David Francis is the retired Executive Vice President and Publisher of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, working for NOLA Media Group and its predecessor, The Times-Picayune, for more than 24 years.
David previously served as a Regional Business Planner and Manager of Financial Operations for Pepsi-Cola and Audit Manager for Deloitte & Touche.
Terry Baquet is a 28-year veteran of NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and a lifelong New Orleanian. He served as Sunday Editor and was the Page 1 Editor during the paper’s Katrina coverage which won two Pulitzer Prizes in breaking news and public service.
In 2012, Terry was named Managing editor/Director of Print essentially overseeing all editorial decisions for the newspaper’s print edition and also supervising the layout and production for four other newspapers in the Advance Publications chain. He also ran The Times-Picayune’s community engagement efforts.
He has served on the boards of Lede New Orleans and Spaceship Media.
Terry is from an old New Orleans family that is deeply rooted in the city’s jazz and restaurant history. He graduated from Hampton Institute in Virginia, grew up in the 7th Ward and continues to live there today.
Charles Maldonado comes to Verite from The Lens, an award-winning nonprofit investigative news website founded in New Orleans in 2009. Charles worked at The Lens for more than nine years, serving as a reporter and editor.
As a staff writer at The Lens, he reported on New Orleans city government and criminal justice. His 2017 series on the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office’s use of fraudulent witness subpoenas resulted in the end of the practice — which had been in use by area prosecutors for decades — as well as a major federal civil rights suit filed by the ACLU and the Civil Rights Corps.
Charles previously worked as a reporter at Gambit, the New Orleans alternative newsweekly, and newspapers in Tennessee, New York and his hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR
Lottie Joiner, an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience covering issues that impact underserved and marginalized communities, is joining Verite’s newsroom leadership team as assistant managing editor.
She is the former editor-in-chief of The Crisis Magazine, the official publication of the NAACP. During her tenure at The Crisis, the quarterly journal won several national awards for its coverage of social justice issues, Black history, African American art and culture.
Lottie’s work has been published in a number of media outlets including The Washington Post, USA Today, The Daily Beast, Time.com and TheAtlantic.com. She has also written for a number of minority-focused publications including Ebony and Jet magazines, Essence, NBCBLK, The Undefeated, The Grio and TheRoot.
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR
Experienced reporter Michelle Liu worked previously for The Associated Press in South Carolina and was an inaugural corps member with the Report for America initiative. She also covered statewide criminal justice issues for Mississippi Today, Verite’s sister newsroom, from 2018 to 2020. Her work at Mississippi Today has been recognized regionally and nationally, including by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Online Journalism Awards and the John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Awards.
Michelle grew up in Texas and holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale College.
DIRECTOR OF PEOPLE AND CULTURE
Dylan Penny is a Human Resources professional with 20 years of experience in various industries. Dylan started his career in Human Resources working at Target Corporation, where he held multiple roles throughout the organization. After leaving Target, Dylan spent four years at Pepsi-Cola where he led the HR function for multiple regions. Dylan joined NOLA Media Group in 2012 where he was the Senior Human Resources Manager for seven years. While at NOLA Media Group, Dylan led the overhaul of its HR processes to include performance management, benefits, and training. After leaving NOLA Media Group, Dylan held the role of Director of Human Resources for KIPP New Orleans, a nonprofit Charter School system.
Veteran journalist Drew Costley (they/them/theirs) is joining Verite News to cover a variety of topics with a focus on health, climate and environmental inequity. Before coming to Verite, they reported on climate and environmental justice, health inequities, science and the transgender community for The Associated Press.
At the AP, they covered several stories in Greater New Orleans, including a documentary about children who grew up in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, how disabled New Orleanians are left out of disaster planning, new plans for carbon capture facilities along the chemical corridor and the HBCU Climate Change Conference. Before the AP, they worked for Future Human, OneZero, SFGate, ESPN the Magazine, USA Today and the East Bay Express.
