Announcement from Cameron Barr, Anne Kornblut, and Alan Sipress:

We’re very happy to announce that Sandhya Somashekhar is launching a new National beat covering social change. She will explore how movements come together around issues and identities to push for recognition, rights and power.

Sandhya will reveal unexpected fronts in running battles over gay rights, drug legalization, abortion and other issues as she illuminates new theaters of conflict, such as transgender rights. We expect her to expand our understanding of how movements employ technology, data and new media in their efforts to organize and grow.

Sandhya turns to this endeavor after a successful run in the health, science and environment pod, where she was part of the team covering the botched rollout of President Obama’s health-care law and how the program has begun affecting Americans. She previously helped cover the 2012 Republican primary campaign and wrote about earlier battles over gay marriage and federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

A Washington Post intern in the summer of 2005, Sandhya has also covered local politics in Virginia and was part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

She started on the new beat this month – please join us in congratulating her.