Our Staff

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 her at searchlight@searchlightnm.com.

Executive Editor

Sara Solovitch’s investigative and long-form stories have
appeared in Esquire, Wired, Politico, the Washington Post and other publications. She has been a staff reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered education and wrote about everything from emerging family issues to the invasion of the killer bees. She wrote a weekly column on kids’ health for the San Jose Mercury News for six years and worked as a medical writer at Stanford University’s Children’s Hospital. She has traveled widely through New Mexico and Alaska while reporting for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on access to health care in under-served areas. Her book, Playing Scared: A History and Memoir of Stage Fright, was published by Bloomsbury in 2015. Contact her at sara@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.

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. Contact her at amylinn@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.  Contact her at lauren@searchlightnm.com. 

Ed Williams has reported on poverty, public health and the environment in the U.S. and Latin America for digital, print and radio media outlets since 2005. He comes to Searchlight New Mexico by way of KUNM Public Radio in Albuquerque, where he worked as a reporter covering public health. Ed’s work has appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, NPR, Columbia Journalism Review, and others. He earned a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010. Contact him at

Data Editor

John R. Roby is data 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. Contact him at johnroby@searchlightnm.com. 


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).