Find a PDF of my resume here.

Lily Altavena


Detroit Free Press, freep.comDetroit, Michigan, March 2021 to present

Educational equity reporter

  • Building a statewide beat around disparities in education across Michigan, uncovering problems that disproportionately affect marginalized students and exploring the solutions to those problems.
  • Published an investigative series about restraint and seclusion practices in schools that led Michigan’s governor to call for reform. Awarded USC Center for Health Journalism grant for this reporting.
  • Worked with a group of newsroom leaders to grow subscribers in a Knight-Lenfest newsroom “Table Stakes” initiative, examining a specific cohort of readers to better retain subscribers.

The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Arizona, June 2017 to March 2021
Education reporter, previous roles: Community watchdog reporter, Environmental reporting fellow

  • Reported on K-12 education. Coverage area included Arizona’s more than 200 school districts, 500 charter schools and 1.1 million students.
  • Recipient of multiple Arizona Press Club awards, including second place award for Journalist of the Year in 2019.
  • Covered Mesa, the 36th biggest city in the United States, examining everything from the budget to the largest school district in the state.
  • As an environmental reporting fellow, spearheaded a project on a record year for heat-related deaths in Arizona.

Arizona State University: Online, June 2017 to present, Faculty associate 

  • Teach multiple digital audiences courses, including an introduction to audiences course, analytics course and project management course.

Cronkite News, Phoenix, Arizona, August 2016 to May 2017
Investigative reporter, senior producer 

News21, Phoenix, Arizona, May 2016 to August 2016
Ethics and excellence fellow, Teaching Assistant (spring of 2017) 

  • Worked on an in-depth project on voting rights involving multimedia elements and data, traveling to Michigan, Mississippi, New Orleans, Little Rock and Philadelphia, to report from the Democratic National Convention.
  • Story, exploring school takeovers across America, was republished by different outlets including NBC News, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Hechinger Report.
  • Returned in the spring of 2017 to serve as teaching assistant to Professors Leonard Downie Jr. and Jacqueline Petchel.
  • Individual story was a national finalist and regional winner in the SPJ Mark of Excellence awards. Entire project awarded with the 2016 student reporting Investigative Reporters and Editors award.

Arizona State University: Phoenix, Arizona, August 2015 to May 2017
Graduate assistant and student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism

  • Assisted at the National Center on Disability and Journalism.
  • Created a new, responsive WordPress theme to completely redesign
  • Ran the center’s social media pages and website, leading critical campaigns to promote the non-profit and quality journalism on disability.
  • Served as teaching assistant for two sections of an introductory journalism course with more than 200 students.

Tribune Broadcasting, Dallas, Texas, March 2014 to May 2015
Line Producer, Local Cut-In Producer

  • Line produced a nationally syndicated morning news show 5 days a week(airing in Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, D.C., and Portland)
  • Organized and wrote a two-hour long show.
  • Maintained order, cued anchors, and kept the show on time in the control room.
  • Occasionally helped on the production side: running automated camera system, prompter and floor.

MSNBC Longform, New York, New York, June 2013 to February 2014
Production Assistant

  • Assisted production team in the technical output of MSNBC Longform programming each weekend.
  • Collaborated with senior and associate producers on shows and documentaries: researching, finding archival footage, preparing for shoots, and promoting.
  • Worked on six MSNBC social media pages: Tweeting, creating a strategy, and creating graphics. Some campaigns coincided with higher viewership.

NBC News, Ann Curry Unit, New York, New York, January 2013 to May 2013
Production Intern

  • Researched stories and found sources to be taped for key segments.
  • Worked on the “Terror in Boston” Rock Center show researching and helping with scripts.
  •  Worked in the control room as a production assistant during live Rock Center shows.

The New York Times, New York, New York, June 2011 to September 2012
Freelance Writer, Editorial Intern to the Learning Network and Choice blogs

  • Wrote, reported, and researched blog posts; conducted broader research.

Kicker: New York, New York, July 2012-June 2016

  •  Contributed one to two stories per month to a start up news platform.

Washington Square News, New York, New York, September 2009 to May 2011, October 2012
News Editor, Deputy Enterprise Editor, Staff writer 

The Village Voice, New York, New York- August 2010 – January 2011
Editorial Intern to Wayne Barrett, political reporter

  • Assisted Barrett in reporting for daily blogs and two major cover stories.


Arizona State University
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism
Phoenix, Arizona
Masters of Mass Communication
Outstanding Graduate Student
Phi Kappa Phi

New York University
New York, New York
B.A in Journalism and Metropolitan Studies

• Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, InDesign
• Data journalism basics including beginner SQL
• Training in Avid Interplay, iNews, ENPS and OPUS
• WordPress, HTML, CSS
• Experience in social media and website analytics