Esther Kaplan, Editor
Esther Kaplan is the editorial director of The Investigative Fund, where she has been part of teams that won three Emmy Awards, a Polk Award and an IRE Medal. She is a radio and print journalist who has written for Harper's, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Nation, The American Prospect, In These Times, The Village Voice and other publications. She is the author of With God on Their Side: George W. Bush and the Christian Right (New Press) and was a 2013 Josephine Patterson Albright fellow with the Alicia Patterson Foundation.
She was formerly a senior editor at The Nation, features editor at Poz, the national AIDS magazine, communications director at Communications Workers of America Local 1180 and a host of Beyond the Pale, a weekly program covering Jewish culture and politics on WBAI in New York City. She began her journalism career as an assistant editor at The Village Voice, where she became a regular contributor. Her writing has won the Molly Prize, a Sidney Award, a Clarion Award and other honors.
Sarah Blustain, Deputy Editor
Sarah Blustain is deputy editor of The Investigative Fund, where projects she has overseen have resulted in Congressional hearings and the resignation of public officials. She is a former senior editor for Newsweek/Daily Beast, where she edited longform stories for print and online. Previously she was a senior editor at The New Republic, deputy editor of The American Prospect, and senior editor for the feminist magazine Lilith. She has done extensive reporting and critical writing, on reproductive rights and other matters, for The New Republic, The Nation, Mother Jones, Democracy Journal, Salon and elsewhere.
Jayati Vora, Managing Editor
Jayati Vora is managing editor at The Investigative Fund. Previously, she was features editor for Al Jazeera America, and during her time there led numerous longform and investigative projects. Stories she has edited have been recognized by the Data Journalism Awards, the Sidney Awards and the Eppys. Many have been translated into other languages and featured on radio and TV.
She moved to Al Jazeera America from The Nation Institute, where she was web and associate editor for five years. Before moving to the United States, she was theater section editor at TimeOut Mumbai and staff writer at a men’s monthly feature magazine in India. She currently edits a weekly column about race and equity in education for The Hechinger Report.
Alissa Figueroa, Senior Editor and Senior Producer
Alissa Figueroa is senior editor and senior producer at The Investigative Fund, where she oversees the Ida B. Wells Fellowship program and our broadcast partnerships. She was previously investigative producer at Fusion, where she helped launch the network’s investigative unit and reported across the country and internationally. Her reporting on military and criminal justice issues has been cited in legislation and used nationally in classrooms and community centers to educate and activate. Alissa’s investigative and public service journalism has been recognized with a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, among others. Her 2015 feature-length documentary, Prison Kids: A Crime Against America’s Children, was nominated for an Emmy and selected as a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. Prior to coming to Fusion, Alissa was an associate producer at NBC News. Her work has also appeared on the PBS Newshour, Marketplace, Nightline ABC, Aqui y Ahora from Univision Noticias and The Christian Science Monitor.
Alissa began her journalism career in community radio and newspapers. Before working in news she was a homeless outreach worker in New York City. Alissa was born and spent part of her childhood in Guatemala City and returns frequently to Guatemala. She is a graduate of the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Amherst College.
Joe Conason, Editor-at-Large
Joe Conason is editor-at-large of The Investigative Fund. He is also founder and editor-in-chief of The National Memo, a daily newsletter and news site. For 18 years he wrote a weekly political column for The New York Observer, where he formerly served as executive editor, and for 12 years he wrote a weekly column for Salon. He previously served as investigative editor of The American Prospect and editor-at-large for Conde Nast’s Details. Before that, he worked for The Village Voice as a columnist, staff writer and national correspondent.
He is the author of several books, including Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martin’s Press) and, with Gene Lyons, The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton (St. Martin’s Press), both of which were New York Times bestsellers. His most recent book is Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton.
His articles and essays have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, The Nation, The New Republic, The Guardian (London) and The New Yorker, as well as scores of other periodicals. He appears frequently as a commentator on television and radio, including several years as a regular guest on Air America’s Al Franken Show. A winner of the New York Press Club’s Byline Award, he has covered every American presidential election since 1980.
Elena Mejia Lutz, Assistant Editor
Elena Mejia Lutz is assistant editor at The Investigative Fund. Elena has written stories on politics and public policy for the Texas Observer, the San Antonio Express-News and The Texas Tribune, among others. Born and raised in Costa Rica, Elena graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a double major in journalism and international relations. She is mainly interested in investigative reporting focused on public health and immigration.
Richard Salame, Don and Doris Shaffer Intern
Richard Salame is the Don and Doris Shaffer Intern at The Investigative Fund. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Brown University and a master’s degree in migration studies from the University of Oxford, where he was a Clarendon Scholar. Before coming to The Investigative Fund he worked at Data & Society Research Institute and was an organizing intern at UNITE HERE! Local 217. His writing has appeared in Jacobin, The New Arab, and the Indypendent, among other outlets.