Sean Golonka joined The Nevada Independent after working as a contributor for Boston University News Service and columnist for The Daily Free Press. Sean also worked as a producer for BUTV10's award-winning professional sports talk show Offsides, and he graduated from Boston University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in mathematical statistics. When he's not combing through data for a story, you can find Sean watching NBA games, checking out new coffee shops and listening to hip-hop music.
Follow Sean on Twitter @s_golonka.
ZACH BRIGHT, INTERN
Zach Bright joined The Indy as a Reno-based intern after reporting for The Colorado Sun. He enjoys reporting on public policy with a straightforward focus on the people it affects. He’s gradually been working his way west, starting from his hometown of Sarasota, Florida, to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he got his B.S. in journalism and political science. He loves discovering new tunes, exploring the outdoors, and reading books when he’s feeling literate.
Follow Zach on Twitter @zachbright_.
SAVANNA STROTT, FREELANCE REPORTER
Savanna became passionate about telling unheard stories during high school. She followed that passion from Henderson to Washington, D.C. to study at American University, where she'll be graduating (virtually) in May 2021 with a B.A. in journalism and minors in creative writing and Spanish. Savanna is currently an intern at the Investigative Reporting Workshop and has previously interned at The Indy, a tourism magazine in Madrid and Current, a trade publication for people in the media. In her free time, Savanna enjoys exploring the Las Vegas valley and reading everything from Jane Austen to Teen Titans comic books.
Follow Savanna on Twitter @SavannaStrott.
DR. NANCY BRUNE, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST
Nancy Brune, Ph.D. is the founding executive director of the Guinn Center, a nonpartisan policy center based in Nevada that seeks to identify evidence-based policy solutions through data-driven research, public engagement, and strategic partnerships. The author of more than 80 reports, blogs, essays, and opinion pieces, she has written on a wide range of topics including education, housing, homeland security, governance, climate change, energy security, health, Latino politics, privatization, international finance, and geopolitics in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.
She is a Senior Fellow at the UNLV Boyd School of Law. In 2016, President Obama appointed Nancy to the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University and her Master of Public Policy and B.A. degrees from Harvard University, and was a 2019 graduate of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative/Latino Business Action Network. Prior to joining the Guinn Center, Nancy was a Senior Policy Analyst at Sandia National Laboratories, where she worked on issues of national security and energy. The product of a Mexican father and an English mother, she was raised in a home in Texas that emphasized public service, Catholicism, minimalism, and the art of making the perfect brisket taco.
Follow Nancy on Twitter @NancyBrune.
DAVID COLBORNE, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST
When David first registered to vote in 1998, it was as a Libertarian. He didn't like telling others what to do (and he definitely didn't like others telling him what to do), so it seemed like the right move at the time. Though his address has changed a time or two since then, his party affiliation hasn't — and he has been a tireless evangelist for Libertarian causes ever since.
Over the past twenty years, David has run for office twice — once for Washoe County Commissioner and once for state Senate, both as a Libertarian Party candidate — and has served in various positions for both his county and state Libertarian Party chapters. He has blogged for both his personal blog and for the Libertarian Party of Nevada, has been published in the Reno Gazette-Journal and is now proud to find an audience with The Nevada Independent.
David was raised in Torrance, CA, then moved to Pahrump for high school and has lived in Nevada ever since — though he had the good sense to get out of the Southern Nevada heat and attain his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Nevada, Reno. He has two sons, Brian and Aiden, and enjoys long hikes and drives in the Nevada wilderness (though he freely admits he's better built for driving than hiking). He also finds listening to the IndyMatters podcast a refreshing way to get through his commute from Sparks to Carson City each day.
Follow David on Twitter @DavidColborne.
DAYVID FIGLER, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST
Dayvid Figler is a private criminal defense attorney based in Las Vegas. He previously served as an associate attorney representing indigent defendants charged with Murder for the Clark County Special Public Defender's office. During his legal tenure, he served a brief appointment as a Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge. Dayvid has been cited as a noted legal expert in many places including the New York Times, National Public Radio, Newsweek, USA Today, Court TV and the Los Angeles Times. His award-winning radio essays have appeared on KNPR as well as on NPR’s All Things Considered Program. He is a Nevada Arts Council Fellow in Literature and has written extensively about Las Vegas culture. In 2019, he was awarded the Medal of Justice by the Nevada State Bar and was honored by the Nevada Press Association as a finalist for best non-staff column for his work with The Nevada Independent.
Follow Dayvid on Twitter @OyVegas.
MARTHA MENENDEZ, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST
A graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law, Martha Menendez is a human rights and immigration attorney and a Bernstein Senior Fellow at the UNLV Immigration Clinic. She specializes in asylum and refugee law. The daughter of immigrants and a first-generation American, Martha began her career as a legal advocate with Asylum Access in Guayaquil, Ecuador and has since worked in various roles within nonprofit organizations including CUNY Citizenship Now! and Nevada Legal Services. She has also served as Nevada Chapter President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is a member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Citizen Review Board.
