Karen Gadbois, Co-founder and Director
Gadbois co-founded The Lens. For her work with television reporter Lee Zurik exposing widespread misuse of city recovery funds — which led to guilty pleas in federal court — Gadbois won some of the highest honors in journalism, including a Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and a gold medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors.
In 2012 she was awarded the Ethics in Journalism award from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on the NOPD’s policy of publicizing the criminal records of homicide victims. She now covers New Orleans government issues and covers land use issues for the Squandered Heritage portion of The Lens.
Nicholas Chrastil, Staff Writer
Nicholas Chrastil covers criminal justice for The Lens. As a freelancer, his work has appeared in Slate, Undark, Mother Jones, and the Atavist, among other outlets. Chrastil has a master’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University, where his research focused on New Orleans’ newspapers during the Reconstruction era. During his time at LSU, he also covered the Louisiana state legislature as part of the Manship Statehouse Bureau. He is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Phone: (612) 770-7477
Carolyne Heldman, Behind The Lens Executive Producer
Carolyne Heldman has been in media for 35 years, most recently as Executive Director at an NPR member station in Colorado where she was responsible for new multi-platform content initiatives, strategic planning, research, branding, and non-traditional revenue generation. During her tenure she also created and launched four weekly news, public affairs and cultural affairs programs and monthly live Town Hall broadcasts. Heldman moved to New Orleans last summer with her husband and canine companion and they live happily in the Marigny.
Marta Jewson, Deputy Editor and Staff Writer
Marta Jewson is The Lens’ deputy editor and a staff writer. She covers education for The Lens. Jewson began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned to New Orleans in the fall of 2014 after covering education for the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in journalism and social welfare and a concentration in educational policy studies.
Katy Reckdahl, Managing Editor and Staff Writer
Reckdahl was a staff reporter for The Times-Picayune and the alt-weekly Gambit before spending a decade as a freelancer, writing frequently for the New Orleans Advocate | Times-Picayune, The New York Times and the Washington Post.
She’s received more than two-dozen first-place New Orleans Press Club awards, the James Aronson Award for social justice reporting, a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism and three TV-documentary Emmy Awards. In 2020, she was a producer for The Atlantic’s Peabody Award-winning podcast, Floodlines.
Anne Mueller, Chief Operating Officer
As the Chief Operating Officer Mueller leads The Lens’ fundraising efforts including foundations, major gifts, annual giving, board development, events, sponsorship and prospect research. Additionally, she works to ensure our day-to-day operations are stable along with developing plans for the future.
She has more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector in New Orleans, New York City and Oxford, MS. Her professional experience includes the Echoing Green Foundation, the Harlem Restoration Project, the University of Mississippi Foundation, The National World War II Museum and A Studio in the Woods, a program of Tulane University. She received a bachelor’s degree in history from Bennington College (VT) and a master’s in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Through her professional and volunteer projects, she is committed to the ongoing revitalization of New Orleans.
Delaney Dryfoos, Environmental Reporter
Delaney Dryfoos covers the environmental beat for The Lens. She is a Report for America Corps member and covers storm surges, hurricanes and wetlands in collaboration with the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk. Prior to joining The Lens, they reported on climate change resiliency in New York City for Inside Climate News. She holds a master’s degree in science, health and environmental journalism from New York University, where she worked as the managing editor for Scienceline and an editorial intern at Living on Earth. As a college intern for NJ Advance Media, Dryfoos covered news across New Jersey and their story about South Orange’s rainbow lampposts was republished by U.S. News and World Report. She is passionate about reporting on the intersection of health and the environment as well as working to make journalism more inclusive of disabled and LGBTQ+ sources and reporters. She studied biology, global health, policy journalism and media studies at Duke University.
Mizani Ball is a filmmaker and award-winning producer based in New Orleans. She completed her MFA in Documentary Media at Northwestern University in 2021. Shortly after graduating she began working as an Associate Producer for the series Chicago Stories at Window To The World Communications, Inc. (WTTW). She launched her career as a filmmaker with her short film ‘Bayou For Us,’ which premiered at New Orleans Film Festival in 2021. Her work on the film ‘Birth of Gospel’ for Chicago Stories won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for Documentary – Cultural. After years of freelancing in the industry working on productions for Vice News, WeTV, HBO, Participant Media and many more she decided to bring her talents back to New Orleans.
