Five days a week, we bring you the news from Austin City Hall, Travis County Commissioners Court, and multiple other civic entities that make key decisions for central Texas. We stick to the facts. We aim to be fair. When we err, we correct it fast.
Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Pagano has been writing for the Austin Monitor since late 2010, after narrowly avoiding a fate as a librarian. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org She also grouses on Twitter, sometimes @lizpagano
Dan Zehr is executive director of the Capital of Texas Media Foundation and publisher of the Austin Monitor. Dan brings more than two decades of experience in journalism and media, most recently as economics and finance reporter at the Austin American-Statesman. In addition to award-winning newspaper coverage across a range of business and technology beats, he has co-authored or edited seven books, including works on artificial intelligence, digital marketing and consumer market opportunities. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2000. He lives in Austin with his wife, Erin, and their two children.
Jo Clifton joined the In Fact staff in November of 1998 when the publication was still a weekly. She became editor and publisher in mid-2000 and continued in that position until 2010, when The Statesman Co. purchased In Fact Daily, and in the months immediately following its sale to the Capital of Texas Media Foundation. She is currently the Political Editor. Over the past 30 years, she has worked as a reporter, lawyer and judge. She has worked for the El Paso Times, the Austin American-Statesman and the Texas Observer, among others. You can email her at email@example.com
Jessi Devenyns grew up in Austin and now reports on all things local but especially loves to talk about the environment and the people who make this town tick. She’s been doing it for the Austin Monitor since the summer of 2017. She holds a degree from the University of Texas and found her way into journalism after spending a stint translating marketing copy and neighborhood emails in Germany. When she’s not reporting for the Austin Monitor, Jessi bakes bread and suffers through French novels. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jdevenyns4.
Ryan Thornton reports on City Hall and transportation for the Austin Monitor. He holds liberal arts degrees from the University of Texas and Texas State University. He returned to Austin in Summer 2018 after a season cheese-fueled travel and teaching in France. Reach him by email at email@example.com
Jack Craver is a freelance writer who has been covering City Hall for the Monitor since arriving here in June 2015. He came to Austin after spending 10 months in a small coastal city in Normandy, where he sought with limited success to teach English to French schoolchildren and wrote a weekly column for the local paper about things he didn’t understand about French culture. Before that he spent two-and-a-half years as a political reporter for the Capital Times in Madison, Wis. and was once ordered to turn his video camera off by the then-obscure John Oliver.
Chad Swiatecki is a 20-year journalist who relocated to Austin from his home state of Michigan in 2008. He most enjoys covering the intersection of arts, business and local/state politics. He has written for Rolling Stone, Spin, New York Daily News, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman and many other regional and national outlets. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @TheeChad.
Audrey McGlinchy is KUT’s City Hall reporter, where she has made radio about seniors on tricycles and regularly translates City Council decisions for Austin listeners. She holds degrees from Wesleyan University and the City University of New York. A former Brooklyn nanny and erstwhile English teacher in Thailand, Audrey loves to dance, read and loaf. She can be reached via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
The Board of Directors:
The Austin Monitor is owned by the Capital of Texas Media Foundation. The Foundation was founded in mid-2013 as a Texas non-profit. It received formal 501(c)3 status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in January 2014.
Mike Kanin is the current Publisher of the Texas Observer and was the Founding Publisher of the Austin Monitor. He has extensive media experience, including many years of freelance reporting. His work has appeared in the Washington City Paper, the Washington Post‘s Express, the Boston Herald, Boston’s Weekly Dig, the Austin Chronicle, and the Texas Observer. He’s also served as the Washington City Paper‘s City Lights Editor and as the co-founding editor of Unfit Times. He can be found on Twitter at @mkanin.
Alexander Schoenbaum: Alex is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of CrowdOut Capital, an Austin-based marketplace lending firm focusing on helping middle market companies raise debt. He has over a dozen years of experience consulting and raising capital for companies of all industries, including Austin favorite Chuy’s. In addition to his family, Alex is an avid cook, traveler and fan of the San Antonio Spurs!
