inewsource is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization with one explicit goal: to provide readers with the most authoritative and in-depth stories possible on issues that affect the future of everyday San Diegans. Whether we’re writing about local government, transportation, education, health, taxes or the environment, our small but versatile team of reporters works together to deliver these stories with precision through web, radio and TV.

As a result, inewsource has been awarded some of the most prestigious accolades not just in Southern California but across the country since its formation in 2009.

inewsource is based inside the KPBS newsroom, though we do not receive funding from its donor base and are not paid for the content we share with the NPR and PBS affiliate station. Reporters and editors at inewsource frequently teach, train and mentor at SDSU’s School of Journalism and Media Studies, underscoring our commitment to the next generation of journalists.

For support, we rely on foundation grants, philanthropy and individual donations from readers like you. Click here to see our editorial policy and here to see our refund, cancellation and privacy policy.

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Our staff

Lorie Hearn is the executive director and editor of inewsource.

She founded inewsource in the summer of 2009, following a successful 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.

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. During the decades following, 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 is a senior reporter, assistant director and director of partnerships & innovation at inewsource, as well as a photographer, videographer and editor. He has produced investigations for print, radio and TV on topics including political corruption, transportation, health, maritime, education and nonprofits.

His cross-platform reporting for inewsource has earned more than 50 awards since 2012, including back-to-back national medals from Investigative Reporters and Editors, two national Edward R. Murrow awards, a Meyer "Mike" Berger award from New York City's Columbia Journalism School, the Sol Price Award for Responsible Journalism, San Diego SPJ's First Amendment Award, and a national Emmy nomination.

In 2017, Racino was selected by the Institute for Nonprofit News as one of 10 "Emerging Leaders" in U.S. nonprofit journalism.

Racino has worked as a reporter and database analyst for News21; as a photographer, videographer and reporter for the Columbia Missourian; as a project coordinator for the National Freedom of Information Coalition and as a videographer and editor for Verizon Fios1 TV in New York.

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

Head here to read his stories.
Contact him at bradracino@inewsource.org or (845) 553-4170.
Securely contact Brad on Signal (845-553-4170) or Wickr (inewsBrad)

Brandon QuesterBrandon Quester is inewsource's director of data and visuals, where he works to further the role of data in the organization and develop innovative ways to present investigative content. He also works toward building and expanding partnerships with individuals, businesses and organizations.

Quester co-founded the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting where he served as executive director and editor for four years. AZCIR’s reporting, which publishes online, in print and on television and radio, uncovered questionable practices by the state’s largest public utility, shed light on “dark money” expenditures for Arizona’s political candidates, exposed the dangers posed by hazardous material storage facilities throughout the state, and detailed the human and economic toll of the worst environmental disaster in Mexico’s history.

In addition, the center has developed and implemented innovative technologies into its reporting. These range from a web application that crowdfunds background checks on Arizona political candidates to a fully automated Twitter bot that distributes, in near real time, each “dark money” expenditure by groups trying to affect Arizona elections.

Quester also worked as an educator at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and as the multimedia editor for the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, a national investigative reporting project headquartered at the Cronkite School.

Head here to read his stories.
Contact him at brandonquester@inewsource.org or (602) 750-3736.
Securely contact Brandon on Signal (602-750-3736) or through secure email.

Laura-WingardLaura Wingard is managing editor of inewsource.

She has been an editor in San Diego since 2002, working at The San Diego Union-Tribune, KPBS and now inewsource. At the Union-Tribune, she served in a variety of roles including as enterprise editor, government editor, public safety and legal affairs editor, and metro editor. She directed the newspaper’s award-winning coverage of the October 2007 wildfires and the 2010 disappearance of Poway teenager Chelsea King. She also oversaw reporting on San Diego’s pension crisis.

For two years, Wingard was news and digital editor at KPBS, overseeing a team of four multimedia reporters and two web producers. She also was the KPBS liaison with inewsource and collaborated with inewsource executive director and editor Lorie Hearn on investigative work by both news organizations.

Wingard also worked at the Las Vegas Review-Journal as the city editor and as an award-winning reporter covering the environment and politics. She also was the assistant managing editor for metro at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside. She earned her bachelor’s degree at California State University, Fullerton, with a double major in communications/journalism and political science.

