Meet the Fellows: Lex Talamo

Lex Talamo dances on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. (Photo by Kelcie Johnson/News21)
Lex Talamo dances on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. (Photo by Kelcie Johnson/News21)


NAME:  Lex Talamo, Hearst Fellow

SCHOOL: Arizona State University, graduate student

BEFORE NEWS21: I taught middle school writing for four years on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota before moving to Arizona to teach high school English for a year. My experiences with at-risk youth ignited a desire to pursue journalism. As a result, I enrolled in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in August 2014. I am set to graduate with a specialization in investigative journalism at the end of this summer.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON? I’m looking at how Native American tribes in the United States are approaching the Cole Memorandum, which allows tribes to determine whether they wanted to legalize marijuana on their land. l am also reporting on medical marijuana’s implications – the benefits and the dangers – for children with severe illnesses like epilepsy and autism.

FUN FACT: I love dancing and drumming and am very active in the drum circle community in Phoenix. I have a doumbek, which I played quietly at night to de-stress, until my neighbor left me a note the day he moved out. He wrote, “Some nights I would hear you play your drum. Honest, it sounds like you were holding back. Never hold back. Be yourself!”  That note changed my life.

CONNECT WITH ME: @lextalamo on Twitter, and you can see some of my other work at