Bennito Kelty

Bennito Kelty covers the IDEA beat, taking a close look at inclusivity, diversity, equity and access for the Tucson Sentinel, a nonprofit news site in Tucson, Arizona. Before this, he worked for the Yuma Sun in Yuma, Arizona reporting on the Arizona-Mexico border and county government. Kelty calls Aurora, Colorado home and its diverse immigrant community led him to become interested in understanding cultures from around the world that exist in America and how these groups of people live together. That interest, plus growing up in a Mexican American home, influenced his love of languages, including his own native Spanish and English. Kelty started reporting as a journalism student at the University of Missouri, where he won recognition from the Missouri Press Association for a story in the Missourian, the school’s community paper. Kelty has also won an award with The St. Louis American for breaking news coverage.

Founded in 2009, the nonprofit independent has a mission of informing Southern Arizonans about the community challenges and unique culture of our borderlands, and public policy responses to them: "A smarter Tucson is a better Tucson." The TucsonSentinel serves readers in metro Tucson (pop. 1M), the rural stretches of Pima County, and the other border counties of Santa Cruz and Cochise. Those in our coverage area are often poor and include many new/recently moved residents; 29% of adults speak Spanish or another language at home. Two Native tribes have reservations bordering Tucson: the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the vast Tohono O’odham Nation. The Sentinel has published numerous investigations that have led to immediate changes in government policies and legislation.