Our Staff
From left to right: Brad Racino, Joanne Faryon, Leo Castaneda, Lorie Hearn, Joe Yerardi, Victoria Mendiola

Our Staff

Lorie Hearn is the executive director and editor of inewsource.

She founded inewsource (formerly called the Watchdog Institute) in the summer of 2009, following a successful 35-year reporting and editing career in newspapers. She retired from The San Diego Union-Tribune, where she had been a reporter, Metro Editor and finally the senior editor for Metro and Watchdog Journalism. In addition to department oversight, Hearn personally managed a four-person watchdog team, composed of two data specialists and two investigative reporters.

Hearn was a Nieman Foundation fellow at Harvard University in 1994-95. She focused on juvenile justice and drug control policy, a natural course to follow her years as a courts and legal affairs reporter at the San Diego Union and then the Union-Tribune.

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Hearn became Metro Editor in 1999 and oversaw regional and city news coverage, which included the city of San Diego’s financial debacle and near bankruptcy. Reporters and editors on Metro during her tenure were part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning stories that exposed Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham and led to his imprisonment.

Hearn began her journalism career as a reporter for the Bucks County Courier Times, a small daily outside of Philadelphia, shortly after graduating from the University of Delaware in 1974. During the next two decades, she moved through countless beats at five newspapers on both coasts.

High-profile coverage included the historic state Supreme Court election in 1986, when three sitting justices were ousted from the bench, and the 1992 execution of Robert Alton Harris. That gas chamber execution was the first time the death penalty was carried out in California in 25 years.

In her nine years as Metro Editor at the Union-Tribune, Hearn made watchdog reporting a priority. Her reporters produced award-winning investigations covering large and small local governments. The depth and breadth of their public service work was most evident in coverage of the wildfires of 2003 and then 2007, when more than half a million people were evacuated from their homes.

Contact Lorie at loriehearn@inewsource.org


Brad RacinoBrad Racino has many roles at inewsource — investigative reporter, videographer, editor, web designer and social media manager.

Since joining inewsource in 2012, Racino has produced work for print, radio and TV on a variety of topics, including political corruption, transportation, health, trade and surveillance. In 2013, Racino won both the national IRE award for investigative reporting and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sol Price Award for responsible journalism for his ongoing investigation into San Diego’s North County Transit District. In 2014, Racino shared a second IRE award, the Columbia Journalism School’s Meyer “Mike” Berger award and an Association of Health Care Journalists award with colleague Joanne Faryon for “An Impossible Choice.”

Before joining inewsource, Brad worked as a reporter and database analyst for News21; as a photographer, videographer and reporter for the Columbia Missourian; and as a videographer and editor for Verizon Fios1 TV in New York.

Brad received his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 2012.

Contact him at bradracino@inewsource.org or
(619) 594-3569.


Joanne FaryonJoanne Faryon is a multimedia investigative reporter and producer with more than 20 years experience in print, radio and video journalism in Canada and the U.S.

Faryon was the first journalist to report on the number of immunized people getting sick with whooping cough during the 2010 California epidemic. Her reporting revealed the vaccine was failing, which was later verified by various scientific groups. Faryon went inside three California prisons to document how sentencing laws had contributed to an aging, sick, and expensive prison population. Her documentary, Life in Prison: The Cost of Punishment, has been viewed nearly one million times on YouTube. Faryon spent months reporting on a little-known California tax called Mello-Roos, and discovered homeowners were overcharged thousands of dollars on their yearly tax bills. She chronicled the final weeks of an 89-year-old man dying of heart disease when examining why one of the country’s most respected hospices was being investigated for Medicare fraud.

Faryon’s awards include the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, a National Press Foundation Honorable mention, two National and three regional Edward R. Murrow awards for investigative reporting and hard news, a Golden Mike for investigative reporting, two emmys, and several San Diego SPJ awards and San Diego Press Club best of show awards.

Contact her at joannefaryon@inewsource.org.


Joe YerardiJoe Yerardi is an investigative reporter and data specialist at inewsource, combining traditional reporting techniques with data analysis to produce investigative stories.

Prior to joining inewsource, Yerardi was the data editor at the San Antonio Express-News. While in San Antonio, he wrote data-driven stories of local and regional interest, assisted reporters in utilizing data in daily and enterprise coverage and produced data visualizations for the newspaper’s print and online products.

Joe holds bachelor’s degrees from New York University and a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Contact him at joeyerardi@inewsource.org or (619) 594-5321.



Leo CastanedaLeo Castaneda is a investigative researcher and economic analyst for inewsource.

Castaneda is a journalism and economics double major at San Diego State University. In May 2013, he took over as editor in chief for SDSU’s student-run newspaper The Daily Aztec and began the process of reinventing the century-old newspaper into a modern multimedia news organization.

Originally from Mexico City, Leonardo moved with his family to Chula Vista, Calif. in 2002. He is bilingual and biliterate in Spanish. He has written for The Daily Aztec’s Spanish section, Mundo Azteca.

Contact him at leocastaneda@inewsource.org