Dan Graham oversees the growth strategy of BuildASign.com and plays a key role in the company’s philanthropic efforts and talent acquisition. Dan co-founded BuildASign.com in March 2005 and has since bootstrapped the company to great success. Dan is a winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2013 Central Texas award. He is also a recipient of the Austin Business Journal’s 2012 Best CEO Award, and was named 2012 Austinite of the Year and the Business and Entrepreneurship category winner by Austin Under 40, recognizing his success as a business owner as well as his commitment to philanthropic work.
As a native Austinite, Dan personally gives back to the Austin community through participation on the Board of Directors for numerous philanthropic organizations in Austin including United Way for Greater Austin, Caritas of Austin, Citizen Generation and the Austin Chamber of Commerce among several others. He also acts as a mentor to aspiring young entrepreneurs, working with Capital Factory and the Incubation Station. Dan earned undergraduate degrees in computer science and philosophy from The University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law.
The Honorable Lyndon L. Olson, Jr., former United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Sweden, today serves as chairman of Hill & Knowlton in New York City.
Appointed by President Clinton, Ambassador Olson served in Sweden from 1997 to 2001. Mr. Olson presently serves as a Commissioner and vice chairman of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy having been appointed by President George W. Bush.
Mr. Olson is a graduate of Baylor University and attended Baylor Law School. He is a past president of the university’s alumni association, has served on the Board of Visitors of its School of Business and School of Music, and was on the Board of Visitors of Yale University’s Music School. In 1999, he received Baylor University’s Distinguished Alumni Award and in 2002 its Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award. Born in 1947, Mr. Olson is an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Council of American Ambassadors. He is an elder
in the Central Presbyterian Church in Waco, Texas.
Grace Fisher Renbarger is an experienced business executive, attorney and investor. She currently serves as the Vice President, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer for Bazaarvoice, Inc. (Nasdaq: BV), a multi-national SaaS and online media marketing company, where she oversees the company’s ethics, compliance and internal audit functions.
Prior to joining Bazaarvoice, Ms. Renbarger taught business law, ethics and corporate social responsibility at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, and continues as an adjunct professor in the evening MBA program there. She also provided legal and consulting services to a variety of business clients, and continues to serve as an advisor to the CEO of a medical device startup company.
Ms. Renbarger is also a former executive at Dell, Inc. During her 13 years at Dell, Ms. Renbarger led a variety of functions including litigation, employment law, government relations, and ethics and compliance. Ms. Renbarger also served on several internal management and functional steering committees including the Global Ethics & Compliance Council, the Global Sustainability Council, the Global Diversity Council, the Human Resources Leadership Team, the Legal Department Management Team, and the board of the Dell women’s networking group.
Before her time at Dell, Ms. Renbarger was a partner at Hughes & Luce, L.L.P., which subsequently merged with K&L Gates, LLP, a global law firm.
Ms. Renbarger attended undergraduate and law school at the University of Texas where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif, and served as an Associate Editor on the Texas Law Review.
Ms. Renbarger supports a variety of non-profit organizations and causes. In addition to her service on the Glasshouse Policy board of directors, she also serves on the boards of Dress for Success Austin, the Austin Theatre Alliance (parent of the Paramount and State Theatres), and the Austin Advisory Board for the TriCities Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors.
Dan Austin heads the business law practice of Wittliff | Cutter | Austin, PLLC, an Austin, Texas-based law firm that focuses on serving technology companies across a variety of emerging growth industries, including cybersecurity, IoT, FinTech, energy, transportation, digital media, and life sciences.
Dan has a long personal history of public service. Prior to his career in technology, Dan spent five years as a Field Artillery officer in the United States Army, where he led teams of more than 30 soldiers, planned complex operations, and managed millions of dollars worth of sophisticated equipment. Dan also serves on the board of directors of Fusebox, a critically-acclaimed international contemporary arts festival based in Austin, Texas. And in 2016, he co-founded DivInc, a nonprofit organization that focuses on addressing the acute lack of ethnic and gender diversity in the technology industry.
Dan holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.
Andrew Brown provides legal services in both Spanish and English to a wide variety of business entities and individuals in all manner of business and commercial disputes. He practices in both state and federal court. His experience includes litigation, arbitration, mediation and negotiation.