Follow Martha on Twitter @MarsMenendez.
SARAH O'CONNELL, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST
Sarah O'Connell moved to Las Vegas in 2002 from the San Francisco Bay area where she served as the associate artistic director of Impact Theatre. A graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, she holds a Master of Drama degree in Directing Theatre. Her work has been performed internationally and includes several regional and world premiere productions.
Sarah has worked at a variety of professional companies in addition to adjunct teaching at UNLV including American Conservatory Theatre, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, the San Francisco Mime Troupe and Scotland's Theatre Cryptic. She is the artistic director of The Asylum Theatre in Las Vegas and co-owner of Axislights Inc, a theatrical lighting company that serves high-end music tours and corporate events. She founded EatMoreArtVegas.com in 2015, a website dedicated to the promotion of Southern Nevada's independent arts and culture sector. She assumed the role of executive director with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra (HSO) in May 2020.
In July 2020, she co-founded the Producers Alliance of Southern Nevada (PALSNV) with other independent commercial producers and nonprofit performing arts leaders to encourage strategic partnerships with the local creative economy. Sarah also sits on the Legislative Policy Committee for the annual Americans for the Arts National Arts Action Summit in Washington, D.C.
Follow Sarah on Twitter @eatmoreart.
TYLER PARRY, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST
Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tyler D. Parry earned his B.A. in History at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2008, and his Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina in 2014. He is currently an Assistant Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at UNLV. He is a frequent guest on local television and radio programs throughout Nevada and has published articles on African American history and social justice issues in a wide range of popular and scholarly venues. In November 2020 he published his first book, Jumping the Broom: The Surprising Multicultural Origins of a Black Wedding Ritual with the University of North Carolina Press, the first extended historical study of the popular wedding tradition.
Follow Tyler on Twitter @ProfTDParry.
MICHAEL RAPONI, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST
Michael Raponi’s career in education spanned 33 years as a teacher and administrator. From 2010 to 2016, he served as the state director for career, technical and adult education at the Nevada Department of Education. While in that role, he dedicated his efforts to expand student access to high quality career and technical education programs, most notably through the development of a comprehensive state system for standards, assessments, and credentials.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in adult education from Oregon State University, and he is a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Honduras, C.A.).
In addition to writing opinion articles, Michael volunteers as a technical writer for the Utah-Nevada Region of the American Red Cross.
Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelJRaponi.
MICHAEL SCHAUS, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST
Michael Schaus began his professional career in the financial sector, where he became deeply interested in economic theory and the concept of free markets. That interest soon developed into a passion for thinking critically about complex economic and social issues—and how governments and individuals can best address the challenges facing the world while preserving, or even expanding, the freedoms necessary for widespread prosperity and opportunity.
When Michael left the finance sector over a decade ago to embark on a new career of public affairs commentary, he entered the world of media at a time when the industry was undergoing enormous change. Over the last decade, he has had the privilege of working in both conventional and new-media organizations as a news director, editor, columnist, political humorist and a radio talk show host for various local and national markets.
Today, Michael is director of communications for the Nevada Policy Research Institute, and lives with his wife and daughter in Las Vegas.
Follow Michael on Twitter @schausmichael.
JOHN L. SMITH, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST
John L. Smith is a longtime Las Vegas journalist and the author of more than a dozen books. He was inducted into the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2016, a year that also saw him share with former Las Vegas Review-Journal colleagues in the Foley-Medill Medal for Courage from Northwestern University, the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics from the University of Oregon, and the Ethics Award from the National Society of Professional Journalists.
Other honors include the 2013 first place award and 2012 third place award for commentary from the Best of the West, as well as honors from:
- The National Headliner Awards
- National Society of Newspaper Columnists
- Batten Medal Foundation.
John has received first place from the Nevada Press Association (NPA) for the best general interest column on a number of occasions (including Best Local Non-Staff Column in 2018 and 2019) and was named the NPA’s Outstanding Journalist back in 1998. He also was a Nevada Writers Hall of Fame Silver Pen Award winner in 2010. He has championed Nevada writers for three decades. He received the first Crystal book award from the Las Vegas Book Festival in celebration of his contribution to the literary culture of Nevada, and he was a member of the Nevada Humanities Committee for six years.
Notably, John was included in a recent collection of some of the best columnists in American history—“Deadline Artists.” A celebration of the American newspaper column, "Deadline Artists" features columns by numerous masters of the craft including H.L. Mencken, Ernie Pyle, Murray Kempton, Jimmy Breslin, and Mike Royko. It also includes columns by public figures such as Theodore Roosevelt, Orson Welles, Eleanor Roosevelt, Langston Hughes, and Hunter S. Thompson.
