About Us

Straight News Online is a nonprofit news organization serving Lafayette and southern Louisiana.

Founded in 2018 by local journalists, Straight News Onlines in-depth reporting connects Lafayette to stories that matter and helps readers understand how our community works — and how we can make it better. In everything we cover, we put our community first.

Our work is produced as a community service and is available to readers at no charge. Financial support from our readers, grants, major gifts and advertising make that possible. View a list of our major funders.

We publish journalism from contributors who reflect our community’s diversity of people and ideas. We strive for accuracy, fairness, transparency and inclusiveness in our work. Read our policies.

Staff

Christiaan Mader

Christiaan Mader
Founder/Editor

[email protected]

Christiaan is the founder and executive editor of Straight News Online. His work has appeared in The New York Times, NPR, Gambit, Offbeat, 64 Parishes, USA Today Network and The Advocate. He is a Lafayette native and a recovering musician. He is also a member of Straight News Online’s board of directors.

Leslie Turk

Leslie Turk
Lead Investigative Reporter

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A founding editor of both The Independent and ABiz and senior editor at The Times of Acadiana in the 1990s, Leslie has worked in the newspaper business in Lafayette for almost three decades, earning state and national honors for her investigative reporting. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Acadiana Advocate, Baton Rouge Business Report and Gambit.

Elliot Wade

Elliot Wade
Community Reporter

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Elliot was born and raised in Cecilia, Louisiana. He earned a B.A. in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, working as a columnist and news writer for The Vermillion. A fervent advocate for LGBT rights, he has volunteered for Louisiana Trans Advocates since 2015, joining the organization at 17. He founded Nom Noir, a name change fund for black trans Louisianans. He enjoys the natural world, good food and passing a good time.

Andrew Capps

Andrew Capps
Local Government Reporter

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Andrew Capps has covered local government in Lafayette since moving here in 2019 to work for The Daily Advertiser. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Andrew first began reporting for the Knoxville News Sentinel in 2016. Since then, his work has been recognized by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation, the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Louisiana Press Association, among others.

Alena Maschke
Health Reporter

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Alena covers health in Acadiana for Straight News Online and The Acadiana Advocate. She came to Lafayette after reporting on the recovery from hurricanes Laura and Delta in southwest Louisiana. A native of Germany, Alena first came to the U.S. as an international student at Columbia University’s School of Journalism in 2016 and has since worked as a reporter in New York, Florida, California and Louisiana.

Johanna Divine

Johanna Divine
General Manager

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Johanna has spent two decades working in business development, operations and non-profit management. She's a W.K. Kellogg Policy fellow, board member of Basin Arts and 2021 Leadership Louisiana grad. Originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, she's lived in Louisiana since 2008.

Digital

Contributors

  • Geoff Daily
  • Erin Bass
  • Ruth Foote
  • Nathan Stubbs

Photography

  • Travis Gauthier
  • Allison DeHart
  • Robin May

Art, Design and Illustration

  • Peter DeHart
  • Allison DeHart

Board of Directors

Andre Alfred

Andre Alfred is Vice President of Microsoft Azure Security. A Lafayette native and a graduate of Lafayette High School, Andre holds a Bachelor of Science from WGU Washington, an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is a Doctor of Engineering from The George Washington University. He is the first WGU Washington graduate to serve on the university’s advisory board.

Carlee Alm-LaBar

Carlee Alm-LaBar is the Executive Director of the William C. Schumacher Family Foundation. She previously served as CEO of the United Way of Acadiana and as planning director for Lafayette Consolidated Government. Known for her efforts in civic engagement, Carlee organized and chaired the Fix the Charter group, a citizen-driven effort that led the successful effort to reorganize Lafayette Consolidated Government’s legislative branch into separate city and parish councils. She is a graduate of Leadership Louisiana and a Next City fellow.

David Begnaud

David Begnaud is the lead national correspondent for CBS Mornings, the national morning show of CBS News, and is based in New York City. He has earned some of journalism's most prestigious awards. A Carencro native, David's first journalism job was at KLFY-TV10, the CBS affiliate in Lafayette. He started as a teen reporter during his senior year in high school, then worked his way up to a part-time reporter and later weekend anchor. He hosted Passe Partout weekends, and the weekend evening editions of Eyewitness News, attending UL Lafayette during the week.

Deiadra Garrett

Deiadra Garrett is a pediatric surgeon with the Lourdes Physicians Group. The Lafayette native holds a medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a Ph.D. in genetics from LSU Health Sciences Center, completed her general surgery residency at Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation, and was a surgical critical care fellow at Northwestern University School of Medicine. Deiadra also completed pediatric surgical fellowships at both Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins Medical Institute/University of Maryland (combined program). She serves on the board of the Community Foundation of Acadiana.

Angie Drobnic Holan

Angie Drobnic Holan is director of the International Fact-Checking Network at the Poynter Institute. Prior to that, she was editor-in-chief of PolitiFact, the politics fact-checking website based in Washington, D.C. She was a reporter on the PolitiFact team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. Earlier in her career, she was a reporter at the Daily Advertiser and taught journalism at UL Lafayette. She is a graduate of Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts and a native of Patterson. She holds master’s degrees in journalism and library science.

Media, Nonprofit and Editorial Partners

  • Solutions Journalism Network
  • Membership Puzzle Project
  • The Advocate
  • The Daily Advertiser
  • WWNO
  • WRKF
  • AOC Community Media
  • Local Independent Online News
  • Institute for Nonprofit News
  • Online News Association