The Blacklight is the Amsterdam News’ investigative unit. We are dedicated to exposing wrongdoing and uncovering the truth wherever it may be. We are focused on stories that impact communities of color in the New York region and beyond.

Damaso Reyes – Investigative Editor

Damaso Reyes (Russell Frederick Photo)

Damaso (he/him) has been a journalist and contributor to the Amsterdam News since 1996. He has been published by: The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Magazine, Der Spiegel, KSFR radio, the Miami Herald, and The Irish Times. Previous assignments and projects have taken him to countries including Rwanda, Iraq, Indonesia, Tanzania and throughout the United States and Europe. His images are also featured in the monograph “Black: A Celebration of a Culture” and the book “Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers go to War.”

He is a Fulbright specialist and is the recipient of several awards and grants including Arthur F. Burns and Holbrooke Fellowships from the International Center for Journalists; a Knight-Luce Fellowship from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism; an Immigration Reporting Fellowship from the French American Foundation and grants from the Solutions Journalism Network and the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

Helina Selemon – Science Reporter

Helina (she/her) is a health and science journalist and news researcher who likes making science make sense. She recently led audience engagement strategy for the health & science team at The Associated Press and has spent the last five years training journalists in news and investigative research skills, working with the Ida B. Wells Society, UC Berkeley and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. 

Prior to that, Helina worked as a freelance reporter, fact-checker and audience specialist at a variety of health or science publications including Popular Science, Spectrum (an autism news site), The Trace (Since Parkland project), TED,, GastroEndo News, HealthCetera and WBAI.

Beyond making science make sense — and science/health journalism more visible and engaging – Helina enjoys coffee roasting and hosting traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies.