Lily Altavena

I’m an education journalist at the Detroit Free Press, building a new beat focused on inequities in Michigan’s public school system.

I’ve spent my adult life in a lot of different places: from producing a morning show in the control room of a tiny TV station off I-30 in Dallas to fetching tapes in the halls of 30 Rock in New York City to reporting on a story in one of those tiny chairs in a kindergarten class in Mesa, Arizona.

I like writing about education, healthcare and the environment. My life mostly revolves around journalism, but when I’m not doing that, I like to do yoga, snowboard, read books and watch “Funny Girl” for the 4000th time.

Where I’ve been, specifically 

I was busy during my two years as a graduate student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University (I received my master’s of mass communication in 2017). For eight months, I investigated state takeovers of school districts with News21, creating a first-of-its-kind database tracking how many people have been affected by takeovers in the last decade. As an investigative reporter with Cronkite News, I was the senior producer and lead reporter on HookedRx, a documentary about prescription opioid abuse that aired simulcast on every one of Arizona’s TV stations.

Before grad school, I spent a little more than a year producing EyeOpener, a nationally syndicated morning show for Tribune Media in Dallas, Texas. That job came after a year working as a production assistant in documentaries.

Still reading? Before I graduated with a bachelor’s degree from New York University, I interned at the Village Voice, The New York Times and NBC News. I was also a city/state editor, deputy enterprise editor and staff writer at my college newspaper, the Washington Square News.

(photo by Tom Tingle)

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