Contact her at laurawingard@inewsource.org.

Ashley Rodriguez is the donor engagement manager for inewsource.

For more than 10 years, Rodriguez has worked and volunteered in San Diego’s nonprofit sector. She began her career leading community engagement initiatives and managing grants for KPBS. Before joining inewsource, she managed fundraising efforts for the Center on Policy Initiatives, an economic policy think tank in San Diego.

Rodriguez serves as vice president of the Sherman Heights Community Center board, and is on the boards of the San Diego Leadership Alliance and the Victory Fund Campaign. She is the immediate past chair of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of San Diego and is a 2016 alumna of the San Diego Leadership Alliance Institute.

In 2016, she received her master’s degree in nonprofit leadership and management from the University of San Diego. She is also a graduate of San Diego State University, where she studied international security and conflict resolution. Rodriguez received the San Diego Business Journal honor of Top 20 in their 20’s in 2013.

Contact her at ashleyrodriguez@inewsource.org.


Cheryl Clark became an expert in the massive changes that would come from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to prevent medical harm and overutilization of the healthcare system during her six plus years as senior quality editor with Boston-based HealthLeaders Media.

She has won numerous awards, including the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation's $10,000 prize in 2015 for her magazine article on faster recognition and treatment of deadly sepsis. Her weekly column had 40,000 subscribers.

Clark was one of 30 participants of a roundtable that led to a 2015 report, "Shining a Light. Safer Health Care Through Transparency" produced by the National Patient Safety Foundation's Lucian Leape Institute.

She resigned from HealthLeaders in May, 2015 to spend time developing underreported stories, writing for MedPage Today and other publications.

In October, Clark was among 12 journalists selected for the first Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute's comparative effectiveness fellowship in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Association of Health Care Journalists.

For 27.5 years, she covered medicine and science for The San Diego Union-Tribune. In the mid 1980s, she established one of the nation's first specialty beats on HIV and AIDS for a major newspaper. She also covered energy and environment for The Sacramento Bee and was a Nieman Foundation fellowship finalist. Clark also worked for The San Francisco Chronicle and co-owned and edited a weekly newspaper in Columbia, MD.

Head here to read her stories.

Contact her at clarkcheryl@inewsource.org.


Jill-Castellano-inewsourceJill Castellano is an investigative reporter and data analyst for inewsource.

Castellano graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in psychology and criminology and was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. She has interned at the New York Daily News, Forbes and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Castellano was a Dow Jones Data Fellow in 2016 — its first class of data journalists. She was trained by data experts at the headquarters of Investigative Reporters and Editors in Columbia, Missouri, and spent the summer working as a data reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune.

In September 2016, Castellano joined The Desert Sun in Palm Springs as an investigations editor. She mentored reporters in the USA TODAY Network on data analysis and public records, and she collaborated with other newsrooms on data-driven enterprise stories. She was part of a team from the USA TODAY Network that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for a project on the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Head here to read her stories.
Contact her at jillcastellano@inewsource.org.


Shyla Nott is the social media and web producer at inewsource.

Before joining inewsource, Nott was a producer for the public affairs talk show All Sides with Ann Fisher at WOSU Public Radio in Columbus, Ohio.

In 2014, she documented second-generation Holocaust survivors as part of an international oral history collaborative.

Originally from Illinois, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, where she was a double major in journalism and international studies. Nott earned her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Head here to read her stories.
Contact her at shylanott@inewsource.org.


Lauren Mapp joined inewsource as an investigative reporting intern in August 2018.

Mapp is a senior pursuing a degree in journalism with a minor in American Indian studies at San Diego State University. She also is a senior staff writer at The Daily Aztec student newspaper and writes freelance articles for the North Coast Current, an online news site.

Originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, Mapp moved to San Diego in 2005 and earned associate’s degrees in journalism, political science and culinary arts from San Diego Mesa College in 2016.

Contact her at laurenmapp@inewsource.org.


Bella Ross is an intern at inewsource.

Ross is a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and political science at San Diego State University. She also works at The Daily Aztec as the news editor, leading a team of reporters covering campus news.

Before interning at inewsource, Ross worked at KPBS as a web assistant for the online community events calendar. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in political reporting for a print or online news outlet.

Contact her at bellaross@inewsource.org.