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. He 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 awards include:
— Associated Press News Executive Council award for best local column (2009)
— Best Non-Staff Columnist (2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2015)
— Best Columnist of the Year (1991 & 1992)
— Nevada State Press Association’s 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
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 Vegas PBS for most of 2014, co-hosting 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 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 career 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, reading, writing, 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
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.
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.
Stasy joined The Indy in August 2019 after coming home to Nevada from her “U.S. Air Force World Tour” including stints in Germany, New Mexico and Florida. Her extensive background in association management helped her maintain a people-first focus while working with active duty military members, retirees, veterans and their families in various administrative positions over the course of 15 years.
Stasy grew up just outside of Cleveland, Ohio where she developed a love for football, warm weather and travel.
Luz Gray has been with The Nevada Independent since its launch in 2017. She writes and edits Spanish-language stories, as well as producing video and audio content in Spanish. 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). She also served as NAHJ’s Associate Director for Region 7 for Oct. 2014 to Oct 2015. In 2010, Luz was awarded an Electronic Media Award by Nevada Broadcasters Association for “Radio Station Hispanic Public Service Program.”
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 is a Yoga and Zumba enthusiast and enjoys spending time with her 3-year old rescued cat named Chicago. She and her husband, Christopher, have shared one adventure after another for more than 13 years.
Follow Luz on Twitter @LuzGrayNV
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.
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 has been with The Nevada Independent since its launch in 2017. He was the reporter and researcher for Nevada PolitiFact during the 2016 campaign season. Prior to that, he was a legislative reporter for the Associated Press. Riley’s byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Las Vegas Sun, and the Reno Gazette-Journal. He’s also done freelance work for Reuters, the Washington Post, Reno Magazine, and Reno News & Review.
In 2014, the University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) journalism school named Riley its Business Journalism Student of the Year. He graduated from UNR. He was also editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, the Ponderosa Paw Print.
Born and raised in northern California, he has two younger brothers, one who plays D1 college basketball at Western Illinois and one who is in the U.S. Navy. Riley’s hobbies include cooking, reading, and binge-watching Netflix. He plans to adopt a dog after the 2017 Nevada legislative session.
Follow Riley on Twitter @RileySnyder
Before joining The Nevada Independent in 2017, Megan was a reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, where she covered the 2016 election as the paper’s one-woman politics team. She also wrote magazine features for the Sun’s sister publication, The Sunday.
Megan got her start covering politics as an intern for the San Francisco Chronicle, where she wrote about everything from protests over the Keystone XL pipeline to local reactions to U.S. Supreme Court decisions. 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, KNPR, KUNR, Capital Public Radio, and Vegas PBS. In 2015, she won a first place award for community service from the Nevada Press Association for a piece on prescription drug abuse in Southern Nevada.
Megan was born and raised in Orange County, CA. Whenever she gets down time, she is often found flying to Iowa to see her mother or to Japan to visit her father. When not traveling, she enjoys reading, binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix, and having dinner with friends. She also has a 5-year-old Dachshund mix named Moby who thinks he’s the king and her apartment is his dominion.
Follow Megan on Twitter @meganmesserly
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.
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 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.
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
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
Before taking over the production of multimedia content at The Nevada Independent in 2018, Joey was our first intern, serving during the 2017 legislative session. He helped launch The Indy’s two podcasts, IndyMatters, and Cafecito Con Luz.
Prior to working at The Indy, he 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.
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 and pet cats and dogs — especially the two unofficial mascots of The Indy, Macy and Moby. He also loves to talk about 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 is an alumnus of UNR with degrees in journalism and Spanish literature and culture. She received the Robert Laxalt Distinguished Writer award from the Reynolds School of Journalism in 2019.
Before joining The Nevada Independent, 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.”
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
Kristyn grew up in Las Vegas before moving to Denton, TX for college. She will graduate from the University of North Texas in May with a B.A. in English with a concentration in Writing and Rhetoric and a minor in Strategic Communication. Kristyn recently spent a 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. She is excited to return to her hometown and have the opportunity to continue writing about issues affecting Nevada residents. Kristyn enjoys live music, traveling, and is always looking for a good place to get Pad Thai.
Follow Kristyn on Twitter @KLeonardNV
Tabitha Mueller arrived at The Indy after working as a freelance contributor for This is Reno. She is fascinated by storytelling, place, and the intersection of narrative and data analysis and holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography and English and American Literatures with a Japanese minor from Middlebury College. 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
Savanna became passionate about telling unheard stories during high school. She followed that passion from Henderson to Washington, D.C., where she is entering her senior year at American University and studying journalism with minors in creative writing and Spanish. She is currently serving as one of the two Editors-in-Chief at AWOL, AU’s investigative journalism publication. Before joining The Indy, she interned at a tourism magazine in Madrid and at Current, a trade publication for people in public 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
Howard Stutz has spent nearly four decades in Las Vegas as an award-winning journalist. He currently serves as the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. During his time with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Howard covered the gaming industry from a local, statewide, national and international perspective.
