Sam Ballesteros
Sam Ballesteros sam by-yeh-STAIR-os (she/they)
News Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Sam Ballesteros expects to graduate in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication and a minor in music. Ballesteros has interned as a photojournalist at The Arizona Republic and worked as a content creation assistant at Arizona PBS.

Latest from Sam Ballesteros

‘You’re Goth, welcome to the club’: Arizona’s Goth scene is gaining prominence due to events, exposure

In recent years, the Goth scene in Arizona has gained prominence through events and festivals and evolved into an accepting space for new and older generations of Goths alike. Goth-centered artisan markets, Goth nights at clubs and Goth festivals have emerged to provide the community with opportunities to express themselves in a welcoming environment.

A patron at Stacy’s at Melrose who identified herself as Vivian Orbweaver, left, first became active in the Goth scene two years ago, and since then has found her place. Orbweaver said she "knew I was Goth because I felt it deep in my bones and couldn’t deny it.” (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market, Phoenix Bioscience Core promote health education at festival

PHOENIX – The Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market partnered with the Phoenix Bioscience Core to host the first Health & Wellness Phoestival earlier this month. In an attempt to bring health education and promote healthy living, the festival featured guest speakers, cooking demonstrations and health vendors.

Kayla Balay, Blue Sky Organic Farms market assistant, helps a customer bag produce at the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market on April 13, 2024. “I’ve eaten a lot healthier since working here and have been introduced to a lot of new produce, as well,” Balay said. "I usually go by what’s called eating soulfully, so I eat what’s in season, organic, unprocessed and local.” (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

Best foot forward: Tucson farrier educates Native American communities on horseshoeing

TUCSON – George Goode explains the significance of farrier education through his nonprofit organization, the Native American Horse Education Foundation, which provides courses to Native American communities in Sells.

George Goode sits in front of his trailer on the Tohono O’odham Nation on April 10, 2024. Goode bought his trailer 30 years ago when the Native American Horse Education Foundation was still a dream. Now, he uses the trailer daily to help teach equine education to Native Americans. It houses materials necessary for horseshoeing, including burners, anvils, nails and shoes. (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

M3F music festival funds art programs, other nonprofits in Arizona

PHOENIX – This year’s M3F music festival brought in large crowds of music lovers. M3F uses the ticket sales to support charities that foster arts, community, education and environment across Arizona.

Roosevelt performs on the Cosmic Stage at the M3F music festival on March 2, 2024. (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

Arizona bill aims to regulate labeling of meat alternatives, but opponents say it’s too broad

PHOENIX – Arizona Rep. Quang Nguyen, R-Prescott Valley, introduced a bill aimed at regulating the labeling of lab-grown meat and plant-based alternatives, sparking debate on transparency and consumer choice in the food industry.

Lisa Khan, owner of Moon River Beef, holds up a package of broth bones on March 25, 2024. (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

Feds award Intel $8.5 billion; money to expand Chandler, other chip plants

CHANDLER - President Joe Biden announced the award of $8.5 billion to chipmaker Intel on Wednesday, along with $11 billion in loans that will help the semiconductor manufacturer expand operations in Arizona and three other states.


Presidential nominees already picked, but Arizona voters still have options

PHOENIX - Joe Biden and Donald Trump have locked up their parties' presidential nominations, but Arizona voters will still have choices at the polls Tuesday in the state's presidential preference election. The question is how many will exercise that choice in protest.


Arizona lawmakers split as House overwhelmingly OKs bill to ban TikTok

WASHINGTON - Arizona lawmakers split Wednesday as the House gave overwhelming, bipartisan approval to a bill that would ban use of TikTok in the U.S. if the owners of the social media app don't first sell it to another company.


Legisladores de Arizona aprueban proyectos de ley de inmigración sobre el cruce fronterizo

PHOENIX – Los legisladores de Arizona han avanzado en un paquete de legislación de inmigración que los críticos llaman "SB 1070 2.0". Dieron la aprobación final el miércoles a un proyecto de ley que convertiría la entrada ilegal en un delito estatal.

Arizona state Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, reacts to Sen. Priya Sundareshan, D-Tucson, as she explains her vote on SB 1231 at the Arizona Capitol on Feb. 21, 2024. (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

Arizona GOP legislators pass immigration bills on border crossing and E-Verify

PHOENIX – Arizona lawmakers have advanced a package of immigration legislation that critics are calling “SB 1070 2.0” and gave final approval Wednesday to a bill that would make illegal entry a state crime.

