About the Observatory

From Observatory

The Observatory is a free digital education resource. It offers the public useful information to help them both better understand important social issues and navigate life in the modern world.

Visitors engage with the Observatory:

  • Via Search: For expertise by keyword, topic area, or a favorite author.
  • Via Guides: That unlock the world in a single article or an expert-curated series.

The Observatory uses MediaWiki, the software that powers Wikipedia, to publish content by a team of expert contributors.

Our doors are open: The Observatory is designed to incorporate reader feedback, and for input and collaboration with volunteer researchers and editors.

Our goal is to be an audience-supported education resource that can make a difference.

The Observatory Team

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Jan Ritch-Frel
Observatory Co-Founder and Publisher

Jan Ritch-Frel is the executive director of the Independent Media Institute, a nonprofit organization that educates the public through a diverse array of independent media projects and programs. He has worked in independent media for more than two decades and has advised dozens of media companies.

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Jenny Pierson
Observatory Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer

Jenny Pierson is the manager of editorial projects and the programs administrator at the Independent Media Institute. She has spent more than a decade in independent media working in both digital journalism (editing U.S. and international news and editorials) and book publishing.

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Reynard Loki
Observatory Co-Founder and Environment and Animal Rights Editor

Reynard Loki is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute, where he serves as the editor and chief correspondent for Earth | Food | Life. His work has appeared in dozens of U.S. and international publications.

Author Spotlight
Brittany Michelson is an animal rights activist, writer and former teacher.
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Daniel Klem Jr. is the Sarkis Acopian Professor of Ornithology and Conservation Biology and director of the Acopian Center for Ornithology at Muhlenberg College.
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Daniel Ross is a journalist whose work has appeared in Truthout, the Guardian, FairWarning, Newsweek, YES! Magazine, Salon, AlterNet, Vice and a number of other publications.
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Alessandra Korap Munduruku is a Munduruku Indigenous woman leader from Indigenous Reserve Praia do Índio in the Brazilian Amazon. She is a member of Pariri, a local Munduruku association, as well as the Munduruku Wakoborûn Women’s Association. In 2020, Alessandra won the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for her work defending the culture, livelihoods and rights of Indigenous peoples in Brazil.
Debra Merskin, PhD, is a professor of media studies in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon and is a co-founder of Animals and Media.