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Mukhtar M. Ibrahim

Mukhtar Ibrahim is the founding executive director and editor of Sahan Journal. 

He previously worked as a staff writer for the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio News. He has also written for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Al Jazeera English, BuzzFeed News and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Mukhtar is among the first of his generation’s professional, accomplished journalists of Somali background in Minnesota and in the country. His leadership has been recognized with many awards and accomplishments and is sought-after speaker and panelist at leading institutions, organizations and conferences around the United States.

He was a recipient of the prestigious leadership fellowship from the St. Paul-based Bush Foundation (2016), a “Great Immigrant” award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (2019), Islamic Resource Group’s “Building Bridges Award in Media” (2019),Twin Cities Business Magazine’s 100 People to Know (2020), and “Above the Fold” award, which honors alumni of the University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication under the age of 40 who have made exceptional contributions to their fields.

Mukhtar’s personal and professional distinction are accompanied by his large social media following, his ambition and strategic talents, his extremely wide and diverse networks and his standing as a thought leader in journalism.

He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and a graduate degree in investigative and data journalism from Columbia University.

Born in Somalia, Mukhtar spent his childhood in Ethiopia and Kenya and has lived his adult life in Minnesota. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and three daughters.
Contact Mukhtar at 651.983.1550, or at editor@sahanjournal.com or on Twitter @mukhtaryare and follow him and other Sahan Journal staff reporters on Instagram.

Kate Moos 

Kate Moos is the managing director of Sahan Journal. 

Kate is a Peabody and Webby award-winning executive producer in public media. She became a journalist when the AIDS epidemic and the American farm crisis were making headlines. Over the course of a few decades, she helped build MPR News and several public media projects that have created enduring value. Kate left journalism mid-career to be a school bus driver, a poet, and a specialist in nonprofit fundraising, and returned to public media to help launch On Being in 2003. 

She has since served as executive producer for multiple successful projects including The Water Main, Call To MInd, and a successful podcast memorably titled The Hilarious World of Depression.  

She has worked with founder Mukhtar Ibrahim since January of 2019, and she now builds, organizes, and secures funding for Sahan Journal. She splits her time between St. Paul, MN and a hayfield in central Iowa.

Contact Kate at kmoos@sahanjournal.com or on Twitter @katemoos.

Michael Tortorello

Michael Tortorello is a writer and the managing editor at Sahan Journal.

As a writer, Michael spent ten-odd years contributing to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, often writing about homes and gardens—although often not the beautiful homes and stately gardens of the glossy shelter press. Instead, he has reported home features about the science and culture involved in food gardening: for example, the retired gardener planting West African seeds on the land where her family had once been enslaved (and in the Louisiana town where a white riot ended Reconstruction).

Going indoors, Michael has written about the way different people express their identity at home: young adults with autism; a self-governing community of previously unhoused people; parents overwhelmed by all the art their kids bring home from school, etc.

When curiosity has gotten the better of him, Michael has contributed science-driven reporting in short hits for NewYorker.com and longer features for Consumer Reports and Politico Magazine.

As an editor, Michael has helped lead coverage of local arts, food, and news at the alt-weekly City Pages and later at Minneapolis.St.Paul Magazine.

Last: For twelve years, Michael has moonlighted as an adjunct assistant professor in the English department at the University of Minnesota. There, he teaches editing skills to students looking to find a future in publishing and journalism—or at least a deeper appreciation for the en dash.

Contact Michael at mtortorello@sahanjournal.com.

Sally Waterman

Sally Waterman is Sahan Journal’s sales and sponsorship director. She has worked in radio and print sales and in digital sales since the early 2000s, at major Minnesota news organizations as well as early internet pioneers like AOL. In 2007, Sally helped launch MinnPost, one of the first nonprofit digital news organizations in the state and the nation. She built MinnPost’s sales and sponsorship department and grew its advertising and sponsorship revenue to six figures. Her work predates most of what we now recognize as the digital economy, and helped shape the nonprofit news ecosystem we now inhabit. Sally joined Sahan Journal as its first Director of Sales and Sponsorship in 2021.

Hibah Ansari

Hibah Ansari is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. She covers the impact federal and state policies have on immigrants and people of color in Minnesota. 

Hibah grew up in a small town in Wisconsin when her parents immigrated to the United States from Karachi, Pakistan, 30 years ago for better employment and educational opportunities. She attended the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she specialized in investigative reporting. Her return to the Midwest to work for Sahan Journal is a welcome change.  

Her return to the Midwest, especially Minnesota, holds special meaning for her. Hibah’s father, who passed away when she was young, started his American medical career in Minneapolis. Hibah says that she is honored to be in Minnesota beginning her career as a journalist, in his memory. 

