ProPublica and The Texas Tribune announced Friday four new hires for the nonprofit newsrooms’ jointly operated investigative reporting unit. Ren Larson is joining as a data reporter, Lexi Churchill will become the team’s research reporter, Sally Beauvais joins as an engagement reporter and Jenny Ajluni will take the lead on fundraising for the project as senior development officer. Larson, Beauvais and Ajluni are on the staff of the Tribune, while Churchill is a member of ProPublica’s staff, and their work will power the platforms of both organizations. While most will start remotely, all four will ultimately be based in the Tribune’s Austin newsroom.
“We are thrilled to welcome the newest members of our team,” said Manny García, senior editor of the initiative. “Thanks to them, we will be even more focused on mining public records, better positioned to analyze data in our reporting and continue our fierce devotion to watchdog journalism.”
Ren Larson is a data journalist who comes to the Tribune from The Arizona Republic, where she reported on elections, immigration, environmental contamination and wildfires. Her 2019 project “Ahead of the Fire,” which analyzed nearly 5,000 Western communities for wildfire hazard and human vulnerabilities, won a 2019 EPPY award for innovation and was a finalist for the Philip Meyer Award. She holds a masters of public policy and an M.A. in international and area studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Before entering journalism in 2015, she worked as a city planner, a case manager and a data analyst.
Lexi Churchill was most recently a Scripps Howard research fellow at ProPublica, where she published an investigation exposing how the Trump administration’s crackdown on Idaho’s Medicaid procedures created red tape that prevented children with special needs and the state’s poorest residents from keeping their insurance. She also helped lead reporting efforts for the “Sins of Omission” project on how the Catholic Church has shielded priests credibly accused of sexual abuse, and she has contributed to ProPublica’s coronavirus coverage over the last few weeks. Before joining ProPublica, Lexi interned at CNBC, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Columbia Daily Tribune and KCUR 89.3, Kansas City’s NPR affiliate. Her reporting on the University of Missouri’s Title IX appeals process won the GateHouse Public Service Award for 2018.
Sally Beauvais has worked at Marfa Public Radio in various capacities since 2014. As the station’s engagement reporter, she launched West Texas Wonders, its first ongoing engagement initiative, and introduced a quarterly town hall series with her community in collaboration with a local newspaper. She also worked for years with Marfa public school students to produce radio stories about their lives and issues that matter to them. Her community-sourced reporting about the lack of health care resources for seniors in Far West Texas won a 2019 National Edward R. Murrow Award, and she was a producer and editor on several episodes of Texas Monthly’s 10-part podcast about the Permian Basin. Before starting her radio career in Texas, Beauvais lived in New Orleans, where she worked with a collaborative community arts group.
Jenny Ajluni is currently the Tribune’s development officer, and under her efforts the Circle Membership program and major gifts program have grown significantly. Before joining the Tribune in June 2018, she worked in politics at the statewide and national levels.
About ProPublica ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. With a team of more than 100 dedicated journalists, ProPublica covers a range of topics, focusing on stories with the potential to spur real-world impact. Its local initiatives include ProPublica Illinois, a 12-person newsroom based in Chicago, and the ProPublica Local Reporting Network, which funds and jointly publishes year-long projects, currently with 20 local news organizations around the country. Since it began publishing in 2008, ProPublica has received five Pulitzer Prizes, five Peabody Awards, three Emmy Awards, eight George Polk Awards and five Online News Association Awards for general excellence.
About The Texas Tribune The Texas Tribune is an independent, nonprofit newsroom dedicated to engaging and informing Texans on politics, public policy and matters of statewide concern. It is read by nearly 2 million people each month, hosts more than 50 editorial events around Texas each year and has more journalists covering state government than any newsroom in the country. To further its pursuit of statewide engagement, the award-winning Tribune provides all of its content for free to print, radio and television news organizations throughout the state of Texas.