The San Antonio Heron is a nonprofit nonpartisan newsroom reporting on downtown growth and the ripple effect it has on inner city neighborhoods, while mentoring San Antonio students interested in serving their community through storytelling.
Through our content and events, and on social media, we have moderated the ongoing progress vs. preservation discussion in San Antonio.
The Heron is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization (EIN 83-1163274).
Who we are
The Heron launched in June 2018 with the purpose of chronicling downtown San Antonio development and its impact on abutting neighborhoods
We are dedicated to producing thoroughly-reported and clearly-written stories. Our goal for every story is to gather all the facts and opinions and present them in an objective way so the reader decides on their own how they feel about the issue.
Through meaty analysis and deep dives, we strive to answer the following questions: How and why is downtown San Antonio changing? What’s the impact on nearby communities, especially vulnerable ones? Who’s benefitting and who’s not from the growth? How does San Antonio grow as a city while maintaining its unique culture?
Our second objective is the “how?” We aim to raise the standard for journalism in San Antonio by embracing a reader-first philosophy, while obsessing over objectivity and fairness. Our third goal is to create an internship program for San Antonio students who may want to pursue writing and photography. We’d like to create a pipeline of local talent so local kids can serve their communities through storytelling.
Simply put, we exist to inform our readers. That is our only obligation. We do not produce our journalism for personal gain, for awards, nor for vanity.
Ben Olivo is editor and co-founder of the San Antonio Heron. In 1996, he began working in the San Antonio Express-News’ sports department, compiling high school football scores on Friday nights. Over the next 19 years, he moved about the newsroom — from business news to metro, from features to mySA.com. From 2008 to 2015, he wrote The Downtown Blog, an online page from which the Heron is largely based. He left the Express-News in 2016 to give politics a try, but politics chewed him up and spit him out after six months. At the beginning of 2017, he joined Folo Media, a journalism nonprofit backed by the H.E. Butt Foundation that chronicled San Antonio’s inequality. Soon after joining Folo Media, he was promoted to managing editor, overseeing a small newsroom of reporters. He left Folo Media in February 2018.
Olivo also serves as president of the board of directors.
Board of directors
Crystal Darby is a business advisor at the UTSA Small Business Development Center. She joined the SBDC in 2011 and helps small businesses start, grow, and develop effectively. Her specialties are interpersonal communication, business writing, team building, managing change, presentation skills, marketing, business plans, and small business development. Prior to that she owned Crystal Communications for 12 years and was development director for the Healy-Murphy Center from 1997 to 1999. She grew up in San Antonio and holds a bachelor’s degree in radio-television-film from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of New Orleans.
Roman Sandoval is an engineer turned CEO/Founder of Allosense, a San Antonio technology startup that makes connected sensors for defense, logistics, and manufacturing applications. Roman led engineering efforts at Tesla, Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, and National Instruments; integrating high-volume data acquisition and test solutions for new product introductions. He was responsible for the production of electric car batteries, nuclear fuel-rod scanners, mobile device communications, RF integrated circuits, night vision goggles, and software-defined radios. Roman attended multiple business accelerators: Expa 2021, OnDeck 2021, Capital Factory 2020, Geekdom 2020, and Techstars 2019. He is a designated principal investigator for defense-related contracts and an AFWERX space coach. He continues to remain passionate about science, technology, community service, and entrepreneurship.