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. Howard 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 has earned several awards from the Nevada State Press Association for Best Local Column for his coverage of gaming.
Follow Howard on Twitter @howardstutz
Humberto is 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
John L. Smith
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 and was named the NPA’s Outstanding Journalist back in 1998. He was also 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
Orrin was a political columnist for the Reno Gazette-Journal from January 2015 through December 2016. He has appeared as a guest commentator on various Nevada radio and television programs including Ralston Reports, Nevada Newsmakers, and The Travis Christiansen Show. He began blogging in 2005 for his law school’s Federalist Society chapter, and in 2007 started his own blog, First Principles.
In 2012, Orrin became a Deputy District Attorney, first serving in Lyon County, and then in Carson City where he was a criminal prosecutor. Based on a survey of bar members state wide, he has been recognized by Nevada Business Magazine in its “Legal Elite” edition as one of the Nevada’s top public sector attorneys in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Orrin attended law school at the University of Washington – Seattle, receiving his JD in 2007. He then moved to his wife’s home town of Reno, Nevada, where he worked for the Washoe County Public Defender’s Office until 2012. During that time, Orrin was assigned to be the office’s legislative liaison during the 2009 and 2011 sessions, lobbying on various issues related to indigent criminal defense. Orrin now has a private practice in Reno.
After completing an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 1998 and before attending law school, Orrin served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy from 1998 – 2004. He served aboard two destroyers – as the Electrical Officer aboard USS Russell (DDG 59) and as the Navigator of USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964) – deploying three times in four years. During these deployments, Orrin was assigned to lead boarding teams to search and sometimes seize vessels violating sanctions then in place against Iraq. After his sea tours were completed, he finished his Navy time as the Commanding Officer of Naval Reserve Center, Everett, WA.
Orrin grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota, where he was active in theater and debate, and worked as a Taekwondo instructor. He lives in Reno with his wife, Alicia, and their children, Lillian and Henry. When he isn’t writing or lawyering, he’s in the kitchen making pickles, jelly, pies, and other goodies, usually from the produce of more talented gardeners than himself. Orrin has also recently rediscovered his love for martial arts, while also discovering that 40-year olds aren’t as bendy or indestructible as they were in high school.
Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrinjohnson
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 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. Figler 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.
Follow Dayvid on Twitter @OyVegas
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Ronda is a freelance photojournalist covering current events and culture in the city she calls home, Las Vegas, as well as its neighboring communities for the past 15 years. Ronda’s passion for photography translates to a unique vision that documents life’s moments. In addition to The Nevada Independent, her work has appeared in New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, ABC/Disney and Glamour, to name a few.
She has received awards from: Nevada Press Association, National Press Photographers Association and Editor & Publisher Photos of the Year for her work with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In her free time, she enjoys blogging, travel photography and shooting retro film projects. Her personal work 96 Hours was exhibited locally and featured her street photography from Havana, Cuba. Most recently, she worked on a documentary still film project shot with her grandmother’s 100-year-old camera.
Follow Ronda on Instagram: @rondachurchill
VIDEOGRAPHER & PHOTOGRAPHER
Prior to joining The Nevada Independent team in 2019, Jana Sayson worked as a photography and videography intern at KUNR Public Radio in Reno. There, she pursued photo and video assignments and also worked on several graphic design projects. She is also an alum of the NPR Next Generation Radio Bootcamp where she worked on a multimedia project titled “The Modern Milkmaid.”
Jana also worked as a cinematographer and editor in her most recent short documentary, “Más Que Pan.” The film was selected for several film festivals, and took home awards including Best Documentary, Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography at the Reynolds School of Journalism Documentary Film Festival in 2018, as well as Best Student Film at the Cordillera International Film Festival in 2019. Jana also directed the television campaign “2 Six Second Ads” in the summer of 2018, which was awarded a Silver Addy at the AAF Reno Addy Awards. She also was a post-production supervisor for the five-episode web series, “Entre Nos,” for the Reno Aces.
Jana is an alum of the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in fine arts photography. Born in the Philippines, she now calls Las Vegas home.
Follow Jana on Twitter @janasayson
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.
FOUNDER & CHIEF MOTIVATOR
Workplace ESL Solutions
Ronna has been providing Spanish translation services, public relations services, and occasional photography 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.
Ronna has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management and a master’s degree in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). 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. Ronna inspires her team to educate and empower clients through courses, coaching, speaking and consultation in the areas of workplace ESL, diversity, inclusion, business writing, and written translations.
In 2015, Ronna delivered a TEDx talk entitled: Exclusion is an Invisible Disease. She gets her extra energy from her kind husband, her spirited teenage daughter, and lots of vegetables.