This story first appeared in inewsource’s weekend newsletter. Sign up for it here.

Ashley Rodriguez is the donor engagement manager at inewsource. She’s committed to spreading the word about our investigative, data-driven journalism. As an independent, nonprofit newsroom, we rely on individual donations for support. That’s where Ashley comes in:

What do you do as the donor engagement manager?
My role is to build relationships with the individuals and organizations in the community that support, or might be interested in supporting, inewsource. The questions I ask myself: Who might want to know more about our work? How can we grow our audience? What are creative ways to demonstrate the value of our reporting? The more we drill down on those questions, the better we can grow our base of support.

What do you love most about what you do?
The people! My job’s all about people, taking the time to talk with people, learn about their passions, interests and what makes them feel connected to their community. For our region to be its best, the leaders and institutions of it must be held accountable (or at least know they will be), so my aim is to foster relationships that are mutually beneficial. Our reporters can keep digging and feel like they have time to do good ol’ shoe-leather reporting, and donors know their investment ensures that our investigative journalism continues to be robust.

What do you, personally, spend most of your time on?
I joke that I’m a “nonprofiteer.” I volunteer on two boards, the San Diego Leadership Alliance and the Sherman Heights Community Center. I also have two dogs that I like to take on walks sans a cellphone. It’s my unplug time. Other than that, I love any chance to soak in San Diego, be it a good brunch spot (my favorite place is Rudford’s on El Cajon Boulevard) or enjoying a glass of wine overlooking a view with my friends.

Tell us something few people know about you!
I’m a big fan of old Hollywood movies, and two of my idols come from that era: actress Katharine Hepburn and Edith Head, the stylist on almost all of Hitchcock’s films. Both were fashionable feminists with big personalities. They paved the way for women to wear what makes them feel good and say what’s on their minds.

Interested in supporting our newsroom? Reach out to Ashley at or click here to donate.

Have a great Labor Day weekend, and thanks for reading.

Answers to your questions about local government agencies

Lots of government agencies operate in San Diego County and affect our lives. In our video series The Weekly Ask, we posed readers with this question:

What is one local government agency you’d like to know more about?

Here are a few of the questions you came up with, along with some of our answers:

When did San Diego’s Development Services Department change the way it is funded?
Since 1985, the city’s Development Services Department has been funded by enterprise funds. The majority of the department’s revenue, expenditures and activities – about 89 percent – comes from enterprise fees.

I would love to see some basic data on response times of police and of crimes that go unreported because citizens feel the police will not come in a timely manner.
Tracking the data related to crimes that go unreported and unrecorded gets tricky. A National Crime Victimization Survey by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics that covered 2006-2010 tried to get at the issue of unreported crimes. The survey found one reason victims do not report a crime is because of a belief that police would not think the crime was important enough to address.

What is SPAWAR?
Driving along Interstate 5, you’ve probably seen the sawtooth roofs of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific complex in Old Town. SPAWAR (pronounced SPAY-war) is a division of the U.S. Defense Department. Basically, it’s in charge of the information and communications networks connecting the Navy’s sea, land, air, and cyber defenses.

Read all of the questions and see our responses…

Watch the next question in the series…

Craigslist founder donates $25,000 to inewsource

inewsource‘s mission is to provide in-depth investigative reporting to San Diego. Since our inception in 2009, we aim to exemplify trustworthy journalism – from the professionalism of our reporters to the caliber of our reporting. We are pleased to announce that our steadfast commitment to fostering trust with our audience was recognized by Craig Newmark Philanthropies. Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, awarded inewsource a major gift of $25,000. We are incredibly grateful for his investment in our work!

If you want to join Craig Newmark as an inewsource supporter, please click here to donate.

Welcome aboard, Lauren!

This week we welcomed Lauren Mapp to the team as our newest intern. Lauren is a senior journalism major at San Diego State University and a staff writer for the student newspaper, The Daily Aztec. Currently she’s researching data that we can use in our future reporting. Welcome aboard, Lauren!

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Shyla Nott was the digital content manager at inewsource. While at her role, she ran the website, social media accounts, and curated The Weekender newsletter. She came to inewsource by way of the Midwest where she was the producer for All Sides with Ann Fisher, a daily live public-affairs talk show at...