Chief executive officer
Peter Bhatia is the chief executive officer of the Houston Landing. He is a media industry veteran who has overseen Pulitzer-Prize winning journalism and digital advances at news sites across the country. He was previously the editor and vice president of the Detroit Free Press where he started in 2017, after two years as editor and vice president of The Cincinnati Enquirer. Bhatia previously was director of the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State’s Cronkite School of Journalism. He joined the university in June 2014 as visiting professor in journalism ethics after a two-decade career at The Oregonian in Portland. He led newsrooms that won 10 Pulitzer Prizes, including six in Portland. He is a seven-time Pulitzer juror. He is the first journalist of South Asian descent to lead a major daily newspaper in the U.S., running The Oregonian from 2010 to 2014. Peter and his wife, Liz Dahl, have two grown children, who live in Portland and Los Angeles, and one grandchild.
Editor in chief
Mizanur Rahman is the founding editor in chief of the Houston Landing. He previously spent 15 years as a newsroom leader at the Houston Chronicle. He served as the newspaper’s Sunday editor and as senior editor over investigations. He also was the Chronicle’s metro editor, overseeing local news coverage in the Houston region. He previously worked as an assistant metro editor at The Dallas Morning News and served as an editor at The Virginian Pilot in Norfolk, Va. He grew up in Detroit where he started his career as a reporter. He is the father of two daughters.
Chief operating officer
Emily Keeton is the chief operating officer of Houston Landing, where she wrangles all manner of things. She recently served as the CEO of Tempest, the leading online platform for those recovering from substance use disorders. Prior to Tempest, she was the managing director of WeWork’s Creator Fund and global head of mergers and acquisitions. Emily started her career in investment banking covering media and technology companies. She has served on the board of directors of ezCater, a leading online marketplace for business catering solutions, and the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Rice University. She was voted Best Citizen in fourth grade, an award she was humbled to receive.
Chief product officer
Mitesh Vashee is the chief product officer for the Houston Landing. He has two decades of leadership experience in consulting and venture capital. He grew up in Zambia and received his MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas. When he’s not building cutting-edge products, he can be found on a mountain somewhere in the world skiing or honing his mountaineering skills (he’d like to climb Mt. Everest someday). He and his wife have two young children, the younger of whom is the boss of the household.
Konner Mackey is the finance manager for the Houston Landing. His career spans years of experience in financial management and budgeting. Konner served as a senior financial analyst with the city of Houston, where he played an integral role managing the city’s $5 billion operating budget, and he worked as a budget analyst for the Houston Independent School District. Konner graduated from the University of Houston and holds certifications in finance from Georgetown University. He is a lifelong Houstonian with strong ties to the community by way of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation, Texas Kidney Foundation and Higher Impact Ministries.
John Tedesco is an investigative journalist with 25 years of experience digging up stories across Texas. Before coming to the Houston Landing, John was a reporter on the Houston Chronicle’s Investigations Team. His past projects include “Unfair Burden,” an investigation of unchecked economic incentives that shower billions of dollars on corporations. John was also part of the team that wrote “Abuse of Faith,” a series that revealed how hundreds of Southern Baptist pastors, church employees and volunteers had been credibly accused of sexual abuse. The series sparked widespread calls for reform in the nation’s second-largest faith group. The father of two children, John and his family live in Houston with a high-strung hound dog named Layla.
Marie D. De Jesús
Marie D. De Jesús is the photo editor for the Houston Landing. She was previously a staff photojournalist for the Houston Chronicle, where she concentrated on developing relationships with Houston’s diverse immigrant and marginalized communities. Prior to the Chronicle, Marie worked for the Democrat and Chronicle located in Rochester, New York and the Victoria Advocate in Texas. In 2022, De Jesús became the first Latina president of the National Press Photographers Association.
Director of people
Susie Pargett is the director of people at Houston Landing, where she manages all aspects of recruitment, retainment and human resources. In 2014, Susie graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, applied for an agency recruiting job on a whim, and realized her love of conversation could lead to a career. She enjoys the fast-paced nature of hiring to scale, connecting with candidates and employees, and creating collaborative working environments. Susie has been in the recruiting field for nine years, working at everything from corporations to startups. When she isn’t on the phone with a job candidate, you can find her walking her dog, Pear; keeping up with her Goodreads reading goal; or planning a nice beach vacation with her husband.
Director of community engagement
Kelly Avant joined the Houston Landing in October 2022. She previously worked as a cocktail waitress, Peace Corps volunteer, and venture capital associate. Kelly has a degree in Gender Studies and Rhetoric from Fort Lewis College and an MBA from Rice University. Kelly is passionate about startups and innovative financing for high-impact initiatives. You can find her art published in the 2022 Houston Zine Fest Official Zine!
Jacob Carpenter is a team leader for the Houston Landing, helping to guide news coverage and oversee reporters. Jacob has reported for multiple newsrooms over the years, most recently as a freelance newsletter writer for Fortune and previously as an education reporter for the Houston Chronicle from 2017 to 2021. His stories explored the fallout from HISD’s fractured governing board; the district’s efforts to help students outside the classroom; and the reasons behind long-standing inequities between schools. His work has been honored by the National Headliner Awards, Investigative Reporters & Editors Awards and Livingston Awards. Jacob is thrilled to return to Houston after spending the past 18 months in Boston with his wife. He’s looking forward to basking in Houston’s warm weather, sampling fantastic restaurants, and watching his lab mix, Cooper, splash around at the Buffalo Bayou dog park.
