Our Staff

Editor

Ray Rivera is a former staff reporter for The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Seattle Times and the Salt Lake Tribune. He is also editor of the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper. His investigative stories have included a nine-part series uncovering the federal government’s fatally flawed investigation into Capt. James Yee, an Army Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay falsely accused of espionage; the extensive use of death squads by Al Qaeda and Haqqani Network insurgents along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; and the illegal funneling of taxpayer money to bogus non profits associated with New York city and state lawmakers. He lives in Santa Fe with his wife and three children. Contact: editor@searchlightnm.com

Contributing Editor

William deBuys’s nine books include The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures (listed by the Christian Science Monitor as one of the ten best non-fiction books of 2015), A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American West (2011), The Walk (2008), Salt Dreams (1999, which inspired the 2017 movie, The Colorado), and River of Traps (a 1991 Pulitzer finalist). In 2015 his first book, Enchantment and Exploitation (1985), was reissued in a revised and expanded 30th-anniversary edition. He was a 2008-2009 Guggenheim Fellow. His conservation work has included land acquisition, river protection, and grass banking. From 2001 to 2005, he chaired the Valles Caldera Trust, which then administered the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. He serves on the advisory board of the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation and lives and writes on a small farm in northern New Mexico that he has tended since the 1970s.


Executive Director

Susan Boe is the former executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government. She is a retired attorney and was formerly a partner at Faegre & Benson (now Faegre, Baker & Daniels), an international law firm in several locations which includes specialists in media law.  She also was general counsel for Iowa Realty, a Berkshire-Hathaway Company.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Susan worked for daily newspapers in Corpus Christi and San Antonio, Texas and was a public information officer for the University of Texas at San Antonio and The Ohio State University.  She received a B.S. degree in journalism from Iowa State University and her law degree with highest distinction from the University of Iowa.  Contact: susan@searchlightnm.com


Staff Writers

Amy Linn has written about social issues and child well-being throughout her career, starting at the Miami Herald and including work for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Bloomberg News. She was the recipient of a 2015 Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship to write about teenagers on death row; the resulting stories appeared in the New York Times, Salon and other publications. Her entree to investigative reporting came at the Herald, where she was part of an investigative team that uncovered widespread police brutality in Miami's poorest neighborhoods; her subsequent investigations for the San Francisco Examiner documented how white officers beat, shot and sicced police dogs on black citizens. Linn has been an editor at Outside Magazine and Wired as well as a freelancer for magazines, both digital and traditional. Prior to joining Searchlight she was the editor of the Criminal Justice Project, an investigative reporting unit that covers New Mexico's troubled justice system.

Leslie Linthicum has been writing about New Mexico for more than 30 years. An award-winning investigative reporter, feature writer and columnist, she has worked at the City News Bureau of Chicago, The Houston Post, The Albuquerque Tribune and most recently the Albuquerque Journal. For much of the last two decades she was a statewide reporter and has traveled to just about every town in New Mexico. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Leslie lives in Albuquerque and Peñasco. She is also the editor of Mirage, the University of New Mexico’s magazine for alumni. Contact: leslie@searchlightnm.com.

Lauren Villagran has covered the financial and energy markets in New York, the drug war in Mexico and immigration and border security in New Mexico. Formerly the Albuquerque Journal's border correspondent, she has also reported for the Associated Press, Dallas Morning News and Christian Science Monitor, among other national media. She is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and is based in southern New Mexico for Searchlight NM.

Hailey Heinz has studied and written about policies affecting education and child well-being in New Mexico since 2009. In addition to her work as a journalist for Searchlight, Hailey is also a researcher at the University of New Mexico Center for Education Policy Research, where she studies policies and programs related to early childhood education. Hailey covered public education for the Albuquerque Journal from 2009 to 2013, during which time she became deeply interested in the policy issues surrounding education.  Hailey holds a master’s degree in political science from UNM, as well as a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University. Hailey is raising two young children in Albuquerque and is interested in efforts to identify evidence-based policies that elevate the well-being of New Mexico’s children and families.


Database Editor

John R. Roby is database editor for Searchlight New Mexico. Previously an award-winning investigative reporter with the USA Today Network in Upstate New York, he has also worked for the Baltimore Sun and CNN.com. During a detour out of journalism, Roby earned a doctoral degree in anthropology and taught at four universities, including New Mexico State. He and his wife have two children.


Photography

Don J. Usner was born in Embudo, N.M., and has written and provided photos for several books, including The Natural History of Big Sur; Sabino’s Map: Life in Chimayó’s Old Plaza; Benigna’s Chimayó: Cuentos from the Old Plaza; Valles Caldera: A Vision for New Mexico’s National Preserve (winner of a Southwest Book Award); and Chasing Dichos through Chimayó (finalist for a 2015 New Mexico - Arizona Book Award). Don contributed a chapter and photographs to The Plazas of New Mexico (also a winner of Southwest Book Award), and writes for periodicals as well. His photographs were featured in the photography journal Lenswork and in an online blog of the New Yorker).