Contact Hibah at hansari@sahanjournal.com or on Twitter and follow her and other Sahan Journal reporters on Instagram.  

Ibrahim Hirsi 

Ibrahim Hirsi is a reporter for Sahan Journal who covers immigration. 

Ibrahim first started thinking about the power of journalism nearly 20 years ago. He was a young boy in Eastleigh, a suburb of the Kenyan capital Nairobi. Every night, one of his older brothers, an English teacher, would bring home the Daily Nation or The Standard newspaper.

And as he skimmed their pages, he found that there was nothing about the thousands of Somali immigrants and refugees. He wondered who gets to be a journalist anyway and who decides the stories that show up in the publication. 

Those questions stayed with him when, in 2005, he moved with his family to Minneapolis. A year later, as a junior at Wellstone International High School, he turned to ThreeSixty Journalism, a nonprofit organization that introduces local teens to the power of storytelling. The two-week summer program cemented his desire to pursue a career in journalism.

He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in journalism. Since then, he’s written for a number of local publications and two year ago, he went back to school to pursue a Ph.D. in U.S. immigration history. (190 words)

Contact Ibrahim at ihirsi@sahanjournal.com

Joey Peters

Joey Peters is a reporter for Sahan Journal who writes about health care: that is, how new Americans are affecting health care, and being affected by it.

Before joining Sahan Journal, he spent more than a decade in journalism including copy editing for the Minnesota Daily, reporting on policy for a publication in Washington D.C., investigative reporting for the Santa Fe Reporter and the New Mexico Political Report. He eventually returned to Saint Paul, where he was born, and landed at Sahan Journal. 

During these first years, Joey never failied to remember the reason he got into journalism; his love for nuanced, in-depth, shoe-leather reporting. While his focus for Sahan Journal is on health care, his attention also stays on holding power accountable so count on those stories too with Joey’s by-line.  

Contact Joey at 651-366-0810, or at jpeters@sahanjournal.com or on Twitter @JoeyPeters and follow him and other Sahan Journal reporters on Instagram.

Jaida Grey Eagle

Jaida Grey Eagle is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

She is from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and grew up in Red Wing, in southern Minnesota. She’s graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe where she studied photography. She has been a fellow with the Native American Journalist Association, First Peoples Fund and NATIVe Fellows program. 

According to Jaida, her interest and passion for photography has been raised by the inherent harm the medium has done to underrepresented communities, including her own. Her photography seeks to address and rectify those past wrongs by creating spaces of learning and understanding.  Her interest in journalism and storytelling led to co-producing a documentary about six Native American women which premiered at a film festival in Montana where she and her team were given honorable mention for their work.

Contact Jaida at jgreyeagle@sahanjournal.com or on Twitter @Jaida_GreyEagle and follow her and other Sahan Journal reporters on Instagram.

Becky Dernbach

Becky Dernbach is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. She covers education for Sahan Journal.

Her love of journalism started at a young age, when she spent the summer in Nairobi, Kenya and became an avid reader of the local newspaper. She received her undergraduate degree from [a Minnesota college] and because jobs were tough to find, she served as a substitute teach in the local public schools teaching everything from third grade to high school Latin and Spanish. 

It was during this time that she realized she wanted to be a journalist, so enrolled in Northwest University’s Medill School a year ago and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism. From there she held a fellowship at Mother Jones magazine in California before returning to Minneapolis. 

Education is central to the journeys of many immigrant families, and Becky is looking forward to writing and reporting stories about immigrant communities in a time of protests and pandemic that might otherwise go unheard.

Contact Becky at bdernbach@sahanjournal.com and on Twitter at @bzosiad and follow her and other Sahan Journal reporters on Instagram.

Andrew Hazzard

Andrew Hazzard is a reporter for Sahan Journal who covers climate and the environment. He writes stories about how climate change is impacting Minnesota’s immigrants and communities of color, and how those people are interacting with the environment. His work often focuses on agriculture, environmental justice, energy efficiency, outdoor recreation, and pollution.  

Andrew grew up in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, and graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He covered education and wrote features for The Commercial Dispatch, a daily newspaper in Mississippi, and was a crime reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. In the Twin Cities, he worked for Southwest News Media, covering Shakopee and Scott County, and reported for the now-closed Southwest Journal in Minneapolis. 

Andrew is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists. He speaks Spanish and enjoys learning about other cultures through explorations of food, language, and media. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife. 
Climate change is the defining issue of our time and Andrew is interested in talking with Minnesotans about how they are affected by the environment. Contact Andrew at ahazzard@sahanjournal.com.