Maggie Gordon is a columnist who has worked at newspapers across the country, including the Stamford Advocate and the Houston Chronicle. She has covered everything from the hedge fund industry and education to craft beer and alligator hunting. No matter the topic, Maggie’s favorite stories combine quirky characters, adventure and humanity. Bonus points if she can find a love story. Maggie grew up on a cow farm in upstate New York, and graduated from nearby Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. These days you can find her at her home in Houston’s East End – or on Twitter.
Alex Stuckey is an investigative reporter for the Houston Landing. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Prize and 2022 Livingston Award winner. In 2022, she received the Charles E. Green Award for Star Reporter of the Year while working at the Houston Chronicle. Since graduating college in 2012, journalism has taken her to five different states, where she’s covered a nuclear research facility, the Missouri Legislature, the mishandling of sexual assault reports at colleges and universities and even NASA. Her reporting throughout the years has put two people in prison, resulted in federal investigations at higher education institutions and overhauled broken policies at the state and local level. She loves falling down information rabbit holes, playing in spreadsheets and listening to Gilmore Girls on repeat at work. When she’s off the clock, you can usually find her playing with her dogs, Waffle and Moby, curled up on the couch with a good book or on her yoga mat.
Diverse communities reporter
Monique Welch covers diverse communities for the Houston Landing. She was previously an engagement reporter for the Houston Chronicle, where she reported on trending news within the greater Houston region and across Texas, and occasionally contributed to the Chronicle’s race and identity newsletter, HouWeAre. A native Baltimorean and previous Tampa resident, Monique joined the Chronicle in the summer of 2021 after nearly four years at the Tampa Bay Times, where she worked on all things digital, launched the newspaper’s first race and identity newsletter, Regarding Race, and covered local news. Monique holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Media Studies from Goucher College.
Céilí Doyle covers the region’s suburbs and rural communities for the Houston Landing. She comes to Texas by way of the Midwest, most recently working for The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio through the national service program Report for America. In Ohio, she covered rural issues across the state with a special focus on Appalachia and she earned the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors’ Rising Star award — given to journalists with less than five years of professional experience. Doyle is a Chicago native who earned her B.A. in journalism and political science from Miami University of Ohio.
Coming soon: Forrest Milburn
Director of audience
Forrest Milburn is the director of audience at the Houston Landing, where he leads strategy around distribution, audience growth and reader engagement. Before coming to the Landing, Forrest was the senior audience growth and engagement producer at the Miami Herald in sunny South Florida. At the Herald, Forrest led the newsroom’s strategy with reader callouts and steered its flagship accounts on Instagram, Reddit and Tiktok, while also having a hand in newsletters, alerts and story pitches to news aggregators. Before moving to Florida, Forrest was a lifelong Texan, having grown up in the North Dallas suburbs. He attended the University of Texas at Austin and interned at newspapers all across the Lonestar State (he’s very happy to add Houston to the list). When he’s not working, Forrest loves tending to his indoor plant collection and playing with his two cats, Artemis and Apollo.
Coming soon: Jacqué Palmer
Senior manager of membership
Jacqué Palmer (she/her) will join the Houston Landing on April 3 as senior manager of membership, where she will lead membership engagement and growth strategy. She was previously senior manager of editorial impact and loyalty at Vox, where she led cross-platform fundraising and membership efforts to increase engagement, deepen loyalty and grow Vox’s audience support program. Before Vox, she was an email evangelist at Gannett, training newsrooms on the best ways to optimize their newsletter portfolios. She was the lead newsletter strategist for the Breonna Taylor Case newsletter from The Louisville Courier-Journal, a 2021 Pulitzer Prize finalist for its news coverage. Before that, she developed newsletter frameworks to support engagement and revenue at Gatehouse Media, where she launched and managed “Florida Time,” a Florida history newsletter syndicated across 12 daily newspapers, and “Think, Texas” for the Austin American-Statesman. When she’s off the clock, she enjoys solving puzzles, watching psychological thrillers and discovering new outdoor spaces with her pet maltipoo, Coquito.
Coming soon: Miranda Dunlap
Small business and entrepreneurship reporter
Miranda Dunlap will join the Houston Landing on May 1 as a reporter covering small business and entrepreneurship.
A painfully Midwestern native to Michigan’s capital region, Miranda studied political science pre-law and journalism at Michigan State University. She served in various capacities at The State News, most recently as Culture Editor, where she oversaw a team of reporters covering climate, entertainment, lifestyle, and race and identity issues. She worked at Automotive News, where she covered all things automotive industry, and she’s a Michigan Press Association Foundation award winner.
Coming soon: Danya Pérez
Diverse communities reporter
Danya Pérez will join the Houston Landing on April 3 as a diverse communities reporter. She’s returning to Houston after leaving two years ago to work for the San Antonio Express-News, where she reported on K-12 and higher education. Prior to that, Danya was a digital producer at the Houston Chronicle, where she worked on community engagement efforts by developing and writing daily newsletters. She previously spent 4 ½ years covering education at the Monitor newspaper in the Rio Grande Valley. Danya lived most of her childhood in Mexico before migrating with her family to their second home in El Paso. She is a proud University of Texas at El Paso graduate (Picks up!). When she’s not writing about our communities, she might be found taking her loyal travel companion, Wakko, a 16-year-old Schnauzer, for slow walks at his favorite spots along Buffalo Bayou.
Coming soon: Clare Amari
Public safety reporter
Clare Amari will join the Houston Landing on May 1 as a reporter covering public safety. Clare previously worked as an investigative reporter for The Greenville News in South Carolina, where she reported on police use of force, gender-based violence and sexual abuse allegations at a local cheerleading gym. A native of New York suburbs, Clare graduated with honors from Columbia Journalism School and the University of Oxford, and she has received journalism awards for her work in Ohio and South Carolina. In her free time, Clare enjoys watching Premier League soccer, trying new wines, and researching her roots in Sicily and Appalachian Ohio.