Staff and Contributors


Mark Hibbs, editor

252-393-8185 (office); 252-241-8778 (cell);
Mark Hibbs

Working out of our main office in Ocean, Mark writes for CRO and assists in managing the website and social media platforms. A native of coastal North Carolina, Mark joined the federation June 1, 2015, after more than 20 years with the Carteret County News-Times, where his duties included staff writer and photographer, business editor and assistant to the editor. Mark has won numerous awards for his reporting, including various North Carolina Press Association awards and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2009 Small Business Journalist of the Year Award for the Southeast Region. Mark is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Jennifer Allen, assistant editor

252-393-8185 (office);

Born and raised in Swansboro, Jennifer Allen graduated from Appalachian State University in 2002, picked up a second degree from UNC-Charlotte the following year and then completed her master’s at UNC-Wilmington in 2008. After nine years writing and editing at the Carteret County News-Times in Morehead City, she joined the staff of the town of Beaufort in 2014 as public information officer and town clerk. She has also written for Our State Magazine and other regional and statewide publications. She lives in Morehead City with her fiancé and their lovable mutt, Z and a dachshund, Willa. []

Frank Tursi, editor emeritus, contributing writer

Frank TursiThe founding editor of CRO, Frank is a 40-year newspaper journalist. Before joining the North Carolina Coastal Federation in 2002, Frank was the senior environmental reporter in North Carolina. His environmental journalism has won numerous awards, including three Public Service Awards from the North Carolina Press Association and the Scripps-Howard National Environmental Journalism Award.  He stepped aside as editor in September 2016 and retired in December 2016. The author of three books, Frank is an avid fishermen and model boat builder, He lives with his wife, Doris, in Swansboro, where Frank serves as a town commissioner.

Contributing Writers

Allison Ballard

Allison Ballard is an award-winning writer and journalist who covers topics such as food, film, science and the environment for a variety of local and regional publications. Since early days as high-school reporter, she’s gained experience in much larger newsrooms and through graduate programs at the University of Cape Town and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Allison loves to travel, but always returns home to the North Carolina coast.

Liz Biro

Liz.BiroLiz and her family came to North Carolina for the expansive beaches, friendly atmosphere and fresh seafood. Since arriving as a child, she’s never looked back at her native New Jersey. A journalist for 25 years, she’s covered everything from local fisheries to politics. Liz left it all behind for a while to become a chef and run her own catering company. Today, she writes about food and dining for the Indianapolis Star and for  Coastal Review Online. []

Catherine Kozak

cate.kozakCatherine has been a reporter and writer on the Outer Banks since 1995. She worked for 15 years for The Virginian Pilot. Born and raised in the suburbs outside New York City, Catherine earned her journalism degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz. During her career, she has written about dozens of environmental issues, including oil and gas exploration, wildlife habitat protection, sea level rise, wind energy production, shoreline erosion and beach nourishment. She lives in Nags Head and covers the Outer Banks and the northeast coast for Coastal Review Online. []

Jared Lloyd

Jared and Dino Turtle 2013Jared is a professional wildlife photographer and nature writer. He grew up on the Outer Banks and  has spent much of his life exploring the barrier islands, pine savannahs, black water swamps and sounds of North Carolina. These days his photography and writing carry him all over the world from Africa to the Amazon, the Galapagos to Yellowstone, but the lure of the salt life along the coast keeps bringing him back to North Carolina. Jared writes frequently for CRO about the intersection of the coastal environment and human history. He lives in Beaufort with his wife and son for easy access to blue water and uninhabited islands. []

Brad Rich

brad.richBrad is a reporter for the Tideland News in Swansboro and covers the central coast for Coastal Review Online. He has written about fishery and environmental issues along the central North Carolina coast for 30 years. He lives in Hubert with his wife, Gwen, their daughter and a rambunctious black lab named Satchmo. []

Kirk Ross

kirk.rossA longtime North Carolina journalist based in Chapel Hill, Kirk is the lead legislative reporter for Coastal Review Online. His reporting and opinion pieces have appeared in multiple publications, including the Independent Weekly, in Durham. He is also the founder of The Carolina Mercury, a North Carolina politics and news website. []

Trista Talton

tristaTrista covers the southeastern North Carolina coast for Coastal Review Online.  She is a native North Carolinian who, after graduating from Appalachian State University in 1996, pursued a career in journalism. She has covered everything from education and local governments to law enforcement and military. She embedded with Marines in Kuwait for the start of the Iraqi war in 2003, spent time in New Orleans with North Carolina National Guardsmen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and lived on a Coast Guard cutter to write about patrolling the shores of New York and New Jersey following the Sept. 11 attacks. She has been freelancing for two years and lives with her husband and two sons in Jacksonville. []

Lori Wynn

Lori WynnLori Wynn is a freelance writer and editor who grew up on Ocracoke Island. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in journalism in Memphis, Tennessee, Lori returned to Eastern North Carolina, where she was a reporter for the Carteret County News-Times, covering Beaufort and county government, the North Carolina General Assembly and more. Lori later worked as the editor of the Bryan County News, a community newspaper in coastal Georgia, for four years. She now lives in Savannah, Georgia, with her husband and two daughters. [}


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Coastal Review Online

3609 N.C. 24, Newport , NC 28570