Revealing those Hidden in Plain Sight: A Conversation with Marina Starleaf Riker

Marina Starleaf Riker’s reporting for The Victoria Advocate exemplifies the impact that local reporting can have in communities. She wrote about untold stories of low-income residents, renters and small rural communities affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Starleaf Riker’s reporting also featured other overlooked members of her community, like Devan Orsak in “Hidden in Plain Sight.” The mother of seven begs for money to cover rent in a hotel during her search for affordable housing. Angelica Castaneda, mother of three, uses bleach to wash her children’s playroom to combat mold that made her child sick. Manny Govella of Refugio was fined for piling brush outside his front yard because he couldn’t afford the feeds to use the city dump.

Her reporting utilizes empathy the relay the difficult stories of the local community, and the writing conveys a deep respect for the people who share their stories with Starleaf Riker. She also holds accountable the politicians and landlords whose actions punish those struggling to survive.

Her work won her the distinction of 2018 Star Reporter of the Year award from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors last month. Starleaf Riker took a moment to visit with Foundation Chairman Mark Morrison to discuss her award-winning reporting.