About
Staff

Darren Ankrom, Researcher
Alessandra Bastagli, Nation Books Editorial Director
Sarah Blustain, Investigative Fund Deputy Editor
Kristine Bruch, Operations Manager & Program Associate
Joe Conason, Investigative Fund Editor-at-Large 
Naomi Gordon-Loebl, Internship Director
Hendrik Hertzberg, Editorial Director
Roz Hunter, Deputy Director and Digital Editor
Esther Kaplan, Investigative Fund Editor
Taya Kitman, Executive Director and CEO
Jaime Longoria, Doris and Don Shaffer Research Fellow
Katy O'Donnell, Nation Books Editor
Ed Sermier, Chief Financial Officer
Kelly Virella, Investigative Fund Senior Editor
Annelise Whitley, Director of Outreach & Public Programs

Darren Ankrom, Researcher

Darren Ankrom is a researcher for The Nation Institute and a freelance environmental reporter. Before coming to the Institute he researched for Showtime's climate change series Years of Living Dangerously. He holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the University of Delaware and currently lives in Colorado.



Alessandra Bastagli, Nation Books Editorial Director

Alessandra Bastagli is the Editorial Director at Nation Books. She has a master's degree in Economics from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Bastagli moved to the United States in 2000, working first as a book editor at Arcade Publishing, W.W. Norton & Company, Palgrave Macmillan, and Free Press/Simon & Schuster and later as the online features editor at Al Jazeera America. As a news and book editor she has worked with authors including Michelle Goldberg, Juan Cole, Touré, Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Andrew McCarthy, Tim Kreider, Jason Leopold, William Deresiewicz, David Phillips, Jill Filipovic, Max Blumenthal, Yanis Varoufakis, Basharat Peer, Elyssa East, Nathan Schneider, Alia Malek, Cecily McMillan, and Jamie Tarabay, among many others. Bastagli is also a published translator, from the German, of Jurek Becker, and, from the Italian, of Primo Levi.

Sarah Blustain, Investigative Fund Deputy Editor

Sarah Blustain is a former senior editor for Newsweek/Daily Beast and lives in Montclair, NJ. Previously she was a senior editor at the New Republic, deputy editor of the American Prospect, and senior editor for the feminist magazine Lilith. She has done two articles with Investigative Fund support: "The Mourning After," about the anti-abortion strategy focusing on men (The Nation, January 17, 2008); and "Life Sentence," investigating the roots of John McCain's hard-line stance against abortion (the New Republic, August 27, 2008). 

Kristine Bruch, Operations Manager & Program Associate

Kristine Bruch is the Operations Manager and Program Associate for The Nation Institute. She most recently worked as a Project Manager at McEvoy & Associates and focused on fundraising events for non-profit groups in New York City. Her experience has allowed her to work closely with many non-profits, elected leaders, and political organizations across the country. She graduated from the George Washington University in Washington, DC with a degree in Business Administration. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

Joe Conason, Investigative Fund Editor-at-Large

Joe Conason is founder and editor-in-chief of The National Memo, a daily political newsletter and website. For 18 years he wrote a weekly political column for the New York Observer, where he formerly served as executive editor, and for 12 years he wrote a weekly column for Salon. He previously served as investigative editor of the American Prospect and editor-at-large for Conde Nast's Details. Before that, he worked for the Village Voice as a columnist, staff writer and national correspondent. He is the author of several books, including Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth and, with Gene Lyons, The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton, both of which were New York Times bestsellers. His most recent book is It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush, which the New York Review of Books praised for "pithy insights." A winner of the New York Press Club's Byline Award, he has covered every American presidential election since 1980.

Naomi Gordon-Loebl, Internship Director

Naomi Gordon-Loebl is the Internship Director at The Nation Institute. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, and a graduate certificate in Youth Studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies. Before coming to the Institute, she was a teacher and youth development professional for five years, helping people who had left school to complete their high school equivalency diplomas. She lives in Brooklyn.

Hendrik Hertzberg, Editorial Director

Hendrik Hertzberg has written for the New Yorker, off and on, for a total of thirty years — from 1969 to 1976 as a "Talk of the Town" reporter and from 1992 on as an editor and staff writer. Earlier, he was a San Francisco correspondent for Newsweek and a junior officer in the US Navy. Between New Yorker stints he was President Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter and editor of the New Republic. A four-time winner of the National Magazine Award, Hertzberg is the author of Politics: Observations & Arguments (2004), a New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, and of ¡Obámanos!:The Birth of a New Political Era (2009).

