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 today's 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

Jan Ritch-Frel Headshot.jpg
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.

Jenny Pierson Headshot.jpeg
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.

Reynard Loki.jpg
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.

April Short.png
April M. Short
Observatory Co-Founder and Local Peace Economy Editor

April M. Short is a writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute and the editor for Local Peace Economy. She has led editorial projects on consciousness, plant medicines, care, and well-being, including Reset.me and Lucid.News (which she also co-founded). Her work has appeared in dozens of U.S. and international publications.

Authors Spotlight

Justin-Podur Headshot 08-01-19-e1564698733655 smaller.jpeg
Justin Podur is a Toronto-based writer.
Chris Smaje credit Cordelia Rowlatt.jpg
Chris Smaje has co-worked on a small farm in Somerset, southwest England, since 2007. Smaje is the author of A Small Farm Future, writes the blog at www.smallfarmfuture.org.uk and is a featured author at resilience.org.
Marym-commercial-415 SQUARE.jpg
Mary Mazzoni is the senior editor of TriplePundit and director of TriplePundit’s Brand Studio.
Jimmy Videle is a farmer, naturalist, and researcher. He is the author of The Veganic Grower’s Handbook: Cultivating Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs from Urban Backyard to Rural Farmyard (Lantern Press, 2023) and the co-founder of NAVCS-Certified Veganic. His writing has appeared in CounterPunch, Countercurrents, and LA Progressive, among others.

Have you signed up yet?

We’re building a guide for everyday life, where experts will educate you about our world.