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.
Shaena Montanari reports on health disparities in Arizona's rural communities for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization. A scientist-turned-journalist, Montanari has been a freelancer since 2017, reporting on science and health. Her work has appeared in Popular Science, National Geographic, among others. She earned her Ph.D. in comparative biology from the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History in 2012. But after an AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Mass Media fellowship at National Geographic, Montanari switched from a career in paleontology to journalism. In addition to her freelance work, she was a Pulliam fellow at The Arizona Republic, and holds a master's degree in investigative journalism from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Her hometown is Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Jesse Vad covers eastern Santa Cruz County for Nogales International, a local publication in southern Arizona. Previously, Vad worked as a reporting intern for SJV Water, a nonprofit online publication focused on water coverage in California’s San Joaquin Valley, where he covered all things water including agriculture, climate change and policy. Vad is a graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism’s class of 2020 where he specialized in visual journalism. He and his peers were finalists in the EPPY Awards for their pandemic coverage in the South Bronx. Vad has also worked as a remote reporting intern for The Jakarta Post where he covered Covid-19’s impact abroad. He was awarded the 2020 Correspondents Fund Scholar title from the J-School for his work with The Jakarta Post. As a freelancer, Vad’s work has appeared in NBC News, Gothamist, The Times-Standard and more. Before coming to journalism, Vad was an elementary school teacher. Over summer breaks, he worked on his own storytelling projects in New Orleans, Tajikistan and China.
The Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting is an independent, nonpartisan and collaborative nonprofit newsroom dedicated to statewide, data-driven investigative reporting. AZCIR’s mission is to produce, foster and promote investigative journalism through original and collaborative reporting, often using data, and by training the next generation of investigative journalists.
The Nogales International is the paper of record in Santa Cruz County, a county the size of Rhode Island on the U.S.-Mexico border with a population of around 47,000. The local culture and economy are closely tied to Mexico, and the International’s mission is to shine a spotlight on the community’s unique bicultural identity as well as the particular challenges it faces. The International has been publishing since 1925. Our content is exclusively local, meaning it is directly connected to Santa Cruz County or our twin city of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.
Founded in 2009, the nonprofit independent TucsonSentinel.com 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.
Megan Taros reports for The Arizona Republic where she concentrates on the Latino and African-American communities in South Phoenix. Most recently, Taros covered Latino affairs across an eight-county swath in Twin Falls, Idaho, where she launched the beat at the local paper. There she was a part of numerous community engagement efforts that included getting Latino students interested in media, listening sessions and launching a series on representation in education, politics, business and health. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she covered health disparities, income inequality and immigration in the Latino communities of Corona and Elmhurst, Queens, New York. She’s covered education and local government in southern New Jersey, San Francisco and her native Los Angeles.
KAWC Colorado River Public Media is a news service for western and southwestern Arizona licensed to Arizona Western College. Based in Yuma, Arizona, KAWC is one of very few public radio stations located along the U.S.-Mexico border. Our small staff attempts to cover stories in Yuma, Somerton, Parker, and San Luis, Arizona as well as San Luis, Rio Colorado, Mexico, in a geographic territory slightly larger than the entire state of Maryland.
The Arizona Republic is the largest news outlet in the Southwest, primarily covering Arizona and, more specifically, the sprawling Metro Phoenix area (pop. 4.8 million). We lead the USA Today Network's coverage of the western US and are the flagship local newsroom of Gannett Co., Inc.'s 109 sites.
The Republic's mission has been the same for 129 years: Connect and educate readers by providing fair and accurate coverage that reflects our community.