Roz Hunter, Deputy Director and Digital Editor

Roz Hunter is the Deputy Director and Digital Editor of The Nation Institute. She's previously worked for The Nation magazine, International House Philadelphia, and was a teacher in northeastern China. She holds an MA in women's history from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA in film studies and political science from the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Brooklyn.

 

Esther Kaplan, Investigative Fund Editor

Esther Kaplan is a radio and print journalist who has written for Harper’s, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Nation, the American Prospect, the Village Voice, and other publications. She was previously a senior editor at The Nation, features editor at Poz, the award-winning national AIDS magazine, and communications director at Communications Workers of America Local 1180. She began her journalism career as an assistant editor at the Village Voice, where she became a regular contributor. She is the author of With God on Their Side: George W. Bush and the Christian Right, and was for many years co-host of Beyond the Pale, a weekly program covering Jewish culture and politics, on WBAI in New York City. She was a 2013 Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow and has received the Molly National Journalism Prize and the Sidney Award, among other journalism honors.

Taya Kitman, Executive Director and CEO

Taya Kitman is executive director and CEO of The Nation Institute. She has been with The Nation Institute since 1997 and has held a number of positions during her tenure. Over the years, she has managed the Ridenhour and Puffin Prizes, organized the Institute's Annual Gala Dinner, and supervised the Journalism Fellowships and Internships programs. Kitman, who previously was co-owner of graphic design agency, graduated from Kenyon College with a BA in History. She holds a master's degree in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University.

Jaime Longoria, Doris and Don Shaffer Research Fellow

Jaime Longoria is the Doris and Don Shaffer Research Fellow at The Nation Institute. He holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations with a concentration in International Systems and World Order & Africa and the Middle East from Boston University and a certificate in Social Sciences and Humanities from SciencesPo Paris. Before joining The Investigative Fund, he worked as the ENGAGE Intern on the accompanying campaign for the Emmy-nominated film Girl Rising. He also served as Research and Editorial Intern at Political Research Associates and tutored immigrant and refugee learners in Chelsea, Massachusetts with the Intergenerational Literacy Program. Originally from the Rio Grande Valley, he now lives in Brooklyn.

Katy O'Donnell, Nation Books Editor

Katy O'Donnell is an Editor at Nation Books, where she has worked with authors including National Book Award-winner Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times bestselling author Mychal Denzel Smith, Sarah Jaffe, Eileen Markey, John Merriman, Jaime Bartlett, Darnell L. Moore, Saadia Zahidi, and Vegas Tenold. She has worked in publishing since 2009, first at the Overlook Press and then at Basic Books. She graduated from the University of Chicago, where she studied English and Italian literature. Originally from New Jersey, she now lives in Queens.

Ed Sermier, Chief Financial Officer

Ed Sermier most recently served as the Director of National Customized Services for the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF). In 2008, he retired from his position as Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, and Director of Program Evaluation at Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY). He also served as Chief Financial Officer of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra; Deputy Director in the Mayor's Office of Operations for Mayor David Dinkins; Director of Strategic Planning and Capital Budgeting for the New York City Transit Authority; Director of Special Education for the New York City Board of Education; and Budget Director for the New York City Board of Education. Sermier holds a Master's in Business Administration degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in mathematics from Manhattan College. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, City University of New York. He also served as an Adjunct Professor at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. Sermier provides financial consulting services to a wide range of nonprofit organizations in the five boroughs of New York City.

Kelly Virella, Investigative Fund Senior Editor

Kelly Virella is an investigative reporter and editor with 15 years of experience working as a journalist. Most recently, she was deputy editor at City Limits magazine in New York City. Previously, she served as a staff reporter at the Chicago Reporter, associate editor at AlterNet, and one-year intern at the St. Petersburg Times. She has also written for publications such as East Bay Express in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Chicago Reader. Her investigation into the sexual abuse of New York State female inmates by prison staff won a Sigma Delta Chi award for magazine investigative reporting. Her work has triggered reforms by the Illinois Attorney General's Office, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Cook County (Chicago) Sheriff's Office. She directs The Investigative Fund's Ida B. Wells Fellowship Program.

Annelise Whitley, Director of Outreach and Public Programs

Annelise Whitley is an artist from Philadelphia currently residing in Brooklyn. She holds a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and is a founding editor and contributor to nascent grassroots literary and arts publication, One Off Magazine.