Arizona state Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, reacts to Sen. Priya Sundareshan, D-Tucson, as she explains her vote on SB 1231 at the Arizona Capitol on Feb. 21, 2024. (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

Arizona leaders take advantage of Inflation Reduction Act tax credits for sustainability projects

PHOENIX – Leaders of Arizona’s public, private and nonprofit sectors discussed financial incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, explaining how they will use available federal funds for environmental efforts and renewable energy projects.


Detrás del carrito: la opinión de un vendedor de comida sobre la discusión del proyecto de ley de tamales

PHOENIX – El proyecto de ley de tamales está de vuelta y un vendedor de comida local comparte sus pensamientos sobre el proyecto de ley recién reintroducido.


Behind the cart: Food vendor’s take on tamale bill discussion

PHOENIX – The tamale bill is back and a local food vendor shares his thoughts on the newly reintroduced bill.


Rain check: How Arizonans can prepare for rainy drives

PHOENIX – As Arizona gets winter rain, ADOT and local experts remind drivers of important safety habits to keep in mind while on the road. From vehicle maintenance to awareness of road conditions, Arizonans are urged to slow down and remember to get their cars inspected by professionals.

It’s been a rainy week in Phoenix, and puddles have accumulated and made the roads slippery across the Valley. Photo taken in downtown Phoenix on Feb. 8, 2024. (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

Arizona Heart Association lobbies for bill mandating cardiac arrest emergency plans in schools

PHOENIX – Supporters from the American Heart Association lobbied at the Arizona Capitol in support of requiring emergency cardiac response plans in schools. Pyper Midkiff, a child who experienced cardiac arrest at age 12, spoke about her experience.

Jennifer Stingley, middle, is a member of the American Heart Association’s southern Arizona board of directors. Stingley practices CPR at the Arizona Heart Association’s annual lobby day at the Arizona Capitol on Feb. 7, 2024. (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

Our Ode to You nonprofit offers older adults in memory-care communities free therapeutic music, art programs

PHOENIX – Two Arizona high school seniors are using their talents to give back to older adult memory-care communities. Through free therapeutic music and art programs, Aani Nagaiah and Gage Samaddar are helping them evoke memories and de-stress.


Phoenix residents could see water bill increases coming soon

PHOENIX – The city of Phoenix is considering increases to its water rates in response to the ongoing drought and rising costs of labor, electricity and chemicals used to treat water and wastewater. Other Valley cities say their drought plans have not yet progressed to charging users more.


Going (Savannah) Bananas: Exhibition baseball teams take over Scottsdale, Peoria to delight of fans

SCOTTSDALE – The Savannah Bananas came to Scottsdale Stadium and Peoria Sports Complex last weekend as part of their 2023 world tour. The game featured plenty of entertainment outside of the unique Banana Ball rules.

The Savannah Bananas split their two games last weekend in Scottsdale and Peoria, but the final results came second to the overall experience for fans and players. (Photo by John Busker/Cronkite News)

Report places Arizona first in U.S. for rate of COVID-19 deaths

PHOENIX – An analysis by medical-science journal The Lancet shows Arizona had the highest death rate per 100,000 people in the U.S. Researchers examined three years of data that found correlations between race, education and poverty levels and the number of deaths in the state.

Todd Bailey, Joyce Bailey, Brenda Urquiza and Tara Kebbs, from left, gathered in March 2021 at the Arizona Heritage Center in Tempe to pay respects and honor the Arizonans who died from COVID-19. A Lancet study in March says Arizona recorded 581 deaths per 100,000 people – the highest rate in the U.S. (File photo by Sierra Bardfeld/Cronkite News)

Dementia’s dangerous rise leads legislators to ask up to $500,000 for Alzheimer’s

PHOENIX – Arizona legislators and Alzheimer’s advocates call for the state to step up in dementia care, proposing several bills, including one to bring $500,000 to AZDHS. Arizona has the fastest growth rate in the U.S. of people 65+ diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a national Alzheimer’s Association 2023 report.


WM Phoenix Open’s raucous 16th hole leaves other sports events ‘in the dirt’

SCOTTSDALE – The otherwise nondescript par-3 16th hole at the WM Phoenix Open has grown from a good spot to watch golf and grab a beer to one of the most unique, iconic and raucous holes on the PGA Tour.

The 16th hole at the the WM Phoenix Open rivals some of the best-known staples in sports — and it's only growing each year in popularity. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Above the fray: Scottie Scheffler wins back-to-back at raucous WM Phoenix Open

SCOTTSDALE – Scottie Scheffler is unflappable on the golf course, even when that course is the TPC Scottsdale with hundreds of thousands of raucous fans there to party at the WM Phoenix Open.

Phoenix Open winner Scottie Scheffler watches the trajectory of his shot Saturday. Most if his went in a positive direction and he pocketed $3.6 million. (Photo by Matt Venezia/Cronkite News)