About Reckon

Reckon is an award-winning national news organization that covers the people powering change, the challenges shaping our time, and what it means for all of us.

At Reckon, we believe we can best report on our nation—not by observing it from the sidelines—but by living in it day by day. Born out of the South and grounded in communities who have been marginalized, underestimated, and undervalued, we live our nation’s issues up close and intimately.

We aim to hold up a fuller and more accurate mirror of the lived experiences in this country so that we can all better understand the challenges we face and feel equipped to decide how we wish to move forward.

That’s why people are at the center of our stories on climate justice, reproductive rights, faith and purity culture, working mothers and families, queerness and trans rights, Blackness, racial justice, movements and more.

What Reckon does

We share stories by, for, from and about the full breadth of cultures, experiences and perspectives across the nation.

We put the tough questions on the table and invite our readers to think them through.

We push against simplistic, narrow narratives and embrace the nuance and intersectionality of people. We reject either/or propositions.

We help our readers develop a point of view on what they think so they feel equipped to take action.

We don’t break news the fastest and we don’t report for officials and those who don’t accept some fundamental truths.

Our company

Find our work on our website, social media and by subscribing to newsletters like Honey and Black Joy. Listen to our award-winning podcasts, including The Reckon Interview and Unjustifiable, or watch our short documentaries, including Mauled and Pulled Over/Pulled Under. Our journalists and their work have garnered major awards, including multiple Emmys, a national Edward R. Murrow Award and a Pulitzer Prize. 

Reckon is part of Advance Local and owned by Advance, owners of Conde’ Nast; and shareholders in Reddit, Warner Bros. Discovery and Charter Communications.

Our team

Becca Andrews is a reporter at Reckon primarily covering reproductive health care. Her work has appeared in Mother Jones, Jezebel, Wired, and The New Republic, among other publications. She is the author of "No Choice: The Destruction of Roe v. Wade and the Fight to Protect a Fundamental American Right."

Anna Beahm is a North Alabama native living in Nashville with her husband, Ty. Anna draws on her experience growing up in a small town in Alabama to inform her reporting on the state of sex education and evangelical purity culture across America. Her reporting addresses the scientific, emotional and spiritual aspects of how purity culture and abstinence-only sex education has affected a generation of Americans. 

Clarissa Brooks is Reckon’s audience editor. Atlanta-based author, journalist, and cultural worker Clarissa Brooks has deep roots corkscrewed into the American South. Raised in Charlotte, NC, Brooks relocated to the Black Mecca of Atlanta—originally to attend Spelman College—later settling in the Historic West End neighborhood. Nestled in a historically Black area dense with vibrant HBCUs, Brooks fixes a Black queer feminist lens to the vital cultural work she produces for publications like New York Magazine The Cut, Rolling Stone, and NPR.

Danielle Buckingham (she/her), affectionately known as Dani Bee, is Reckon’s Black Joy Reporter, and a Chicago-born, Mississippi-raised writer based in Oxford, Mississippi. A 2021 Lambda Literary fellow, her work has been published in MadameNoire, Midnight & Indigo Literary Magazine, Raising Mothers, and elsewhere. When Dani isn’t writing or tending to her plants, you can find her talking Black spirituality, growing up in Mississippi, and pop culture on the Hoodoo Plant Mamas podcast. She most recently completed a Master of Arts in Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi where she created a podcast titled, “GOOD LOVE IS BLACK: Stories on Black Queer Living in the American South.”

Daric L. Cottingham covers the intersection of news, entertainment and culture and is a proud Black queer nonbinary southerner based in Los Angeles.

Abbey Crain is a creative strategist at Reckon and the creator and editor of the Honey newsletter. Crain has covered reproductive justice and gender issues across the South for the last five years. Before Reckon, she worked at the Wall Street Journal. Crain is also an artist with an expansive understanding of the human form and the way women and queer bodies are legislated and ruled against. 

Michelle Del Rey, a daily news reporter, formerly worked at the San Antonio Express-News and Albany (NY) Times Union as part of a two-year Hearst Fellowship. She has experience covering crime, politics and breaking news. Before landing her first full-time reporting gig, she freelanced in the Dominican Republic, writing for national publications, including the Guardian and BuzzFeed News.

Denny, LGBTQ communities reporter, is a writer, actor, and musician who has co-starred in POSE (FX) and New Amsterdam (NBC), and will appear in the upcoming series City On Fire (Apple TV). Aside from The Grammy, Allure Magazine, PAPER, and more, her recent writing — “He Made Affection Feel Simple” — was published in The New York Times’ Modern Love.

Jonece Starr Dunigan (she/her/hers) is a journalist who gives the microphone to communities that are often ignored by mainstream media. Guided by empathy, her reporting centers the stories, movement work and voices of Black, brown and queer people. Her writing strives to amplify and empower readers instead of exploiting them of their traumas. Starr is also the founder of Reckon’s Black Joy (formerly Black Magic Project), a media brand under Reckon that’s highlighting the multiple ways we as Black people cultivate liberating joy in our lives. She created the brand while she was a night reporter for Reckon’s sister news site Al.com in Birmingham, Ala.

During her time in that position, Starr heard constant and valid complaints from Black and brown people about how the media exploits their communities. Starr responded to this issue in 2017 by publishing a series of stories detailing how Black Birminghamians use their “Black magic” (their skills, talents, love for the community, etc) to improve their neighborhoods. Since then, Starr has nurtured that mission of authentic and genuine representation from a one-time project into a nationwide, multiplatform brand examining the full spectrum of melanin magic from a multigenerational lens of joy.

After spending a couple of years in Birmingham, Starr now lives with her life partner, Michael, in her hometown of Huntsville, Ala. Check out what the Black Joy team has to offer by following @blackjoyreckon on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook.

Sid Espinosa is Reckon’s senior social media producer based in Washington, D.C. Graduating from the University of Maryland’s Phillip Merrill College of Journalism in 2020, Sid began her career working for a civil rights non-profit telling stories at the intersection of activism and policy. Sid has covered issues such as healthcare, gentrification, homelessness, reproductive justice, affirmative action, and well, the list goes on. She strives to uplift Black, brown, indigenous, and other underrepresented voices in all her stories. Sid has received awards from The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation for her video work. When she is not listening to NPR, she is probably fueling her shopping addiction online.

MacKenzie River Foy is Reckon's Black Joy social producer. She has experience taking media from concept to finish at Sirius XM, Arena Stage, the Public Theatre, Market Road Films, and as an independent writer, director, and producer. She was recognized by the NAACP & the Worker's Unite Film Festival for her short documentary, "Feed/back,” in 2022. 

John Hammontree is a co-founder of Reckon. Currently he serves as executive producer of Reckon Radio, winner of the 2021 National Edward R. Murrow Award for best podcast. John also hosts the Reckon Interview podcast, an award-winning weekly series, and writes The Conversation, a weekly newsletter that digs into ideas, perspectives and people that you're not likely to find in other media. John is also senior producer and showrunner of the CNN podcast, Downside Up. He consulted on the hit podcasts, "The Mayor of Maple Ave." and "Father Wants Us Dead."

Christopher Harress is Reckon’s east and Gulf Coast climate change reporter. Over the last six years, he has reported from towns and cities across the South, covering crime and criminal justice, while undertaking numerous investigations. He won an Overseas Press Club Foundation Award in 2013 for his investigation into the human trafficking of child soccer players from West Africa to Europe. In 2018, he was awarded two first-place Green Eyeshade awards for reporting on corruption inside a small-town police department in Alabama. Originally from Scotland, Harress now lives in Mobile, Ala. 

Minda Honey serves at the editor of Black Joy by Reckon. She is also a writer, reader and the neighbor who never forgets to bring her trash bin in from the curb. She boomeranged home to Louisville, Ky. in 2016 after receiving an MFA from the University of California, Riverside. She led the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Spalding University, launched local alt-indie TAUNT with support from Press.On and the Google News Initiative Startup Bootcamp. Her memoir-in-essays, The Heartbreak Years, is forthcoming from Little A summer 2023. Until then, you can get a taste of her words in the anthologies A Measure of Belonging, Burn It Down, Sex & the Single Woman, and Black Told or read her essays and articles on The Guardian, Longreads, Vice, Teen Vogue, The Oxford American, Catapult, Andscape and elsewhere.

Kavolshaia Howze is a Fairfield, Ala., native with fusions of the Bayou & Volunteer states after spending 15 years in Louisiana and Tennessee. She graduated from Grambling State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2008 and Northwestern State University of Louisiana with a master’s degree in Sports Administration in 2012. Since beginning her career in 2005, Kavolshaia has developed her skills in writing, filming and producing for television, radio, as well as digital platforms. Now she’s applying those skills as a video producer with Reckon. Since working with Reckon, Kavolshaia’s produced several video and editorial stories, including Reckon’s 19th Amendment 100th Anniversary coverage, hosted multiple "Reckon: The Live Interview" Facebook Live series, while serving as a moderator for Reckon’s social media digital community groups. She also lends her services as an archival producer for the Reckon/AL.com collaboration documentary "Pulled Over/Pulled Under". Kavolshaia is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Birmingham Association of Black Journalists (BABJ), and Best Buddies Alabama. 

Katie Johnston is Reckon's director of audience. She joined the team in June of 2022 from WhereByUs, a media startup org, where she founded and directed Pulptown, a hyperlocal newsletter brand in and about Orlando prior to leading its audience initiatives in Orlando (Pulptown), Miami (The New Tropic), Seattle (The Evergrey), Portland (Bridgeliner) and Pittsburgh (The Incline). When Katie's not geeking out over which Reckon stories are performing well on Parse.ly, what social posts are going gangbusters on Instagram, and why the heck her geriatric Millennial attempt at Gen Z humor failed, she's probably drinking wine and posting photos of her four-legged best friend, Cooper.

Adrian Marcus is Reckon’s manager of growth & analytics. He was a huge part of launching one of the largest social media agencies in the United States, Sociallyin (one of the Inc. 5000 fastest-going companies). He served as both partner and creative director for more than eight years. His portfolio showcases a range of client/campaigns, from global brands (Notable Clients: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Team USA & The Winter Olympics, TGI Fridays, Floor & Decor…) to local in both digital and traditional media. He also served as the chief growth officer for media startup iPondr for more than a year-and-a-half. At Reckon, Adrian’s role is to find opportunities to grow.. You won’t find a moment when he isn’t researching, exploring and testing new ways to expand the audience of Reckon and its brands.

Hannah Myrick is an engagement producer for Reckon. She has a background in journalism and newsletter writing for local publications based out of the Seattle area, where she currently lives. Prior to joining the team in September, Hannah worked at media startup WhereByUs as the Director of The Evergrey where she wrote and produced a daily newsletter, ran its social media efforts, and shared stories of the Emerald City. When she’s not engaged in conversations around metrics and analytics, she’s probably off walking her dog Brick.

Ryan "R.L." Nave has been Reckon's editor since March 2020, when he joined to help oversee newsroom's relaunch into a brand for millennials in the South. Prior to joining Reckon, he helped launch and served as editor-in-chief of Mississippi Today, now the state’s largest newsroom. There, he also ran the state's largest legislative team and oversaw coverage of criminal justice and environmental issues.

Nave was also an editor and reporter at the Jackson (Miss.) Free Press and a staff writer for the (Springfield) Illinois Times, covering local and state government. His reporting has received dozens of state and national journalism awards and has led teams whose work garnered local, state and national journalism awards, including the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Journalism and an Edward R. Murrow Award. He was a 2019 McGraw Business Reporting fellow at City University New York and held fellowships at the University of Colorado-Boulder and Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.

He served as president of the Jackson, Miss., chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists from 2015 to 2020 and is currently chairman of the board for the Jackson-based Center for Ideas, Equity & Transformative Change. He grew up near St. Louis in University City, Mo., and graduated from the University of Missouri. He lives in Birmingham.

Kelly Scott is the editor-in-chief and vice president of content for Alabama Media Group and Reckon Media. Kelly joined Advance Local in 2018, taking the top editorial role for Alabama Media Group based in Birmingham. She oversees AL.com, the Alabama Education Lab, Reckon, The Lede and more.

Under her leadership, staff has earned national recognition for their journalism and innovation. That includes winning the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and being named a Pulitzer finalist in commentary; being named a Goldsmith Prize finalist twice in three years, winning the national Edward R. Murrow award for best podcast; and working in a collaboration to earn a national EMMY nomination.

Kelly has reimagined a traditional news organization, building a portfolio of impact journalism and audience-focused brands while working toward creating a financially sustainable news operation.

She previously was executive editor of RGJ.com & Reno Gazette-Journal, USA TODAY Network state director for Nevada, Utah and Guam, and Reno site leader. She also led the national marijuana & policy reporting team across the USA TODAY Network.

A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Kelly began her career in 1998 as a reporter in Minnesota. She earned her master's degree at St. Cloud State University in 2003, studying criminal justice to learn how to use statistics in daily reporting. She moved to RGJ.com in 2005, starting as an assistant city editor and moving to executive editor in June 2013.

April Siese, daily news editor, is a journalist with more than a decade of experience, having edited and written for Daily Kos, CBS News, Quartz and other outlets of note. She has a passion for environmental justice and equity work and previously served as senior staff writer with Daily Kos as well as the unit chair of the Daily Kos Guild.

Aria Velasquez is Reckon's newsletter strategist. In previous lives, she worked in social media, audience engagement and local reporting in DC and New York. She's currently based in Atlanta and is probably listening to a podcast as you're reading this.

Anna Claire Vollers reports on family policy and working families for Reckon. She has more than 17 years of experience reporting throughout the South. For Reckon, she often writes about reproductive and maternal health, child care access, healthcare policy, rural communities and working parents. Her work also appears on AL.com, the largest news site in Alabama. Awards include the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Feature Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists and Story of the Year from the Alabama Associated Press Media Editors. Most recently, the Solutions Journalism Network awarded her a 2022 health equity grant to support her work covering midwifery in the South. Before coming to Reckon, Anna Claire worked as an investigative reporter for AL.com, where she reported on Alabama’s maternal health crisis, unregulated day cares and teen boot camps, sexual harassment by politicians and workplace reforms. Anna Claire lives in Alabama with her husband, their three children and a menagerie of pets.

Elizabeth Hoekenga Whitmire is the vice president of audience for Alabama Media Group and Reckon, leading audience growth and engagement strategies across news and content platforms, including AL.com, Reckon, It’s a Southern Thing, This is Alabama and more.

In her previous role as senior director of audience development, Whitmire helped lead the creation and expansion of This is Alabama, People of Alabama, and the viral comedy brand It's a Southern Thing. Under her leadership, these brands have more than 6 million social followers and have won 13 regional Emmys and a 2021 Webby Award.

Whitmire was Alabama Media Group’s first director of social media, driving multiplatform distribution and establishing AL.com's news and sports brands as leaders in local media. She was chosen as one of 25 female journalists across the country to take part in the 2018 ONA Women's Leadership Accelerator, a yearlong program for women innovating in digital journalism. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Whitmire began her career at the TimesDaily in Florence and later worked at The Huntsville Times.

Alexis Wray is Reckon’s HBCU and Blackness reporter. Her work introduces voices and perspectives of students, alumni and community members that amplify the experiences of Black life on and off campus. As an alumna of the largest public HBCU, North Carolina A&T State University, she has witnessed firsthand how the media has erased and even misconstrued the narratives of historically Black institutions. Alexis’s reporting seeks to give a voice and an opportunity for anything from education and culture to underfunding and campus safety, an avenue to impact others, create change and promote societal advancement. 

Michelle Zenarosa is Reckon’s deputy editor. She has almost 20 years of experience in journalism and media-making through a social justice lens, having worked at various news outlets like Fusion, Everyday Feminism, New America Media and LA Weekly. Previously, they were the community manager at USC's Annenberg Innovation Lab, where they curated the MacArthur Foundation’s civic media fellowship. She has been a facilitator for storytelling by youth in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Palestine and was awarded the 2017 fellowship for the Society of Features Journalism. She’s a cool mom (not a regular mom), a grouchy ex-punk and is serious about her snacks. 

The Reckon Report.
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