La’Shance Perry is The Lens’ photographer. She is an experienced multimedia content creator born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is driven by a love of storytelling and a desire to provide the best media content possible. She has a primary focus on social justice and the culture of the Black community in New Orleans. Perry is a cum laude graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. She is also a published writer and photographer with work featured in ESPN Undefeated and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
Steve Beatty, Publisher and CEO
Steve Beatty held several positions overseeing editorial and business matters from 2010 to August 2017, most recently as publisher and CEO.
Tyler Bridges, Staff Writer
Maggie Calmes, Engagement Editor
May 2011 to May 2012
Rebecca Catalanello, Charter Schools Editor
December 2012 to June 2013
Ariella Cohen, co-founder and staff writer
July 2009 to February 2012
Matt Davis, Staff Writer
Matt Davis covered criminal justice from September 2010 to March 2012.
Tom Gogola, Staff Writer
Tom Gogola covered criminal justice for The Lens from February 2012 to May 2013.
Abe Handler, News Technologist
Abe Handler handled data analysis and Web applications from February 2014 to May 2015.
Jed Horne, Opinion Editor
Jed Horne oversaw The Lens’ opinion columns until his retirement in 2019. Horne is a veteran journalist who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize as part of the Times-Picayune team that covered Katrina and the recovery. He is the author of “Desire Street” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005) and “Breach of Faith” (Random House, 2006, 2008), which was declared “the best of the Katrina books” on NPR. He has been interviewed by TV and radio pundits including Rachel Maddow, Bill O’Reilly, Terry Gross, Amy Goodman, Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley.
Charles Maldonado, Editor
Charles Maldonado worked at The Lens from 2013 to 2022. From 2013 to 2018, he served as staff writer covering the New Orleans city government and criminal justice. He was named editor in 2018, following Steve Myers’ departure.
Bob Marshall, Staff Writer
Bob Marshall covered environmental issues for The Lens, with a special focus on coastal restoration and wetlands, from February 2013 through February 2017.
Brentin Mock, Staff Writer
November 2009 to May 2010
Mark Moseley, Engagement Specialist/Opinion Writer/Charter Schools Reporting Corps Coordinator
Mark Moseley wrote opinion columns, edited and coordinated the Charter Schools Reporting Corps and blogged the “What We’re Reading” link roundup at various points from 2010 to June 2014.
View columns and “What We’re Reading” posts
Steve Myers, Editor
Steve Myers worked at The Lens from 2012 to 2018, serving as managing editor, special projects editor and editor. In August 2018, he joined the 2018-2019 class of Nieman fellows at Harvard University.
Kerry Nix, Staff Writer
Kerry Nix was a staff writer for The Lens in 2018. Her work has previously appeared in Pittsburgh’s PublicSource and Wesleying.org, a student-run publication at her alma mater.
Nicholas Peddle, Interim Executive Director
Nicholas Peddle served as Interim Executive Director from March to May 2018. He oversaw business operations, led corporate fundraising efforts and fostered relationships with community partners.
Dennis Persica, Charter schools editor
Joshua Rosenberg, Staff Writer
Joshua Rosenberg covered the environmental beat for The Lens in 2022 and 2023 as a Report for America corps member, working in collaboration with the Mississippi River Basin Ag and Water Desk.
Jessica Rosgaard, Podcast Host and Producer
Jessica produced and hosted Behind The Lens from May 2019 to January 2020. Prior to joining The Lens, Jessica covered politics at WWNO and served as managing editor of the Louisiana Public Radio Partnership. Previously Jessica worked for Al Jazeera America, CNN, Current TV, and The Washington Post before moving to Louisiana.
Michael Isaac Stein, Staff Writer
Michael Isaac Stein covered New Orleans’ cultural economy and local government for The Lens from 2018 to 2022.
Amy Stelly, Opinion Editor
Amy was The Lens’ Opinion Editor from 2020 to 2023.
Tom Thoren, Open data reporter
From February 2014 to June 2016, Thoren created news applications such as The Lens’ live election maps and its property sales tracker. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering and a master’s degree in news-editorial journalism.
Janaya Williams, Audio producer in residence
September 2013 to June 2014
Jessica Williams, Staff Writer
Tom Wright, Podcast Producer and Engagement Editor
Tom Wright worked for The Lens from 2018 to 2020. He oversaw The Lens’ opinion columns and coordinates audience engagement efforts. He also created, hosted and produced The Lens’ podcast, “Behind The Lens”. His previous work includes environmental reporting for The Lens, producing investigations with local broadcaster Lee Zurik, legislative affairs reporting for Mississippi Public Broadcasting and global affairs coverage for CNN. Wright is a winner of the DuPont, Peabody and Murrow awards for his investigative production work.