They attended Howard University as an undergrad, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of the District of Columbia in 2014 and a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 2019. They’ve also taught journalism at UC Berkeley and Laney Community College.
In 2018, they were a Logan Science Journalism Fellow. They have won multiple awards for their journalism, including from Howard University’s The Hilltop, The HBCU National Newspaper Conference and National Association of Black Journalists.
Minh (Nate) Ha is a recent magna cum laude graduate from American University with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism.
His reporting work includes stories about how second-generation Vietnamese Americans fought to protect their community center in Virginia amid redevelopment plans and the construction and delays of the Washington D.C. metro. Ha is an avid photographer who loves capturing images that tell stories. He is also working on honing his graphic design skills to create compelling visuals that enhance the impact of his reporting.
Originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Ha has spent the past four years in Washington, D.C. He is excited to continue his journey as a reporter in New Orleans and bring his passion for storytelling and visual media to his work with Verite News.”
Before joining Verite, Bobbi-Jeanne Misick reported on people behind bars in immigration detention centers and prisons in the Gulf South as a senior reporter for the Gulf States Newsroom, a collaboration between NPR, WWNO in New Orleans, WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama and MPB-Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson. She was also a 2021-2022 Ida B. Wells Fellow with Type Investigations at Type Media Center. Her project for that fellowship on the experiences of Cameroonians detained in Louisiana and Mississippi was recognized as a finalist in the small radio category of the 2022 IRE Awards.
Misick previously worked as a reporter for WWNO and WRKF reporting on health, criminal and social justice issues. She has also worked as a reporter and producer in the Caribbean, covering a range of topics from LGBTQ+ issues in the region to extrajudicial police killings in Jamaica and the rise of extremism in Trinidad and Tobago.
Misick is a graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Before that, she worked as an assistant editor and pop culture writer for Essence.com.
Michael Isaac Stein
Before joining Verite, Michael Isaac Stein spent five years as an investigative reporter at The Lens, a nonprofit New Orleans news publication, covering local government, housing and labor issues.
During his time at the Lens, Stein consistently produced award-winning work — exposing power company Entergy’s use of paid actors to gain approval for a new gas plant, covering the mayor’s attempt to severely cut funding for public libraries and tracking the rapid expansion of the city’s government surveillance apparatus.
Before working at The Lens, Stein was a reporter for WWNO New Orleans Public Radio and freelanced for various national publications including The Intercept, The New Republic and Bloomberg’s CityLab.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.
Experienced investigative reporter Rich Webster joins Verite after spending the past two and a half years as a member of ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. He investigated allegations of abuse against the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and claims of racial and economic inequities within Louisiana’s Road Home recovery program following Hurricane Katrina.
Webster previously was a member of The Times-Picayune’s investigative team, reporting on numerous special projects including “The Children of Central City,” an in-depth look at childhood trauma through the lens of a youth football team; “A Fragile State,” a multi-part series on Louisiana’s mental health care system; and “Dying at OPP,” which examined the deaths of inmates in Orleans Parish Prison.
Josie Abugov is an undergraduate fellow at Harvard Magazine and the former editor-at-large of The Crimson’s weekly magazine, Fifteen Minutes. Abugov has previously interned for the CNN Documentary Unit and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and worked for a producer at PBS SoCal. She graduated from Harvard with high honors in her joint concentration, Social Studies and the Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She was born and raised in Los Angeles.
Climate and multimedia journalist Lue Palmer is joining Verite to contribute to our mission of covering underserved communities in New Orleans.
They join us after graduating from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Palmer is a native of Toronto, Canada, with roots in Jamaica. Before entering their career in journalism, Lue was a writer, documentarian and podcaster, covering race, health, and environment.
As a member of the Verite News fellowship, Palmer aims to find and elevate stories that serve the environmental concerns of New Orleans communities most impacted by climate.
Khalil Gillon is a New Orleans native from Algiers. He attended Thomas Jefferson High School and is a graduate of Louisiana State University in political journalism. Passionate about politics, Gillon ran a podcast called “The State of Today” that focused on current issues.