Andrew grew up in Austin, and learned Spanish while living in Costa Rica, Honduras, and Chile. He graduated from The University of Texas School of Law in 2002, having served as Submissions Editor on the Texas International Law Journal. He passed the bar exam on the first try, and was fortunate enough to serve as law clerk to the Honorable Randy Crane, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas. During law school, Andrew spent one summer interning for federal judge Gabriel Cavallo in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Andrew has the experience needed to serve the needs of businesses and individuals in the legal arena–Andrew worked as a litigation associate for one of the largest law firms in the world, DLA Piper US LLP, and later for Texas law firm Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, PC, before starting Andy Brown and Associates in May, 2011.
Andrew enjoys gardening, politics, and running with his dog Houdini. He has a blackbelt in Taekwondo, and once received a bloody nose while sparring with US Olympic Gold Medalist Steven Lopez.
Francisco Enriquez currently serves as the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Glasshouse Policy, a first of its kind policy crowdsourcing think tank based in Austin, Texas. Through his work, Francisco has appeared in the pages of the Washington Post, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, The Hill, Huffington Post, Times-Picayune, and the Houston Chronicle.
Francisco’s commitment to transparency and responsive government was developed through his early work on tax and budget policy for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, consumer lending issues at the Virginia Poverty Law Center, and on detainee policy at the Comisión Provincial por la Memoria in La Plata, Argentina.
Irfan Ari Syed is a Austin-based technology and product management professional with almost a decade of experience building digital healthcare technology. He is currently a Product Manager at the healthcare AI company Babylon Health. He started his career as a political staffer and remains active within local city government. His diverse Austin civic efforts range from being Mayor Steve Adler’s appointee on Austin’s Taskforce for Community Engagement to serving as a commissioner representing District 6 on the Austin Technology and Telecommunications Commission. In 2016, he served as a member of President Barack Obama’s domestic advance team. Fueled by his passion for civic engagement and technology, Irfan also founded an political event aggregation platform called Stand Up Texas. He holds a bachelors degree in Biology and Chemistry from Texas State University and pursued graduate work at UT Austin’s McCombs School of Business and John’s Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering.
Past Board members
Herb Watkins: Herb is an Austin technical professional helping organizations use efficient processes, minimal technical systems, and flexible architecture to solve their problems and opportunities for 15 years. Herb started as a middle school music teacher and uses the patience and empathy learned in that environment to help his business counterparts understand opportunities in technology. Fueled by his strong interest in informing voters through quality journalism, he brings his technical experience and business organization experience to the board.
Sarah E. Brownstein: Sarah has been in and out of Austin over the last 13 years. A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs and Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies, Sarah has policy experience at local and state levels. She currently works at the Texas Senate focusing on issues ranging from higher education to natural resources.
Marty Hopkins is a senior litigation associate at Eversheds Sutherland (US). Her practice focuses on state and federal energy regulatory compliance, energy market design, and energy-related litigation. She has significant experience with multi-state and Texas-jurisdictional transmission projects and regularly advises clients on bringing these projects to commercial operation. Marty was selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers® “Rising Stars” (2017). She and her family (partner and two dogs) love living near the east loop of the hike and bike trail.
Abby Rapoport: Abby Rapoport is an Austin-based reporter, whose work has appeared in the The National Journal, the Texas Observer, The American Prospect as well as other outlets. She studied History at Grinnell College and held a writing fellowship at the Economic Policy Institute. She serves on the boards of the American Agora Foundation (which publishes Lapham’s Quarterly) and chairs the Texas Democracy Foundation, which publishes the Texas Observer. In her non-journalism time, she also serves on the board of Shalom Austin.
Reeve Hamilton is the Austin-based executive director of media relations for the Texas A&M University System. He was one of the original reporters at The Texas Tribune, where he spent more than five years covering higher education and politics and hosting a weekly podcast. His writing has also appeared in Texas Monthly, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Texas Observer.
