T-Squared: Pooja Salhotra will cover East Texas for The Texas Tribune

Pooja Salhotra will be joining us as our first-ever East Texas reporter. Shell be based in Lufkin. (Courtesy Pooja Salhotra, Courtesy Pooja Salhotra)

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​We are thrilled to announce that Pooja Salhotra will be joining The Texas Tribune as our first-ever East Texas reporter. She’ll be based in Lufkin and will cover a vast region that borders on three states (Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma); encompasses diverse communities such as Beaumont, Longview, Marshall, Nacogdoches, Texarkana and Tyler; and is home to the legendary Piney Woods and the Big Thicket.

This is a big job, one that will require frequent travel. Pooja emerged through a highly competitive process that surfaced other strong candidates.

“I want to uncover critical stories about my own home state,” she told us. Pooja is energized by covering stories that are underreported. East Texas is full of them.

Pooja grew up in Bellaire, a Houston suburb, in an immigrant family. She has a degree in psychology from Yale and covered the city of New Haven for the Yale Daily News. After graduation, she wrote for the Houston area’s The Buzz Magazines. She then was a reporting intern for Chalkbeat, focusing on New York City schools.

While pursuing an MFA in journalism at New York University with a specialization in literary reportage, Pooja wrote for Bedford + Bowery, a New York Magazine site that covered lower Manhattan and north Brooklyn, and was a New York bureau intern at CNN. She also did research for Liz Flock, a journalist who is writing a book about gender and justice. She received her MFA in May.

Pooja is currently a summer intern on NPR’s education team so she won’t join us until Aug. 30, but we wanted to share the exciting news as soon as we could. She will join a new and growing regional team that includes Jayme Lozano, who is already off to a great start covering the South Plains and Panhandle from her base in Lubbock, and Nic Garcia, who will join us Aug. 1 as our regional editor, based in Dallas.

We can’t wait to welcome Pooja back to Texas.

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