John is also a regular contributor to Nevada Public Radio station, KNPR, the Daily Beast, and CDCgaming reports.com. He is the father of an adult daughter, Amelia. His family roots in Nevada date to 1881.
Follow John on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.
David is a visual storyteller based in Reno, specializing in editorial and corporate photojournalism. He is the team photographer for the Reno Aces and Reno 1868 FC. He is also a part-time instructor at the University of Nevada-Reno Reynolds School of Journalism and at Western Nevada College in Carson City.
He has been recognized by the Associated Press, Eddie Adams Workshop and Missouri Photo Workshop for his excellence. The Gannett Corporation awarded him a Pulliam Fellowship at The Arizona Republic. His clients include Getty Images, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many others. David is also the Western Regional Chair for the National Press Photographers Association. He has a cat named Bulette and two dogs, Kit and Teddy.
Daniel is a Nevada native who has been taking photographs since he was nine years old. His dive into journalism began at the student newspaper on the University of Nevada, Reno campus where he graduated with a degree in fine art and an emphasis in photography.
His subjects have included political events, intimate profiles, breaking news, sporting events, and pretty much anything with a story to be told. When he isn’t working, he is likely exploring the Silver State with his wife and son.
Isaac started doing work for The Nevada Independent in October of 2020. He is a student at the UNR Reynolds School of Journalism — and is the photo editor of UNR's student-run newspaper, The Nevada Sagebrush. He is the treasurer of UNR's National Press Photographers Association. His work has been featured on This Is Reno, KUNR, and The Nevada Sagebrush.
Mattie is a freelance photographer based in Ely covering rural events and culture. She is a fourth generation-Nevadan, growing up locally in Ely and in the Sunnyside/Lund area.
She has traveled the globe, living in Argentina and touring Catalonia, before settling down back in Nevada. She’s received certifications from The New York Institute of Photography and specializes in storytelling and portraits.
She enjoys every kind of art, from beautiful cinematography to soulful street art, as well as hiking, traveling, and spending time with her husband and their two cats.
For more than three decades, Jeff Scheid has been photographing Las Vegas. From chasing down the infamous Hole in the Wall Gang and Chicago mobster Tony “The Ant” Spilotro with his defense attorney Oscar Goodman as they walk defiantly out the doors of justice, to shooting the UNLV Running Rebels basketball team on the road to the National Championship to capturing Nevada and national politicians. Scheid has been there to tell the story of Las Vegas.
"Nevada is one of the most dynamic places in the world,” Scheid says. “The mystique of the state is based on our photo history, images that pique curiosity and, frankly, could only happen here.”
Follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffScheid.
Mikayla is an artist and photographer based in Las Vegas. Before joining The Nevada Independent, she was the photo coordinator and photojournalist for Greenspun Media Group. During that time, she was selected as the Best Photographer in the city of Las Vegas by Desert Companion and won a 3rd place distinction from Best of the West for a photo essay on the Mojave Desert. Completing artist residencies at both the Cosmopolitan (2015) and the Neon Museum (2016), her work has appeared at Torrence Art Museum, CA, Humble Arts Foundation, NY, and in galleries across Las Vegas, including Donna Beam Gallery of Fine Art, and the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art. Commercial clients include Vice, Thrillist, People Magazine, ESPN, and US News.
Peter Vogt is a UI/UX designer from Texas. His background is in software application development for startups and the enterprise. He currently serves as a user experience consultant for fortune 500 clients and is a design contributor for the NV Indy. He previously designed web and mobile experiences for Mark Cuban's Shark Tank companies. He has three hound dogs and is an avid console gamer.
RONNA TIMPA, FOUNDER & CHIEF MOTIVATOR, Workplace ESL Solutions
Ronna has been providing Spanish translation services to The Nevada Independent since February 2017. She is a champion of workplace inclusion who makes it her daily mission to advance the field of workplace language training. What began with an opportunity to teach English to 30 housekeepers representing 11 countries has evolved into Ronna’s passion and profession. Workplace ESL Solutions is an industry-leading language communications firm headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada with clients in Nevada, California, Texas, Georgia, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon and Florida. In 2015, Ronna delivered a TEDx talk entitled: Exclusion is an Invisible Disease. Ronna has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management and a master’s degree in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). She gets her extra energy from her kind husband, her spirited teenage daughter, and lots of vegetables.
TIM LENARD, VIDEO PRODUCER
Tim is a freelance writer and videographer based in Reno. Originally from Wisconsin, he moved to Nevada to study journalism at UNR after four years as a paratrooper based in Italy. His writing has been featured in Reno News and Review. He’s also produced audio and video stories for Reno Public Radio News and has worked on Wild Nevada for PBS Reno. Most of his time is spent shooting and editing independent documentary films. His work at The Independent is part of a fellowship with Military Veterans in Journalism. If the camera is out and he’s not on the clock, he’s probably bothering his wife Sarah or his dog Lancelot.