Sheryl Cole: First elected in 2006, Sheryl Cole is the first African-American woman elected to the Austin City Council. Re-elected in 2009, and elevated by her Council peers to Mayor Pro Tem in 2011; Married to Austin attorney Kevin Cole, Sheryl is the proud mother of three boys – Marcus, Nelson, and Femi. The Coles live in the Wilshire Woods Neighborhood and belong to David Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. As a resident of Austin for 30 years, Sheryl earned her B.A. in accounting from The University of Texas at Austin and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1986, working for two years with the “big five” accounting firm – Ernst & Young. In 1989, Sheryl returned to UT Austin to study law, earning her J.D. in 1991 and joining Wright & Greenhill, P.C. As an engaged parent in the school system, Sheryl served as president of the Lee Elementary School PTA and a board member of Leadership Austin, Austin Area Urban League, and Communities in Schools. From 1995 to 2001, she served as staff counsel at the Texas Municipal League. From 2001 to 2006 she practiced law at the Cole Law Firm. After completing her recent term as Mayor Pro Tem of Austin she returned to the Cole Law Firm where she specializes in Government Relations and Public Finance.
Julio Gonzalez Altamirano: Julio is a native Texan. He works at the intersection of education and technology. Julio’s diverse Austin civic efforts range from increasing access to municipal open data to supporting new transit investment. He writes about Austin policy and policymakers at ‘Keep Austin Wonky’ and tweets @juliogatx.
Robert E. Jones: Robert is an Austin based political consultant with more than 15 years of experience managing organizations like Annie’s List and Be One Texas and in advising candidates like Sen. Wendy Davis, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and numerous members of the Texas House. He is also an adjunct professor of political science at St. Edward’s University and has provided political analysis to media outlets like CNN, NPR, Fox News and the New York Times.
Code of Ethics
At the Austin Monitor, we believe in the kind of day-in, day-out, locally focused coverage that keeps our readers civically engaged and gives them the tools to advocate for good governance and take part in a conversation about public policy in Austin.
Our reporters work to present fair, knowledgeable coverage that cynics assume is a thing of the past. As a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, we try to bring our readers the stories that other outlets might pass over — nitty-gritty, fact-heavy, and sometimes dense — because, above all else, we trust that they’ll be able to make up their own minds about the news of the day… We, of course, strive to report the news accurately, and when errors happen, aim to correct them as quickly and transparently as possible.
Reporters who have a vested personal or financial interest in a topic do not report on that topic, and on the occasion that there is a situation that could be perceived as a conflict of interest, it will be disclosed. Our reporters do not accept meaningful gifts from any entity that could have an interest in our coverage. (In other words: We get a lot of free pens and notebooks.) Reporters also refrain from participating in political activity around the topics that we cover, such as campaigning or petitioning.
As a nonprofit organization, our publisher solicits donations and sponsorships as part of the course of their duties. Editorial employees have no specific knowledge of these efforts, and, indeed, CoTMF donors, board members, and operations staff are prohibited by policy from contacting editorial employees about how or what stories should be written. We disclose all organization donors, no matter the size of their contributions. We post a link to a list of all contributors at the bottom of each story along with a disclosure statement.
We do not discriminate about sources of support. We feel that everyone in our community should have the ability to be involved in our work. Though we are not always successful, we strive to include a healthy cross-section of supporters.
At the Monitor, we don’t just stick to stories. We take our coverage directly to the community via regular events. These events often come with sponsors, who are also subject to the same editorial separation rules as all other Monitor/CoTMF sponsors and donors.
Our Mission: To consistently and accurately report the daily news that impacts the lives of all Austinites. To give our readers the tools and knowledge to become informed, engaged citizens to advocate for the things they care about most.
Our Funding: As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we rely on a combination of subscribing memberships, donations, sponsorships, and community partnerships to carry out our mission. A list of donors can be found here.
Operations oversight belongs to our Board of Directors, and more information about the membership of the board can be found above.
Though we rely on (and appreciate!) support from our donors, partners, sponsors, and board members, our supporters do not influence our coverage in any way. We’ve drawn a thick line between our funders and board and our editorial operations, and though we work toward the same mission, we do so separately, in a very intentional way.
Content Sharing: If you or your organization are interested in sharing our content, please contact our publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freelancers and Interns: At the moment, we rely entirely on freelance reporters to bring you the news, and if you’d like to join our ranks as a freelancer or learn how to join our type of ranks as an intern, reach out to our editor, Liz Pagano, at email@example.com.
Here are our 2015 Annual Report and our Final Report on the 2015-16 Monitor in the Classroom program.
More about how you can support us via online sponsorships here: