Staff


Executive Director and Editor  |  Sara Solovitch guides and edits the work of Searchlight New Mexico. She supervised its launch in January 2018 with the Child Well-Being Project, an investigation into the plight of children and families in New Mexico. Before coming to Searchlight, she published investigative and long-form stories in Esquire, Wired, Politico, and the Washington Post. As a staff reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer, she covered education, courts and special projects. A former health columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, Solovitch also has traveled throughout New Mexico and Alaska while reporting for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on health care in under-served areas. Her book Playing Scared: A History and Memoir of Stage Fright was published by Bloomsbury in 2015

Deputy Editor  |  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, San Francisco Examiner and Bloomberg News. She was the recipient of an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship to write about teenagers on death row; the resulting stories appeared in the New York Times and other publications. Linn has been an editor at Outside Magazine, Wired and the San Francisco Chronicle, where she was associate national editor. She has also freelanced for national magazines and been a case investigator for the Montana Innocence Project.

Director of Operations and Data Editor  |  Christian Marquez was born and raised in the Land of Enchantment and has spent his career thus far exploring the stories of the people who call it home. Christian started as an intern at Searchlight New Mexico in the summer of 2018. His past work has focused on the issues of healthcare access, housing security and homelessness, and also economic development and job growth. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and is based in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Staff Writer  |  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 other publications. He earned a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010.

Text Ed securely using Signal encryption at (505) 699-6401

Staff Writer  |  Ike Swetlitz has traveled the world to hold policymakers, businesses, and scientists accountable. At Searchlight, he is focusing on criminal justice. He most recently reported for STAT, the national health and medical science publication, in both Boston and Washington, D.C., where he focused on drug pricing, artificial intelligence, and genetic engineering. He graduated from Yale with a degree in physics and is based in Albuquerque.

Staff Writer  | Julia Sclafani joined Searchlight to cover health as a grant-funded Report for America Fellow. A California Native, Julia comes to New Mexico by way of the Daily Pilot, a Los Angeles Times community publication in Orange County, CA, where she covered breaking news, courts and city beats. Julia holds degrees from Columbia University and City University of New York’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

Staff Photographer  |  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.

Editorial Intern  |  Dillon Bergin started as an editorial intern with Searchlight New Mexico in Fall 2020. Before coming to New Mexico, Dillon was a Fulbright Germany Journalism Fellow from 2019 to 2020. He has written about migration and immigration, climate change, and food, among other things. His work has appeared in the New Republic and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Contributing Writer  |  Born and raised in Albuquerque, N.M., Nick Pachelli has reported on health, crime, and justice for a mix of print and digital publications. In 2019, he was a finalist for the Livingston Award, an award honoring the best storytelling by journalists under the age of 35 across all forms of journalism. Nick’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Esquire, High Country News, and other publications. He is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and received a Master’s from Columbia University.

Contributing Writer  | Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi is a multi-award winning Diné journalist from Teec Nos Pos, Ariz. She was the sports writer for the Navajo Times for over 10 years. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, the Salt Lake Tribune and others. Sunnie is also a Ph.D. student in Rhetoric and Writing at the University of New Mexico and a core writing instructor. She has a master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies. She is a fifth-generation Navajo rug weaver.

Diné Translator  | Dr. Dolly Manson comes from the Chishí (Chiricahua Apache) clan, born for the Rock Gap people. Her maternal grandfather’s clan is of the Manygoats; her paternal grandfather’s is of the Tangle People. The first seven years of her life was spent in a rural area of the Navajo Nation, where she lived in a dirt floor hogan with her maternal grandmother. As a child, she was steeped in a Navajo woman’s traditional roles and responsibilities, which included the care of the family’s sheep. Her first language was Navajo and she spoke it alone until she entered school at age 7. Dr. Manson served as ambassador for the Navajo Nation from 1981 through 1982 as Miss Navajo Nation. Hers is the voice of Peach (the starfish) in the 2016 Navajo-dubbed version of the film Finding Nemo. She holds a doctoral degree from New Mexico State University and is a lecturer of Navajo/Linguistics at the University of New Mexico. Dr.  Manson currently resides on the Navajo Nation.