Good Bye Zainab and Keira, Welcome Billy and Salma

Good Bye Zainab and Keira, Welcome Billy and Salma
Billy Richling and Salma Elazab

I’m very excited to introduce two new voices at Bklyner that you will hear more from in 2021 on these pages – Billy Richling and Salma Elazab.

Billy Richling will start as a staff reporter at Bklyner in January, focusing on covering local politics and real estate – something he cares a lot about and has written a bit about already.

Billy Richling.

Previously, he was a member of several local political clubs, including the Brooklyn Young Democrats, the Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club, New Kings Democrats, South Central Brooklyn United for Progress, and the NYC-DSA (he is no longer a member of any political club). He also served on Brooklyn Community Board 14 until today and remains on the Steering Committee of the Parkside Plaza, a volunteer-run public space at the corner of Parkside and Ocean Avenues.

Billy lives in Flatbush. Before starting with us, he worked as Constituent & Communications Manager for the Times Square Alliance, where he built relationships with local business owners, employees, street vendors, and Elmos.

You can always argue with him about baseball, public transit, and  Jewish law. Billy speaks Spanish and has a degree in Journalism and Politics from NYU. You can reach him at and do follow him @billyrichling on Twitter.

Salma Elazab

Salma Elazab will start our three month (paid) winter internship as a reporter while she finishes her degree in Journalism at Fordham University. She grew up and lives in Bay Ridge, is fluent in Arabic, and when she’s not studying or working on an article she’s writing poetry and listening to indie rock. She’s proud of her Egyptian heritage and hopes to bring communities together with her work.  You can reach her at

We look forward to bringing you more of Ellie Plass’ reporting on small businesses and food, and Rachel Baron’s profiles of extraordinary neighbors, organizations, and efforts next year, and to add more voices as our finances allow it.

Last week was Zainab Iqbal’s last week as a full-time staff reporter at Bklyner.

Zainab Iqbal

Zainab rose from a Brooklyn College student insistent on being our intern before we had interns to become one of the most amazing writers we ever had. Her open mind, fearlessness, persistence, and dogged determination to not take no for an answer has allowed her to tell stories and shine a light on many topics, but Brooklyn’s Muslim community in all of its diversity in particular.

Zainab tells stories with a huge heart and a beautiful voice and I can’t wait to read her work again – hopefully, some on these very pages. We will always be rooting for you, Z, don’t ever stop writing!

I would also like to thank Keira Wingate, our outgoing reporting intern and a student at Craig Newmark Graduate School for Journalism at CUNY, who dove into covering local stories in undercovered communities and difficult to cover communities with a passion this fall. You’ll keep seeing her byline on freelance pieces, I have no doubt.